My Wife Just Killed Newtons for me. And Broccoli.

 

I hadn’t planned on posting again so soon. I try to space things out in case I run out of things to talk about. I’m not sure what spacing posts out is going to do for that, but it made sense when I made the decision. I suppose I should get to the point of this post. Doc is at it again with her FB videos and I suspect she does this on purpose just to disturb me in some fashion. Fair enough. I’ve spent the last twenty years disturbing her with whatever falls out of my mouth. I knew I shouldn’t have opened the link but when the first text I see is “You’re eating wasps”, how am I supposed to not look?

Look. I get it. Eating bugs manifests in countless ways in most cultures I’ve encountered despite several differing religion’s prohibition on bug noshing. From Sicilian maggot cheese to entire bug buffets in Asia, it is a common thing. I’ve personally tried many. The sour cream and chive crickets weren’t bad, but Korea’s boiled silk worm larvae (bundaegi) tasted a lot like a dirty urinal smells and my throat closed and it wouldn’t go down and the smell stuck with me for hours until I got home and could reenact a scene from Ace Ventura.

That said, Fig Newton’s are dead to me. It isn’t the bug so much as it is the niggling thought that when I consume things containing figs, I am also consuming the romper rooms of irritable, incestuous, stinging insects. I’ll never be convinced that this is sanitary and all I see now when I see a fig is The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas meets Wrong Turn meets Little Shop of Horrors. Wow. Those titles sound a bit alike when I think about it. Except for the Wrong Turn part. Obviously.

Then I looked into it and I now think broccoli is off the table as well. No more research for me. Ignorance is bliss, no? Don’t go looking. Cabbage might be out too.

You win this round, Doc. Well played.

Hercules: King of the Zombies

“I’m patient zero,” I told my wife when she answered the video call.

“I haven’t even had coffee yet.”

“This is serious. I’ve put all the pieces together now. Get coffee. I’ll wait.”

She went off screen briefly and I sat listening intently to her morning routine. It contained more prayer than normal I think. I kept hearing things like “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” and “Lord you made him…” and some mumbled plea about answering calls in the future that began with “Good morning”.

She sat back down. “Patient zero?”

“Zombie apocalypse? Duh.”

“This should be fun. Please. Enlighten me.”

“So if you remember, I was raised with cats. Now throw my mad cow into the mix…” I began.

“You do NOT have mad cow,” my wife informed me. “And Moosa isn’t a real thing either.”

“Then explain my erratic thought processes. HA! You can’t. So much for your psych degree, Doc.”

“You’re just bizarre.”

“No. I’m misunderstood.”

“Einstein was misunderstood,” she incorrectly corrected.

“He couldn’t make correct change for the bus, either.”

“But You can most certainly make change for the bus.”

“Tell that to the Korean bus driver who had to make correct change for me when I put ₩ 10,000 in the thing to pay for my fare yesterday.”

For those unfamiliar, ₩ is the symbol for Korean won which makes more sense than our $ for dollars. Double strike-through W for Won versus a double strike-through S for Dollar. In regards to the origins of double strike-through S for Dollar, I blame the French influences on the early development of the written English language. Kind of like the superfluous K in knight or knife. It’s a working theory. Back to Won (₩). It is Pronounced wan but spelled w-o-n. Lost in translation, I suppose. Anyway, 1,000 ₩ is like 90 cents. Cents: (¢). Boom! Take that Frenchie!

“You didn’t.”

“It was all I had on me. It resulted in me having about six pounds of Korean coins in each pocket. After that I just dumped the contents of one pocket into the thing (what is that called anyway?) every time I got onto a different bus. The driver would then make change and the machine would spit a new set of coins out weighing slightly less than six pounds. It was exactly like paying a percentage to have my money laundered. I felt like I was in the Triad.”

“That’s exactly nothing like having your money laundered, and the Triad are Chinese.”

“Right! But they are also foreign to Korea, so it works.”

She placed her left thumb on her cheek and covered her eyes while shaking her head.

I explained to her for perhaps the hundredth time in twenty years how I came to be afflicted with the first of three bovine sicknesses. The second is from a mandatory series of anthrax vaccinations and the third is from an Army mandated small pox vaccination. I know that you are thinking that small pox and cow pox are two different pox (poxes?), but if you are thinking that, you are mistaken. Apparently, small pox was eradicated except for weaponized versions stockpiled alongside weaponized anthrax in Russia and sold off to any number of belligerent states. So the US engineered something out of cow pox to administer to us so we can’t get either type of poc. Milkmaids seemed to be immune to small pox, so why not? What is it with Russians and cow disease weapons? Weirdos. I digress.

Removing her hand from her face she asked me what Einstein had to do with all of this?

“You brought him up.”

“Oh my god, would you just get to your point?” she pleaded.

“As I was saying, when I got exposed to MRSA, that particular disease was outmatched by preexisting conditions and teamed up with the mad cow, cow pox, and anthrax. Voila! Moosa.”

“And your cats had what to do with this?”

“I’m glad you asked. Being raised with cats is what started it all. You remember that manipulative parasite they carry?”

toxo

“Toxoplasma gondii. Yes, but that affects women and causes birth defects or something.”

“It makes them more promiscuous so they have more babies and perpetuate the cycle, yes. But it also makes men less risk averse to put them in the way of the big cats we once lived alongside so that when we became cat scat we could also spread the bacteria.”

“Is there a point to this?”

“Of course there is. The Toxoplasma gondii explains why I was chasing that cat in Panama and got stuck in the sticker patch which is where I picked up that fungus that controls the minds of ants in South America.”

YOUTUBE-zombieant___Gallery

I held up my arm to show her the sticker wound I’d gotten when I was nine years old. There is a still visible brown mark much like a tattoo. Maybe it is more like the pencil wound on my left leg I got when I was thirteen following a leg spasm while I held a pencil point down under my desk. “It got in at this point.”

“So you have fungus for brain. That explains things.”

“No. I’m just saying I’m not in full control of my mental faculties.”

“No argument there,” she shrugged.

“You can’t insinuate that I’m stupid after calling me Einstein.”

“I most certainly did not call you Einstein.”

“You said I was bizarre and through the whole misunderstood money laundering Triad thing, we established that bizarre is basically a synonym for Einstein when we talk.”

“I’m pretty sure having mushrooms in your head is no basis for zombification,” she suggested. “That fungus is not the same thing as magic mushrooms.”

“The point is that when the MRSA wins out over the mad cow, it will erupt in my skull at which point the fungus will take control due to Moosa diminished mental facility and I will become a zombie with bacteria that draws people to me. Cycle repeats. Zombie apocalypse.”

“I am going to choke your mother next time I see her.”

“I would too. This is all her doing. First the cats, then the willful spread of mad cow. I told you she was the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld,” I gasped at a sudden realization. “I am a demigod! I’m like Hercules, king of the zombies!”

“And I am hanging up now.”

 

 

 

Photo Credit

Zombie Ants: http://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/5444141-a-mind-controlling-fungus-is-turning-ants-into-real-life-zombies-in-the-rainforest/

On Spicket Docility and Other Entomological Myths

According to research, the Camel Cricket is harmless and timid. The researchers suggesting such are obviously terrible at their jobs. First of all, these cursed things aren’t even well named. When I discovered the species I dubbed them with a more appropriate moniker: Spickit. Since this species is clearly a mash-up of a cricket and a spider, Spicket just works better. They also kind of remind me of a tick but leggier. Grandticky Longlegs is just too much of a mouthful to be practical though. The second bit the bug specialist types got wrong is in regards to the alleged harmless and timid nature. They aren’t harmless or even mildly timid. They also sport a highly evolved social structure that will become clear as you read. I have personal case studies backing up my claims. What do these entomologists have? That’s right. Opinions.

On Spicket Harmlessness

0200 hours. Training area Tom somewhere on the Korean peninsula. I crawled into my sleeping bag for some much needed down time. In case you aren’t aware of how these things work in cold weather, the fewer articles of clothing you wear the warmer the sleeping bag keeps you. I did keep my boxers on just because there was typically only a foot of space between cots in our tent. Nobody wants to wake at two a.m. with an unwashed naked dude standing over them. I’m considerate like that. After a few minutes my sleeping bag began to warm comfortably and I began to drift off. I scratched absently at my chest and was jolted awake by what I was sure was a wasp or a spider. It felt a lot like a sting and I extracted myself from the sleeping bag at a high rate of speed propelled by nothing but my glutes working in a rapid scissor-like fashion. With my flashlight I found that a Spicket had lay claim to my accommodations and was perched on a fold of cloth with bits of my flesh still hanging from his mouth. I almost crushed it with my M16 but it retreated deeper into the folds of my bed and the army doesn’t like it when you wield a rifle like a fly swatter. Then I had an epiphany. I closed the mouth of the sleeping bag and took it outside the tent and shook it out. The Spicket bite left a raised welt that burned and itched for days. Harmless nature debunked! Take that, entomologists!

*Graphic Representation

1

On Spicket Timidity

Several weeks later and back at my barracks I had one assault me in the shower. It was so large I could see its eyes tracking my movement and I swear I saw some intelligence in there. All I did was pull back the curtain and it began leaping at my nude form. After unleashing a string of profanity coupled with many instantly fabricated words, I tried to reason with it.

“Look, you,” I said. “I get it. I don’t like my nude form either, but it is more offensive to the nose right now than to the eyes. Umm. Yeah. So I don’t see a nose, so I can see your point, but this isn’t going to work.”

It seemed to take “this isn’t going to work” as a declaration of hostilities and began lunging at me again. With each leap it splayed its legs wide and threw its belly at whatever the intended target was. It was seriously exactly like a face hugger from the Alien movies. Except it didn’t have a tail. Or a mouth underneath. And it was more crunchy sounding every time it landed in the tub. So maybe exactly isn’t the best choice of words here, but it felt exactly like a face hugger attack. I’d anticipated this and applied a liberal coating of baby oil to my entire body in the hopes that if it did land on me it would not be able to gain a toe-hold. I forgot to mention the toes! The danged thing had discernable toes! I also donned my Army issue body armor but took the plates out. I just felt like steel and Kevlar plates was overkill at this point, but I was interested in the groin protector that dangles from the front of the armor vest.

*Spicket/Facehugger comparison

2

The donning of armor came after my second attempt to rid myself of this violent bug with a honey badger’s attitude. It takes two hands to operate an ad hoc flamethrower comprised of an aerosol can and cigarette lighter. It takes one hand to draw the shower curtain behind which my source of torment lurked. I was simply not fast enough to draw the curtain and deploy my weaponry before the Spicket launched a preemptive strike. Wielding the shower curtain like a matador employs a cape, I beat a hasty advance to the rear (I hate retreating), regrouped, and donned body armor. I also determined that my homemade flammenwerfer required my hands be too close to the target and opted for hot shower water and an open drain as my new weapons. I began by proffering my helmet on one side as a decoy kind of like you might see in a movie to trick a sniper into firing and exposing his position. I then turned the water on as high as I could and began trying to wash a now hyper hoppy flesh eating Spicket down the drain.

It took some effort, but my superior skills as a Soldier eventually won out over his unadulterated rage and hopping skills.

Spickets: 1. Me: 2. Timid fallacy perpetuated by entomologists: Debunked!

Closing Comments

It occurs to me (and should to you now as well) that Spicket society is largely unstudied and drastically misunderstood. It is clear to me from my own encounters that they are only semi-isolationist and practice a caste system like some South American ants. There are the drones who go out into the world and bring back food (aka: me-flesh). There are also Spickets similar to the ant soldier caste except these are more like lone assassins or Mafioso hitmen. The one that lay in wait behind my shower curtain was one of these. If I had just killed the bitey one, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been able to put out that Spicket fatwa on me.

Millipede Invasion Continued

Two evenings ago sitting at my desk, I felt a tickle on my right toe which is surprising because that toe has taken every opportunity it has had in forty-four years to demonstrate its target acquisition prowess and I can’t imagine functional nerve endings being present. The awe experienced in pondering the human body’s ability to repair itself lasted less than a millisecond because there was something moving on my freaking toe! Whoever suggested that fear is not a great motivator has obviously never imagined that a venomous Asian snake with a foot fetish has found its way into their room and lay in wait all day for them to settle down and revel in the glory of removing boots and wool socks after a day in the Korean mid-July heat. That motivation sent me skittering backwards at a ridiculous rate of speed that probably destroyed the bearings in my rollie chair’s wheels. I peered under the desk to find my old nemesis and said “So we begin anew” in as wise a sounding voice as one can muster when speaking to a centipede that probably doesn’t understand English. I squished it with a flip flop and didn’t give it a second thought since I’d assumed it was just one that had been sealed into the room after I’d put down the demon-bug repelling salt barriers.

I awoke at five A.M. the next morning to get ready for physical training. The room was still dark when I stepped out of bed to a wet crunch under my right heel which sent me into something like a flat out sprint on my toes. Why was I running? Because there are still several dozen insulted spiders loose in here somewhere. Why on my toes? I have no idea. A better question might be: Why does this keep happening to parts of my right foot? Maybe things find it and it isn’t such an expert finder of things.

The problem presented itself as I left to go to our morning formation. The salt barrier at the door proved just as fragile as any laid down by Sam or Dean Winchester in that a simple scuff of the foot can render them completely ineffective. Some overzealous Lieutenant (LT) had taken it upon himself to sweep and mop the hallways. He is not only overzealous, but also insensitive to others or holds their salt barriers in low regard since he swept mine up. I suppose it could be that he is in league with my mortal enemy.

Note to self: * find out which LTs practice voodoo around here.

Fortunately, answers to my plight have been trickling in from my Face Book news feed. This is where I inadvertently got the salt idea from in a roundabout sort of way. I just needed something a little more LT proof. My cousin apparently read somewhere that millipedes hate wood ash and seek moist earth in which to lay their eggs. I just naturally assumed that the Army would frown upon setting the building alight, so I opted to modify my cousin’s suggestion. I’m not an arsonist. Anymore.

So as it turns out, the military frowns upon lighting fires anywhere near its buildings. It’s probably because they don’t want the North Koreans to think we are so desperate that we have to resort to fire as an energy source. I’ll have to check. My efforts were not a total loss, however. I did manage to create a decent quantity of wood ash which I hurriedly collected while the MPs called off the fire trucks. Ok. That last sentence was not true. Sorry.

Anyway, I think it time we review what we know of millipede demons at this point. 1) They seek moisture. 1-a.) I am 90% moisture. 2) They seek moist soil in which to lay their eggs. 2-a.) I am 10% minerals. AKA: dirt or soil. 3). They hate wood ash. (Probably reminds them of hell).

One plus two equals we are ideal nesting material for pregnant millipedes. This realization became particularly disturbing as I shaved and saw what looked like an insect antenna protrude from my left nostril. (Not on the right side of the body! Yay!). Since I was unable to identify any discernible mammary glands on any of these little freaks, I had no way of knowing which were female. I don’t know how any of them are ever attracted to each other enough to mate. They literally all look the same. I also do not know the incubation period required of their eggs. As it turns out, the antenna was just some random grey hair that decided to uncurl itself overnight. This became painfully obvious as I pulled it out by the root which I am sure was at least very close to the left tear duct if not directly attached.

I digress. Back to millipede factoid number three: They hate wood ash because it reminds them of their terrible home life. I happen to have quite a bit of that! That said, the salt Maginot line was rebuilt safely out of LT reach on my side of the door, and I plan to cover myself from head to sadistic bait toe in a healthy layer of wood ash. Now what to do about these Quisling spiders…

 

 

 

Millipede Invasion

My barracks room and the entire first floor of this building has been invaded by herds of millipedes. I have the distinct feeling of being in some cheap movie about exorcisms in which the demon’s presence is accompanied by crawly things. This leggy legion is unenhancing my calm and my clean floors

An old friend suggested I should get a dehumidifier to ward of this mass of marauding millipedes as they are fond of moisture. However, I am often frugal and spent the day seeking discarded desiccant packets instead. At the end of the day I tossed my scavengings on the barracks floor in a triumphant manner, sure I’d come up with a masterful solution. Yes, they make an uncomfortable carpet. They are just slightly better than Lego’s, but make the same disturbing crunching sound as millipedes when trod upon without the added moisture of bug guts. It is still unsettling to wake up in a dark room and set foot on them and in sleep induced forgetfulness, jolt yourself into full wakefulness well before your alarm goes off thinking you just stepped into a writhing ball of mating bugs intent on sucking the very water out of your body. Better than coffee.

Still, I found myself running a little short on these dime baggies of silica granules and was only able to cover the space around the edges of my bed. I am something like 90% water, I think. If these legged tormentors are partial to moisture, I wanted to make sure they didn’t want to get intimate with me as I slept. I would need a better plan if I were to construct adequate defenses.

After physical training, I decided to import spiders to combat my new nemesis. But what spiders to pick? I settled on these little black ones based on the logic that if flamingos turn pink from eating shrimp, these spiders must be black from eating millipedes. They were woefully inadequate for the task at hand. They just slide around on the glossy floor like retarded crabs on ice. I suppose it could be that they are Korean spiders and simply do not grasp English well, if at all.

The solution presented itself to me yesterday and I didn’t even realize it until this morning. Outside the barracks there is a wooden box with “Salt for Ice” stenciled on it. I naturally thought this was a great trade. A bag of ice can cost up to what? Two bucks? A container of salt is just mere cents. Quite happy at my find, I ran back to my room and secured the unneeded little salt shaker that came with the needed pepper shaker. I went to make the trade only to find that the box was already filled with salt. So much for stumbling upon a well-kept secret. Then again it could have been a simple matter of the verbiage being lost in translation. Things are worded differently in Korea and they may well have intended it to read “Ice for Salt”. Which seems like a terrible trade to me, but who am I to judge?

Then it dawned on me. Salt is a desiccant as well! I could simply form a barrier to my living quarters like the guys on Supernatural do. I can form a line from one doorpost to the other and another on my window sill. Which leads me to a conclusion on the demonic nature of millipedes and confirms the fact that they are in this building pursuant to a nearby exorcism. Their interest in water makes perfect sense to me now as I am sure that any number of hell’s minions might appreciate water a great deal.

The millipede problem may be solved. Only time will tell. I now have a bevy of missing arachnids in my room who are probably angry at my expressions of mirth when initially watching them fail to gain traction on the floor. Moral of the story: Don’t laugh at foreigners who don’t walk well. They aren’t stupid and probably speak more of your language than you of theirs. Also, millipedes are just tiny Dybbuk.