So last week was frustrating.

So I escaped central IL and sought refuge in Chicago – friends I hadn’t seen in almost a year – then to home – then good coffee and rum dipped cigarillos, outside, in the middle of the night – and lazing and movies…and I felt better.

I discovered Dunkin’ Doughnuts coffee really is good, and snuck a few bags back to Springfield with me (this city apparently has no Dunkin’ Doughnuts).

On the way back to school, I was in a fender-bender. Doh!!! No real damage done. No injuries. The lady was pretty good humored about it. But I was mad at myself. I’ve avoided accidents on icy skids and even dodged several cars when my breaks gave out on one of my old beaters…this shouldn’t have been difficult to avoid.

A neck rub would help…but Lenore is not cooperating. She is jutting her head out of her hiding place every time I walk by, which means she’s hungry enough that I’d better feed her tomorrow, and thus save central Illinois from certain doom.

Speaking of my serpent, she is officially the size that, while not representative of the total adult mass of North America’s largest serpent (she is only a year old), is large enough that if someone were to find it in their basement, in a state like Illinois, they would go to their neighbor and say, “Bob, there is a big f#$%’n snake in my basement.” Names may vary. Only said in participating states.

I’ve noticed, going in to pet shops and buying fuzzy snake food, that the conversations that ensue are not unlike those that might be pontificated on when a guy goes into a car shop for a part for his [insert prize muscle car]. In fact, take a look at this hypothetical (but representative) conversation between me and a pets shop clerk. Replace “snake” with “car” – “feeding” for “driving” – species with model – “fuzzies” with [insert car accessory] – “mouse” with “mile” – “quail” with “kilometer” – and so on and so forth:

Pet Clerk: What can I get you?
Josh: I need four fuzzies.
PC: Sure. What are you feeding?
J: Snake.
PC: What kind?
J: Eastern Indigo
PC: Serious?
J: Oh yeah.
PC: Sweeeeet. What year?
J: ‘04
PC: You get her with red sides or solid black?
J: Solid black.
PC: Nice. We get a lot of wannabe snake guys in here, but that’s hardcore. You can take her out legally?
J: I got a permit.
PC: How fast does she go?
J: Oh…about two mice a minute.
PC: Cool.
J: Or three quail a minute…if you use them.
PC: I never have.
J: I think use them a lot in Europe.
PC: Oh.

And now I wait to see what the word is on the Voodoo Music Fest in New Orleans this Halloween. With the hurricane it might be cancelled. Of course…that’s a pretty minor thing compared to what the poor folks of that city are going through. And what other thoughts run through your head when such a cool city gets attacked by violent storms, besides, “Oh God…some fundamentalist got a hold of a weather machine.”

Cold kills broccoli and hurricanes threaten music.

But all in all…I still welcome the sound of thunder.