Posted by: jamesotis | April 21, 2009

Hey Marge, Does Bart need another summer activity? :)

So I just finished my last post and mosied on over to

The first thing to catch my attention deficit was his new show, Survive This!  that debuted on YTV earlier this week. Les takes 8 14-16 year olds into the wilderness to do what he does.

Way awsome! I want a Tivo and a time machine!

Posted by: jamesotis | April 21, 2009

Get Stones, Not Stoned

Anyone who knows me reasonably well knows that I’m more than a little aboriginal. I’ll pick a salad instead of visiting the corner restaurant. I’m more likely to get a shovel than cash if asked to get some fish bait. I take an ambivalent attitide to clothes and have strange tastes in food.

So every monday night for several weeks I’ve been attending a money management class in Thornton. Daily homework typicaly is completed an hour or so prior to class @ the local greasy napkin. (They don’t provide spoons anymore and sporks don’t count IMO.) Last night I decided to do some exploring instead and ended up at the local library. I left for class with more books than I could carry (stuffed in my motorcycle jacket) and a grin on my face. Here are the treasures I carried away:

  • Survive! by Les Stroud (my current icon and provocative muse)
  • Animal Skulls by Mark Elbroch (not as good an anitomical hunting reference as I’d hoped)
  • 2 EMT National Registry test prep books
  • Get Firefighter Fit! by Kevin Malley and David Spirer (Also not as good as it looked)
  • A book on Voluntourism, or how to benefit the world while seeing it. Very good, ISBN 978-1-74179-020-7 for anyone who cares
  • Mirroring People by Marco Iacoboni (The science behind “being on the same wavelength”)
  • Fight like a girl and win: Defense decision for women (I’m a huge fan of winning the mind-fight first, then going physical only as needed. I also like to take advantage of good teaching regardless of the source or intended autience. After all, males are almost at a disadvantage for good training. The days of the Old Boy’s Network are fading away…. ‘Nough Ramblin’)

I also left behind some excelent Arabic language resources. I simply didn’t have enough room and Spanish takes geographic and etymological precedence.

So based on the above profile one might think I’m planning to volunteer as an emergency medical worker in the middle east while living off the land. Not that it didn’t cross my mind, obviously, but I’m trying to stay with some semblance of a normal life and live somewhere where I can be open about my sexual identity.

And what you ask does this remotely have to do with my title and first paragraph? OK, it was just the Les Stroud book. I spent over an hour this morning throwing a ball for PuppY while poking around for throwing and sling stones, chasing bugs and making stone scrapers, knives and arrow points in my landlord’s xeriscape border. Or as it might be termed, disociating my lengthy premoving to-do list.

Some of Mr. Stroud’s notes set me to thinking (while pounding one rock on another) that as much as stone tools get attention in survival manuals they aren’t very practical. Here I was sending stone chips flying without eye protection. My thumbs and fingers have been smashed during similar moments and when one’s life is litterally in one’s hands that could really screw the pooch. Furthermore the average multi-shot stone arrowhead, sharpenable and therefore reuseable stone knife/axe etc requires days of time and energy intensive labor and years of practice and education. Not to mention the right stone and tools. Anyone can make several one chip wonders that will kill a rabbit or coyote, but then there’s the matter of the spear/dart/arrow to carry it and possibly a bow. Me, I’d rather make a throwing stick or pick a good handful of throwing stones. If I need more power a sling is very easy and adaptable to whatever’s on hand (I’ve successfully used my bandana to hunt). Even if I need a spear or arrow or atlatl (dart thrower board) dart, grinding/cutting and/or fire hardening are more than enough to make a hard, sharp point. Maybe not enough to take that elk or deer, but I probably don’t need one anyway unless this is my new home. Besides, the aforementioned big beasties can be lethal unless you’re a very good shot and wait for them to join the proverbial ex-parrots.

Here are some of my own tried-by-fire tidbits for anyone who cares and is still reading:

  1. If you carry a modern flint/steel combo go for the keychain variety. I’ve never been able to shave enough magnesium off those blocks when I’m cold. Powdered mag maybe? Also, the striker on mag blocks isn’t as efficient as the good old Boy Scout keychain flint. But beware: the BSA steel striker is pretty weak. A stamped steel military tin can opener gives nearly 4 times the spark because of that sharp cusp on it’s edge. Get the p-52 model vs the p-38. The -52 is larger and easier to grasp, and it has a little hole for the keychain. If you want something even better go for the BlastMatch. It’s onehanded and puts out more heat and spark volume.
  2. Cut open pop/beer cans (they’re everywhere, I swear) to make cups, pans, fire reflectors and reflector ovens. Yes, I’ve done it. Just be careful of the sharp edge. Oh yes, and if folded/rolled into a cone and flattened aluminum makes a wicked spear point.
  3. Re-roll duct tape onto the barrel of a bic pen. This saves weight and space and hey, it’s duct tape. Other good candidates include Gorilla Tape, the Fabled Air Force Engine Tape, athletic tape and masking tape. Why, am I planning to do some cave painting and don’t want to mess up the rug? No, but masking tape is great for bandages and firestarting. Something about dry paper with flamable glue.
  4. My dad swears by catching two bumble bees in a jar, weighing it almost to neutral buoyancy and using the ensuing fight as a fish lure. Just cast near the floating jar once some fish crowd around.
  5. Pet food is edible. And it won’t evaporate out of your kit nearly as fast as Jack Links and fruit rollups.
  6. Y’know that old unusable mower gas from last season? Put some in a liquor shooter bottle with a little pure denatured alchohol and kerosene or diesel. The alcohol absorbs any extra water and acts as antifreze. The diesel and kerosene are just there for kicks and they also work as antifreeze. Just be sure to use a plastic bottle that seals well, won’t break and please relabel it clearly. I find that red duct tape with a skull and flames does the trick.
  7. If you’re just tying and don’t need to support weight or untie the knots remove the stuffing from paracord. The flattened result holds much better and I find it easier to work with.

All things considered though it was nice to come inside to my books, a computer and refrigerator. Not to mention a hot shower and electricity. Play fun, fair is optional but nice and try to stay focused.

Sorry but links will have to wait until I have a longer attention span and less to accomplish.

Love, J-ABO

Posted by: jamesotis | April 8, 2009

My brain needs viagra

Here I go again. My traumatic brain injury takes yet another step back before lunging forward towards normalcy. I’m coming up on my three year aniversary and have come farther in that time than most survivors with similar injuries do in six.

It can still be a bitch. The wild mood swings (Tarzan has nothing on me), the sheer lack of focus, sensitivity to touch, sound and light, and of course the “inappropriate emotional responses.” By which I mean bursting into tears for no apparent reason or having the urges to scream at or assault total strangers for unacceptable child rearing, clumsiness and failure to think. Only my past experiences tell me that I’m doing all of the above, children excepted. I have all the grace and poise from Just My Luck. I can think as far ahead as the next three steps, but only if I let go of the present task. Which I may do any way.

Right now I’m only surviving on my willingness to go with the flow. As something comes to mind I deal with it immediately and to the best of my ability and copious notes. I loose and forget hard copy and thus am slowly getting full sleeve ink. My stream of consciousness is flooding.

All of this comes when I’m supposed to be lining up new living quarters, a new and better paying job(s) and educational choices for the fall semester with the requisite financial aid. To include whipping my finances and filing into shape and lunging for rapidly expiring deadlines.

I’d better head for home. I just caught myself blanking out. That’s not just my aforementioned ditsy focus wherein I do 7 things at once and none of them well. It’s what happens when I try to focus. My mind and indeed all senses go blank.

All I can do is to grin and bear it. I have to limit my music and movies/TV intake, can’t have caffeine, alcohol, sedatives, sugar, chocolate, antidepressants or anything else that would normally help. It’s wise to limit social interaction, noisy situations, high frequency noise (tires, HVAC systems, machinery etc), fluorescent lighting and to sleep as much as I can by night and as little as possible by day.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought of taking a pack and hitting the hills or road for good. My self esteem gets particularly low at these times. There’s things that I can’t say because the ensuing mayhem would be indescribable. There are things I can’t do even though failure could be catastrophic.

If you don’t get my title listen to the video’s lyrics.

Posted by: jamesotis | April 6, 2009

And in other news…

The local space port is hiring sandwich makers. Must be able to whistle Yellow Submarine and pass/excrete an intergalactic background test. See posting below:

Employer Contact Information
Job Number:  5306762
Company Name:  Concessions International
Contact Name:  Yolanda Lara 
Apply In Person:  8500 Pena Blvd
   Denver, CO  80249
   Apply DIA Workforce Center 5th floor main terminal
Job Information
Job Number:  5306762 Internal Job Number:  Not Given
Date Posted/Updated:  04/01/2009 Start Date:  Not Given
Job Title:  Sandwich Maker Job Location:  Denver
Wage:  8.50+ (negotiable) per hour Job Experience:   6 months
Job Type:  Regular Hours Per Week:  40
Shift:  Various Job Classification:  Full Time
Minimum Age:  16 Driver’s License:  None
Endorsements:  None Background Check:  Yes
Education:  None Drug Test:  Yes
Non-English Speaking OK:  Not stated Will Consider Ex-Offenders:  No
Paid Holidays:  Not stated Health Insurance Available:  Yes
Paid Vacation Days:  Not stated Incentive/Profit Sharing:  Not stated
Paid Sick Days:  Not stated
CASH HANDLING:   6 months CUSTOMER SERVICE:   6 months
LIFTING:   20 Pounds     
Job Description
  Jobsite: Denver International Airport

Work FT for a food service company as a Sandwich maker.
Must have 6 months good customer service skills; cash
handling skills; ability to work a flexible schedule including weekends &
holidays & lift 20lbs. Bilingual helpful. Pre-employment drug test & background
check is required.
Duties: Greets all guests in a friendly manner. Make sandwiches, accurately r
transactions; handles all register transactions accurately. Strictly follows
register security and cash handling policies; maintains paperwork; may assist
with beverages. Keep condiments stocked and clean. Follows all health,
safety and operational policies and procedures.

Benefits provided after 90 days of employment.

******** Apply at Denver Workforce Center at DIA ********

Posted by: jamesotis | March 28, 2009

Teabagging the Almighty

You’ve probably heard of a BLT. Hint – it’s a sandwich.

PBR probably rings a bell. They got a blue ribbon after all.

CBR will one day bring to mind Domino’s new Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Pizza. Which is the best pizza that anyone at my work has had in a very long time. Hence the new name:

GLT, or God’s Left Testicle. Notably named by an all male, mostly straight staff. The second time we ordered it I told the guy who answered the phone and made his day considerably brighter. His only request is that we spread the word using it’s new name.

Posted by: jamesotis | March 26, 2009

Disembowelment and miracle cures

I have no idea what caused it. Salmonella presumably. I originally thought it was the raw egg milkshake on Sunday but since Amazing Grace has it too it may be the cookies that our class shared or the meat from her father & daughter’s birthday parties this weekend. If so, note to self: Do not buy meat from the back of a car as her friend Barry did (poor gringo), or at least cook it more than just a light session on the grill.

Last night I came home after a long day’s job hunting and felt as if the Broncos had used my head and stomach for kicking practice and the rest of me flogged all the while. Seriously, I havn’t felt that bad since my arm surgery, only this was all over. Thinking that my symptoms were the result of a week of drinking too much wine and not enough water I quickly downed 2 litres/quarts of water, some vitamins and excedrin, plus a batch of MEM.
MEM is Miracle Electrolyte Mix.
1 pint water, 2 packets EmergenC, 1 packet Gatorade powder (match flavor wi/ the EmergenC) and half a teaspoon salt.
It tastes a little strong but within 40 minutes I was feeling only a little run down as if from a hard workout.

Also notable is that having the runs can deplete the body of sodium. Drinking an isotonic salt solution (0.09% sodium) is supposed to fix this per my copy of Tabor’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. It tastes yellow but I must admit I feel better for it. I hope that said tome is right in predicting an end to the green apple two step in about 4 days.

Posted by: jamesotis | March 18, 2009

Move over Che


And the opposition:

Who let the cats out?

Who let the cats out?

A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil’s Storehouse of Human Knowledge

The story of Schroedinger’s cat (an epic poem)

May 7, 1982

Dear Cecil:

Cecil, you’re my final hope

Of finding out the true Straight Dope

For I have been reading of Schroedinger’s cat

But none of my cats are at all like that.

This unusual animal (so it is said)

Is simultaneously live and dead!

What I don’t understand is just why he

Can’t be one or other, unquestionably.

My future now hangs in between eigenstates.

In one I’m enlightened, the other I ain’t.

If you understand, Cecil, then show me the way

And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.

But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,

Then I will and won’t see you in Schroedinger’s zoo.

Dear Randy:

Schroedinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!

Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!

(Not bad, eh? Don’t worry. This part of the verse

Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)

Win saw that the theory that Newton’d invented

By Einstein’s discov’ries had been badly dented.

What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, “Don’t panic,

No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.

Consider electrons. Now, these teeny articles

Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like particles.

If that’s not confusing, the nuclear dance

Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!

No sweat, though–my theory permits us to judge

Where some of ’em is and the rest of ’em was.”

Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck

The comforting linkage of cause and effect.

E’en Einstein had doubts, and so Schroedinger tried

To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.

Said Win to Al, “Brother, suppose we’ve a cat,

And inside a tube we have put that cat at–

Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,

A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes

(Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got ’em,

One vial prussic acid, one decaying ottom

Or atom–whatever–but when it emits,

A trigger device blasts the vial into bits

Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime

Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.

The cylinder’s sealed. The hour’s passed away. Is

Our pussy still purring–or pushing up daisies?

Now, you’d say the cat either lives or it don’t

But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won’t.

Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),

Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.

To some this may seem a ridiculous split,

But quantum mechanics must answer, “Tough @#&!

We may not know much, but one thing’s fo’ sho’:

There’s things in the cosmos that we cannot know.

Shine light on electrons–you’ll cause them to swerve.

The act of observing disturbs the observed–

Which ruins your test. But then if there’s no testing

To see if a particle’s moving or resting

Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavor!

We know probability–certainty, never.’

The effect of this notion? I very much fear

‘Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly clear.

Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,

“We’ve just flipped a coin and we’ve learned he’s a corpse.”‘

So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, “You’re nuts.

God doesn’t play dice with the universe, putz.

I’ll prove it!” he said, and the Lord knows he tried–

In vain–until fin’ly he more or less died.

Win spoke at the funeral: “Listen, dear friends,

Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.

Though he doubted my theory, I’ll say of this saint:

Ten-to-one he’s in heaven–but five bucks says he ain’t.”

Posted by: jamesotis | March 8, 2009

because 3.14somes are illegal


An early Happy Pi Day!

Posted by: jamesotis | March 3, 2009

JamesOtis is dead

Alright, it was my irl name. Right town, wrong age and surviving family, but still enough to concern an elderly friend/customer. Thankfully I walked into the office at the very instant he called. Those who know me irl can look it up in the Denver Post Obits.

The strange part is that it made my day. Not just because Al called to check up on me or because I have new material for my dark sense of humor. The experience made my day. Now don’t get me wrong, I deeply sympathize with the family and friends of the deceased. I also regret that I didn’t have an opportunity to meet one of my many stunt doubles, as I call anyone of the same name, age and origin. Yet I’m not only amused, but my spirits are lifted. Even days after crying at my own brother’s grave and relating how I’d acheived a long term goal, one created by his very death.

I’ll admit that I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to death. (Funerals cheer me up whereas weddings typically depress me. Screwy, eh?) I’m even a little callous. But I find my reaction a little shocking.

Posted by: jamesotis | March 3, 2009

Sorry Charlie

Editor’s Note: I thought that this was an original idea. Turns out that I’m not alone.
Most of us have heard of the Darwin Awards, or at least heard a joke or two. The world’s stupidest moments and people nominated for world-wide humiliation and entertainment.

And now Ladies and Gentlemen, from across the Galaxy, I present to you,…
The Vogon Awards!

Nominate any being, process or rule. The only qualifications are:

  • Extreme stupidity
  • Callous bureaucracy
  • Deplorable communication skills

(my apologies, imbedding has been disabled for this video. share and enjoy.)

Vice President of the Galaxy to a Vogon Commander:
QUESTULAR Do you have any idea how ridiculous this is?
KWALTZ I don’t have ideas Mr. Vice President. I just do what I do.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »