Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Win A DVD!

OK, youse guys... listen up!

My Father-In-Law sent me a duplicate copy of that DIVER DAN DVD, so I figured I'd make it available to my adoring blog-reading public.

I will mail out this disc to whoever leaves the best haiku about Diver Dan in the comments section, It's just that simple!

So put on your non-rhyming beanies, kids, and let's get all poetical and stuff!
We have our winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Honestly, Van's haiku was head-n-shoulders the best one.

Our parting contestants will receive the home version of the "Who-Really-Cares-Anyway" game and a supply of Turtle Wax.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Death By Luxury

Oh, no!

I've gone and done it!

I've... I've embedded a YouTube clip.

It's a cartoon, but those of you expecting "Go Go Gophers" are in for a real let-down.

Well, anyway, belated birthday greetings to Dirk_Star!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Van Damn!

Remember the saga of how AAMCO fixed my Van's transmission, but trashed my car stereo in the process?

Well, Uncle Jed, I done bought me a decent-looking AM/FM/CD at Best Buy, along with $40 worth of mounting & cabling adaptors so I could do it up right.

I spent Saturday night at the kitchen table soldering the adaptor harness. Just before dinner on Sunday I had a brief window of opportunity (W.O.O.) to do the installation.

It went in like a dream. The connectors slid right into place and the mounting hardware lined up just fine.

It would've been perfect if the damned thing actually powered up.

Yep, somehow something in my van's electrical system got screwed up during it's stay at AAMCO. I'm willing to bet that the original stereo is just fine.

In the old days, you'd have a fuse block in between the stereo and the car battery and if the stereo didn't work it was because the fuse was blown.

There appears to be a fuse and a relay for the stereo under the dashboard. The fuse is OK; I don't know about the relay. And then there's a separate fuse and relay whozis under the hood that feeds the internal fuse block.

Well, my limited window of opportunity closed and I had to go eat dinner.

Guess I'll crawl around the van with my voltmeter this coming Saturday (my next possible W.O.O.) and see where the voltage stops on it's way to the CD player.

Possible good outcome: I fix the voltage supply problem, re-install the original deck in the van and then put the new deck into our 1994 Scabmobile. I suppose it could happen...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Looks like I'm going to be busier than a heavily-armed paper hanger for the next week or ten days.

I have to conduct several training sessions at work and then prepare for two customer audits to be conducted over two consecutive business days!

This weekend is also another series of three "Father-Daughter Days" in a row.

I hope to be around the 'net, but blogging will be very difficult until the storm has passed.

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dancing Dream Delayed

One of the crappiest things about our move to Fayetteville, NC is that even after nine years of being here, we pretty much live in a vacuum. We have no friends or family nearby; our big outing is going to church (nearly) every Sunday.

And the crappiest part about that, is our daughter, Mariel, is growing up in this vacuum. She does OK in the nursery on Sundays, but there are no play dates, no friends and no cousins nearby.

We had been thinking about enrolling her in a three-day-a-week preschool, so she could be around other children and have some variety to her daily activities. Michelle had a real promising program all lined up, but then the car repair expenses dealt a mortal blow to the ol' budget for such things.

Michelle put forth the proposition, "Well, if preschool three times a week is out of the question, then how about enrolling her in a weekly preschool dance class?"

Mariel's godmother "Aunt Denise" insisted on paying for the dance class stuff. It turns out that Denise's godmother had paid for her dance classes 'way back when, and she was anxious to carry on the tradition.

Sounded reasonable to me.

Mommy went about checking out the local dance studios to see which ones offered a preschool-age appropriate class. After much calling around and a few visitations, she settled on a local dance academy and went about enrolling the wee one in their program. Mariel would be in a small group of about eight other tots.

Then came the shopping expedition to buy the requisite tights, leotards, tu-tus, ballet slippers and tap shoes. As much as my wife dislikes shopping, she was able to score everything but the tap shoes prior to Mariel's first class. The errant tappers were back-ordered from the local dance supply house.

Mariel's first class rolled around amid great expectations from both Mother and student.

Things, unfortunately, did not go well at the first session.

Mommy had to wait outside of the classroom during the lesson.

Mariel didn't quite "get" that she was supposed to pay attention to the teacher. Apparently she was more mesmerized by the wall of mirrors.

When it came time to change into her tap shoes she was SOL. Michelle had told the teacher about the back-order and suggested that Mariel should keep her ballet slippers on for the whole class. Didn't happen.

Mariel was at a loss as to how to change into shoes that she didn't have. Mind you, at her age, she's not much on changing shoes anyway. She ended up doing the last half of the session without any shoes on. The feet of her new, white leotards became very, very dirty.

The icing on the cake came when someone walked off with her ballet slippers!

"Oh, I'm sure whoever did it will return them once they realize their mistake," the teacher reassured Mommy.

Mommy was not happy with the way the first class went. Not only did Mariel not listen to the instructor, but she ruined her tights and her only pair of dance shoes went missing.

This past weekend the back-ordered tap shoes came in and Michelle and Mariel went to the dance supply store to pick them up. They also bought a zippered bag to tote the shoes around in.

Class #2 was held this morning.

The errant ballet slippers were not returned.

Mariel was even less receptive to instruction than she was the week before. In fact, I understand she was downright disruptive. She's been screaming lately when she gets frustrated and we're trying to break her of this proclivity. (Any suggestions?)

The instructor took Michelle aside after class and suggested that perhaps Mariel just wasn't ready for dance class. Maybe in a year or two, she'll be able to listen better and work better in a group.

I guess I'd have to agree with her assessment.

But I look at it this way; for the price of some dancing supplies and two lessons we bought us a million dollars worth of aggravation!
OOPS! I probably should have mentioned that none of the children pictured, above, are my daughter!
(Though some bear a strinking resemblance!)Here is Mariel, in happier times!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Doppleganger? Moi?

Thanks to dorky dad, I'm reminded of a very bizarre period in my life where my doppelganger was running amok in Buffalo, NY in the mid-'eighties. Read on, if you dare...

It was about 7:15PM when I finally dragged my sorry ass into my swingin' bachelor pad on West Utica Street in Buffalo, NY. I had put in a very long day at work and only wanted to eat some leftover chili and flake out.

But first, there was the matter of the flashing light on my answering machine. The voice of my friend Shelley crackled over the tiny speaker:

"God punishes people who ignore their friends, you know!"


"Good lord," I wondered. "What's her problem? So I worked uncharacteristically late; am I supposed to be home just in case she calls?"

I dialed my koo-koo friend's phone number while the chili heated on the stove.

Me: Hey, Shelley. It's Craig. What's the deal with the phone message?
Shelley: Well you could have at least said, "Hello!" But if that's the way you want to treat your friends...

Me: Whoah, whoah, whoah! I just now got home from work, where I've been since 6:45AM. What are you talking about?

Shelley: What are you talking about? You parked right in front of my house while I was on the porch today and you totally blew me off while I was waving to you.

Me: Um, no way. I've been in Niagara Falls all day.

Shelley: Well, it looked like you and it looked like your car!

Me: What color was the car?

Shelley: Um, blue?

Me: Well, I have a green car. I don't know who you saw, but it wasn't me.

Shelley" Omigawd! Omigawd! It had to be you! It looked just like you!

Me: Well, it wasn't me. Listen, I have some chili on the stove, so I gotta go...

"Well," I mused. "That was certainly strange! Even by Shelley standards!"

Some time later, months later, I was at the Burger King located at Hertel and Delaware.

I was at the little counter where you go to grab the napkins, condiments and straws.

I looked up from the ketchup packets and locked eyes with an older lady who was standing on the other side of the island.

She had an expression on her face that I can only describe as the wide-eyed, open-jawed mask of someone who had seen a ghost. Standing at her side was a similar lady with a similar expression.

Me: Um, can I help you? Do you need some ketchup?

Lady #1: Oh my god! You look just like my son!

Lady#2: You really do!

Me: You know what? Your son has been causing problems for me all over Buffalo. People have been giving me grief for "ignoring" them when it wasn't even me who was blowing them off.

Lady #1: But you really look just like my son...

Lady #2: Your really do! We couldn't figure out why you were ignoring your mother...

There wasn't much more to the conversation than this. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't have the presence of mind to find out who this guy was. Gracious sakes, if his own mother could be fooled then we were deep into "Patty Duke Show" territory here!

What a missed opportunity!
During this period my wife-to-be and I were still dating.

Like an idiot, I bought a pair of season tickets to the Studio Arena, figuring that a full slate of live plays would make for a worry-free way to plan out a whole bunch of dates. Turns out Michelle really isn't that big a fan of the theater. (Now, her sister was a drama major...)

I mention this because we were attending one of these plays when we saw him!

"Craig - look!" said Michelle, pointing. "There he is! That must be the guy!"

There I was. I mean, there he was, on the opposite far side of the theater-in-the-round stage!

It was ME!

He even dressed like me!

That means, he had on a cheesy "Mr. Rogers" sweater, except it was a bright yellow. (I tended to wear blacks and grays.)

In the crush of the crowd and what-not, we weren't able to get over to him.

And even if we did, then what?

They say when you meet your doppelganger one of you ceases to exist. That might very well be true, because after this incident, that was the last I saw or heard of this "other Craig."

I wonder if he, too, lost his hair, got paunchy and made life choices similar to mine. Does he have a daughter who is a twin to my Mariel?

I mean, when a person's own mother can be fooled...


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Been Sick...

...with any luck I can post something, soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Attention, Puny Earthlings!

We come in peace from the planet Phlegmtron-XK.

We will peacefully enslave your planet in the name of Gortex IV, our magnificent ruler and supreme being.

The blogger formerly known as your "Craig D." no longer exists!

Our invasion plans called for his doughy, mis-shapen body to be used as a breeding ground for our incubus. Specifically, his sinus cavities!

He is now a Cyborg consisting of 20% imperfect human and 80% Phlegm.

We expect a bumper crop of Phlegmites from his bloated carcass.

Then, and only then, will our invasion plans become reality and your planet will peacefully become our intergalactic slave colony. Your "Earth" will become our new Snotopia!!!

Need I say that resistance is futile?

No, I need not.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

It was one of those "Father-Daughter Day" weekends.

Mommy worked 8am - 8 pm on Friday, 8am - 4pm on Saturday and Noon - 4pm on Sunday.

Mariel was the beneficiary of 24 hours of Daddy Day Care!

Friday: I had run out of coffee on Thursday, and, owing to payment of our mortgage, there was scant budget for grocery shopping until next week's paycheck. I had a few dollars to my name, so the plan was to buy a cup of coffee a day to ward off the inevitable caffeine-withdrawal headaches. I was still stuporous, but at least it didn't feel like a crackhead monkey was trying to bust out of my skull with an ice-pick.

It was finally a day where the heat index would allow it, so Mariel and I went to the playground. (I stopped off at a Bojangles on the way for my ration of bean juice.)

A two-and-a-half month layoff in playground trips left Mariel a little tentative at first, but soon she was climbing up the activity center steps and sliding down the slides. Ah... fresh air and sunshine after cowering in the air-conditioned living room all Summer.

Once home, we did the usual activities:

  • Played with her puppets.
  • Colored in her "My Little Pony" coloring book.
  • Watched cartoons. (Dang! "Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman" isn't on at 5:30 anymore!)
  • Repeat until bedtime.

I was hoping the fresh air and activity would've exhausted Mariel. Hah! Can you guess who was inert by the time Mommy came home?

(Hint: Male, aged 49, doughy, caffeine-deprived)
Saturday: Daddy and daughter took a trip to the downtown library. I picked up a coffee at McDonald's en-route.

Mariel picked out a DVD of "Ckicka Chicka Boom Boom." This is one of her favorite books and we had previously borrowed the video from the library. One of the bonus shorts on the disc is a story about a runaway kangaroo named "Joey."

Both cartoons got multiple (and I mean multiple) viewings chez Davison.

I made a pot of chili for dinner.

Around 6:00, the wife called to me from the bathroom:

"Honey, there seems to be water leaking out from under the toilet."

Who doesn't want to hear that phrase late on a Saturday?

Yep, the idiot contractors who rebuilt our tub left the toilet bolts finger tight, so the wax ring had started leaking! (Sure glad I called in "professionals" to do this for me!)

This meant Mariel's bath was cancelled for the evening. Daddy ran to Home Depot and bought a new ring, 15/32" toilet-mounting bolts and some of those white caps that fit over the bolts.

The toilet was off, repaired and back in service in record time. It actually worked, too! I am DA MAN, it seems.

About this time Mariel started getting fussy and wiping her nose with the palm of her hand.

"Honey, Mariel feels warm," said Mommy. "I think she's getting sick."

Children's Motrin and some pediatric cold medicine were dispensed at bed time.

Good Night!
Sunday: Daddy ran to McDonald's first thing to get a cup of coffee. I also grabbed an Egg McMuffin for Michelle. (This is because I am a good husband.)

Mariel was still sniffly and out-of-sorts. Michelle had to be at work at Noon. I had to usher at the 11:00 church service.

"Easy like a Sunday Morning, " my ass!

Mommy stayed home with Mariel.

Daddy ran to church to hand out bulletins and take up the offering. (No communion this week!) I ducked out at 11:50, right after the collection had been taken. Michelle hopped in the car and took off for work.

Mariel had a very late lunch so she wasn't hungry at Noontime. Daddy reheated a bowl of chili.

We messed around the house until about 2:00 and then I was hit by a brain-storm.

The local DOLLAR TREE once had cans of coffee for a buck a throw. And it wasn't that bad, either. This is also one of Mariel's favorite stores, as she is usually assured getting some sort of knick-knack, so it was an "easy sell."

The thermometer in the van read 105 degrees f when we first got in, but it fell to a measly 95 once we got moving. Inside, the A/C worked it's magic.

Rats! THE DOLLAR TREE didn't have any more of that coffee.

What they did have were some awesome videos for a dollar each! Check them out sometime if you find yourself movie-mad but cash-poor.

I picked up some major-studio VHS tapes:

  • THE FILTH AND THE FURY (Documentary on The Sex Pistols)
  • MONTH PYTHON VOLUMES 9 & 12 (These tapes were hawked by the A&E network)
  • LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF MOTOWN (Documentary on the Motown session musicians)
  • POLYESTER (John Waters movie!!!)

And one budget-label DVD:

All Mariel wanted was a fifty-cent mini-puppy from a vending machine.

My daughter conked out in her car seat on the way home and then continued to sleep for an hour after I carried her into the house.

All was calm and quiet when Mommy returned home.

Owing to the nap, Mariel stayed up an extra hour and owing to my watching that new Sex Pistols video, I stayed up until 11:00. The alarm went off at 5:15 this morning, regardless.

Hope you all had enjoyable weekends...


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fuzz Fest '97

My sister, Amy, mentioned in the comments section, elsewhere, that it's been ten years since my band's appearance at the Fuzz Fest in Atlanta, Georgia. For some strange reason, the media has chosen to get all caught up in that whole "tenth anniversary of Lady Di's car crash" thing, rather than this, obviously more important story. And by "important" I mean "trivial!"

Huh. Go figure. Well, I found a few pictures that Amy had snapped of MYSTIC EYES' performance that night, so I'll share them with you, gentle blog-reader.

(l-r: Me, Bernie Kugel, Scott Davison, Eric Lubstorf)

Here we find our heroes opening the set to what must've been the most appreciative audience we ever had the pleasure to play for. LOOK! There's even a spiffy "FUZZ FEST" backdrop!

Scott, poundin' the skins and keepin' the beat!

Eric, providing the all-important twelve-string jangle!

Bernie, beltin' out the vocals!

MYSTIC EYES in full flyte!

The Davison Brothers rhythm section!

Scott and Eric, from the stage. Amy got brave with the camera!

My old, $55 "beater bass." It was spray-painted purple when I got it.

Time to say "Bye-bye, Mystic Eyes!" and bye-bye to Atlanta...


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hey, Hey...

One of the many things that fueled my sense of alienation and isolation during my "coming-of-age" years was my complete and utter lack of interest in professional sports.

As a Western New York (read: "Buffalo") native you were an object of pity, at best, and scorn, most typically, if your whole life didn't revolve around Da Bills and Da Sabres. "What do these sports-haters even do on Sundays?" an extensive article in the Buffalo Evening News wondered.

In my early twenties I would sit in the break room at work and listen to endless post-mortems about last week's "big game."

"Didja see the game las' night?" would be the opening salvo to very nearly every conversation.

Things would ease up during the Summer for the short period between the Sabres' invariably early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs and the start of the Bills' training camp. At times like these people might actually discuss their families, what non-sporting event they saw on TV, or even music.

During one of these discussions I let slip that I really liked THE MONKEES.

Well, this aggregation of Joe Six-Packs had never heard anything so ridiculous in their lives! Soon, it was all around the plant how "that Craig weirdo" likes (snigger, snigger) THE MONKEES.

I guess the fact that it was 1982 and about a jillion disposable fads had come and gone since MICKEY, DAVY, MIKE and PETER last illuminated a TV screen made this sort of declaration seem rather outre. But I stuck by my guns. I still feel those records recorded and released in the name of The Monkees are some of the best pop nuggets from the 'sixties.

At one point, I had a discussion with one of my sports-enthusiast fellow-workers that went something like this:

Other Guy: Huh. So you like, what, The Monkees? Huh.

Me: Yeah. I probably wouldn't have started playing the guitar if I hadn't seen those four guys on TV every week. And they made some pretty good records.

OG: But, like, that was only a TV show! They weren't even a real band.

Me: Wow! I never thought of that. So it was all fake and worthless, huh?

OG: Well, I hate to break it to ya...

Me: Just imagine. Somebody rounded up a group of guys, who didn't grow up together, or even know or particularly like each other and made 'em dress all the same and pretend to be part of a fictional cohesive unit.

OG: That's pretty much it.

Me: And then these same hucksters would go around and rent out big arenas for this manufactured group of guys to go and play for giant throngs of screaming idiots.

OG: That's what I'm talking about!

Me: And then, these same swindlers go and license the group's logo and likenesses on a bunch of plastic crap to sell to the great, unwashed masses so they can make even more millions of dollars. All because people who buy into this fiction are mindless sheep!

OG: Testify, my brother! (OK, maybe he didn't exactly say that...)

Me: You know, that's a pretty accurate description of professional sports. Guys who are only playing on the same team because they're paid millions of dollars to wear the same clothes as their team-mates. Stadiums full of "fans" drooling over these millionaires as they strut their stuff. Ga-zillions of dollars worth of NFL and NHL licensed merchandise sold to these fans, who plan their every waking hour around their beloved teams. Yeah THE MONKEES were really a sham!

OG: OK, Craig. You have proven to me the hypocrisy of my ways. I will never, ever again watch or enjoy sports. You win. (This part I am definitely making up!)
It was a really stupid conversation, but I feel it was maybe the only time in my life I had put across a point in any kind of a discussion. That I remember this exchange twenty-five years after the fact shows what a rich and fulfilling life I have been leading since then.

Thank you for your time. I must now go wave my "whammy weenie" for that is what Da Bills have demanded of me.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I had previously mentioned that we had taken our 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan to AAMCO to get the transmission repaired.

The state inspection on the van had lapsed as of July 31 and since it was undriveable at that point, we decided to let it stay lapsed. Indeed, Mr. Van spent nearly all of August parked in our diveway.

This past Thursday morning I had an all-to-rare bainwave, i.e., call AAMCO and see if they do state inspections! The nice lady at the service desk said they didn't do them, but they could drive it to a nearby garage and have it done for me as a courtesy.

Wow! Actual customer service!

The lady also noted that the transmission repairs were complete and that she would call me later that afternoon to let me know when the van was ready for pick up.

At about 4:00 the nice lady called me back.

"All righty, Mr. Davison, your van passed the state inspection and it's ready to pick up," she informed me.

"Great! How late are you open?" I inquired.

"We're open Monday through Friday until 5:00," she informed me. Since I work until 5:30 Monday through Thursday, this meant I'd have to pick up the van Friday, on Father-Daughter day. I relayed this info to the service manager.

"That'll be fine, Mr. Davison," she replied. "Uh, Mr. Davison, did your stereo work before you brought it in?"


"Why yes. In fact, that's my favorite part of the van!" and I'm not lying. This baby had the premium Infinity stereo package with AM/FM, Cassette and CD! Pretty sweet for a 1996 vintage vehicle.

"Well, it's not working now," the nice lady informed me. "The service tech is supposed to note whether the radio is or isn't functional on his receiving paperwork and he left that section blank. But if you said it was working, we'll go back and see if there's a loose wire or a blown fuse."

Long story short, they couldn't figure out why the blasted thing is no longer operational. Dag nabbit, anyway.

"You'd be amazed how many people bring their cars in for transmission work and then try to blame us for a non-functioning accessory that wasn't working before we even set eyes on the vehicle," the nice lady told me.

The bottom line is that they agreed to cut $150 off the total repair price. And without any arm twisting on my part, I might add!

I picked up the van around 4:00 on Friday afternoon and left our beater car at the lot. The plan I had hatched was that Mariel and I would use the newly-repair and inspected van to pick up Michelle when she got off of work at 8:00 and then come back and get the car.

We rolled up behind the Urgent Care office at the appointed hour.

Michelle got into the van and her first words were, "Your passenger-side headlight is out."

Gosh, how does a vehicle pass even the most cursory of state inspections with a blown headlight?

Well, the headlight was a quick fix and I'm already pricing stereos.

The main point is, the van is once again rolling and maybe, just maybe, this is the reason those other two car deals fell apart earlier this Summer.

I hope everyone is having or has had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend!