Non conformance reports

I hate ISO. But being in the engineering industry I am forced to fill out these stupid non-conformance reports. 99.99% of the time the root cause is, ‘shit happens’. And the corrective action is ‘operator was told to be more mindful and attentive and make less mistakes, operator is not a robot (unfortunately).

Corrective action :

Employee was taken outside and beaten to within an inch of his life with a pick-ax handle. I then broke several of his fingers by stomping on them while he begged for his life. He promises (when he gets out of hospital) never to make a mistake ever again. 

… is what I wish I could write. I’m guessing they don’t even read them most of the time.

Unfortunately ISO standards means you have to lie and make up some bullshit reason to justify a lapse in concentration from your employee.

This one was especially amusing to me though.

See attatched. (I didn’t even see that one)

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That strange intersection of Locomotives and Attack-bassets

I’ve decided I have lower leg compartment syndrome in my left calf. Self diagnosed after ten minutes on Google. Who needs doctors anymore?

Before you knock self diagnosis my nephew and godchild had this really strange malady that was mystifying his pediatrician.  I googled his symptoms and casually remarked ‘have you tested for Kawasaki’s disease?’. No one listened to me, at least not initially, (Probably for good reason) but it turns out it WAS Kawasaki’s disease. I felt quite smug afterwards (as one does)

I don’t really think I have lower leg compartment syndrome (its in my top five possibilities though) but my calf is hobbling me. Not as badly as yesterday, but I have decided to skip my run this morning in favor of some downtime. Interestingly the most suggested treatment for lower leg compartment syndrome is, ‘Stop running’.

My fascia in my legs and feet have always given me trouble. For a long time I suffered from plantar fasciitis, which crippled me for the first five minutes of every morning. Recently I have decided to stop running hills in an effort to be slightly kinder to my body and just run round the indoor track. I am not naturally a runner. In an evolutionary sense I was not the guy who chased the elk to the point exhaustion and then stabbed it with a pointy stick. I was the guy who thought it would be a good idea to jump onto the back of the Woolly Mammoth from an elevated position with a flint tipped shiv, whose survival was only ensured by dense bones, an above average covering of meat and thick cranium, DEFITINELY not mental acuity . In the first person shooter sense, I am the tank*

*Which I always thought was the least glamorous of the FPS roles. Big and dumb.

In other exciting news. My parents rent out their cottage. They’ve had a slew of weird people over the years. Including a gay couple, who after an altercation led to an amusing (but dangerous) scene where one spurned, coked up lover chased the other round the garden with a kitchen knife in the predawn gloom.

Their most recent tenant (this weird shut in) absconded during the night and left the key and a note under the mat. The new people moved in over the weekend. An elderly couple. He’s had a stroke, which has rendered him mute, but otherwise fine (as far as I can tell). He has a model train set! You know the one of those installation pieces that comes with trees, hills, rolling pastures, a village and most importantly, locomotives. I have decided this could be the ultimate ‘friend’. He can’t speak, so we don’t have to engage in unnecessary banter AND (more importantly) he has an awesome train set that we can play with. Also he can’t tell me to go home.

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‘Doooot, dooooot’…. ‘schakka schakka schakka!’

Unfortunately the basset hound tried to murder him him over the weekend. He has general ownership issues which extends to my parents house and beyond.  An attack basset is initially quite an amusing thing… until you realize he’s being serious. At that point he’s already closed the distance and is trying to tear your throat out. He has a special hatred for my parents gardener, who often has to keep him at bay with a rake.

Anyways. Both dogs have now been banned.

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Which makes the German very sad.

*Joey takes another sip of coconut-coffee*

You know I used to disparage this notion of coffee and coconut oil. I tried it for a loooong time and felt zero cognitive improvement.  I’ve started intermittently fasting (my eight hour window is between 9am and 6pm). Last week some time I opened the cupboard and saw the half-empty jar of coconut oil. I figured why not, let me put someone in my coffee again.

Interestingly I felt sharper and my alert afterwards. So there might be something to this after all. Maybe I was just doing it wrong before, clearly the intermittent fasting is helping somehow. Anyways, just thought I’d mention it….

 

Double underpants

The movie Trainspotting had a formative effect on my life. It convinced me that heroin was a bad idea. But, perhaps more importantly, it impressed on me that shitting the bed was terrible experience and indeed something I never wanted to intimately participate in.

While on the whole I’m fairly confident in the sealing integrity of my sphincter, when faced with the added challange of a bacterium I tend to err on the side of caution by doubling up on my underpants. I’m happy to announce that I still haven’t chalked up that particular close encounter and remain poop in the bed free (since ‘83).

I had a piece of white toast for breakfast. My first ‘real’ carbohydrate in more than a week. Hopefully it will stay down. It’s was delicious and the only thing I really felt like eating. The sprog sat next to me on the floor spearing raisins with a fork and then transferring them into her mouth. Together we read the Hadeda book. Which is likely the most Johannesburg Northern suburbs children’s book ever written.

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‘Early in the morning there’s nothing tastier than a parktown prawn’

Saturday mornings used to the sole domain of the long brunch. Now we have all these responsibilities.

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Like swimming lessons. This one kid hasn’t stopped screaming since we started. It’s making me think bad (murderous) thoughts about his parents. (Not very stoic of me) He screamed the entire class last week too. The kids name is Noah. Maybe he has some historical aversion to water.

I chortle at my Genesis joke. Funny.

The healing prowess of the Basset hound. And other spurious stories.

I am dying. In the great inevitability sense of the word and in the more localized, microeconomic sense. At the moment I’m mostly referring to the latter. My daughter, in the guise of the Outbreak monkey, rolled out a ‘pandemic’ and has bequeathed her parents a virulent tummy bug.

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(see what I did there)

It has both her mom and dad out for the count. My wife is throwing up. And I’m alternating out of both ends. The girl tempest is healthy again and operating at her usual 105% capacity (which is adding to the general sense of misery in the domicile of the Jo) However at the moment I’m tagged in to achieve some matress time while the wife grinds out suicide hour and the parent of the year achievement award. Because I’m the male of the species my symptoms are deemed more severe and incapacitating. (ha, ha)

Unfortunately for me it’s not all isotonic sports drinks and sleepy time. The basset hound thinks he has healing properties. Whenever anyone in our household is sick, Dr D. will come and pin (kesa-gatame) you down and ‘heal’ you (with his body weight). He doesn’t take no for an answer. Nothing like recovery with 25kg cement bag lying on across your small intestine.

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The German Shepherd, although not an innate healer, feels left out and soon adds her massive girth to the equation. Eventually everyone is snoring loudly… except for the intended recipient of said healing, who as well as being sick is now, also, extremely uncomfortable.

This is not how I had intended my Friday evening to go. (I had carefully planned out Roco Mamas via Uber-eats and then boardgaming with my scoobie friends)

Alas by two thirty pm the deep rumbling and gurgling in my bowels alerted me that Plaguefather Nurgle had paid me a visit and that it was now a race to get home or risk a brown out.

On arrival, I felt better. So I went for a swim and then co-opted my old man to help me drag a newly repurposed cupboard from the workshop into the study. (Which turned out to be murderously difficult, this cabinet of Narnian proportions was unwieldy, ridiculously heavy and the route that this piece of furniture would have to take was circuitous at best)

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I’m running out lego storage space.

Removing my wife’s grandmother’s fine china from the display cabinet in the dining room in order to house sections of Joey-polis proved to be a contested arrangement. Being loathed to spend money on a cupboard I happened on an old, unloved wardrobe. It smacked of neglect and general browness… but some sandpaper and a new coat of paint made it completely functional again. Best of all, it was free.

Eventually, and after many breathers, the cupboard was in place and getting its innards filled with Danish blocks of wonder. Unfortunately the pubella bubonics had finally cornered me and soon after this I spent some time curled up on the bathroom floor in the fetal position. And then curled up in front of the television while the girl-child consumed Peppa Pig.

For a while she liked Timmy Time (The Shaun the Sheep spin off) but now it’s ALL about Peppa pig. It’s actually not bad. Initially I was also quite entertained, but now, stuck on repeat it has lost some of its piggy charm and taken on a disturbing torturing Manuel Noriega* type vibe.

*is that too obscure a reference he wondered.

With this viral spanner, the trajectory of my entire weekend has now been called into doubt. I have a sneaky suspicion it’s not going to be very exciting. Know that if you don’t hear from me again that I went out swinging…

I will endeavour to fight them on beaches (and on the landing grounds).

We will (almost never) surrender. Unless bribed with cheese and hot chocolate.

 

12 Rules for life – Jordan B. Peterson (kindle)

I read this book mostly covered in vomit. (As one might be inclined to do) My daughter threw up in her bed. While my wife stripped the sheets I cradled the neophyte girl, who briefly stared into my eyes… and then painted me with peas, carrots and milk (origin both boob and bovine).

Sufficed to say with more upchuck likely in my foreseeable future I settled back down in my chair with my single shot grande and only a perfunctory effort to clean myself. Thirty minutes later I was back in there dealing with more bile. (And then ten minutes after that) (and then an hour after that) ad infinitum.

During episodes where we scrounged for sheets and cleans pajamas I read 12 rules. (Shit title, I blame Tim Ferriss for this slew of lazy literary designations)

Let me start off by saying up until today I didn’t know anything about Jordan B. Peterson. (Kinda sad I know) I don’t really follow the news (other than in a very general sense) and for me identity politics is a serious non sequitur, that interests me about as much as fairies and crystals do. I’m constantly shocked and amazed that this has become a ‘thing’.

I also, up until today, didn’t know anything about the infamous Cathy Newman interview. And the meme storm that followed…

(This one is my favorite)

All I can say is ‘Jesus that escalated quickly’ (having now watched it). Kudos to Jordan for his supreme stoicism in the face of unrelenting awfulness. I doubt I would have remained so composed.

In any event after having listened to Jordan during my commute and then later on my run I decided that I really liked him. (Well… enough to blow $25 on his book) ouch!

This book starts with a forward. Which immediately gets my hackles up. For some reason I get the feeling that the publishers thought this was a good idea. Its long and wordy and I found myself skipping sections (my internet addled brain). It reads like a character witness. Jordan B. Peterson is not the motherfucker he’s been made out to be.

Blah, blah, blah. I thought it was superfluous. Let the work speak for itself, it doesn’t need an anteambulo.

Eventually (with a machete) I got to the first rule. Which involves Lobsters.

Wait…

I have to quote this line. Because it’s so bad. (It’s even worse when taken out of context)

Lobsters have more in common with you than you might think (particularly when you are feeling crabby – ha ha).’

It’s like a dad joke.

I don’t know why, but sitting there in the gloom, hunched over my kindle app and smelling like curdled milk this line really irritated me. (More than it should have)

In all honesty I struggled to read this book. Although it took me a while to figure out why. Jordan’s sentence structure doesn’t agree with me. I know that’s a weird criticism but I often found myself having to re-read his sentences. I imagined them too long and disjointed somehow (personal preference I guess, but it also might be because I’m relatively stupid) He also uses the Oxford comma. Which… while grammatically sound… I’m not used to it. It freaks me out. (I know, derailed by a comma)

I’m finding it harder and harder to find books in this genre that I like. This isn’t Jordan’s fault. I think I may have reached some level of saturation. Maybe I need a break. Or maybe a Shakabuku*

*a swift spiritual kick to the head (I think it’s from Grosse pointe blank)

Jordan in a spoken word format resonated quite deeply with me. That didn’t translate into text (for me at least). I think this is a case of different strokes for different folks. I do however plan on seeking out more podcasts with Jordan as a speaker, he’s very clever, eloquent and comes highly recommended.

Shongololo’s and short-attacks

So far my day has been carbohydrate free. I’ve been compensating by hitting the coffee particularly hard, which means I currently occupy that point in space/time where a well caffeinated person can feel the rotation of the earth. I can confirm that our planet is indeed more or less spherical… and that we are moving untethered through the universe at, what some might deem, a ludicrous speed. Stop the bus. I want to get off.

Earlier in the day I received a visitor.

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Apparently there is some consternation among my staff as to whether the colloquialism* for this creature should be shongololo (Zulu), songololo (Xhosa) or Duisandpoot (Afrikaans). Since I’m the boss I’m going make a ruling that it needs to be referred to by its franca lingua. Ie. Millipede. Although no one other than me wants to experience the millipede tickle.

*hey… that’s a real word. I know this because its not underlined in red. I’m just going to assume it means what I think it means.

There’s a mini-blood bath happening on the stock market here today. A US firm is short-attacking one of our banks. Its a thing of beauty.

Seriously, I am awe stuck. Basically they’ve taken a massive short position on the bank and then released a report alluding to the solvency of said bank. Share price is down 18% as of writing. (although it looks like it might be bouncing) If they’re clever (and I think they are) they have kept some of their powder dry and will trickle-feed more rumors into the market which will drive down the price even further once the speculators shore up the price a bit. The lower they can drive the price, the more money they make. Its like watching financial blitzkrieg. This sort of thing never happens in our market (so they don’t know how to defend against it, in all honestly I don’t think this level of hostility even occurred to them). Plus local sentiment is already quite skittish, so investors are bailing.

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Its hurting me a little bit. (I’m down about 3%) But its not every day you get to appreciate such alluring game theory and consumer psychology. Its quite sexy. (its the board-gamer in me)

And also total legal. (In case you’re wondering) Downside is that thousands of people could loose their jobs and depositors (mostly poor people) could loose their money. I think that’s unlikely. But possible.

Rat-on-a-rope

I’ve had a lot of weird stuff thrown at me during the course of my life. I’m putting Rat-on-a-rope at the top of the list.

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I should probably mention that the rat is, in its present condition, very much deceased. Although whether it died on impact or was dead prior to becoming airborne is not immediately clear to me. I am not a detective, nor did I feel comfortable checking the rigor status of the recently departed rodent.

I was likely NOT the intended recipient of the arium rattus. I just happened to be in the general vicinity when it fell from the sky. It came sailing over a five meter high wall at the back of my warehouse, (I sometimes go sit in the sun on the container ramp and eat my lunch) so I have no idea who launched it.

Perplexed I wondered what I should do. Was this a game? Was someone waiting on the other side of the wall ready to receive? I imagined some indigent, Goonie* type monster with no friends, casting out into the world, willing someone to play catch. 

*I realize this may date me.

My day actually started off with another dead body. I don’t know that person died either. They were covered in foil which in turn was weighed down with bricks and bits of detritus to stop it blowing away (the foil I mean). Two uniformed officers were busy taping off the area with that ubiquitous yellow tape. It annoyed me because it was causing traffic to bottleneck. Hopefully my legacy on this planet is not to fuck up traffic for an hour.

I don’t think the two cases are related.

But as I’ve said, I am not a detective.

Way of the warrior kid by Jocko Willink (Kindle)

Let me say right near the beginning that I really liked this book. I imagine that once I get about half way into my tirade it might not seem like it.

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You know that saying, ‘You should never meet your heroes’. In keeping with modernity perhaps it should be updated. ‘Never follow your heroes on twitter’. Or on YouTube for that matter.

I tend to build up the authors that I like as infallible seers or ubermenschen. Impressed with what they’ve committed to text I seek them out on other media platforms hoping glean new knowledge. Inevitably I am disappointed. We are after all just humans, with our blemishes and flaws, niche expertise and subjective opinions.

 

Except me obviously. (I’m perfect)

Ha ha.

I mention this because I need to balance my crush on Jocko Willink with some moderation.

If I reduced and distill my gripe its probably with the word ‘warrior’. I worry about people that use that word. And I worry about people that want to be ‘this’ word. Don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate that human existence on this planet is less than idyllic and that one group of humans needs from time to time to assert dominance over another group to achieve some sort of goal through violence of action. And that this is usually done through the warrior caste. I get that.

My concern is that people consider this particular noun first when they describe themselves. Interestingly I have no issue with someone describing themselves as a philosopher who also happens to be a warrior. But a warrior who is also a philosopher makes me hesitate. Maybe I’m just arguing potato semantics, but I find the distinction important. I think a world full of warriors would be a poorer place. Sun Tzu famous mused that war needs to be a highly considered enterprise and that warriors have a very specific task of tearing civilization down. Not so easy to build it back up again. I think as a society we have become far too flippant about war and the warriors that perpetrate this course of action.

On the reverse side, kids don’t get that. And this is a kids book. All I wanted to be growing up was a warrior. (Although I wanted to go to Ranger school) We are primal, savage mammals who want to (pretend) rend and maim our enemies. Its only later in life that we get some perspective.

Then there’s the author, whose jingoism and ethical ambiguity on Fox and friends recently made me feel super uncomfortable. This is why I hate social media. All of a sudden you’re exposed to everyone’s thoughts be they inane and banal or just contrary to your own. The amusing impressionist reality you’ve crafted yourself lies in tatters at your feet.

Fortunately The way of the Warrior kid is not about moral philosophy. Its about a kid called Marc and his quest for self improvement (something I can definitely get behind)

 

 

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Marc sucks at pull-ups, can’t do maths, eats a lot of crap, can’t swim and gets bullied at school. (don’t worry Marc I suck at pull-ups and maths too). Marc’s mom’s brother Jake comes to stay with them for a bit. Jake is a Navy Seal. Jake turns Marc’s life around.

(the above represents an over simplified synopsis)

I must be honest, the whole time it took me to read this book (about an hour) I kept thinking, where is Marc’s dead-beat dad? And why is your mom letting you eat all this crappy food? (I get all judgmental about fictional parenting faux-pas as I see them)

After reading this book, I went and stood at the pull-up bar at gym. Unfortunately in my gym that’s right in the center with everything else arrayed around this focal point of embarrassment. I imagine this is done on purpose so that everyone can see how pathetic you are. I had, up until this point never in my whole life done a pull-up. But how hard can it be right?

I jumped up and hung there for a moment.

‘Oh my god’, I thought as my shoulders and arms protested this strange new form of abuse. (Looking back, I think its because I masturbate less now, so my forearms have gotten weak from lack of use) Maybe I could just hang here for a bit. You know, pretend I’m just… stretching out my spine. Or something. The guy across from me is squatting like a gazzillion pounds. I never venture into this part of the gym (other than to use the heavy bag), mostly because nothing I own comes without sleeves nor do I possess any really short, shorts. (this seems to be a prerequisite)

I grit my teeth and ignore the noise that sounds like tearing fabric coming from the large muscle groups in my back. Okay, one pull up. Just one, I think to myself. I grit my teeth and… do this weird kicking thing with my legs like a dying bug.

I’d like to say I got about half way before failing. But… the reality is probably less kind than that.

Okay, so doing a pull-up is quite hard. (its on my to-do list for this year)

The thing about this book is that I agree with almost everything in it. I think all kids should jump of bridges and swim in rivers. And do martial arts. My personal proclivity is boxing and Jujitsu. but really any style is OK when you’re a kid.

Kids should be outside and active, not domiciled in front of their tablets.

If nothing else this book inspired me to try and do some pull-ups. There are few books out there that will make you get up and take come concrete actions. So for that I need to give Jocko some serious credit. I might not agree with his personal ideology, but I think this book is a good thing.

Hide and seek

The little person surreptitiously hid away my keys before story time last night. This lead to an increasingly more frantic search this morning as I upended the house searching for them. Eventually she woke up. ‘Do you know where you put daddy’s keys?’

(Almost) Two year old’s are naturally resistant to interrogation I’ve found. ‘Me, funny’ and then running down the passage, doesn’t, as you might imagine, give you very much to work with. Especially when you’ve just gone through the trash (outside, in the pouring rain)

She had at some point during the evening, likely when I was supine on the sofa and preoccupied with my phone, clandestinely concealed them in her puzzle box. You know the one that comes with predetermined cut-outs and you’re supposed to put the correct shape in the correct slot. (I’ve gotten quite good at this)

‘Hey guys, help me look for my keys’

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‘Zzzzzzzzz… zzzzzzzz’

Eventually my wife found them. She has better instincts for what little people might do with objects of desire (keys, iPhone’s and credit cards). In fact without assistance I would still be wandering aimlessly through the house, likely mewling and feeling sorry for myself. (this is kinda my go-to response to frustrating events)

South Africans find moisture very challenging and now delayed, my morning commute became the aquatic version of ‘Fury Road’.

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It also meant that going to gym died stillborn.

On the plus side I did get my 400% badge yesterday. (required another 30 minutes of shadow boxing and push ups in my pajamas)

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I feel like one of the cool kids now. Whether or not this will allow me to sit with the cheerleaders and football jocks remains to be seen.

I am however, hopeful.

Happy Saint Joey’s Day

Statistically the 23rd of January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. (Northern hemisphere winter and also the day that people are supposedly the most broke) It is also my birthday. Which is either auspicious. Or suspicious depending on where you stand.

While not yet officially canonized by the Catholic church, Joey has preempted matters somewhat. Saint Joey, patron saint of procrastinators and lost causes. I’m assuming those haven’t been taken yet (although I’m not exactly current on the sainthood spheres of influence). I will now preform the first of many miracles by making this three egg omelet disappear.

Today I am 39 rotations.

Which I always imagined was ridiculously ancient.

I must be honest I am quite glad to be here. I almost didn’t make it. This time last year I was still reeling from the after effects of a pulmonary embolism.

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Δ An MRI, post embolism and subsequent express train to my lungs. I developed a clot on my right forearm just under my elbow which disintegrated and the associated shrapnel from that lodged in my lungs. Apparently this is quite unusual, since I had none of the risk factors, possibly a boxing or jujitsu injury. Although no one can tell me for sure. Interestingly this is what killed Theodore Roosevelt (my all time favorite human)

Better in my lungs than in my brain.

I started today at 4am with a mini-triathlon.

Emphasis on the word mini. 5km round the track. 5mi on the stationary bike and then 500mtrs in the pool.  I’ve decided that I don’t really want to turn forty and be more or less the same person I was when I was turning thirty nine. That seems a little defeatist. I’d like to better… stronger, faster and smarter.

The latter might be beyond my control, but maybe I can do something about the other two.

Looking back on thirty eight I did learn a couple of things…

  1. Don’t chop up chilies and then go down on your wife (or probably anyone for that matter)
  2. Heel cream is NOT toothpaste, even when enclosed in similar packaging with similar viscosity
  3. If it tastes funny, stop brushing.
  4. Your child vomiting on you is less onerous than your date vomiting on you. (which is very onerous)
  5. Operating on yourself with a pair of nail scissors may not lead to optimum results
  6. And also infection.
  7. And finally… my co-workers may be smarter than I give them credit for…

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(This decoy didn’t work. Or rather, didn’t work for as long as I had intended)

I got nifty birthday presents. Every year I say ‘oh, I’m fine, I don’t really need anything’. When I was eighteen my parents gave me a self-help book (Don’t sweat the small stuff) and a chess set with missing pieces. (I’m still wondering if by small stuff they might have been referring to the missing pawns) Which leads me to believe that maybe I should have rather asked for something. Things have improved dramatically since then…

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These days people ‘get me’. Joey-polis is getting some public transport. They’ve always had a very good rail system. But the addition of a bus service will definitely help out my citizens.

In other news I have finally updated my Fundamental Joeyism page into something I am happy with (took me a while)

Anyways, wishing you all a very happy Saint Joey’s day. Hopefully it is of the extremely groovy variety. May your hemorrhoids never hang like grapes.