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Posts Tagged ‘drunk’

In the fall of 1988 when I met a demon for the first time.  I have no empirical evidence, just the lingering horror.

That summer I was working in a plywood mill to pay my way through a college education that I was not quite sure I wanted.  By the end of that summer I was mostly convinced (subconsciously) that I needed it.  By the end of that school year I was convinced I needed it and wanted it, too.

A little knowledge of where I was will help you to understand the predicament I found myself on the night I met a demon.

I had two jobs that summer.  The first one was in a big town in Oregon known for a lot of hobos.  If you don’t know where I’m talking about right away it means you aren’t from Oregon and you shouldn’t bother to look it up.  If you do know that one I guess you won’t need to look it up anyway.  Either way, it doesn’t matter so don’t bother.

I had to drive a ways to get there from my folk’s house.  It was a difficult job working greenchain.  Greenchain is where you’re sent if you’re new and you get to experience all the ways that 3 and 4 inch splinters can be driven into your fingers under the skin, through your palms, under your fingernails, and through your hips and thighs.  The environment was a harsh one because (1) the wood was maple, rather green, 8/4 stuff of various widths, and it was typically about 12 feet long, which makes for a lot of tiresome chunks of wood to throw around, and (2) the trimmerman was a little troll who  loved seeing people suffer.  The trimmerman doesn’t even rate his own blog-name and shall receive none here.  He was pond-scum and navel-lint combined, which makes for a very smelly oily blob that looks disgusting and wasn’t too far off from his actual appearance.  It probably had something to do with his relationship with his mother, his wife, or his boss.  Probably all three.  Maybe all three were the same person.  God alone knows and I wasn’t looking very hard for the answers because just to look at him was to be transfixed by his unwashed yellowed once-white shirts which could be used as a soup base in dire circumstances.

I might have mentioned it but did I say that the man loved to see someone suffer?  The distasteful little man would cut the wood as fast as he could and backlog the two of us grunts in a giant pile of pick-up-sticks and then take a break.   If he did his job right, he got a 20 minute break.  I bitched about that and got sent to work in The Pit.  The Pit was a scorching-hot shed that housed a giant conical colander-shaped affair.  The machinery spiraled inward and drug cut-off pieces into a giant chipper.  You had to jump around from piece to piece and keep it from clogging up and incidentally not fall into the infernal device (and presumably one would avoid being ground up into little bits if one was successful). I got out of that job quickly and found one that was in a plywood mill 30 minutes on the other side of my folk’s house.

I respectfully gave notice to the owners of the first place, saying “I quit!” and slammed the phone down.  I would cheerfully rather pluck out my own toenails before darkening the doorway there again.

It was at the second job that I didn’t dodge a bullet.  On July 25, 1988 at just a bit after 1:30AM I found myself hanging from a machine with my feet four feet off the ground and my trapped arm compound-fractured.  I was in the hospital for over a week while they waited to see if it got infected and to see how it was healing and draining.  It was pretty bad.  It was a long 17 years ten days in that hospital until they let me out.  This was the summer that I went up on the hillside with my German Shepherd, Nemo, and we shared serious quality time.

Summer oozed by and I was back in school, learning with grave difficulty how to take notes with my left hand.  I had to learn to do everything with my left hand since I was in a cast that went from my right armpit all the way down to the tips of my fingers with my palm turned upwards.  People kept putting quarters in my hand, saying I should really look for work instead of handouts.  You might think this would be annoying (and it was) but it also meant that after a few of those… hey, free beer.

As if I needed much incentive, all the incentive I needed to get off painkillers was right there – cheap beer.  I loved beer.   I don’t drink at all now but I am pretty sure I’d still love it.  And there was lots of it so I was happy.   Which leads us into our story, finally.  Thank you, Patient Reader – now we will begin.

One of the groomsmen for Cruel Wife’s and my wedding day was a very good friend all through college.  Let’s pick a name for him… how about… “Min”.   There’s several levels of joke that we won’t get into right now but trust me, I count four levels without trying too hard and I can do so without descending into a gutter to do it.

Min comes in and says “Hey, guys, there’s a party down at the rental hall – wanna go?”

The other three of us roommates bounced straight up into the air whooping “HELL YEAH!”  Seriously, the heart-wrenching sad truth is that the ratio of men to women in this college was 9:1.  A party was a good way to either drink and forget that there were no chicks or if you won the lottery that night, pick up chicks – both were better than sitting on your ass wishing that you were at a party or picking up chicks.  Simple creatures, the four of us, and we found simple solutions to the equations that life threw at us.

So we went to the rental hall and while I could drive (in fact I drove the long trip to school when I started up again) I didn’t want to.  Driving a stick-shift Datsun was harder than you might think with that big damn cast.  I caught a ride with Min and we headed down there.

The rental hall was usually rented out by the Par-tay Mafia, which was this shadowy bunch of scary guys that would roll up with a small trailer, charge a token amount for the ladies, charge five bucks for the guys, and then charge anywhere from fifty cents to a dollar per beer.  It wasn’t a bad deal.  And when they ran out, they disappeared like small yappy dogs orbiting a flatulent fat lady.

Are you with me so far?  Good.  Now, try and keep up.

I had drunk probably six or seven of those odd little 7-13/64’s oz cups that they always sell beer in when the beer labels on the side of the keg read simply “Beer”  when I saw her, and here I will name the demon for what she was:  The Succubus.

She was this amazingly pretty blonde, small nose, slightly cleft chin, tall (that should have been the warning sign there), wearing a red shirt, jeans, and a suede jacket.   Nudging Min, I motioned towards the blonde, “I should go talk to her.”   Min laughed and said “Yeah, good luck.”

Well, I’ll show him.

I went over and started talking with her and we were hitting it off pretty well.  After a while Min was motioning me with an upthrust middle finger to come talk with him.  I ignored him for a bit and so I could rub it in we went to where he was.  (It was then that I realized that he still had his middle finger upthrust at me.  Perhaps it was injured somehow.)  He told us that we were having a party back at our house (we are?) and were we up for leaving pretty much right away?  The Succubus’ eyes lit up said “Sounds like fun!”  The hall was dying down because they were running out of beer and the fights would start in earnest fairly soon.  So I thought, “Ohhhhh, yeahhhhhh.”   I asked the Succubus if she was OK with driving me over on account of my arm.  She told me to wait by the door and she’d drive her car around for me.  The cast thing was a chick sympathy-magnet and as good as a puppy for ice-breaking with the females and had none of the crap in the yard that comes with said puppy.

Up drove the Succubus in a red RX-7.  I got in, smiling at my buddies with a huge grin that showed lots of teeth, and my eyes were saying “Hahahahahahaha, you sorry bastards!”   Their eyes were saying “You bastard.”

Axiom:  Be careful what you ask for because not only might you not get it, the thing you do get might be pretty awful.

We took off with screeching of rubber and slewed out onto the main drag.  I started pointing off to the left the direction we needed to take to get to my place.  The light was green and so far it was good.

The Succubus was driving a bit fast down the road but I at this point I was pretty relaxed.  Soon enough the she flicks her hair, “Do you want a drink?”

I grinned…  I like the way she thinks.

“There’s a bottle on the floor in front of you.”

Huh?

I looked at the floor and reached around to find what I couldn’t see – a fifth of tequila that was probably 1/3 gone.

Okayyy… And I took a good tug on the bottle.

And then she took a big tug on the bottle and I could see the bubbles as they fought their way to higher ground in the bottle.

I looked at the speedometer and saw that we were doing 75mph on a 45mph section of highway.

Okay, this is… not quite alarming yet.  Yet.

Things can and do go sideways.

A mile or so further down the highway, the Succubus intoned “I need to find a place to stop.”  She pulled off the highway, went over the railroad tracks, pulled a hard right and said again “I need to stop!” she warbled.   I could tell she was just about to get worked up so I decided to head that off.  “OK, you need to go another three blocks and go straight, there’s a gate there where you can pull out and stop.”  I figured she might be a bit nauseous or something.

We zipped past the open gate and came to a half 200 feet down the little dirt road.   And here is where we took leave of reality and the plane left the ground.

She left the headlights on, got out of the car, went twenty feet in front of the car… dropped trou and urinated right there in the dusty road in front of me.

I opened the bottle and took another drink, or perhaps it was two drinks.  It didn’t matter because I was sobering up fast.

At times you can sort of engage in a harmless bit of denial.  You can say “Hmmm, she does have a fine posterior”.  You can say “Well, who among us hasn’t done just this very thing at one time or another?”  Or you can think “Wow, the liquor is affecting my vision… did I eat the worm or something?”   And while the little voice inside of you that is shrieking that this is very peculiar and that you ought to be thinking about the merits of walking home… you dump a load of tequila on his head and drown him.

Choices can easily be a mistake.  A.  Very.  Big.  Mistake.  Indeed.

The Succubus hitched up her Lee’s (which my in-denial self noted fit her quite nicely), and trotted back to the car.  She got in and backed up with the accelerator floored.   Dust was everywhere but I could tell immediately when we hit the pavement because my head hit the roof.   She cranked the wheel and we shot back the way we came.

Now the Succubus was muttering.

It’s at times like this when you reach deep down to the place where you last heard that little voice hoping that you can revive him, which you do with a dab of CPR and some internalized screaming.

Odds are good that you have already missed the window of opportunity that your little voice was trying to provide you.

We blew over the railroad tracks and caught some air on the downside.   The car was growling as it leaped over the highway we just came from and screamed like a banshee up a hill into a residential area.  The Succubus was still muttering but louder, more insistent, and clearly she was agitated with little facial tics showing every now and then.

Finally I could make out part of what she was saying over the engine’s noise “Oh he’s going to be so pissed… where is the house??”

“Slow down,” I said naively, “who is going to be pissed and why?”

She told me, and my little voice had an immediate cardiac arrest and died.

She had a large package of cocaine in the trunk that she needed to deliver or [PersonX] would be very angry.  These are not words you should ever want to hear.  If I understood her right, she was talking kilo-class delivery.

It was then that I saw, I really truly saw what this apparently beautiful blonde in a suede jacket and skin-tight Lee’s really was:  a demonic creature from hell, a Succubus.  Seriously, this is not reality any more.  The plane left the ground and the Earth crumbled and fell away.  You are now in free-fall in the cold, oh so cold, vacuum of space.

I was very agitated myself, “Look, I don’t know who [PersonX] is, I don’t care, I don’t want to know, all I know is I WANT YOU TO ******* TAKE ME HOME NOW!!!”

You know how in the movies sometimes the main character will get really riled up and spittle will fly as they scream?  I’m here to tell you that they do a damn fine job imitating that, most times they get it right and the stuff on the screen looks real.  She probably had to have a professional look at the right side of her jacket because it had a quart of my saliva on it.  The whole “I was so scared I was dry-mouthed” thing is not always a truism, and it certainly wasn’t here.

We turned around very fast because she cranked the wheel hard and my head rapped the glass with a crack.  Literally, we did a cookie in the middle of the street and raced back the way we came again.  I told her “GO LEFT, DAMMIT!”

Doing in excess of 100mph down a highway rated for 50mph, I was checking my five-point harness which had (to my horror) somehow become a three-point harness.  I was riding as a passenger with a crazed drunk blonde Succubus with a nice butt, a nice car, and more drugs than I could possibly imagine being around was in the trunk of the car, all moving at 100+ mph.

This was clearly not the day I had hoped it would be.

Several miles further down the road I found that I subconsciously had been fumbling with my butterfly knife in my pocket.  I had it because I was working on dexterity exercises for my left hand since I could not use my right.  I noticed that I was flicking the latch open-closed-open-closed, and at some point thought “Geez, man, you need to pay attention to the road.”

I looked up to give my attention to the road and noted how fast things were whizzing by and quickly went back to paying attention to the latch. (Sing-song)  Denial… Deni-al… DE-NI-AL… it’s just another way to face the day…

My turnoff was coming up fast.  I pointed to the flashing red light above the left-turn lane and said “Ok, you gotta turn left up there… uh… left… left… LEFT!!!”  While barely braking the Succubus put us into a harder corner than I have ever been put into in my life.   Ever.  Why we did not violently flip and roll off the road in a ball of flames is beyond me.

You learn things, though.  I learned that I needed to give this demonic entity more advance notice.  Would a Ouija board be sufficient or should I sacrifice a small animal?  Who can think about such things at a time like this?

Having neither small animal or Ouija board, I pointed wildly “It’s that house on the right eight blocks up, see?  See it?  Huh, you see it?  DO YOU SEE IT?!?”

She sputtered her lips “Okay, okay, you don’t have to yell!”

The Succubus did a power-slide into my drive and she had hit the brakes hard enough to plow the gravel beyond the sidewalk.  I immediately opened my door but in the process dropped my knife between the seat and center console.  My favorite knife!!!  DAMN!

The man had it right:  You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.

We’ve already established that I’m sometimes not the sharpest marble in the knife drawer, haven’t we?  I was learning pretty darned fast, just not fast enough.   I was on my knees in the gravel, the door open, trying to do a reach-behind maneuver with my left arm underneath the seat to reach my knife.   I had just touched it when I realized that my knees were being drug through the gravel as she tried to back out of the driveway.  If I wasn’t very lucky, I was going to get drug to death by this demon’s automobile, The Death Cart.

“WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA YOU CRAZY *****!!!  WHAT THE **** DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?  STOP!  STOP!  STOP!”

The Succubus stopped.  I leaped thirty feet back.  She resumed.  I stumbled in the house, glad that I had survived to live another day, to drink another beer.

The reality is I drank a pitcher full of beer, cracking open can after can until I filled it up and Min sat and laughed at me, knowing that I could not hurt him with only one arm.  I probably had that coming.

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Spelunking While Drunk.

If you came late to the telling of life stories, today we’re discussing spelunking.  Go back a few posts and there’s some other stuff to read when you’re done here.   The Dog Groaned at DuskSpitting Beaver River IncidentKeep the Customer Satisfied. A Short Story of the Long Jittery Arm of the LawTo Detroit Death Comes Astride His Pale Horse.

Spelunking While Drunk.

My earliest cave experience was the Oregon Caves when I was eight or so.  That was fun.  They were large spacious affairs, those caverns.  They were the Cadillac version with the mile-wide back seat, the huge seven-body trunk, they had the cool fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror to match the furry dashboard, and they had power seats, those caves.

They were beautiful.  The formations were massive and wild and varied and there was water everywhere.

I humbly submit that that childhood experience was about as much related to spelunking as we did it as a Hereford is related to a sea cow.  The simple facts are that you don’t milk sea cows and as a rule dairy cows drown in the ocean.

It was a cool fall night but the weather hadn’t quite gotten cold enough to require people to bring their brass monkeys indoors – it was just cold enough to make plumes of your breath flit across a flashlight or headlamp beam while moving around.

We got out of the car and I spilled my beer in the dirt but I had a backup can that I had been nursing in my other hand so we were good to go.  Between my feet on the trip down were seven or eight cans of Keystone left out of the half-rack I had bought earlier.  That combined with a few shots of Southern Comfort left me pleasantly inebriated but not so much that I felt like life was a big Tilt-a-Whirl ride.   We were still in Ferris Wheel country.

The de-facto leader of our motley crew said “Whelp, I think it’s that way!” and took off running.  The rest of us, being citizens of the Land of the Blind, assumed that the One-Eyed Man was King even though we began to suspect that he had serious cataract troubles.

Metaphor is an inconvenient and blunt tool at times, especially when it’s inadequate, don’t you think?  Yes, metaphor is a bitch.

An hour or so before that…

We were just getting into the swing of a lazy Saturday night.  Pickings were slim on party-less Saturday night – about all we had to look forward to were rentals if we were lucky and if we weren’t so lucky there was always Gilbert Gottfried (Rhonda Shear, the Midnight Morsel, was Up All Night on Friday nights, I think).  Ah, the good old days when you could catch an edited sexploitation B-movie on a regular basis.  One of my favorites was The Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death but if you repeat that to anyone I’ll deny it and claim Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama, because Avocado Jungle was really a chick flick.  Why, oh why, can’t they make good movies like Killer Klowns from Outer Space anymore?  I have that one in my personal collection, by the way.

My future roommate (Walking) Pharma(ceutical) came in and announced that we could either (a) sit around drinking and watching highly edited B-movies and Gilbert only to end up hormonally worked up and alone, or (b) run down to a cave near the Oregon/California border and do some exploring.  We conferred briefly (about three seconds) and jumped on the opportunity like a deranged slinky.

Fast-forward an hour or so…

A gal that I was sort of lusting after came along, too.  We’ll call her Bimbette.  She was a cute, short, spunky kind of gal with an infectious laugh.  This has been a constant throughout my life, this attraction to short dangerous women.

Bimbette sat in the back between me and some other guy who I didn’t know really well (we’ll call him Strange Guy) and he and I did the timeless male courtship rituals, locking horns, verbally spurring one another, and had we been allowed probably would have knocked each other silly to get the upper hand.  She smiled and enjoyed the attention as she drank her Girl Scout Cookies from her ever-present bota-bag.  So we talked a bit and eventually I got around to saying “Ok, where the hell are we going, again?”

Captain Jack’s Stronghold. Nearabouts.  Sorta.  Maybe.

I got the feeling that it was a cave system that someone had told someone who had told someone that they heard a guy tell his barber’s doctor’s wife’s hairdresser’s daughter about it a few years ago or he had seen a peyote-induced vision of it once.  I was never clear on which one it was.  It was however, near as I could figure, kind of one of those off-the-beaten-path not-quite-sanctioned verboten-probably-illegal kinds of places where if you were not careful you could end up a statistic.

It was a reasonably large group to make statistics with, and I’m guessing through a hazy mix of time and alcohol that it was probably twelve or thirteen of us in three cars.  Hey, a lot of dumb things have been done by far fewer people.  But far fewer people didn’t have the sheer quantities of alcohol that we had at our disposal, either.

Ever had a crystallized moment in your life when you kind of “came to” and realized that you were being kind of swept up into something that was no longer even remotely in your control and never really was, either?  This was just the latest in a very long string of such moments in my life.  After a while you just kind of relax and quit fighting it.  Beer helped immensely to that end.

About a quarter mile off the road we came to a hole in the ground.  It was a big hole that rapidly narrowed down and was pitch black.   Yep, that was a big hole in the ground.  Right before my eyes Pharma put on his headlamp and started climbing down the chimney.

If you’ve never found yourself going down a 30-40 foot chimney with no headlamp of your own in the middle of the night while inebriated and people above and below yourself, dirt falling on and past you into the darkness, and being pelted with pebbles of lava rock every now and then, all to the irregular flashes of remote light… well, let’s just say it’s a lesson in self-restraint and dogged perseverance.  But it’s not like you’re going to just hop off the ride once you’re in that spot, either.

We got to the bottom and I popped open another ‘Stone (I had six or so stashed in pockets around my person) and sucked it dry.  Reckless climbing in the dark is hard thirsty work.  Pharma had already hared off with a few others and we did this sort of Tour de France spreading out where a small group was way ahead and there were pockets of peristaltic-like movement as we traveled down the earth’s gullet.

What I saw:  Above me, the black chimney of the way out, forty feet straight up.  Behind me, the passageway that snaked off in the direction of where the cars were.  In front of me a passageway that was crookeder than a dog’s hind leg where we were going.  I asked someone just how far this cave went before it came back to the top and someone said that they thought it was a mile.  There were glints of discarded beer cans in the passage showing the path taken in the classical Hansel and Gretel fashion.  Good thinking, I said to myself and dropped my current empty can further down the passage.

Bimbette, Strange Guy, and I had two lights between the three of us and we started after the others.  The lava rock was all different shades, rough, and irregular.  It was an Alice in Wonderland illusion of size and scale and you had to crouch down a few inches in some areas and had a higher ceiling in others.  The general trend as I was seeing it though was that quarters were getting cramped(er).

We rounded a 90 degree turn and came face to face with a rock wall.  I thought “HUH? Where’d they go?”

Bimbette pointed down and I crouched to see what she was pointing at.

It was an opening about half again as wide as my shoulders, not very tall at all, and it was 25 to 30 feet long.  I could see lights flashing on the other end and hear muffled voice sounds that made it through the passage. Strange Guy got down and started crawling through the space.

If you’ve ever seen ventilation ducts in the movies, they’re these square profile affairs where the hero can sit up and turn around, make out with some window-dressing chick, change shoes, play cards, curry-comb a horse, even do a complete tire rotaton in them.

This thing?

There wasn’t enough room to scratch your nose or your ass.

I got down and started into the hole, about a body length behind Strange GuyBimbette was still behind me.  I am NOT claustrophobic.  But I’ll tell you this:  I got two body lengths in there and because I’m deep in the chest I got stuck.  Picture it:

You can’t get purchase on smooth dirty rock, you can’t get up on hands and knees, you can’t grab things with your toes, and you’re having a hard time getting a deep breath because you’re stuck.

What do you do?

I’ll tell you what you do.  You panic.  You flat out go apesh*t nuts.  As Stephen King once wrote “If Sgt. Fury goes Section 8, who’s gonna lead the Howling Commandos?”   No one, that’s who.

I’m a quiet apeshit-panic kind of guy.  I started flailing though, and found that yes, you can flail drunkly.  I had just enough presence of mind to exhale as much air as I could.  I exhaled my testicles and my appendix in order to get out of there.  I exhaled my bladder and one kidney and WHOOSH… I was FREE! Now my flailing toes and forearms got purchase and I was backing out of the hole in high wobbly gear.  All that time I was acutely aware of how many tons of material were above me and how very flat it could make a person if a person were to become a statistic.  That thought alone took hold of my world and shook it like a rag doll.

I started muttering at 78 rpm “GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE GOTTAGETOUTOFHEREGOTTAGETOUTOFHEREGOTTAGETOUTOFHERE!” and started almost-but-not-quite running out of there.  “Bimbette, I gotta go.  I can’t stay down here.  Gotta go and I gotta go NOW.”

Making a note for the possibly younger crowd that doesn’t know what 78 rpm refers to… 78 rpm refers to the speed of a phonograph record.  See, they had these… oh never mind.  If you don’t know what it is, just keep reading and forget about it.

Bimbette followed me and only paused long enough to pick up two full cans of beer that had flopped out of my sweatshirt side pockets.  And off we went.  Rather, off she went to find me because I was already gone.  She told me this afterwards.

Ok, hang a right, go twenty feet, left, left, go thirty, bear right, right right, go straight, just go go go go.  And then the absolute worst thing that could happen happened.

I came up to a blank wall.  The tunnel just… ended.  Where there should be a tunnel the tunnel just turned into a big solid featureless wall.

Up until that point I had been panicky.  Now, the bottom of my world just fell out and my mind became unhinged as the reptilian part of my brain came into ascension and took control.  “AAAAAAAAAGH!!” I yelled.  I pounded on the rock and yelled “SH*T SH*T SHI…”

“Lemur!  LEMUR!  LEMUR, LISTEN TO ME!  You ran PAST the chimney!  It’s back there about sixty or seventy feet!”

Huh?  What?  We did?  Oh, well why didn’t you say so?

“OK, THANKS! GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE  kiss kiss  GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE huh GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE kiss kiss GOTTAGETOUTOFHERE!” and I started running back the way we had come from.  And the adrenaline junkie inside of me?  He had bolted a while back when I horked up my appendix and bladder.  He had enough and cut bait.  Oh sure, stick around while it’s fun then leave when things get hairy…

Bimbette was trailing behind me but I could tell she was now committed to staying with me to see if my mind had come completely unhinged in a permanent way.  For a brief while it actually had.   I climbed up the chimney as fast as I could and a great deal faster than was safe.  I hit my head a number of times and my hands were scraped raw and bloody by the lava, and my pants were torn, but I crawled out of there fast, dusty and dirty from head to toe, and Bimbette wasn’t far behind.

Later, I did return the favor although she did not know the extent of it.  She had way too much to drink at a football game and I fended off the predators later when she was praying to the porcelain god and even later after she passed out.  Got her to a bed, covered her up, and staked watch.  No one was going to harm this gal, not if I had any say about it.

A very slight salve to my wounded ego was that it was I who got stuck and not Bimbette.  She had very large… uhm… lungs.  Yes, lungs.   She would have gotten wedged in even before I did.  So I’d like to think this slides into the “Chivalrous” category rather than “Lemur went apesh*t and freaked out like a little girl.”  Facts are facts though, and that is I’d have never fit through because it got even narrower beyond where I got stuck.

So Bimbettte and I sat and drank and waited and talked in the chilly night until people came back from the other end of this particular set of caves.  It was actually several miles by one person’s estimation and it was hours before they got back.  I was happy though.  I wasn’t a statistic, I got to hang out with a chick instead of Gilbert Gottfried, and didn’t run out of beer.

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Expect the Unexpected.

I don’t know what I expected, really, but it wasn’t this…

Yet another foundation stone for my argument that women shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

Note:  I’m biased after having one woman pull right out in front of me and another rear-end me – the second incident leading me to the neck problems I have today.

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X-ray laser… now is that cool or what?  Now maybe I’m old but I always  thought of the magnets in a free-electron laser as “wiggler” magnets, so the term “undulator magnets” seems a mite peculiar.

The shortest wavelengths I’ve ever been around was vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV), so this really seems pretty cool.  Alignment required better than 5 microns over 15m of length… that’s 0.33 microradians, which is just amazing.  Wicked.

I have seen better than that but we’re talking parallelization of etalon plates that are 2″ in diameter, but this FEL/X-ray laser thing is crazy – it’s in a class by itself.

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You CANNOT make this stuff up.

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware isn’t a topless beach — but a few transgender men caused a stir by treating it like one.

Police say passers-by complained after the men removed their tops and revealed their surgically enhanced breasts over Memorial Day weekend. A lifeguard asked them to put their tops back on. The men initially refused, but covered up before police arrived.

[snip] Police Chief Keith Banks notes the men were doing nothing illegal. Since they have male genitalia, they can’t be charged with indecent exposure for showing their breasts. Banks says there’s no need for a specific law to address the issue.

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