Thursday, September 12, 2019

Leiningen Versus the Ants

I don't know if all y'all had to read this story in high school English class, but I did. And the other day, I had my own Leiningen Versus the Ants adventure.

We had been really neglectful of the section of our backyard behind our garage. It had gotten really overgrown with weeds, and it was getting to be a huge pain to ever go back there to mess with the pool filter equipment if we needed to. I decided that it was time to clear that place out.

I started with a big pile of railroad ties that were stacked up on the ground. We'd dug them out of the yard from some old garden boxes that the previous homeowners had installed. I started picking up the wood, and the ants came boiling out. So I got the raid, and sprayed the whole thing down. Then I tried again, disturbed the ant hill further, and had to spray more raid.

I thought I was done finally, and started lifting boards, but it turned out the ants had a back door that just so happened to be right underneath my foot. I realized this when they started biting me. I've been bit by fire ants a lot since coming to Texas, so I was well aware of how awful this could be, and I immediately sprayed my foot down with raid.

I don't know if that's even safe or not. I may have given myself cancer by doing that or something, but I didn't want the painful, swollen, pus-filled sores that come along with fire ant bites. I went and got the hose after that, and hosed my foot down, just in case of cancer or something. Then I had to change out of my sopping wet shoes.

After the third raiding, the ants mostly went away, or at least stopped bothering me. Their nest looked like this, in several different places.

I did find another nest of them in the root ball of a tree we'd dug out of the ground but not disposed of yet as well, but I stayed away from them enough to get rid of the root ball without getting attacked.

Now, here's the before picture of the rest of that section of the backyard.

The kudzu vine had grown so much that all the weeds in the whole area were sort of woven together by it. I pushed my way back underneath the vine, and started ripping it out on the left side of the picture, and once I got that started, I was able to basically roll the whole thing up like a carpet. The weed roots would be exposed as I rolled it, and I could easily pull them as I went. It was pretty cool, except for the fact that it was over 100 degrees at the time with feel like temperatures at about 110.

In this picture, you can see I had a problem when it came time to dispose of the weeds and vines though. There was so much that I definitely couldn't fit it all in one garbage bag, but they were so woven together that I couldn't separate it into smaller bag-sized pieces. I tried clippers, but ours were all too old, rusty and dull. I tried a hedge trimmer, but the vines were too thin and squirrely to cut with that.

In the end, I had to use a freaking steak knife, and saw each bit of kudzu vine bit by bit to separate it into bags.

This picture shows the section when it was half done. The vines mostly gone, but still a bunch of weeds.

I decided at this point to get the lawnmower, and take out the rest of the weeds with that. This was probably the worst part of the job, because I wasn't in the shade of the garage anymore, and the heat was double if you're in the direct sun. And here it is, finally all cleared out:

So, Leiningen managed to defeat both the ants and the kudzu, and even the heat. It was quite a triumphant feeling to be done with it all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Nature's Morning Star

Have you ever heard of Jackfruit? Is it like what this guy is talking about?

A jackwagon must be the thing you haul the jackfruit out of the jack orchards in, right?

Well, I'm going to guess that you probably haven't heard of jackfruit. The other day I was at the grocery store, and found that they had jackruit in the produce section.

$1.25 a pound sounds like a reasonable price, right? Except that a jackfruit is a massive, watermelon sized fruit that probably weighs twenty pounds, so one of them will cost you $25. That's a lot to just try out some kind of exotic fruit. And it's pretty exotic. Take a look at this thing:

So, it's just a giant watermelon with spikes all over it. It kind of makes me think of those medieval weapons called morning stars. I just finished reading George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood the other day, so they're on my mind. This is a morning star if you're not familiar with it or didn't realize what it was called:

I believe that is also called a mace. This is a morning star flail:

So, we have the starfruit, and then there's the morning star fruit, right?

I bet you're saying to yourself, "come on, Big Anklevich, it's just a spiked watermelon, how can you compare it to a morning star. Nobody worries about getting hit over the head by a watermelon, no matter how big they are. They're harmless." That's what you were saying to yourself. Admit it. I didn't just put words into your mouth. That was all true.

Well, let me disabuse you of this notion. Jack fruit are not harmless. They most definitely are nature's morning star. Here's a picture of some growing on a tree.

Yes, that's right, they grow on trees, not on some ground-dwelling vine.

And no, the trees that they grow on aren't little trees, they're massive trees that grow sixty feet tall and taller. I've seen them myself when I lived in South America as a younger man. And they were often right there on a normal street, like some kind of shade tree. Except this shade tree had fruit that gets as big as 120 pounds hanging up there, just waiting for its stem to finally deteriorate enough that it comes tumbling down violently and destructively on the heads of the person who just happens to be walking down the sidewalk at that moment.

Not only are they possible death from above, but crack one open, and I'm pretty sure what you actually find inside is alien spore:

So, what you eat is that fleshy yellow stuff around the seeds.

You strip that stuff off, and spit out the seeds.

What does it taste like? Well, it's kind of sweet, gooey, mushy. I can't really say. It tastes like jack fruit. Not like chicken, we'll just say that. I wasn't particularly fond of it, of course I was nineteen years old when I tried it, and I wasn't yet of that adventurous of a mind. I might have dismissed it just because it wasn't what I was used to. Though I didn't feel the same way about mangoes when I first tried them. So, I'd prefer to say that jack fruit is objectively so so, and mango is objectively amazing, because I am completely objective.

Anyway, this was a long silly post about nothing more than a weird fruit that I remember as a very interesting oddity from South America. I couldn't believe it when I saw it at the store right here in my own town. I guess the world is becoming a very small place.

Monday, September 9, 2019


Anybody else like me? I was getting a carton of whipping cream at the store today, when I saw the stock looking like this:

I assume that they put those other two cartons up above to make sure that they stocked the cream as full as possible, but in the time since they were stocked, three people had bought cartons of cream, and now there were open slots. I couldn't help myself. I don't work at this grocery store or anything, but I couldn't stop myself from reorganizing the cartons until it looked like this:

I find myself doing that kind of stuff all the time. If I'm looking for cheap toys, for example, and I find various figures not on the pegs they should be on, I often stand there for several minutes reorganizing the shelves until it's back in good shape. I should demand a discount or something, I suppose.

Why do I do it? Is it a sickness? I wonder.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Week Fourteen Update

Fourteen weeks, which includes three entire months, and I'm still at it--Zero Carb Carnivore and Alternate Day Fasting, and I keep making progress. Here's my most recent update.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


I was in the car the today, when I saw this car with this decal in its window. I asked my wife to take a picture for me.

I don't know who this guy is, and why he cares so much about goo, but it struck me as an odd decal to have on one's window. Maybe he works for the company that makes that Goo Gone stuff that is supposed to clean off the goop leftover from stickers and what have you.

That might explain it. But "GOO IS GOOO"? What's the deal with the third O on there? And what might goo is gooo mean? Is it some kind of reflexive statement like the phrase "it is what it is" or something? I just can't figure it out. It almost makes me want to throw up my hands in frustration and give up, and just chalk it up to something stupid like choosing a really unfortunate font for your decal or something like that.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Very Public Typo

I saw this shirt in an add on Instagram the other day:

It's one thing when your Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram posts are littered with typos, but it's quite another thing when you're trying to sell a shirt to people and you haven't checked it. Needless to say, I won't be buying that shirt. I wouldn't have anyway. Hocus Pocus is not my thing.

Cheap Toy Hunting Help From Rish

This time, the cheap toy hunting prize comes by way of Rish Outfield. He grabbed me some stuff from his local Tuesday Morning store, and then handed it over to me when we got together while I was on vacation. Do you like Linda Carter? Do you like Return of the Jedi? If you said yes to...actually if you answered those questions at all, then you ought to watch this video.