February 03, 2008
Didn't sleep much last night. Not sure why, other than my brain never shut off. I'm not saying that it ever actually engaged... it was just stuck in the "ON" position.
Today, they're calling for rain. I type this as the sunlight blasts through my blinds. There are plenty of clouds in the sky, so there's a decent chance that it will happen later... it rained off and on for most of the night. Normally, that's relaxing...
I lay awake for long periods of time last night, just thinking. I'd been over to Eric's site, earlier, and he always seems to make folks think. Well, think and wonder. Whereas, I just tend to make folks wonder. Anyway, I was thinking about a post he had written about his dad and lessons he taught, and I got thinking of my childhood... and then my thoughts really started to wander.
While pondering lessons learned as a youngster, the rain falling steadily, I found myself thinking of the hog barn and the sows farrowing. And then the radio playing softly in the background, to keep the hogs at ease. The radio was set to WMAQ, 670 AM... and this was long before it became talk radio. It was still country at that time. "WMAQ is gonna make me rich!!!" They also played the White Sox games on air.
All night long, someone would be out in that barn, with the Statler Brothers, Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and other country "greats" sharing the warm smells of fresh straw and newly hatched piglets. The last year we did this, I remember "Every Which Way but Loose" was a hit... Eddie Rabbitt.
Now I'm thinking of the rabbits that we used to raise. Both for meat and show. Ma used to do some serious butchering on some rabbits. She and my pa had fined tuned it, and when Pa passed away, it didn't slow her much. Skinning and butchering were an art form.
Same with ducks and chickens (I thought I'd blogged it before, but I can't find it)... you get her and my (third) cousin's ma together, and they were a force to be reckoned with. (Yeah, that's a preposition hanging there...) They'd have tiles, field tiles (which are round tubes), standing on end... that was to bleed them out. Cut a head off, stuff'em in a tile, cut a head off, stuff'em in a tile. Next thing you know, they'd have'em dunked (in boiling water) and plucked. Then cut and gut... washed out, bagged, and you've got chicken in the freezer. 'Twas an impressive sight...
Ma and a good friend of hers also set up another disassembly line, once those little piglets got older. CASTRATION. One held the little boar wannabe, while the other sliced, stitched, and disinfected. Luckily, there was no saving of the oysters. I remember listening to the squeals of the little bastards, and then, once they were put down to go on their way, the new barrows walking away like nothing had happened.
I thought I heard thunder, but I can't tell if that's a train, or if it really is one of the gods whimpering. (The gods aren't nearly as vocal, out here, as they are back home.) But the thunder gets me jamming on one of my all time favorite tunes. I've been listening to this album alot, lately. It's a great way to jumpstart your day.
Now Eddie Rabbit is back... and I'm stuck with his tune. It's not a bad song, but c'mon... jumping between Slayer and Rabbitt? Raining Rabbits...
What the hell was the point of this yammering??? Oh yeah, I didn't sleep much. Perhaps I'm a little delirious. I don't know.
Eddie Rabbitt. Slayer. My Ma... the Rabbit Slayer.
Thank you for attending this morning's services. Don't forget to pay me your tithes and offerings.
Cookies will do, too...
Second thought: Maybe the message of this post was, "Don't jack with my ma. You'll be cut up and in the freezer before you know you're dead."
And maybe not...
January 26, 2008
It's a beautiful day here in central California. Local warming has brought the temps into the mid sixties, and there's a nice breeze blowing. 'Tis a good day to get out and about, or if not, at least have the windows open. I've done both.
Other folks have had the same thoughts as myself... all day long I've been hearing the pleasant roar of motorcycles going by, most of them heading down Herndon Avenue, a mile away. And while I was running errands, I got to see a couple of large groups
Head east on any east/west street in this town, and you'll see some decent shots of the mountains. Currently, their peaks are covered in snow, and there is a dusting of snow down into the foothills. From what I've heard, the snow doesn't usually come down this far. I'm appreciating the fact that it has.
As I said, east/west streets have some great views, but my favorites are Gates and Herndon. One of these days, I'll remember to take my camera with me to get a shot or two for you folks... maybe even roll some video, Eric-style. You'll be envious.
Envious... that kinda brings me back to the whole point of this post.
So I'm listening to these bikes, and I can't help but feel a little covetous. After all, my bike is back in 'sconsin. And it will be awhile afore it makes its way out here. (Not to mention, the whole deal with those bastards at the DMV. Nyah, nyah, to them... I've still got my Illinois license, which is good 'til July.) Damn, I miss that thing...
It's been on weighing on my mind lately. I've seriously thought of selling the beauty and using the money to help buy a house. But the more I think on it, the less I feel I can do it. I feel... actual pain.
That bike has been with me for damn nigh onto 12 years. I got it in July of '96 (a couple of pics below the fold), and have put about 52k on it, and most of that was in the first 8 years. These last few, I've not had a chance to ride it much.
That bike has been out to Sturgis a few times, and has been on some incredible rides. Heheheh... you may remember one of them down to Tennessee. It's been ridden through Wisconsin winters, and Midwestern deluges, Illinois hailstorms and western deserts. I remember parking it so that I could check in to a hotel, and looking out to see it rolling backwards, blown by the gusting winds that had forced me to stop for the day. I've never hit the thousand mile day, but it's been close many times.
When it comes down to it, I don't think that it's possible for me to get rid of that bike. I think I'd be getting rid of a piece of me. And, while I can't say that I remember the first time, any time I've lost part of me, it's not felt good. I'm not about to embrace masochism.
Ride on, those of you who are lucky enough to be out there. I'll be joining you in a couple of months.
Until then, I'll be insanely jealous...
Here she is right after I bought her.
Here she is, just ten months later. She's sporting new sheet metal (including 6 gallon tank), and a stage III engine mod. I took it to Kutter's ride in bike show, and took second place.
I don't have any recent pics (maybe Eric might), but she's still sporting the same paint. I've taken some of the happy away... the rims and lower forks have been powder coated black. She looks mean, now...
January 16, 2008
From the mist...
The floor for the new building was poured yesterday morning. I took this pic while my machine was warming up. I'd been watching the ghosts materialize and then fade back into the fog while they finished the surface.
One of the coolest things about the fog is also one of it's most dangerous. All of the crap, and the ugly, is hidden by its veil.
But that same veil hides the car that's gonna run you down...
January 14, 2008
I'm thinking I might be getting myself into some trouble. Friday is Ma's birthday, so I'm sending her some flowers, and mailing her a card. The card is lame, but will definitely make her roll her eyes, and the card that will come with the flowers will read: "Hey, Ma! Hope you have the merriest of Birthdays! Try not to get too tanked!!! Love, Joe"
Ma doesn't drink...
I was gifted with a loaf of banana bread, today. Pretty nice, eh? No. I don't want to hurt the guy's feelings, as he was only trying to give me a slice of home, but it's... well, it's terrible. Check that, it's horrendous. I didn't realize that nanner bread could be so bad, but this loaf is proof that things can go terribly wrong in the kitchen. I ate one slice, but I've got to toss the rest out. I'm trying to come up with a nice half truth to tell him when he asks how it was. Gott damn, I hate the thought. He was so damn proud of his ma's baking.
Speaking of ma's and home cooking, you've probably noticed that I haven't mentioned my trip home. Well, I've been trying to write a post, but I'm getting sidetracked. Not to mention, I don't know how to say some of the things I'd like to say. So I'll say this; it was great being there, seeing all of the family that I got to see, and getting to hang out at Fritz's with my old pallies. While most of the trip home was what I hoped for, and needed, not all was good. I don't like hearing my Ma mention "stair lift". That seems to upset me. Ah, 'tis life... but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I just have to deal...
Anyway, I've got shit around here that's gotta get squared away. I'm sure I'll be posting off and on, but I probably won't be dropping by to see too many of ya. Not that I've been doing that well in the past couple of months, anyway, but it's going to be worse. For a couple of weeks, at least.
January 05, 2008
Well, I went and got the car smogged yesterday. I knew it would be something simple, but I wasn't sure what they'd do.
I was kinda thinking that maybe they'd hook a hose up to your exhaust, shove it into your window, and make you sit there for ten minutes. If you lived, your car was clean. If you had to pop open a door, you failed, and would have to repeat the test until you either died, or were deemed emissions friendly. (What exactly are emissions, anyway? Seems to me that they've been around longer than the internet... whoever figured out that there would be a web, and that it would need missionaries, was really on top of their game.)
Anyway, turns out that there was to be none of that fun stuff. Instead, they shove some kind of sensor up the car's ass. The car, quite obviously, doesn't care so much for this, and winds out the rpms. (Actually, it is parked on a dyno, but still, the car doesn't sound happy.) My car passed with flying CO2lors.
The cost of the state's certificate is $8.25... and you get nothing for it! No certificate, suitable for framing. No stickers, anymore. Your info is entered into the computer, and there you go...
Oh... BTW. That low cost? That's on top of the $30-$80 dollars that you are charged for the actual test on the dyno. Ten minutes, tops, for me. My bill was $58.25... and that is actually pretty much the average. (Not too bad, but still... I'd have loved to have gotten a hook up like Barmy Mama did.)
What a great way to rack up the ching!
January 03, 2008
Paperwork... mein gott, I hate doing it. And I've been filling the crap out for the past two weeks that I've been here.
My benefits have finally kicked in, so just before Christmas, I was filling out all of the insurance forms, and researching new doctors and dentists. Given the relief that I feel for finally being covered, I tolerated the inconvenience.
Got all of that done and turned in, and was told that I needed to fill out paperwork that should have be done when I got hired. WTF? I had already filled out two packets, some of the forms being duplicated. I was sure that I would be doing the same crap again. Packet came in today, and it was nothing that I'd seen before. Grrrr... at least it only took me an hour to fill out.
Meantime, I've gotten my car insurance switched to California, and tomorrow I get the car smogged. By end of next week, I should be a legal California resident, with car registered and new driver's license. (Yeah, yeah, yeah... condolences accepted.) Funny... I became a registered voter three weeks ago.
So that was my fun for the evening... aside from sneaking peeks at the blogosphere instead of reading forms. Gotta go in early, so I'm done for the night.
Peace be unto you...
January 01, 2008
So, how did you welcome in the New Year?
I got back in to Fresno yesterday. Finished the trip that I'd started the day before. Delays, mechanical failures, and the airlines being kind enough to "accommodate" me by flying me into LAX to catch a different flight here... and not taking into account that the other flight took off while I would be deplaning. Anyway, I'm back. Safe, sound, and sane.
'Twas great being able to head home, hang with family and friends, and to renew my war upon my liver. We (my liver and I) are not in negotiations, right now...
2007 made its brief appearance on the road of life, and is now officially roadkill, its mantle fluttering to the tarmac. Tiny little Elisha Oh-eight has boldly stepped out and picked it up... poor, unfortunate bastard. Won't be long, and he will be smucked as well...
As for celebrating Mr. 007's demise, I can only say that I didn't. I couldn't.
I had planned on watching The Shining (one of my favorite movies over the holidays), but I couldn't keep my eyes open. 'Course, that may have had something to do with the large supper I had made for myself. And the beers and bottle of wine that I "disposed" of, while cleaning out the fridge. Or maybe even the travel. Yeah... travel. That's probably it...
I'm pretty sure that the New Year came in with a roar, despite my lack of celebrations. As a matter of fact, I'd slap down some serious money on that, as my own personal snoring awoke me at 12:03...
New year, new goals, new hopes. But no resolutions from me. And, "No," I did not resolve that..
"Happy New Year," to all of you. May your goals be reached, and hopes realized.
Oh, and for those of you with a mile long list of resolutions, and no resolve, here's some (not safe for crumb gobblers' ears) encouragement! Kinda...
December 24, 2007
Well, looks like I got lucky with my trip home. Not that I joined the mile high club or anything, but I managed to beat any severe delays. Not to mention cancellations.
The delays started about the time that I got in on Saturday afternoon. My flight ended up being a whole ten minutes late. Whooo... Later in the evening, the heavy fog created some much longer delays.
Were I to have elected to travel yesterday, as I had seriously considered, there is a chance that I would be somewhere other than here. The blustery day presented some problems for those traveling through O'Hare. Not that there was a large Winnie the Pooh lugging his pot-o-honey across the runways...
Was great spending time with family and friends yesterday, and we'll be doing the same this evening as well.
I hope that all of you and yours have a very, Merry Christmas!
Oh... and for those of you who will be drinking this holiday season, remember to be safe and responsible in your imbibing....
December 17, 2007
It is now officially Christmas.
While not nearly as warm as it was last year in Florida, and even though there are Christmas decorations out everywhere, I just haven't felt like it could be Christmas already. I haven't even gone shopping, yet. Partly because of no time, but mainly because I just haven't had the urge. I typically shop late anyway, but this year any urgency has been gone. So yesterday, I tried... and pissed myself off almost immediately.
Some shopping I am saving for when I get home. Less to pack. But at work, we've got a gift exchange going. I drew this woman's name, and on her paper, she had written "necklace, earrings, or kitchen stuff." I don't feel it's proper to go buying her jewelry, and I don't know what kind of kitchen stuff she needs, so I asked one of the guys that she hangs out with. He suggested a gift card from American Eagle Outfitters. Quick and easy, it would be something she would greatly appreciate. So I set off for the plaza where this place is located.
Quick and easy, my ass. (cue holiday cheer) As soon as I pulled in, I knew it was trouble. There were guys out directing traffic, which was hardly moving, except in slow circles. Vultures waiting for someone to drop. I made it through the parking lot, and kept on going. Right up into the mountains.
Much better. Not to mention, I finally got to see some snow.
I didn't make it all of the way up to Kings Canyon, but it was still a beautiful drive. Sometime this week, I'll be buying chains for the car. While they weren't required, I started to lose traction at times... and I still had a way to go. I just turned around and headed back.
Shopping frustrations aside, it was a great day.
It can now be Christmas.
December 16, 2007
With all of the car trouble I've been having (hopefully, I'm finished with it), I've been looking at newer cars. The repairs done should last for another five to six years, so it's not an immediate thing. But in the meantime, I'll keep making "car payments" into my savings account... for that "just in case" scenario... and looking at new possibilities.
More than likely, I'll end up getting a Jeep or pickup truck. But there's been some others that have caught my interest, if only for a little while.
Let me start out by saying that I've got no problem with sleeping while I'm driving. And by that, I mean that I do it easily, and I do it well. All of the time... on the bike, even. Not cool, I know. But then again, it is pretty cool to wake up and see that you're only a couple of blocks from home.
Anyway, I saw that Mercedes is working on an "Attention Assist" system for their vehicles. It's supposed to go into production for 2009, so I was thinking, "Hey, I could buy a used one in a few years!" Probably still couldn't afford it, but still... it was a nice thought.
Until I read this:
The system records the angle of the steering wheel, speed, acceleration, the use of indicators and pedals, as well as external factors such as a side wind or an uneven road surface. If changes occur within the established parameters of the individual's driving behavior (with steering behavior having proved a particularly telling indicator according to Mercedes) a warning sounds and an alert symbol appears in the instrument cluster so the driver knows it's time for a break."With steering behavior having proved a particularly telling indicator"?
Relying on steering may not be a good thing... not with the distances I've driven safely and unconscious. Nope. Not the car for me. I think the only thing that may set the alarm off for me would be the use (or lack) of indicator lights. And who knows? I may even signal in my sleep.
There is one person that immediately came to mind when I read this. But I won't name names. Really. I'm not like that.
December 15, 2007
Clickin' My Boots
Next week, at this time, I will either be in Beloit, Wisconsin, or standing/sitting/crouching in an airport due to weather conditions. Hopefully, it's the former.
Home for a week. 'Twill be cool...
Most time is going to be spent with family. However, one day, Contagion, and I have to go to Hooter's. And Carlyle Brewing company. And Fritz's.
Another day, and I'm shooting for Thursday, the 27th, I'd like to hit Klas. If you're in the area, and would like to hook up, drop a comment. I'd like to get down there for supper.
Friday, I'd like to put in a double shift at Fritz's. Gotta spend some time with the pallies, you know.
I know I'll be seeing a few of ya, I just don't know when... but we'll figure it out.
Gott, it'll be good to be home...
December 13, 2007
I like Christmas cards. It may be one of the few times that I hear from someone, but it's cool... like they're checking in. Even those cards that contain the "generic" letters that folks bitch about. Sure, some of it can sound hokey, but I still appreciate hearing about what's going on. For the most part, that is... I really don't want to hear about hemorrhoid removal or anything like that. Unless it's a record size hemorrhoid, and it bled alot.
Perhaps my favorite part about getting cards is the way they are addressed. Today, I got two that had me laughing out loud while walking down the sidewalk...
My cousin had asked me to send her my new address. Well you can't send an address without a name, and she mailed it just as I sent it to her: "Lord God (Legal and Official Surname of me)"
The other one said: "Joe 'Costa Rica' (Legal and Official Surname of me)" To you, that probably means nothing, but it is a reference to "one of those people," a psycho that came in to Fritz's one day at lunch, and I had the great fortune of sitting next to him. A very interesting character. He was there with a deaf/mute, and every time the dude would turn to talk to me, the deaf guy would gesture wildly that the guy was loco.
In the course of our pleasant conversation, which consisted mainly of me talking him down from trying to attack the woman who innocently bumped him and the bartender who wouldn't serve him (but was smart enough not to tell him that), I was told how he killed nine peeps in Costa Rica. I barely kept a straight face...
I did better that day, than today. I laughed like an idiot all the way back to the apartment.
Perhaps you would have needed to be here...
November 29, 2007
Can't sleep. And to make things worse, I'm tired as hell. Eyes burning. My mind just won't shut off...
Yesterday wasn't a bad day, overall, but it sure as hell wasn't one of the better ones.
Car developed a head gasket leak. While it wasn't anything major, it did need to be fixed, and as soon as possible. I was babying the car in an effort to keep it from needing work before I could afford it. Didn't work out that way...
Take it to a shop, and it will easily cost you a grand, if not half again as much. I don't have that kind of ching. The move out here cleaned out the last of my savings, which wasn't much to begin with, and that was with the company paying for the move. Since I started working again, I've been trying to build up a cushion for when things like this happen. Mr. Murphy refuses to cooperate and let the cushion actually exist. Bastard.
A guy that I work with was able to hook me up with his neighbor, who is a shop mechanic. The guy will be able to do the work for cheap... a little over half of what it would cost in the shop. That's still more than I have available, but is in the range of affordable... if that makes sense.
I know, some of you may be thinking, "Dude, you'd be better off going to a shop who guarantees their work. Pay the extra money." Hell, I was kinda thinking the same thing. But the thing is, I don't have the extra money to pay, nor the time to acquire said money. Honestly, that is. (We had overtime scheduled for Saturday, which was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but after the car screwed up, OT was dropped. Imagine that.) And once I met this guy, I felt a lot better.
My bro is a mech for Harley, and he does bike work for family and close friends out of his garage. His work is also his hobby, and a matter of pride. Serious pride.
This guy is the same way. Not to mention, as he says, he knows he needs to do a good job when working out of his house... because if someone has a problem, they know where he lives!
Anyway, being a natural born worrier, this has since been rolling over in my mind. Crap like this does little to encourage me, and if Mr. Murphy was an actual person, I would be plotting revenge. I don't think a beating would actually help anything, because he would know who I was, but to strike from a distance... yeah... that'd be the ticket.
Well, I suppose I should try to get some sleep... I've gotta be up in an hour and a half to catch a ride to work.
November 23, 2007
Digging through some of the boxes from the move, I came across my photo albums. Nothing special... mostly stuff from when I was about twelve, jumping to high school, then jumping to Marine Corps, and mid to late thirties. There's been a few changes, methinks.
Anyway, I found a pic that a buddy had sent to me, and I couldn't help but grin.
He'd been in our sister series going through bootcamp, and then once we got into SOI, we were in the same platoon... mortars. 0341. He was a Reservist, and I hassled him nonstop about being a part time Marine. I can't write most of the crap that I called him... at least not here... but that's what friends are for, right?
So I found this pic, and this is what he had written on the back of it.
I had to send this picture, I was showing it to some friends at work, then someone asked "How come you're smiling, and he looks so sad?" Then I suddenly replied, "OORAH Reservists!!"
November 05, 2007
It has been said that I'm a bit mule headed. I don't agree. Not at all.
I do admit, there are the rare instances when I refuse to bend, but most times, I'm as easy going as they get. Really. I did have a small bout with a flare up of stubbornosity today, though.
I had to pick up some packages from UPS. One was merely awkward, and two were kinda awkward, and "heavy," according to the woman behind the counter. She went and got a guy to help me.
So I get the stuff out to the vehicle, and the guy looks at me, and tells me, "You're a pretty big guy, but you'll probably need some help with those. They're heavy." I guess the look I shot him, which was merely a friendly "I'm sorry... I didn't hear you very well, my friend. It's heavy, you say" look, sent him away, because he stepped back and shut up. Lord knows, that's not what I was trying to do. I just wanted to make sure that he really doubted my capabilities in picking up these boxes.
So I brace myself for the worst, grab a hold of the first box, and heave. I damn near hit myself in the face with it. "That box weighs 100 pounds..."
A hundred pounds? I look like I need help picking up 100 pounds? Me, who was carrying three 50 lb bags of feed on his shoulders when he was 14? Who used to lift four hundred pound roll heads from the floor to a table top?
A touch of crabbiness almost overtook me. But, being the incredibly easy going guy that I am, I merely smiled, and tossed those boxes all over the place, taking care to show the nice man that 100 lbs is really not that much.
Perhaps, I went a bit overboard.
I'm about to remind myself how a nice, hot shower relieves a tightening back...
October 13, 2007
Just finished a couple of breakfast burritos. Eggs, peppers, salsa, and mexican cheese. Damn easy, and mighty tasty... but they could have been even better. Real eggs, yo (lk). Real eggs.
Since I've moved out here, I've dropped a pound or two. I was 281 when I got here, and as of de mornin, I am 261. I figure once I get to 240, I'll be a frickin' twig, but that's what I hope to eventually reach. That's probably going to take awhile. The first thirteen pounds fell off... the last seven were slow but sure.
It's not like I'm not eating, or am trying to drop weight like crazy. I've just been drinking more water, painfully less amounts of beer, and I've been watching what I eat... actually trying to eat healthier. I've even gone so far as to purchase egg whites instead of eggs. Never again.
It's not that they taste bad, or anything like that. They don't have any taste, PERIOD! Eggs need yolks, folks. Once these egg whites are gone, or go bad, I'm back to eggs. Real eggs. Tasty eggs.
Good gott. I've gone nowhere near what this post was supposed to be about. I guess I can easily get sidetracked. Like the time I drove right by my own driveway... because the neighbour's friend, who was wearing daisy dukes, was bent over their flower garden. Missed my driveway by two lots...
Anyway, I noticed, on the back of the AllWhites carton, a recipe for a protien drink: Combine 1/3 cup egg whites, 6-8 oz of orange, pineapple, or apple juice and shake or mix in blender. To thicken, add strawberries, bananas, and/or icecubes. Sounded a little familiar... and now it's accepted.
When I was a wee toddy, we lived on a farm. And once we left there, we were on a farmette. It wasn't until two years after I grajimucated that we moved to town.
Every morning, we had chores to do before heading off to school. Animals being animals, you couldn't just set aside, say, fifteen minutes for chores. Sometimes, it took less, and other times it took nearly double. We had some pretty hurried breakfasts, including large coolwhip bowls of cereal that were eaten in the car on the way to school. Out of this rush, my ma came up with an easy fix. Now, I'm not saying that she is the inventor of this breakfast, just that she hooked us up with it. Took only a minute to put together, and you could drink it out of a glass. (Trying to drink the leftover milk out of a bowl as you're going over hills and around curves is a bit of a project.)
In a blender, we'd mix two or three eggs, about 12 oz milk, and four spoonfuls of Nestle's Quik. (Over the years, I've decided Hershey's syrup is more gooder.) Blend and drink. Soon, we were experimenting... sugar and vanilla extract, a capfull of peppermint extract with the chocolate, almond extract, and even orange. Yeah... a couple were not so very good, but hey... it was breakfast, and it worked well for us.
We told friends about it, and the reactions we got were classic. Near vomiting, shudders, looks of concern... not too many of them were willing to give it a try. Salmonella poisoning a concern. Yeah... they'd have shit if they knew that we were using goat's milk, too. Unprocessed goat's milk.
So I'm sitting there looking at the back of this carton, and I'm wondering, "WTF?" Then I saw it... pastuerized. Ah, yes. That makes it good, and good for you.
I'm sorry folks, but the best milk I've ever had came straight from the cooler in the milk house. The best beer, untouched by this vile pastuerization process. Eggs? Straight out of the hen house...
You only live once. And you only die once. Live until you die.
So back to the point of this post, what were some of your quick fixes for breaking fast?
September 23, 2007
I was up bright and early this morning... 5:30 to be exact. I did some laundry across the street, and then watched the sun rise over the tree tops. Not as impressive as the view from work, where we get to watch the sun creep it's way over the mountains, casting their shadows into the sky, it was beautiful nonetheless.
Anyway... I was probably the only one out and about in the complex. Save for the security dude. I spied his car parked over by the offices... he, staring and watching me, and I, returning the favor.
And then, I had a thought pop into my head. Yes... it's an annual event, and the timing coincided with today.
Long, long ago, at a church camp far, far away...
The Perfect One and I... hell... it may have been all four of us kids... anyway, we attended what we knew was probably going to be our last camp. For years, our family had spent many weeks at the United Pentecostal Church campgrounds in Shawano, Wisconsin. We attended Family camps, Ma cooked for Junior camps (with us kids helping... and stealing all of the best cookies that each church sent), and we kiddies attended Youth camps. Youth camp, or Senior camp, was for any singles, from teens to twenties. Once most hit eighteen, they either stopped going or became counselors.
This year was going to be our last, and while we'd been asked to be staff, we had passed. Why be responsible when you can screw off? Besides, we'd talked with some of the Youth pastors who were going to be staff, and they were going to let us run wild on the second to last night; however, if they caught you, you'd spend a couple of hours the next day policing the campgrounds. It was their way of a good final cleanup.
During the week, we talked with one of the pastors from Eau Claire, and he got to talking about some of the places that they used to run and hide out from the "guards", night security, when he was a youngster. We payed close attention, and then filed those places in our "do not go there" file.
The head of security was from Madison, and a pretty decent guy. He felt pretty confident that no one would be able to keep from being caught by his crew. He said that a couple of them had nvg's (night vision goggles). I don't know if they did or not. I do know that he, himself, was a sneaky bastard. He could sneak up on you without you having a clue. It came about that he asked us if we were going sneak out that night, and The Perfect One and I just grinned at him. Then we told him that if we were stupid enough to sneak out, we'd grab something from the other side of the girls dorms, across the campground, to prove that we were there. He smiled and accepted the challenge.
The night of the Great Escape, TPO and I got ready for bed. Security man John came around to check on everyone, reminded us that whoever got caught had police duty, and then called for lights out. Within five minutes of his walking out the door, guys started to sneak out. TPO and I, along with another friend of ours, changed into our BDU's (cammies) and climbed into our beds.
It wasn't long, and guys started showing up in the dorm, caught. John had gone out and snuck through the cornfield alongside the dorms to get to the backside of the building. That is the best place to sneak out, as there are no lights back there. He stood there in the dark and took names as he caught those trying to sneak out. A few of them took off before he could figure out who they were, so the great hunt was on.
A couple of times, he would come in and would do a bed check. Each time, he'd stop by and talk to my brother and myself. We could tell that he was trying to figure out if he was going to have to hunt us or not. While hanging in the dorm (waiting to catch sneaks), he spotted one of the guys heading for the camp kitchen, and he lit out. We hopped out of our beds, stuffed them, and were off.
We were out the door like a cannon shot, with one of our friends, who'd been caught already, holding the door so it wouldn't slam. It was a short sprint to the cornfield, and then we were alone.
Crossing through the cornfield, we made our way to the campground perimeter. We moved slowly and steadily, never swatting at the hundreds, more like thousands, of skameetos that were sucking the blood out of us. Once, we had two of the guards stop within twenty feet of us. TPO and I were caught out on the edge of the treeline, so we pulled off our cammie covers and held them over our faces, hardly daring to breathe when their flashlight beams swept past us. After a few minutes of small talk, they took off. We couldn't believe our luck.
It took us over an hour to work our way across the campground, but finally we reached the ball diamond. It was located right behind the girls dorms, and we could see the guards hanging out around the dorms. (Heheheh... there were hardly any girls that were willing to make their way out, but they knew that most of the guys would be heading for the ladies' dorms.) Around the diamond, there were the bases, and an equipment bag full of bats, balls, and gloves. I grabbed the gear, and the other two grabbed the bases. This is where we split up.
Getting to this spot had taken a long time. We'd lost blood to vicious insects, and we were soaked from low crawling to the diamond... a good part of that was through an alfalfa field that had been baled only weeks before. It provided decent cover, but it also held all of the dew. Our buddy Jeff decided he wanted no part of the return trip, figuring that he could take a path (a regular path) through the woods, and from there, cutting through the cornfield that let around to the guys dorms. This was one of the spots that the youth pastor had told us about. I tried to warn him, but he was off.
TPO and I grabbed up our loot, and low crawled back through the alfalfa. We actually left the campgrounds, a no-no, crossed the road, and booked back in a big arc through some farmer's hay fields. I mean we ran... we were tired and wanted to get back to the dorms to get some sleep. Leaving the campground like we did, we were able to lose noise discipline without fear of getting caught. The hang up was that we got stuck in the cornfield behind the dorms.
John Security guy was camped out in our dorm, waiting for us. We were lying there in the mud and the skeeters watching his silhouette through the windows. Thank Gott that the lights from out front gave him away. As it was, we didn't think he was ever going to leave. He kept walking to the back door, looking out at the field, and then making his way to the front door where he would stand to the side in hopes of catching us. Finally, he left. As soon as he walked out the front door, our buddy who had held the door for us popped it open and hissed for us to come in. I guess we weren't as quiet as we had thought we were, though John didn't hear us.
Turned out, Jeff had gotten caught almost immediately after leaving us. As a matter of fact, TPO and I were the only ones who did not get caught. We set our bags of loot beside our racks, and went to sleep.
John was laughing about it the next day. He had walked into the room after we had taken off, and was talking to my rack, thinking that I was still in there. He was initially pissed, but he had gotten a huge kick out of our lugging all of that stuff back to the dorm. While he wanted to know how we did it, we never told.
Seeing the apartments' security guy today, I had the sudden urge to sneak back through the complex and jack with him. Toss a few rocks at him or something... I don't know if it was his car that I saw later, or not, but I was glad I didn't opt to do it.
Seeing the words "Armed Response" kinda takes it out of you...
September 17, 2007
About an hour north lies this shithole. Bet you don't want to go...
September 14, 2007
During a conversation today, I was reminded of one of the many posts that I write, but fail to finish and post. I figure it needs to be posted anyway...
I've posted about my pa... pics, some stories, some clues for you to figure out the obvious: I think the world of him. While I've posted about my ma a couple of times, it's been nothing like my postings about my dad. Hardly seems fair...
It's not like I don't love my ma. Not at all. The cold truth is that she's still here. We tend to forget to mention how much folks mean to us until they're gone. 'Leastways, I do. I can be rather piss poor about doing so.
Ma raised four young kids all by herself. At first, there was a farm to run, too, but she handled it. I personally think she did a kickass job with raising us, and I know I've mentioned it before, but many of our friends' parents thought so, too. We weren't angels, but we were decent kids... and not phonies.
One of the things I loved about my ma is that she never thought, "Oh, my kids wouldn't do that." Even if we wouldn't. We got talked to, and she decided if we were up to something or not. Hell... we didn't lie to her too often. It's much better to keep one's backside where it belongs, and not wrapped up around one's ears.
We didn't have much, at times, eating plenty of rice as filler and desserts. She stretched what we had to last through some very tough times, all the while, never letting us know how bad shit was. And while things have only recently gotten better for her, she was always quick to offer help, physical and fiscal, if we ever needed it. We didn't even need to ask, and she was there.
This move to Fresno hasn't set well with her. She's happy for me, while wishing that I'd have stayed near to home. Cool thing is, she came out here with me on both trips... the scouting for apartments, and the final move. We had a pretty decent time. Cut that... we had a hell of a good time. Ma even drank with me, this past Saturday. That's something that you won't see very often.
We went out to Target this past weekend, and she was all in her element; "Oh, you'll need this, and you should have one of these... and you'll definitely need some of these." She hooked me up with plenty of gear, and I could tell that she was glad to do it. A mom thing, I guess.
Anyways, she and my aunt just left here, heading back to their hotel. Tomorrow, while I'm starting my new job, they'll be heading back home. Before they left here, I got a big hug from them both... Ma hanging on for quite awhile. As she backed away, she wouldn't look at me, and I knew she was crying. She finally managed a half turn as she walked out the door, and let me know that she'd be back out.
Funny, but I don't remember swallowing that rock that seems to be stuck in my throat...
September 13, 2007
As is obvious, the great plan to catch up is working with fail.
I'm still settling in, though I've got the main rooms taken care of... kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom all look good. Really, that's about all you need, right? This office is going to suck... it's where I've got all of the extra shit. Even paring it down, I've got too damn much. Gotta get it done soon, though, 'cause some friends from Winchester are going to be coming through in a couple of weeks. It'll be good to see them... haven't seen them in many moons.
I'm thinking that some help would be good. As a matter of fact, some help is greatly desired...
September 10, 2007
The Four Groomsmen
Things usually work out the way they should, though not always desired. One cool thing, with all of the hype about my bloodpressure (get it? Hahahaha! Hype... as in Hypertension??? Bwahahahaha!!!), was that I was able to be at home for my brother's, The Perfect One, wedding.
Seen here are (left to right) Juice, R, myself, and Ye Olde Perfect One.
More pics later.
September 09, 2007
HAHAHAH! I've got internet... finally!!! I've not been totally without, as I've stolen bandwidth when I've had the chance, but whoever I stole from seemed to be on top of things... they kept shutting me down. I guess I deserved it, but it still makes them assholes. In my book. Up to a point. Well... not necessarily.
So I'm here, sitting in Fresno. For the most part, settled in, though there are quite a few boxes piled up. As a famous procrastinator once said, "I'll take care of it later." The job is going so-so. Hey, it's a job... it's not supposed to be a damn party. A fact that I've forgotten in my two years away from the ranks of the
zombies employed. Yes, I worked for my aunt, but it's not quite the same. That was a personal thing.
Packing up for this move, the best description is "clusterfuck." Seriously.
Long ago, I had to move an uncle. When we got to his apartment, we discovered that not a damn thing had been packed. Nothing. Dirty dishes still in the sink. Laundry clean but not put away. I vowed that I would never, EVER, put anyone through the same thing. While not nearly the same, it felt just as fucked up to me.
Thanks be to the gods that I had Jerry and Tammi, as well as my Ma and sis come out to help. Not to mention my bro hauling off my bike. You guys all rule. I don't really know what you rule, but you do, nonetheless.
The trip out here was relatively uneventful. As my aunt describes it, "sitting, eating, sitting, eating, sitting, eating, sleeping." There was some pretty awesome scenery, and I did take pics, but they are on my laptop, and will be uploaded at a later date. I tried to take some video while I was driving, but that came out about as well as... constipation.
Again, once we arrived, we headed for Yosemite. Got a few pics from there, as well, but they are also on the laptop. 'Twas the first time there for my aunt, and she almost sounded like she had a serious problem with all of the "Oh"s she kept yelling. I got a book of day hikes in Yosemite... now all I need is an annual pass, and a book for the Sequoias and Kings Canyon.
Anyway... just letting you folks know that I'm here and looking forward to getting back in touch with you all.
Peace out, peeps.
September 05, 2007
... good morning, gentle rubberneckers..... Eric of Straight White Guy here......
.... I got a call from T1G yesterday and he asked that I throw up a few lines to tell y'all how he is doing..... in short, he is doing just fine......
…. as a matter of fact, California must be agreeing with him since I could barely make out his soft, dulcet tones through the cacophony of crunchy granola bars being gnawed upon & Pet Shop Boys blaring in the background.... oh, and he said something about work being "hard" and his shoulders "being sore" and something about how we need socialized medicine STAT!....
…. But yes, to answer y’all’s questions, he is doing well….. and I wish him nothing but continued success in this new adventure of his….. I know that his family and friends back home will be missing him greatly – just as he is missing all of them…. And just as we bloggy-friends are missing him too….
… so for those of you wishing for news, there you are…. he is there and doing well…. enjoying his new apartment… working hard…. And thinking of his friends and family during his down-time….
… I’m off to the airport myself now… and if I hear any more news of T1G, I will be sure to let everyone know…. until then, good luck, Joe!....
August 20, 2007
Once More, Home
Well... Zog back. Zog found cave. Zog happy.
Took my ma for a ride out to Fresno. Beautiful country, it was. Driving through Utah, near Capitol (Capital... both spellings are there) Reef, we got to see one of the most incredible sights that I've ever been privileged to see. And I had no camera...
From many miles off, we could see a ridgeline. Immediately above, there was a severe thunderstorm, and you could see the sheets of water hammering down on the rock. Where the storm cloud ended, there was clear sky, and the sun shone down just behind, causing the ridge to glow. It looked as if it were made of obsidian at one glance, and gold the next. Awesome.
The hunt for housing went okay. Didn't know if it was going to work out, but we ran into a little goddess named Athena, and she helped everything come about. There was no immediate openings in the complex she manages, but she called four others and tracked down some good deals for me. I ended up signing with one of the places she referred.
There are some very clever management companies out there... the very first place we checked out was managed by a Salma Hayek look a like. Hell... she may have even looked better. I felt a bit rude tripping over my tongue, but it couldn't be helped. She mentioned that there was a one month waiting list (for the apartments), and then mentioned that she lived in the complex, too. Who the hell wouldn't want to live there? Alas, it was not meant to be... but the image of her walking up the stairs with her perfect legs disappearing under her short, tight, black skirt.... mmmmmmm... it's forever etched into my mind.
After the cave was found and claimed, we ran up to Yosemite... a place that I will frequent. Mother of Gott... it's beautiful. Again, I was wishing that I had a soul stealing device. We only made it to Mariposa Grove, and then Glacier Point, but then again, there's no way that you could enjoy this whole park in a single day, or even a weekend. Gives a man goosebumps to see such scenery...
Ma had never been to the Canyon Grande, so on our way back, we made a small detour to hit the South Rim. Another breathtaking stop... and it's only a little over ten hours away from Fresno...
We had noticed that there was a little bit of rain going on back home. As a matter of fact, most of the past two days were spent driving through storms. Saturday, we had to stop in Elk City, OK, because the rains, and my eyelids, got pretty heavy. Probably a good thing we stopped... ditches were flooded, and there were quite a few cars that were down there keeping the water company.
Got up this morning, and I helped ma with a few projects outside. I noticed animals going by in pairs, heading down towards Turtle Creek, where a large wooden boat was moored. From what I understand, most of this is about done (yeah, right) and tomorrow and the following days will greet us with high temps and high humidity. And to think that I thought I had escaped Florida...
Now... I'm home, with a million things to do. Should be heading out next Wednesday.
And this time, I'll bring a picture taker.
August 13, 2007
Thanks to all of you for the all of the prayers, salt tossing, chicken sacrificing, and kitten stompage...
Had a job opportunity come up that sounded better than the Cali job, and I'd had an interview on Thursday. Things went well, but there were over 50 of us applying for six jobs. Me no get one.
All's cool, though... it may not have turned out the way that I'd hoped, but it did turn out the way that I wanted. Huh? Yeah.
I'm off to find a cave in the San Joaquin valley. See ya in a couple of days.
August 02, 2007
So's You Know
It has been brought to my attention that I suck at keeping folks up to date. Um... I've been telling you folks that for a long time now. I do that with everyone... family included. Not sure why I do that, but thanks for reminding me...
Anyways, here's a quick update:
California. I've taken the job, but had to go in to Chicago for a physical and drug test. Drug test went off without a hitch. Physical? Not so lucky. As most of you may have picked up on, I am "this guy" who has high blood pressure. I was told by Dr. Osama that I needed to see my physician, get my blood pressure under control, and then report back to him. He would not approve the physical until we had everything stabilized. The physical was on Monday... all's clear.
Talked with future boss man. I should be out in Fresno by the end of the month. That is unless I hear from another opportunity closer to home. Better money, better benies, less moving. Doubt that I'll hear anything from them...
Brother is getting married this weekend. May have some pics. I also may not. You'll see, either way.
On my writing in metaphors:
It's something I do. I don't like looking down at what I've written, and noticing that I have written "I" a million times. I'll then rewrite my post in metaphors so that I do not irritate you as much as I irritate me.
Still single. Not married. No wedding was in the works. Nothing. The partner referred to was job related.
That's pretty much it. I shall get back to leaving you folks in the dark.
July 18, 2007
Each night this week, the gods have waged battle upon one another, o'er the valley known as Stillman. Their steeds' hooves pounding across the skies, the sparks and flashes of their axes and swords as they collide, and the torrents of tears and sweat raining down upon this humble town. Currently, we are under a flash flood warning, thanks to these bastards.
Why doth my kinfolk do battle? I'm beginning to think that it's over me and my doctor's blasphemy. Doc sayeth unto me, "One beer a day. Maybe two, but no more." I nearly smote the heretic right there and then. But he was merely doing his job. I s'pose that some of the gods are actually upset with me, for going along with what the ancient medicine man said. That in itself could be considered a form of heresy.
No beer = grrrrrr...
July 11, 2007
Many moons ago, there was a really nice guy, named T1G. T1G was known for minding his own damn business, and rarely agitating or annoying others. T1G was... well, he just was. You know... kinda like Gott just was. Only not that old.
Anyway, one day T1G happened to notice that someone was not very nice to him... not very nice at all. T1G, being the hella nice guy that he was, let it roll offa his back. Soon, others joined in, but T1G maintained his dignity and poise.
Then, one day, he walked into a local establishment to find a certain picture hanging upon the wall. While not happy, he let it roll, once again. That's was nice fuckin' guys do...
The picture has served as the amusement for many of the bar's patrons and visitors. Not to mention the bartender who constantly sends women down to T1G's corner to ask for autographs. T1G just gritted his teeth and bore it. "Hey, at least most of them were good looking."
Monday, T1G made his way down to his bar to celebrate his birthday, meeting up with Contagion and his brewtiful wife, Ktreva, and some local friends. As he walked into the bar, he stopped in stunned silence. For at each place setting, each bar stool, there was a place mat... with the same image. "Happy 40th Birthday!"
T1G shall remember all of those involved in this story. Especially the one who started the whole damned thing.
No more Mr. Cool, Calm and Poised...
June 28, 2007
Ran over to the cousin's house last night. His wife was getting back from a three week business trip to Germany, so we all got together to welcome her. Sounds like she had a pretty decent time, but I was really only concerned about one part of her trip.
While there, she was able to hook up with one of my cousins, who moved over there, and get a chance to meet some of my family.
I may have written about it before, but I'll mention it anyway: I'm second generation American, and there are many family members still over there. I've only had the opportunity to meet one of them, a second cousin, and he seemed pretty cool. So I'm pretty interested to know a bit more about these folks.
When there was a bit of a lull, I asked her how it was to meet the family. She gave me a serious look (she was dead serious), rolled her eyes, and said, "They're fucking strange! It was so weird... talking to them was like trying to talk to you ("you" referring to my two brothers and myself). They're all sarcastic smart asses!"
June 25, 2007
What is the thought behind some of my postings?
For many of them, it's nothing more than this.
June 13, 2007
For those asking... a counter has been made.
June 10, 2007
Ho Ho Ho... Merry Sunday, folks! I woke up with the shakes and a major league sunburn, but I'm feeling pretty gottdamned good... I was able to get out and ride over to the mighty Mississippi, yesterday.
Didn't mean to leave you all hanging for that long, but it couldn't be helped. I got my "news" just before I had to run out the door to assist Contagion in yet another beer overstock and buffalo shrimp takedown. And of course, yesterday, I was out on the road. But I'm here now, so I'll tell you... I finally got the job offer. I'm in the midst of figuring out if it's worthwhile or not...
'Twas a strange ride. I went out for the interview the week before Memorial Day, and everything went very smoothly. I interviewed with six separate folks, and I know I did well with each of them... well, the only possible hurt that I tossed at myself was dropping the "f-bomb" once. Hey... that's actually pretty fuckin' good. Anyway, the trip went very well, and I was told that I should hear back from them, and very soon.
Great company, I loved the set up that they had. They had a real team atmosphere, and it wasn't just a show thing. It's the way that they function, and you could tell it from talking to all of them. I was very impressed, and (without trying to sound like a braggart) I knew that I was a hit with them.
Back here, I heard nothing. At all. I'd sent out the application and a list of references, and was greeted by silence. I finally did get an email with some of the info that I had requested, but nothing about the job. I finally figured, "Screw it," and sent a copy of my resume to a friend who works with an employment agency.
That was Friday morning... three hours before I got the offer from Fresno. I guess it can pay to goad Mr. Murphy, a bit.
Now, I've got some figuring to do...
April 29, 2007
Damn. I thought that once I got home, I'd have more time. It hasn't seemed to be working out that way.
Oh, yeah... I've had a couple of trips to Fritz's that I could have put off, but that doesn't really count for that much, timewise. Well... with an exception or two. But that's something else, entirely.
No, I'm falling further and further behind in blog reading and emails. I've finally gotten around to fixing a couple of busted links on my side bar, as well as adding a couple... I know there's more that I should be adding (I've had a few new visitors, and found that I was on their blog rolls... I'd like to reciprocate.) If you see I don't have you linked, and you've linked me, let me know. I'll try to fix that in the coming week.
I've got to stop getting distracted by all of the little things and devote some time to catching up, but that's easier said than done. Fer instance, yesterday would have been a great day to catch up... if I hadn't run out to meet Richmond, Raging Mom, Tammi, and Harvey at Hooters.
Yeah. You're right if you're thinking that usually Contagion is the one who hits that fine establishment with me. But since I've been in Florida, he'll have nothing to do with me. He made up some bullshit excuse about a re-enactment.
Anyway, it was a very good time, though I did get to see how selfish these folks can be... Tammi and Richmond knocked Richmond's youngest down and stole her carmel cheesecake, and Harvey just kept talking on and on and on about hitting it big with his I am Huff Po piece. Hardly anyone else was able to get a word in edgewise. Not that Raging Mom was trying... she just sat there giving me this big smirk. She knows that I owe her big for a certain picture that made it's way up on the wall at Fritz's.
One thing brought up was Harvey's latest portrait in his side bar. No offense to Chris Muir, but the old, blockhead looking pic was much more true to life than Chris' flattering masterpiece. Chris must be a saint, taking that much time to try and make Harvey look almost normal.
We feasted mightily upon buffalo shrimp, buffalo chicken strips, and curly fries, washing it down with pitchers of Amber Bock. And when it was all done, and Harvey and I had seen how violently Richmond and Tammi had assaulted the young girl... over a cheese cake, for cryin' out loud... we ordered our own. Alas... no beatings were given. They were too damn drunk to move by then...
'Twas great hanging with them. All of them. (Even if vengeance is on the way for two of them.) And I'm looking forward to the next get together.
* Note to news agencies and bloggers: some of these events may not have actually happened. At least not in the way described. That is all.
April 27, 2007
Today, I went back to kindergarten. It was Grandparent's Day, but since my Ma couldn't make it, I was asked to go. I got to sing goof ass songs, color, and dance. Well... I refused to dance. Sticking my ass out and spinning in circles ain't gonna happen.
The nephew made me this:
A beaut, no?
April 21, 2007
Eight days gone from Florida, five days home... it's been great. Though, I am missing my family down there. And judging by the amount of crap that I've gotten done since being home (and there's plenty more to do), I may even be missing the ridiculous hours I worked. But probably not. All insanity aside, it are good to be home.
A week ago today, I was down at the shop for the last time, leaving notes and making sure that I was leaving everything ready, framed by frantically trying to get my taxes finished. (I'd discovered that my state taxes did not need to be postmarked by the 17th, but received by the 16th. Yep. Express Mail.) Today? Taking a break from the tasks I've assigned myself, jamming on some tunes, spazzing because I can't find my Devil Driver or History of Elmore James discs, and trying to visit a few folks' blogs (which is miserable on dial up). Right now, I'm listening to Buzz Osbourne and Fantomas play an incredibly heavy version of the theme for Rosemary's Baby... damn, it's so much better than hearing the daily doses of Van Morrison or Dylan. Or Joplin. And that's not Scott Joplin.
Other than having to cut it short, it was a good trip home. I mentioned being able to hook up with AW's husband, and the following evening I did manage to hook up with Zonker... as well as Denny, Elisson, Richard, and RSM. Sissy, whose idea it was for us all to meet at The Five Seasons, was not able to make it... headache. (If I only had a dime ...) There was the usual minimal consuming of fermented beverages, and bullshitting. Always a good crowd to hook up with, I fear it may be too long before I'm able to do it again. I'm glad as hell that they were able to come out and play...
Monday saw me stopping by Eric's place to pick up the three Smith sisters. I was able to visit for awhile, but not nearly as long as I would have liked, and then had to head out, Jerry's place being the goal for the day. I will say, the three girls seemed to be a bit reluctant to leave Eric. They were worried that I wouldn't oil them up the same way he did. Many thanks to my bro for keeping them whilst I was gone.
That evening, I did make it to Jerry's. By then, the car had settled down a bit. I don't know if that's a bad sign, or good. Either way, she's going to see the doctor this coming week.
Anyway, I crashed at Jerry's that night, and the following morning, we ran over to his folks' house for breakfast. Very nice folks, his father is a real character... plenty of stories. His mother was pretty quiet, but that's because I think it's pretty much impossible to get a word in edgewise when he's wound up. I enjoyed the visit. If you get the chance, you've got to visit Jerry and his family. I don't think he'll ever suffer beal with all of that blogfodder...
Tuesday, I rolled into Stillman at 3, unpacked the car, and was seated in Fritz's by 3:15. I'd planned on staying for only a couple of hours, but eight hours later, I'd decided that that just wasn't going to be possible.
Ah... home, sweet home.
April 01, 2007
A Lame Rant
From The Linear One:
… his tricycle was one of those that had the pedals welded to the front wheel…. remember those?..... every time the wheel turns the pedals move too….. yeah….Funny how reading something like this can get you to smile and piss you off within seconds of each other. Not that Eric is the one who pissed me off, but still... his words started the ball rolling. Words can be powerful...
I don't do "stream of consciousness" blogging. I enjoy reading others who do, but if I did it, other than when I've been drinking, readers would be hunting for dramamine.
We had two of those trikes. One was a bright candy apple red, and the other, older and smaller, a dull royal blue. Heheheh... once we outgrew that blue trike, we still rode the thing. 'Twas better for ripping down through the barnyard than the other, taller, tricycle. That tall one would have you high-siding in a heartbeat, and it was the cause of many skinned appendages. The blue one? Mostly bashed in shins. But battered shins are more tolerable than having the metallic beast you're riding fling you head over tail down the 'yard.
I got my ass beat for riding that blue one on cement that I thought was dry. I'd been told to stay off, but it was a perfect ramp, at the top of the sloping barnyard, and I couldn't wait to test it out. I rode up a couple of feet, and determined that my father didn't know what he was talking about. So I got my little legs pumping the pedals, and started up the ramp... and promptly got stuck. I did manage to back out, but my father saw the tracks and got me anyway. Those tracks are still there today. As are some names...
Those names are carefully carved in the cement, by the first post, facing east, on the southern side of our old steer barn. They were put there by us kids, and the crew that worked on the barn. Four kids' names, carved in the concrete, just out of the reach of hooves.
Our steer barn was in dire need of repair. It had a limestone foundation, and wooden top half. Pa hired a crew to come in, tear down the limestone and put up concrete, put in a concrete floor, and put up metal siding and roofing. It was impressive seeing the upper part of the barn floating over space while the limestone was being hauled away. While I can't remember all of their names, it's a crew that I won't forget. We spent a lot of time out there, bugging them, and they spent much time talking to us, teasing us, and showing us what they did (though we weren't allowed to be in their way when they were in the middle of work... we went out there at lunchtime and cleanup). The Perfect One picked up the nickname "Ernie," a moniker that is with him to this day. We were told to call one guy, named Dean, "Squatter Dean," and we did. Didn't find out for a couple of years (I was seven or eight at the time) what that was all about.
These guys called us by our names, and then some that weren't. We loved it. Thought it was funny. It's something that we do as adults, now. Unfortunately, it pisses some people off. I don't know what the hell their problem is.
It's not like we're being mean when we do it... yeah, we used to call the mumbling, stuttering neighbor kid "Boomhauer," but if it was so terrible, why'd she keep showing up? We call friends' kids variations of their names, sometimes pissing off their mothers, but why are they so damn happy to see us?
Yesterday, I managed to piss off another woman at the beach. This time, it had nothing to do with referring to dogs as bitches, but calling a little kid by a name not his own. The little man kept running through our area on the beach, playing with my cousin's kid. I didn't know his name, and he would only smile when I asked him. So, since he always was grinning, and he looked a lot like the infamous Sanjaya Malakar (the death knell of American Idol), I started calling him "Sanjaya." Everytime I did it, I got a toothy grin and a giggle.... and he kept coming back so that I'd call him that again. Finally this woman snarls at me, "Is that the only name you know?" Then she implied it was somehow racist. Implying it was racist seemed to be racist in itself, to me. Fuck it... I'm racist. Calling folks names that aren't their own is a racist thing. It's true.
I may call the little ones names that I think are funny, that they think are funny, but it ain't a mean thing. It's an interaction thing. It doesn't bother them, because they know that I'm not being a mean asshole. I'm playing with them, they are having fun. If they don't like it, I won't do it. That, my friends, is why they don't mind...
Which leads me to the whole point of my ramblings... if you don't like the fact that I jack with kids' names, you talk to them. You play with them. You make them feel like they matter to an adult. Get them to smile. Don't leave it to cruel, "racist" bastards like myself.
Or fuck off.
March 29, 2007
Tunes R Back
Things have been... well, they've been. Lots of stuff to blog about, but nothing that I can actually blog. Or that I want to blog. And it's not like being reluctant to write about the tribbles that were left behind on my shower drain when my aunt's ma came down to visit. I know you can take that and run with it... hell, please do. Make me laugh. It's been one of those weeks turning into months.
One of the very few cool things that have recently come about is the arrival of my new car stereo. Months ago, an overly helpful, overly drunken neighbour, decided that my aunt's lawn needed watering. It just so happened that the fuckin' sot watered my stereo, too. Unfortunately, it did not grow at all. Except to short... hahahahah. (My window was down because I was gluing my rear view mirror back on after it melted off, and, Florida being on the fringes of hell, it was too hot for the glue to cure properly unless I vented the car. Thus, open windows, and soaked car.) I haven't had a stereo until today. Since music is one of my outlets and getaways, it's been hell.
This is the new baby, a Panasonic CQ-C8303U. Got a great deal on it, and from what I've read, it sounds like other buyers have loved it, as well. I bought it, as you may be able to guess, from Crutchfield.
Let me say this; In a week of dealing with assholes, and speaking on the phone (a hated past time, anyway) to many more, it was great to deal with these folks. Nice as hell, both on the phone, and in their e-mail communications. I actually enjoyed dealing with them... they treat you like a person should be treated, and then some. I can not recommend them enough. A great product, most excellent customer service, and the instructions were clear and easy to read. Seriously... I think even that Tammi could put in a stereo with their directions. ;) And if she were to try, and have any problems, they give you a number to call for help. I did not need to call, but I can only imagine that they would be as helpful as the others with whom I spoke.
*Raising a pint of Guinness* Cheers to you, Crutchfield! And, Thank You!!!
March 05, 2007
Yesterday, we all packed up and headed out to Plant City, for the Florida Strawberry Festival... kind of a diversion, considering that it was the anniversary of my uncle's death. A festival for strawberries. I didn't really want to go, but I was hounded into it. Turned out not to be so bad, though I still can't see celebrating hairy berries. Other than hitting puberty. And that's kinda personal.
It is a really big thing, this berry festival. You wouldn't believe all of the folks cramming into this little town. The grounds were crammed and pissing me off, and the larger part of the crowd had yet to get there. Martina McBride was playing there that night, and when we left, cars were backed up to I-4. Hate to see some of the other nights... there were some very big names scheduled to play there over the week. All country music, though...
While my aunt hasn't said much, her mother is here, and she can't help but keep talking about finding my uncle dead in his chair. I suppose that's her way of dealing, but it does bug the fuck out of me. I don't really need to hear the events over and over. I'm just glad my aunt hasn't heard any of it.
The date of the exodus has been set... April 14. Joses makes his way out of Florgypt, back to the promised land. Things are cool here, and a little bit tense. Nervous, tense. Not angry, tense. I know that I've done more than many would, but I can't help but feel like I haven't helped enough. I kinda feel like I'm leaving her in the lurch. At least this time, she's got plenty of time to prepare. I just keep hearing the words of our polisher: "If something were to happen to you, we'd be back in the same spot as when Russ died. Have to start all over again. At least we'd know we could do it." I guess there's a bit of comfort in those last words...
Blogging probably will suck for the next month or so. Suck more than usual, that is. I'll be stuck in the shop late each night, so that I can spend a little bit of time on the weekends trying to see folks before I head out for good. Seeing old friends, and hopefully meeting some new. A chance to break away, too.
Peace out, peeps.
March 01, 2007
In A Nutshell
Daytona International Speedway.
Most frickin' excellent seats.
Budweiser Corporate Suite.
Hover over finish line.
Whole track in view.
Invite to party.
One of NASCAR's well known families.
Very well known.
Won 53 bucks on flight.
Suitcase first one on baggage conveyor.
Back to 'sconsin.
Great Wolf Lodge.
Family and fun.
Too damn cool.
Back in oven.
February 13, 2007
This past weekend was one of the very few times that I had a break from our routine. Yeah, I've gone to the beach a few times, and we've hit the bar a couple of times, but it's always sandwiched by working at the shop. Sometime quite literally. Work at the shop, go home get changed, go out, stop at the shop on the way home. It was nice to be away for a bit.
Ran down to St. Pete and hooked up with some friends, then went to Tierra Verde to eat at their family's restaurant... The Good Times Contintental Restaurant. Gott, I love that place! If you're in the St. Pete area and you want some kickass Old World style food, this is the place to go. The first time I was there, I had Steak Au Poivre Vert, a filet in green peppercorn sauce. I can't even begin to describe how excellent that was... but my mouth is watering just thinking about it. This weekend I was tempted to have the same, but I know that you've got to try new things... especially when they all sound so damn good.
This weekend I went with something that may suprise those of you who know me. I ordered Veal Scallops Orloff... veal scallops and shroobies served with a cream sauce over noodles. You want to know how good it was? I ate the mushrooms!!! Yeah. Normally, fungus equals bad, but the flavor was so awesome, I just had to eat everything on the plate. And it's not like they skimp... they serve very generous portions of their dishes. It's just so good that you can't stop eating...
Wash it all down with a few Czech beers, and finish it with apple strudel and ice cream... In a word: Heaven.
Seriously, if you ever get the chance to check out The Good Times Continental Restaurant, do it. I guarantee you'll love it...
Anyway, after eating, we headed back to their place where we played Monopoly until after 1 am. 'Twas a blast. I stayed there for the night, and they served monstrous breakfast burritos in the morning. I didn't want to leave.
All good things come to an end, so I headed back home, stopping by the shop on the way. I got caught up with some chores, fixed a couple of ballasts, and headed on home with a huge grin on my face. It was a much needed break, and I hope to do it again, soon.
February 03, 2007
I dream all of the time, and in past weeks it's gotten ridiculous, but the last couple of nights have been horrid. Especially, last night. Codes, templates, and Fred and Ginger singing "tornaydo, tornahdo, tornaydo, tornahdo, let's call the whole thing off....", I got much not sleep. One thing about these dreams... I'm not getting gutted or killed. I guess that's a plus, but I'm still looking forward to them ending.
You folks that work behind a desk all day, staring into the square sun, have earned my respect. And proved that you are nuts, at the same time.
The past three days have seen me sitting in front of the computer at the shop, trying to get things updated and working properly. We installed a newer version of a program that we already had, and couldn't get it to function. At all. My cousin, who knows a bit about computers, came down on Wednesday to help out.
By some fluke, we managed to get an item posted onto an auction site (we do quite a bit of business through the big E), but when we tried others, no luck. We shot emails back and forth with a tech support guy who now
thinks knows that we are the biggest technotards alive. At day's end, the only progress we had made was the single posting.
Thursday, I started all over again. Turns out, the templates that we were using are becoming obsolete, and we had to convert them all. Of course, I find this out in a rather timely fashion... at the end of the day. My eyes are now bloodshot and burning from staring at the frickin' screen, and my head is pounding from trying to do all of the computer crap and working up a kit and quote for a customer. The calls to my brother for info about the bikes were a very welcome, and much needed, break.
Yesterday, we began day three of the pounding headache, but this time, I made some serious progress. The tech guy gave me a bit of help that finally worked, and I took off from there. I had to ask a couple of questions, but I was able to answer them for myself before he replied. It was with a great sense of accomplishment that I watched the changes we had made come into play. What used to take over an hour to run now takes less than five minutes. I've still got a few changes to make, but I know exactly where and what they are. *knock on wood* Shouldn't be much of a problem at all. Maybe I'll be able to stop dreaming about templates and code.
One thing is certain: I will not be taking a job where I have to deal with computers in any way other than looking up information. I'd end up being a madman...
January 19, 2007
I'm thinking that I've got to start some kind of martial discipline while I'm down here. Something to focus my mind, and pull it away from the daily idiocies. The only problem would be time. I've been heading back to the shop each evening just trying to keep up...
This week, I spent nearly an hour with one customer, over three different phone calls... we went from pricing a full fledged order to providing him with sample pieces so that he could compare us with another company. After polishing parts for him my own personal self (our polisher was busy with another order), he calls and tells us that he's decided not to go with what he asked for. Thankfully, we'd already gotten his order in the mail.
Then my aunt gets a call from a guy looking for his order. He says he ordered it almost two weeks ago, and he hasn't gotten it, yet. Sure enough, he ordered it, we shipped it, and it was received and signed for. My aunt reads back the address, and he says, "That's our old address... we've moved." So how's that our fault? I don't know how she kept from belittling him.
Only a few instances, these are just little things... they start to snowball, and the next thing you know, you're marching around with a clamped jaw, trying not to go off.
Martial art or no, I'm definitely in need of a good heavy metal show...
December 31, 2006
Nephews and neices are awesome, but it had always been a desire of mine to have kids of my own. I'm afraid that it is no longer possible...
My aunt has gone out with the rest of the family for a New Year's luau... I stayed home because of this miserable cold. That means that I'm stuck with two big dogs who are freaking out because of the fireworks. One freaks because she was once shot, and the other freaks because it seems to be the "in" thing to do. The one who was shot is a royal pain in the arse.
She keeps trying to climb up into my arms, and the few times I was stupid enough to sit down, she launched herself into my lap, crushing my satchel into little bits, and one time removing ye olde schwanz with a direct hit. Crushed nuts probably aren't going to get you any kids, but no schwanz makes things flat out impossible. I still don't know where to hell it got knocked.
Hoping that your New Year comes in better than mine is...
December 12, 2006
We've been busy as hell lately... worked the weekend, and I've gone back to the shop on a couple of evenings. I've got the opportunity to head home for a week, but I'm trying to leave enough kits built up for my aunt so that we don't fall way behind, as we did the last two times I've left. Hell, the last time was only for a weekend, and it dropped us nearly a week back. It's been so busy up to this week, that I've not been able to keep the kits on the shelf. Frustrating is what it is. Tonight, we took a bit of a break.
My cousin's little girl's preschool had a holiday program. Damn, was it funny!
There's just something about watching three and four year olds singing (and dancing) that just makes the grumpiest of folks smile. The first group came out and did pretty well, while one little dude on the end refused to sing. His teacher leaned over and asked him to sing, and he jammed his hands in his pockets and shook his head. Heheheh... he had everyone busting up.
The next group came out and during the first song, one girl stood in the center singing and shaking her little ass all over the place. She hadn't a clue why all of the adults were grinning and laughing, and just kept on 'til the song was done. Their last song was the Cha-Cha Slide, and she picked right up where she left off, but she was outdone by this little dude who kept on spinning in circles and doing some weird shimmy. Hysterical.
My "neice's" group came out last. Shelby was one of the loudest, and kept waving to everyone. One of her little boyfriends was pretty loud, too, and kept adding about four or five "La's" everytime they sang "Fa La La La La." And he was very dramatic with his shaping of the words... I couldn't stop grinning. It was a pretty decent break from the routine.
One thing I noticed... there were some damn good looking preschool teachers in that group. Hmmmm... somebody who can deal with people who think on my level. I may have a chance.
November 29, 2006
Out With N
Well, the cousin took off on Thursday morning. Yep… before Thanksgiving chow. She only had the week, and then had to make it home for dinner with her in laws. We still had a good time while she was down here, considering the fact that I was stuck in the shop for most of it.
I knew it was going to be a good week, when I got home from work, had to make a call, and went outside to use my phone. I turned around, and there was N with a Paulaner in hand. For the first time in quite a while, I was drinking some decent beer. We had Warsteiner, Paulaner (of course), and a beer I hadn’t had before, Hoegaarden’s Witbier. That tasted quite a bit like Hacker-Pshorr… mmm mmm good.
Last Saturday, we ran up to Ybor City. Though I was babysitting (she hadn’t had a chance to go out and act up in a long while), we had a blast. We looked around at a couple of tattoo shops, and then hit a couple of bars.
N danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly, we checked out The Green Iguana, and we hung out listening to a very cool blues band at The Blue Shark. We also put some time in at an Irish Pub, though I can’t remember the name of it. A door or two over from the Iguana, and a very cool place, it was at the top of a serious stretch of stairs… that much I do remember. She wanted to go back up there later, and I had to say “no.” I thought she had too good of a chance at taking a header down the stairs.
We didn’t get back to Apollo Beach until 3:20!
We did make it back out one other night, to a local watering hole, and had a pretty good time then, too. But we were much more restrained. Heheh… I think the hangover from Saturday’s adventures dissuaded her from imbibing too much.
One new trick for getting free beer. Hang out with a good looking woman, and folks may try to flirt with her while keeping a wary eye on you. Make it known that she's merely a cousin, and you'll be drinking free beers from someone looking to get lucky, while you keep a wary eye on him.
November 27, 2006
Matt gives us the info for NORAD’s tracking of Santa. It’s a cool thing. Reminded me of when I was a kid, and doing chores on Christmas Eve.
My pa kept a polka station playing in the dairy barn, and they would broadcast Santa’s location as darkness fell. I can still remember tossing down bales of straw, or breaking them up, and stopping every time an announcement came on. I used to get so damn excited… especially once he was spotted over the US. I bet Pa was busting up, watching me.
Not totally off topic, how old were you before you realized that Santa was a bit closer than you thought?
Chuck was one of those guys that everyone liked, and everyone LOVED to pick on. He was a great sport, and put up with some pretty stupid shit. He'd just smile and shake his head... even after waking in the middle of the night to find that certain idiots had sucked all of the oxygen out of his dorm room by discharging a fire extinguisher through his window's box fan. No... that wasn't me. I was one of the two who kept lighting off bottle rockets under his door. Chuck just took it all in stride.
I've been reminded of one of the better pranks pulled on him.
The plumbing in the dormitory was a complete clusterfuck. Flush a toilet, and whoever was in the showers suffered. Yeah... I know this happens much, but in these dorms it was really bad. Anyway... Chuck worked late, and was always coming home long after most folks went to bed. That night, we all sat in the darkened living room, across from his room, waiting for him to get back, an ingenious plan about to be put in place.
Chuck arrived home and headed to his room, where he grabbed his shaving kit and shower gear. He then headed on down to the restroom before heading on to the shower room. One of the guys, wearing bedclothes and a severe case of fake bed head (he used hair gel), waited and then followed him down to the head. Once Chuck went into the shower room, he raced back down to get the rest of us, and we quietly thundered down the hall to the can.
Four stalls, six urinals... all flushed on the count of three. NO cold water made it to the showers. We could hear his yelp from two doors down. 'Course, most of us were already sprinting out the door after flushing, so that we could be near the showers when then second part of the plan kicked in.
It was November in Minnesota, so it was a bit on the cool side, and we had set a five gallon bucket of water outside. When our lookout had run down to get us, one of the guys had grabbed the bucket and crept into the shower room. His readiness was what our countdown was based on. A plastic chair was always in there, and he carefully placed that in the shower stall next to Chuck. Once Stew was standing on the chair with the bucket, we were given the signal.
As we raced to the shower room, and Chuck's shrieks, Stew made ready with the bucket. Once we opened the door to shower room, Stew dumped the bucket over the stall wall. Poor Chuck. Screaming, he flew out of the shower so fast that he ripped down the shower curtain as he fell. Gotta hand it to him... as soon as he saw what was going on, he laughed, promised that he'd get even with us, and hopped into another shower.
I can now identify with what Chuckles felt like... in the past week, I've had the pleasure of having my flesh boiled from my bones, and then blasted with arctic waters. ‘Bout knocked me over three different times. She ain't ever done it before, but obviously, when my aunt has company coming to visit, the morning is the best time to do laundry.
I don’t know if you call if fate, karma, kismet… all I know is that it is an ugly old beast.
November 23, 2006
So, I just got back home. It was an Eyepod day, if ever there was one, and of course, I did not bring it. HOLY MOTHER OF GOTT!!! One word... LOUD!!!
Okay, just to be fair, DELICIOUS!!! My cousin put a hell of a lot of work into the dinner, and it was frickin' awesome.
The football games were pretty good, what little I was able to see between flickering eyelids. Loved Harrington whooping up on his old team, and the John Fogerty halftime show wasn't too bad. 'Twas good hearing him sing those CCR songs again. Dallas beat the piss out of the Bucs (did Tammi and Shoe make a bet?), and their halftime show wasn't all that bad, either. I will say that I was a little let down. I mean, what was with Carrie Underwood and those boots? Good Gott... if you're going to wear boots like that, you could at least wear fishnets, and not just tight jeans. Hey, the jeans did work, but the fishnets and a short skirt would have been much better. Or some daisy dukes... mmmmmmm... I know I'm not partial to blondes, but...
Hope you all had a good one.
November 09, 2006
Hang In There
Yes, it's still nuts around here. But check this out:
From September to October, business has increased by nearly 66%!!!
And November is looking pretty damn good, too. Probably not that much of an increase, but you never know...
Between business, and limited internet access, my blogging is confined to just a short time each day, with entries being written during the night when I wake up... and most times, my mind's just blank.
Hang in there, I've got something special for the faithful patrons in the works.
October 17, 2006
The weekend... holy mother of gott. What a frickin' blast.
I made a run to hook up with a bunch of folks to celebrate the birthday of Eric, king of the Straight White World. New faces, familiar faces... good faces all. Met Cal Tech Girl, of Not Exactly Rocket Science, Big Stupid Tommy, Ken, bodyguard of Jimbo, SWMBO, the beautious wife of Elisson, and Dax Montana. Got to see The Velocidude, Mighty Yabu, Recondo32 and Georgia, again... this time under much better circumstances than our original meeting. Saw fellow Bad Example family members, Bou and her sis, Mo, Sissy, Teresa, and blog bro, Johnny-Oh. Also caught Denny, Elisson, 'Neck, Zonker, RSM, and J, a friend of Eric's... met at previous meets, and damn good guys. Hell... it was a great group of folks, period. A fine crew of Birthday singers. Though, RSM did evacuate early. Again. RSM... sneaky premature evacuator ninja.
We feasted upon great authentic illegal Mexican chow, drank much beer, and got to know each other better. There was singing, burning, and hard times given to all. Even rumors of inappropriate touching. And that was only the first night.
Saturday saw an excellent breakfast, more drinking, and some very kickass ribs done up by the birthday tyke himself. There was cake, rockets, more singing and guitfiddle playing, fire, chocolate vodka, drunken phone calls and four men with balls of iron who weren't afraid to sleep out in Eric's backyard. Zonker almost made it but he had one of them there hotel rooms. He bolted right around 4:00 am. Big chicken.
Sunday mornin' saw a shovel playing reville, and a breakfast cooked for us by Elisson and SWMBO, with Ken and Jimbo frying up some Taylor ham. An excellent send off meal. Unfortunately, that was the end. Wish it could have went on for a hell of a lot longer.
I'll try to give you some more info on everybody, later, but I want to thank Eric and his very tolerant and lovely bride for putting up with us all. You guys truly rock.
Beat, As With A Shovel
When I was working for the now defunct Beloit Corporation, we had a job in a mill about four hours away. We were to drive up, check in to the hotel, and then meet in the lobby at noon for our safety meeting. Afterwards, we would head into the mill to unload toolboxes and parts for the next day's job. We were to be done at three. Didn't quite happen that way...
Got to the mill, and some bright guy decided that we would start sub-assembling parts to speed up the installation. We wheeled all of our toolboxes and gear to the side of the machine (which was still running), and got started. We finally left the mill at nine. I was never so glad to leave...
It was probably the longest day of my life, and it wasn't because of the work. Hell... I've had work days that lasted for thirty eight hours. No... it was because of how I started the day.
A buddy of mine had gotten a new job, and was going to be moving to Indiana, so we all got together and closed the bars up. Now, in Beloit, that was two o'clock... still plenty of time to get some sleep before the next day's travels. But instead of hitting the hay, I stayed up drinking with my brother and him. I went to bed at seven, got up at ten to eight, and was out the door in ten minutes. I don't remember much of the trip up there... I do know that I was damn lucky.
By the time I made it, I was aching. I hurt all over... and was looking forward to hitting the rack. When we got to the mill, and started working, my spirits sank. And the vomit nearly rose. I was worthless... I couldn't hardly blink without fighting the urge to hurl. Thank Gott I never did, but maybe I would have felt better... a weak stomached co-worker used to begin his day by puking as he walked into the mills. It's not that he wanted to, but it did make him feel better. Paper mills are foul smelling places that turn your guts. Add the heat, and...
I made a vow that I would never drink like that before, or during, a road job. Never. And, for the most part, I've kept that promise, though I did nearly the same thing this weekend. Good Gott a'mighty...
I knew that I had a job early Monday morning, and that it could possibly be a long day. But when you get the chance to hang out with friends, the importance of such concerns become trivial.
After a weekend for the books (which I'll post about later), and with minimal sleep on Sunday morning, I made a long drive, got home late, got up at five, and put in a day that was slightly over sixteen hours. Hey... I know that it's something we've all done (and if you haven't, you should do it at least once, if only to join the club), but I'm so not used to it. I was sleeping on my feet, at one point. And on our lunch... which was our only break... I spent the time between mill and restaurant snoring... LOUDLY. The cousin-in-law just kept laughing...
You'd think I would eventually learn my lessons, but some of them are worth ignoring. 'Specially when you get to hang with the crew that I was
stuck with privileged to spend time with this weekend.
October 05, 2006
is this a bad ass bike, or what???
I was wondering how it would be... which Ghost Rider host would it be, and who would play him. Nicholas Cage plays Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider. It should be interesting to see how he does.
Besides, it's got Eva Mendes in it to save it if the story gets weak.
Not Salma, but still....
September 30, 2006
It was pointed out, on my last trip home, that this stay in Florida seems to have done me some good. This was told to me by numerous folks, and I can't really argue with that.
I now drink well over a gallon of water a day (you have to, or you'll die), flushing out the ol' system. From what I understand, this is good for you.
I am a Coke fiend (not the powder, but the soft drink... and the specific brand, not all soft drinks), and I used to guzzle 6 to 18 cans in a day, when the mood struck. Down here, I haven't had a Coke in... well, a long time. I can't remember having one. I'm told this is good for you, as well. The "no coke," not the fact that I can't remember. That could be both good and bad.
My blood pressure seems to have dropped, though that's kinda hard to tell. But the old "bloody nose" indicator hasn't been going off lately. And I feel a bit better, too. Kinda suprising with the frenzy that always seems to be going on.
Finally, my beer intake has dropped drastically. I usually only drink on Thursday nights, when I head out to the local watering hole with my cousin in law. That's not exactly every week, either. This has been said to be a good thing, but I'm thinking that it's closer to a sin.
So, I'm down here feeling good, getting healthier, working out regularly with the CIL. (Hell, once it cools down a little more, I'll be rulking... already laid out a three mile route.) This should be a good thing. In the big picture, I'm sure that it is. But in the "I'd like to go out Friday and get stupid drunk" picture, this is bad. Gott im Himmel, is this bad. Actually, Throbbing Headache in the Morning, is this bad.
All this good health is bad for one trying to stay in drinking shape...
September 26, 2006
It's been crazy around here. Lots of stuff going down, and hardly any of it is blogable. If that's even a word.
Gotta love it. I find that my family runs long on ADD. Nope, not my bloodline, theirs. Thanks be to Gott. Trying to have a conversation is interesting when you never finish your sentences, and the subject changes faster than you can even imagine. I'd laugh about it, if it wasn't so damn disorienting.
My youngest brother, unaware of how it can be around here, sent me a clip showing that ADHD can be cured. Heheheh... it would be great if it were so simple.
September 25, 2006
Sissy and Bou have been playing a bit of bug poker. Sissy's latest tale was declared the winnah over Bou's Sleeping With The Roaches. I don't claim to have a better tale, or even think that it's in their class, but it reminded me of my own story. Not being a roach story, it's kinda lame.
In the Midwest (and probably elsewhere), each fall sees an invasion of our homes. Especially in the rural areas. No matter what you do, you will always find a guest or two inside your house. Along the south facing walls, they gather in the hundreds, and around my house, the thousands.
I had worked a long shift this night, and I slept the sleep of the dead when I finally got home and showered up. After about an hour, I was awakened by a loud rustling. I sat up, turned on the lights, and looked around. Nothing. So I lay back down.
Just as I was drifting back to sleep, I heard it again. Again, I found nothing. So I waited.
Sure enough, after I had settled down again, I heard it again. This time it positively roared. It sounded like it was in my head, and I soon figured out, it was.
I got dressed to go to the ER, and as I was moving around, it happened again. As soon as I heard the rustling, I lost my balance... the damn thing was against my eardrum. I shit you not.
The drive to the ER was interesting to say the least, but at least the hospital was just over a mile away. There, they tried to remove the bug by using some kind of oil. It didn't work... it started pushing up against my eardrum, driving me nuts! Meanwhile, they tried a couple different methods to get it out, but none worked. Finally, the damn thing died, and they used a small vaccuum to extract it.
What was it? Why, it was a box elder bug. Okay... that's a shot that makes them look huge. This shot give a better idea of their size. From what I understand, it was a freak incident... they don't usually crawl into ears.
Perhaps I should have bought a lottery ticket.
September 21, 2006
Eric made mention of being able to remember his first phone number, and some of his readers did, too, in the comments. Hell, we moved when I was twelve, and I can tell you the addresses and phone numbers of each of the four houses I lived in for the first twenty odd years of my life. (Yeah, I know... I should have emphasized odd. Ha. Ha. Ha.) 9086, 2497, 8656, 6873, 876, 8913, and 2014, 0923.
I'm not trying to take from the fact that Eric remembers his childhood number. Rather, I mention that, and then point out that I can't remember the last place I lived, street number or phone number. I can't even remember my cell phone number, as I just discovered in replying to an email.
Funny how the mind works... or doesn't.
September 17, 2006
Kansas and Back
After a hurried trip home, and a long drive back, things are right back to "normal." Busy, busy, busy. But that's a good thing. I think. The only thing that really sucks is that my blogging isn't what I'd like it to be. Oh, I know... the writing has always sucked. But I haven't really been able to read all of the blogs that I would like. That sucks.
The trip home was along the same lines. Alot of folks that I wanted to see and visit with, and I only was able to hit about half of them. Time is nobody's friend on a short trip like that.
I did manage to hook up with quite a few members of my family, and a couple of bloggers. Some bar friends, too. It was much needed.
In addition to hooking up with Tammi and Richmond, I also got to meet up with Contagion and Ktreva to watch the Bears/Packers game. And drink some beer, of course. The Bears squeaked out a victory, but I took no real pleasure in watching the agony on their faces. They aren't your "arrogant asshole fan" types. Contagion may be an asshole, but he's not an asshole fan. And that means something. What? I don't know.
They were the last folks that I was able to get together with before I left.
While travelling, I try to meet as many folks as possible. Well, without being a pain in the ass. I managed to hook up with my brother in Tennessee, who pressured me into drinking. It's always good to stop by Eric's place. He may not be blood, but he is kin. That's a damn good guy there, as most all of you know. I wish I could have been there for a longer time, as we'd have come up with all kinds of interesting theories... no, facts. Unfortunately, I got there late, and had to leave early. If you consider 10 am early, as I do.
The following morning, I was off on my way again. That day, I was to meet up with two bloggers... who are actually one. Alabama Improper, and c.a.Marks, met with me for lunch, in Huntsville, Alabama. After driving until things looked right, I met up with her at one of her favorite diners. Good food, and a great visit. Too bad that she had to head back to work. Next time I'm through your area, Alabamarks, we've gotta do it again.
I left there, stomach full, and eyelids heavy, dodging Atlanta by heading down 65 to Montgomery, and then on down through Dothan. Needless to say, I caught a few winks on the way. I ended up trying to call some bloggers, and finally got ahold of Oddybobo, and then Army Wife. They helped me stay awake, and for that, I thank them. Besides... it was cool chatting with them anyway.
Once I hit the AL/FL state line, the rains started, in the hopes to make me pass right out. I fought it all the way back here, but it did kick my buttocks. Especially the right one... I forgot to remove my wallet from my back pocket. Unfortunately, I'm unable to upload any pics, so you won't get a pic of the bruise. :)
While it's good to be back here, and have things taking off, it was great being home. Heel clicking aside, Dorothy had it right.
September 15, 2006
I know some of ya are curious about my trip home, and the wedding of my cousin. I'm a little low on time, so I'll jes' let you know about the wedding.
The bride was late by almost an hour, the pastor did not get a chance to preach. (Well, I guess that part worked out okay.) The receiving line took forever to get through, but that's pretty much normal. However, running late as we were, the reception, located about thirty five minutes away and in the middle of nowhere, started late. Food was served late. To those who got to eat. They ran out. Thank Gott for bier.
By the time the meal was done, it was 9:30. The guests had to leave by 11:00. There was an hour and a half to do all the regular activities and have the dance. No need to say how that went.
My cousin had been pissed, but he could not stop grinning. His bride was the same. You know, that's all that matters.
I was told by my cuz that he couldn't figure out why no one stuck around. Looking at him, I could not bring myself to tell him why. I was not about to ruin their day.
Wedded bliss... in the end, that's all that mattered. Congratulations, and the best of luck to both of them.
September 09, 2006
Damn, it was nice to be out on the bike yesterday. A beautiful day for riding, though a bit warm. Hey, at least it wasn't humid like Florida has been. I thought it dry, but was told otherwise...
I got home on Wednesday, and each day has been awesome. Wednesday night, I even had to sleeping under a blanket... it got down to 55. Perfect! First time that I've been able to sleep under covers all summer, except for when I've travelled. And I'm one of those folks that needs to have something draped over them, a sheet at the least, in order to sleep well.
Anyway, like I said, each day has been just beautiful. I'm seriously beginning to think that the rumoured "flooding" was some kind of hoax. A ploy to pull national sympathy (and maybe even money) to our little communist state. I've seen no rain... not hardly even a cloud in the sky. At least, until this morning. It looks as if there may be a small chance of some precipitation. Hopefully, I'll be able to push it off until tomorrow. I've got that wedding that I need to go to this afternoon... don't want to muss my long locks. Heheheh...
Okay, I'm drifting a little bit, like I've a tendency to do. At times. Heheheh... a fine example is the "Giving Birth" post. That was originally supposed to be about a guy sitting across from me, hammering away on his Blackberry, or Treo... it reminded me of the early hand held electronic games by Mattel. Especially, the football games. You had to be quick as hell with your thumbs to do well on those games. Man, they were a blast! Not really sure how I ended up writing about some poor bastard's pooping problems. Oops... drifted again. I must be a bit tired.
So it was great being out in the open, enjoying the sun and the sights of home. And, like the post below, the smells of home. The smell of fall is already in the air. In Florida, there is no such thing as fall, unless you're talking about what happens after one drinks too much. Up here, it's still early yet, but you can smell the grains as you drive past the fields, the last crop of hay that's been cut. Occasionally, you can catch the smell of burning brush and leaves, though I doubt that many of those leaves are from this year. This year's colors haven't fallen, yet. Hell, they haven't even turned, though you can see that it's not too far off. Not far at all.
I took backroads when I had the time and chances, and got to smell the rural scents... fresh cut hay, corn cut for silage, the smell of the woods as I rode beneath a canopy of trees. All those scents, mixed with the scent of exhaust and unburned fuel... it was heavenly. I don't know for sure if I should say it, but what the hell. I was so damn excited that my nipples were hard. I mean, I could have found employ as a diamond cutter. It was so damn good to be out on the Green Beast.
I rode up to Janesville, and hooked up with my youngest brother. We visited for awhile, but he was on his lunch hour, so he had to bolt. So from there, I rode on up to see Richmond... we had a nice visit out on the patio. Well, until the German yellowjackets started hanging out... Richmond got stung. I was proud of her... no blubbering, or crying at all. Just one crazy woman. She chased them all away, swinging a citronella bucket, screaming epithets, and laughing maniacally. It was exciting. Not quite jeweler grade exciting, but exciting nonetheless.
I did hook up with some more family, and managed to get home just before dark. Which was good... I didn't have a jacket, and it can get a bit cool riding through some areas. It could go without saying, but it makes your nipples hard. Again, not quite jeweler grade.... And after riding around in an excited state for much of the day, and the chafing, the nipples do become a bit sensitive. Which throws you into a Catch 22 that I shouldn't need to describe...
All in all, it was a damn good day.
September 02, 2006
Thanks to those of you who asked questions. I only hope that my answers are good enough... it's been a busy week, and I started rushing through them. My apologies.
For those of you bastards who didn't ask any questions, you oughta be ashamed... and "thank you." Anymore questions, and Basil would never have been able to post it.
And huge thanks to Basil for putting it all together. It was a blast!
August 27, 2006
*Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding*
Last call for asking me questions for my interview with Basil. Time for you to ask questions is closing this evening, so if you haven't done so already, get those questions in. It's also the deadline for questions for Tink, of Tink's Tribulations.
I don't know about Tink, but you can ask about books, music, guitars, jobs, people I've met, imagined writing skills, or godliness. Whatever you can think of... pretty much.
Speaking of guitars, check out one of my babies back home. And remember SRV today...
August 26, 2006
It was a Sunday, and a pretty decent day. A friend and I had been talking about going to catch a big show less than forty miles away. We had to work on Saturday, and after the shift was over, he told me that he didn't think he'd go. He had his kids for the weekend, and he didn't feel like trying to make the arrangements for them to get back to their mother's house. We had planned on buying our tickets there, as you could occasionally get some good seats if you waited to buy the day of the event, so we weren't out any money.
For most of the day, I kept thinking about the show, and how great it would be to go. But in the end, I didn't want to head in there by myself. Like a long trip through the mountains on a bike, music is great alone, but it's even that much better when you've got someone with you. I passed it up, and made a mistake.
The show turned out to be one of the best that many had seen. The guitarist that I had wanted to see, in particular, was phenomenal, and the evening was capped off with a jam session that saw some modern blues greats playing a 20 minute version of "Sweet Home Chicago." A favorite song of mine, I'd have loved to have been there just to see that... Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan all jamming away. Buddy Guy would later say, "It was one of the most incredible sets I ever heard Stevie play. I had goose bumps."
It was SRV's last show... he and four others were killed early (near 1 am) in the morning, August 27, when their helicopter crashed into a ski slope at Alpine Valley, in East Troy, Wisconsin. One of my old stomping grounds. (BTW... these pics of Alpine Valley are just to show you the venue. They are not from that show.)
I first heard of Stevie in '86, when I happened to catch his video for "Superstition." While the video is kinda funny, the sound of the guitar just blew me away. I ran out immediately, and bought "Live Alive" on cassette. After listening to that tape until is started to stretch out, I bought another copy, along with "Texas Flood," "Couldn't Stand The Weather," and "Soul To Soul." When "In Step" came out, I had it within a day of its release. I loved his music, and his playing that much...
I was lucky enough to catch him live. While I missed his '86 appearance at Summerfest in Milwaukee, I did catch him the following year at the Wisconsin State Fair. After watching him play, I wanted to be SRV... I'd never seen anyone play like that before, and I just watched in awe. Behind the back, behind the neck, playing with his teeth, ripping off a solo with one hand... while the guitar strap was loose. He did it all. Yep, those are not unique things, but, while they were impressive as hell, his stage presence was incredible. You felt like you were watching a once in a lifetime event when he was up there. You were watching the equivalent of Moses getting the tablets handed to him. Okay... maybe not quite that, but it was damn close.
When I came into work on the 27th, my friend, Guillermo, met me with a newspaper in his hand. He looked sick. He asked if I had gotten to see the show, and then handed me the paper, open to the article announcing Stevie's passing. I did not cry, but it was an emotional slam to the gut. I thought that I was going to puke. I was in shock...
I always thought that folks who carried on about celebrity deaths were idiots, but I disovered that his death affected me in much the same way. But, while I felt bad for the man who had finally overcome his demons, and seemed to have his life back on track, it wasn't all about him. I mourned him. But I mourned also because of what he meant to me... what his music had meant to me, and all of the memories that were associated with it. I cannot accurately tell you how I felt.
This spring, while at the blogmeet in Austin, I was able to go visit the memorial statue alongside Town Lake, or what I kept calling "the river." It was a very cool thing to see. Chrissy was kind enough to snap some shots and send them to me, but I've lost track of where they're at right now. I do know that I was trying not to grin like an idiot when she took them, but I'm not sure if it worked. Heheheh...
I was going to post the video for "Little Wing" and part of "Third Stone From The Sun," but the heavens just told me to post its link, and to post this instead:
As the sky pours down its tears, Stevie, I raise a toast to you: Thanks for so much. Rest in peace, my brother.
When I first started writing this, the sun was shining through the clouds, and when I hit the part where I was reminiscing about the State Fair, it started to rain. By the time I was finishing up, the sky was sobbing... just pouring down. I'm glad I found that clip.
I think God's even a bit sad that he took him away so early...
August 25, 2006
Angry Baboon Inquiry
"We're the class of '88,Funny how some of the simplest things can get some of the strangest things stuck in your head. No, not like a nailgun. Just a couple little letters... not even a word. Walked past a box today, and on it's top, barely legible, was ABI. Immediately, though I hadn't heard it sung in almost twenty years, that song came to mind. ABI.
Reach those souls before it's too late.
The Lord has opened heaven's gates,
to the class of '88...."
ABI '88 Class Song
"ABI," you ask. "Angry Bastard Intoxicated? Always Been Inebriated? What's that supposed to mean?"
Apostolic Bible Institute, my friends. That's what it do stand for. A Bible school... yep. Me.
Someday I may post about my short stay as a student, but right now, I'm just thinking that it's funny how seeing those letters threw me so far back. That song was stuck all day...
Okay... last time for the week that I will remind you of my interview with Basil. Time for you to ask questions is drawing to a close, Sunday, so if you haven't done so already, get those questions in. It's also the deadline for questions for Tink, of Tink's Tribulations.
August 24, 2006
I realize that I'm way behind the times, when it comes to watching television programs. So most of you have probably seen this show, but this is for you that haven't.
The past couple Wednesdays, I've had the chance to watch Criss Angel's "Mindfreak." What a badass show! I'm definitely hooked. Even if you don't care for his dialogues (like my aunt), the "magic" that he performs will blow you away. Mindfreak is putting it mildly. There's a better "f" word... I watch the show, then spend the next couple of hours trying to figure out ways he could have pulled it off. Not that it takes that much to mess with my mind, but it does make the old mush busy. Catch it on Wednesdays at 10 EST, on A&E.
Speaking of messing with my mind, it's your chance. Again, my interview with Basil. Time for you to ask questions is drawing to a close, Sunday, so if you haven't done so already, get those questions in. It's also the deadline for questions for Tink, of Tink's Tribulations.
Remember: Ask now, or forever hold your peace!!!
August 22, 2006
Saturday, somehow managing to stay conscious after my injury, cousin's hubby and I walked into their house, lugging our forties of Mickey's fine malt liquor brew. S asked us how the day went, and B (her hubby) says, "Damn, your cousin is a puss. He got a blister sweeping a tiny room out. I swear it wasn't no bigger than (motions an area about 4 x 4) this." We both laughed, and then I watched in shock as my cousin lit into him...
"You're a walking, talkin' penis. You know that??? I can't believe what a dick you can be..." B and I looked at each other, and then B said, "Easy... it's just a guy thing. He showed me that blister, and you've got to make fun of him. It's expected. I wouldn't make fun of him if I didn't like the guy!"
To which I responded, "And I never would have shown him the damn blister if I wasn't comfortable around the guy. I expected him to make jokes... hell, I started it by mentioning how sad it was that I got a blister that easily..." She still thinks he was being a dick, which is kinda cool, in a way. I never thought my cousin would rush to my defense like that...
Anyway, it got me thinking about how so many of us are so cautious with what we want to show of ourselves (personality or otherwise) to other folks, and then once we reach a certain comfort level, we expect to be given a rough time about those things. Where we once kept things hidden, all of the sudden we feel the need to toss those very things out for ridicule... a definite sign of comfort, if not a bit strange.
It applies to blogging, too. For instance, I never would have shown you folks my crotch if I weren't comfortable around you weirdos. Hell, I almost posted a pic of my chest encased in a soaking wet t-shirt the other day, but I didn't. Hey. I'm a sensitive guy, and I knew that posting my crotch ruined Quality Weenie's weekend... I wasn't about to throw her off again. Because I care. Though, I think I may be on to something... crotch... Quality Weenie. Crotch. Weenie. Quality Crotch. I may just be too damn tempting... she wasn't really turned off like she tried to sound.
Thus were the thoughts behind the blister posting. I knew that I was going to get a bunch of shit, but that's what it's all about. Lob the softball, give up the hits. It's about entertainment. But after reading some of the comments, I don't know. I'm thinking that I best go back to being shy and
You folks really are perverted bastards. A blister, on my left hand, from wacking off? C'mon. Although, I thank you for the compliment.
Looking at the postion of the blister, I'd have to be hung like an elephant to get a blister there...
Remember: If you don't ask, I can't be your friend.
August 21, 2006
I got to spend the weekend working... for actual money! It was doing something that I really think I may enjoy, and may be considered tempting fate by some of you folks... I was pulling breakers, cleaning them, and reinstalling them. Breakers, as in circuit breakers. Big breakers, too. As in, 440 volts. Heheheh... there's your lighting for ya!
Working with my cousin's husband was cool. Wasn't sure how it would be, but it worked out slick. We managed to get a ton of work done in the fourteen hours that we worked, and we worked well together. It is probably going to be something that we do every other weekend. A big help financially, but it's a lift for my spirits, too. Not that I've been way down in the dumps, but still...
As some of you know, I used to work for a company that made paper making machinery. Most of that stuff was freakin' huge. I wasn't one of the regular road guys, but I travelled quite often for the company. Sometimes as an advisor, which I hated, or as part of a work crew... something I loved. It was hot and potentially dangerous work, but it was out of the shop, and you had the satisfaction of seeing your work in action. I took great pride in the work that we did.
Being in the mill, and around the large machinery, this weekend, reminded me of that in many ways. And when we were done with each switch house, I felt the same old satisfaction. 'Twas a good feeling.
Anything like that for you?
Well, it was a busy weekend, but it was a good one, nonetheless. Even though it wasn't paper, it was good being in a mill again. I'll tell ya about it when I get home from the shop sometime this evening.
In the meantime, I'm reminding you that my interview with Basil is coming up, and questions will close on Sunday, same day as Tink, of Tinks Tribulations. You can ask your questions of me by clicking here, and to ask of Tink, click here. We've got a Bad Example Interview week going...
Remember: If you don't ask, you may never know!
August 16, 2006
My Name Is...
I was goofin' around, and I found this name thingamajiggy. It tells you about yourself based on your name. I thought mine came out kinda interesting. A little eery.
Check it out in the extended entry.
There are 16 letters in your name.
Those 16 letters total to 68
There are 6 vowels and 10 consonants in your name.
Your number is: 5
The characteristics of #5 are: Expansiveness, visionary, adventure, the constructive use of freedom.
The expression or destiny for #5:
The number 5 Expression endows with the wonderful characteristic of multi-talents and versatility. You can do so many things well. The tone of the number 5 is constructive freedom, and in your drive to attain this freedom, you will likely be the master of adaptability and change. You are good at presenting ideas and knowing how to approach people to get what you want. Naturally, this gives you an edge in any sort of selling game and spells easy success when it comes to working with people in most jobs. Your popularity may lead you toward some form of entertainment or amusement. Whatever you do, you are clever, analytical, and a very quick thinker.
If there is too much of the 5 energy in your makeup, you may express some the negative attitudes of the number. Your restless and impatient attitude may keep you from staying with any project for too long. Sometimes you can be rather erratic and scatter yourself and your energies. You have a hard time keeping regular office hours and maintaining any sort of a routine. You tend to react strongly if you sense that your freedom of speech or action is being impaired or restricted in any way. As clever as you are, you may have a tendency to make the same mistakes over and over again because much of your response is glib reaction rather that thoughtful application. You are in a continuous state of flux brought by constantly changing interests.
Your Soul Urge number is: 5
A Soul Urge number of 5 means:
The 5 soul urge or motivation would like to follow a life of freedom, excitement, adventure and unexpected happening. The idea of travel and freedom to roam intrigues you. You are very much the adventurer at heart. Not particularly concerned about your future or about getting ahead, you can seem superficial and unmotivated.
In a positive sense, the energies of the number 5 make you very adaptable and versatile. You have a natural resourcefulness and enthusiasm that may mark you as a progressive with a good mind and active imagination. You seem to have a natural inclination to be a pace-setter. You are attracted to the unusual and the fast paced.
You may be overly restless and impatient at times. You may dislike the routine work that you are engaged in, and tend to jump from activity to activity, without ever finishing anything. You may have difficulty with responsibility. You don't want to be tied down to a relationship, and it may be hard to commit to one person.
Your Inner Dream number is: 9
An Inner Dream number of 9 means:
You dream of being creative, intellectual, and universal; the selfless humanitarian. You understand the needy and what to help them. You would love to be a person people count on for support and advice.
Some of this is bull, but not much. Not much at all. Those that know me, whattya think? And how close is yours?
August 14, 2006
Saturday, I did an incredibly talented thing. We had gone out into the bay, and stopped on an island for the day. About three quarters of the way through the day, we had some heavy rains hit, but no lightning, so we stayed out and enjoyed the rain. After about an hour, they passed, and the sun came back out. A nice wind kicked up, drying everything off, but also making the water a bit choppy.
When we left, I went up front to pull up the anchor. I almost lost my balance once, as I was walking out, so I should have known what was about to happen. Anyway, the boat is going forward, I'm pulling up the slack, and we pass the anchor (which was firmly anchored, I might add). Normally, if you just brace yourself, you can let the boat's motion pull the anchor free. Saturday... I don't know what happened. One second, I'm doing fine, the next second, my feet were up over my head, and I SLAMMED down onto the deck. I tore my back to hell. Thank gott I missed a two inch long, 1/4 inch pin that was sticking up from the anchor line door... by a whole inch. They are still laughing about
SWEET!!!! A DOLPHIN JUST WENT UP THE CANAL AS I WAS TYPING!!! (I'm outside enjoying a thunderstorm)
Anyways, they are still laughing about how , when they asked if I was alright, I faintly said, 'No. No, I'm not." I don't remember that. I do, however, remember hanging on to the damn anchor... at least I was focused. Not only did I scrape the hell out of my back, I bruised the top of one foot, and the bottom of the other. Then, as my cousin was trying to clean up the mess, the frickin' bench dropped out from under me. Oh, it was awesome.
Yesterday, I didn't hurt too bad, except for the foot where I bruised the top, and that was only because of wearing my boots. I imagine that if I were going barefoot, all would have been cool.
Today, damn. My back was killing me. Luckily, we picked up some orders, a good number of them, so I was too busy to think about how much it hurt. We worked late, and got home about six. I called the cousin's hubby to let him know that I was putting off working out until tomorrow, when I walked into my room, and SUPRISE! A 2 x 3 chunk of ceiling is laying on my bed... and the bed is soaked. The air conditioning unit is jacked up. So I spend the next few minutes cleaning that up, and then make my way up into the attic.
The attic was designed for serpentine access. There's a trap door in a closet, but you've got to put a ladder outside of the closet in order to climb up. There is a shelf (not removable) that comes out almost to the front of the closet, and a couple of feet from the top of the closet door. In my present condition, it took awhile, but I made my way up. Coming down was no problem, either... one tip of the ladder, and you come a long way out of that attic fast. No, I didn't fall. Exactly. I caught myself, giving myself another nice cut on my hand.
My aunt has told me that she thinks I may be bad luck. I didn't tell her the old saying that my sister and I used to use: "Joe luck is no luck." And sometimes, it seems to be true. But I've gotta say, in this case, I know it's not true. That damn thing would have fallen on me while I was sleeping, if so!
So, how was your day?
August 02, 2006
Anyway, I can identify with what she's talking about. Granted, my tunes are a bit different, though I do like quite a few of the tunes she likes. But when I'm going to lift, I toss in some good, brutal, metal. That gets ya fired up...
The cousin's hubby and I have started working out. We've been lifting for the past couple of weeks. On my way over to their place, I'll blast a bit of Slayer or Slipknot. I've been hooked on one song lately, and at loud volumes, the adrenaline starts pumping like crazy. It's a perfect tune for the pit, or a soundtrack to a rugby game. Which kinda fits... it's called Scrum. That'll get ya going for sure.
Speaking of which... we did legs tonight. Uh. I might have overdone it. My frickin' quadriceps are twitching. I'll probably be crippled in the morning.
I'll let ya know, then.
August 01, 2006
I know that I've written before about having air on station for our mortar shoots, and what a rush it was to have the fighters buzzing the tops of the trees overhead. I love that shit...
Then there was another time, near Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. A buddy and I were out there for Sturgis, and we went cruising one night. Rather than take the normal way back to Custer from Rapid City, we just hopped on a highway and rode. Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but it paid.
We got out in the middle of nowhere, and we could see a military base off to our left. He motioned for us to stop, so I pulled over. We got out a map to orient ourselves, when we heard a roar. Looking back over our shoulders, we discovered that we were in line with a runway, and a jet was taking off. Two jets to be exact.
What a rush!!! They went right over our heads, not much more than a hundred feet if I were to take a guess. The roar was deafening, and the night was lit up as the afterburners kicked in. I watched in child like fascination, and found that I wasn't the only one. My buddy just sat there grinning, then turned to me. "That... was... FUCKING COOL!!!" When we hooked up with our friends in Custer, that was all we could talk about.
I had those thoughts come back to me today when I saw this video. Short but very sweet. Check it out...
Buzzed by a Harrier... how sweet! I get goosebumps everytime I watch it!
July 25, 2006
T1G: "Are there many 'gators in this area?"
Old Guy: "Nah... they ain't around here."
Other Old Guy: "Ain't true... I seen one ta other day. It was in that pond over by them new condos."
Old Guy: "You're on them goofy pills."
Other Old Guy: "I swear it..."
Old Guy (turning to me): "There might be some, but they don't generally hang in this area... too close to salt water. It's pretty damn rare."
Yeah. Right. Saw my first Florida 'gator coming back from Sun City. I don't know how big "big" is, but I'd say this was big. Damn near 10'. Big enough to make my skin crawl... and, of course, I thought of Jimbo. He loves'em.
"Rare" my ass.
July 24, 2006
Hope things are going well for you, and that the Big Guy has you set up right. I'm sure you know all about it, but I'm down here in Florida, helping out Aunt D., trying to get Uncle Russ' business rolling again, so that we can sell.
As I often do, I was thinking of you today. Alot. I was remembering how I used to follow you around in the machine shops and the garage, asking about tools and why certain things needed certain care and others didn't. All of us kids would ask if we could help saw, or drill things for you. You'd patiently explain everything to us, and sometimes allow us to help. And help for real, not just to entertain ourselves. I remember the first tool box you got for me... full of real tools. I think I was seven or eight at the time. You'd show us how to use some tools, and explain why we couldn't run others until we were older. I love ya for that...
Today, I had the chance to watch over S's boy (he's ten already!). He followed me around the shop asking questions, wanting to help, and playing with some of the tools I thought it safe for him. I got to spend most of the day with him. Kind of a learning experience, and a realization of what you did for us.
I just wanted to thank you, Pa, for not killing me.
Love and miss you,
July 17, 2006
Well, it's been sweet being at home, but it's time to hop in the car, and head back to Florida. I'll be there until September. Most likely.
I've had a few folks ask me why I bother to drive, when I could fly for as much money. In case you're one who's wondering this, here's why:
1. No car when I get to my destination. I need a ride, otherwise I'm of no benefit to anyone.
2. If I fly, I knock down my chances of meeting bloggers... something I'm loving.
3. Click on the extended entry...
When you fly, you can only SEE this scenery... you can't BE a part of it...
These are some pics from trips out west. (You can click to enlarge) I was on the bike at the timeâ€¦ the way Iâ€™d prefer to travel. The mountain pic is from Glacier in Montana, and the pond is from a backroad in Wyoming. The picture below is from a spot on I-75, not far from the Tennessee/Kentucky border. Funny thing... I took this pic, and a couple of others, and two days later, Tuck from Thought Drizzle posted an excellent pic that he had taken from the very same area, but earlier in the morning. This was the view that I was describing when I wrote Heaven.
Well, trying to describe. As nice as these pics may seem, they just can't come near to showing you how it actually is. You have to be there to be it... feel it.
You just can't get that when you're riding the metal birds through the heavens...
July 13, 2006
Take a guess at the age of this towel. Here's a hint: I got it for my golden birthday. Yeah. 30 freakin' years old. Looks pretty good, doesn't it? I was, and still am, a big Snoopy fan. Mostly because of Joe Cool.
Why'd I post it? I don't know. I had a very good reason when I started. I guess now I'm just hoping that you'll have some kind of clue.
July 09, 2006
July 9, 1967
July 9, 1967... Northern Illinois' modern day equivalent of the stable in Bethlehem. A young farmer's wife has just given birth to her first child... a long haired little boy. No kidding, his hair is over his ears, and down on his shoulders. Years before his horrible accident requires a face transplant, he is a stunning figure right out of the chute. Literally, and figuratively.
The young woman watches nervously as the little one is being checked out. He seems to have been born with a smirk on his face, but that changes as soon as the doctor smacks his little ass.
Suddenly, the room is an explosion of tiny fists and obscenities. The doc catches a right to his left temple, and a left to his shnoz. The infant is screaming, but it's not the usual cries. "Son of a cross eyed monkey raping goat!!! Who the hell do you think you are, you heavy handed son of a bitch?!?!? You get your kicks from paddling the backsides of innocents? I'll kick your ass so high they've got to shoot you to keep ya from starving to death, ya friggin pervert!"
As the doc slumps to the floor, the infant walks over and kicks him in the groin, and then takes his wallet. Peeling out a Benjamin, he hands the C-note to his mother. "Thanks for the ride, lady." He then walks over to his father who is standing in dumbfounded silence. He grabs the White Owl from his father's pocket, and lights it up with a match struck on the doctor's face.
"I'm off to get a beer, folks... feel free to join me." With that, he strides off, bare ass naked, into the night.
And that, my friends, is the story of my first beer. It's true, too. Mostly.
Okay, let me just say this: "JEEBUS EFFIN' CARISTY!!!" Thank you, all of you, for your birthday wishes and gifts. Holy mother of gott... it's too damn cool. I will be stopping by and thanking each and every one of you folks later. Right now, I'm up visiting my mother, so I'm not going to have much computer time.
Until then, a toast to some of the coolest folks out there in the blogosphere. (yeah... that's you.) CHEERS, YOU BASTARDS!!!
June 14, 2006
... heh heh... remember back when I found T1G's private journal?.... I wonder if I should crack it open while he's away and read a few more pages... hmmmm....
May 17, 2006
Here's your goosebumps of the day: A short clip of the Silent Drill Team, from Military.com. (You have to register to see it, if you're not a member... for an even shorter clip, you can go here.) If you've never seen them, you're missing out. It's a powerful experience.
I got to see them at Lejuene... heheheh... got goosebumps just remembering. Our platoon marched back to the barracks with our shoulders back, and chests thrust out in pride. I'm suprised no buttons were popped...
Have you ever seen them? What did you think?
May 16, 2006
Attention All Bloggers...or K-Mart Shoppers...Blue Light Special on Isle 2.While I'd like to say that I haven't a clue, that would be a lie; however, the main reason keeps changing with my situation.
Do you blog for the hits, or you do this shit for some other reason? And if so, what is it and why?
I'm just curious.
I dare you to tell the truth.
When I first got started, it was to shut Harvey up, though, I will admit, I was pretty excited about getting it started. I really didn't know how things would pan out, but it was fun.
As I started writing my drivel, I got to loving it. It was a release. A way to vent the things that I thought of, trying to distract myself, during my work day. Hits had nothing to do with it. But I will admit, the thought that anyone was reading me was pretty damn cool. I thought that 30 - 40 hits a day was pretty sweet, and never really expected to get much more than that. And I was satisfied with it.
Now that I'm not working, it's changed yet again. Now, for some ungodly reason, I'm up to around 140 to 160 hits a day. And I seem to actually pay attention to it... I never did before. Part of it is that I like the communication; although, I've been terrible at keeping up with my blogrolls. Another part is that it's interesting to see some of the searches that bring folks around, and where visitors are from.
I'll probably never hit a steady 200 hits a day, and I'm cool with that. My writing isn't anything fancy, and it's not exactly proper, but it's for me. To have others laugh and comment about some of my scribblings is a huge side benefit.
Another benefit, and probably the reason that I've been doing it lately, is that I've had the opportunity to meet many bloggers... most all of them are damn good peeps.
Hanging with the peeps; that seems to be my main motivation.
May 14, 2006
Just got back from our family's Mother's Day grill out. Or, "Grill In," since the weather wasn't very cooperative. Always a good time getting together with the cousins... it's just a bunch of thirty+year olds acting five again. Heheheh... we still drive the parents crazy, though, now we can get them to laugh with us. Sometimes.
You may have noticed that I don't usually reminisce much about times with my mother, writing mostly about what I can remember of my father. There's a good reason for that... she's still alive, he's not. Not a very fair reason, but it works. But as the saying goes, you don't know what you've got, until it's gone. That is, unless you take some time to reflect, and look back on things. I've got a hell of a mother...
As some of you probably already know, Pa was killed in a farm accident in '76. I was nine at the time, and the oldest of four, with the youngest, R, being four. Ma was left with the task of raising us, and trying to maintain the farm. She held out for nearly four years, selling animals off, renting out the acreage, and finally selling the farm in '80. We moved to a small farmette, and stayed there until she needed to move closer to work...
She may have given up the farming, but she never gave up on us. We weren't bad kids, but we definitely gave her reason enough to rip out hair... both hers and ours. But she kept on. I'm a little biased, but I think she did a damn good job. Hell, you would not believe how many of my friends' parents, especially mothers, wanted to meet her. Most just wanted to tell her that they admired the way she raised us. Most said that they KNEW they would have problems raising just their one or two kids, and here she raised four fine kids.
A couple of years ago, my mother sat us all down, and she apologized for the spankings that we got. She seemed to think that some were a bit harsh, and that she had overdone it. We looked at each other, grinned, then told her that, if anything, we had never gotten near enough... not that we got away with much, but we did manage a few times! As for being too harsh, we told her there was no way. We never had bruises. Never were beaten. Yeah, we like to joke about how we were beat to death, but that's usually when she can hear us. You know... just to goad her a bit. But we goad because we love.
I love my ma to death, even if I don't show it nearly as much as I should. I'm pretty damn sure she knows it, and not just because of the flowers I brought for her. I look at my siblings, and look at how we've all turned out, and I can't help but feel pride in my mother. Pride and love...
She's one hell of a woman.
I know it's late, but I just want to wish all of you mother's out there a very Happy Mother's Day. I hope that all of you will have your kids look at you with the same pride and love that my siblings and I feel for our mother.
May 11, 2006
Another string broken, another link removed.
Go with Gott, Fred. Tell Pa, "Hi" for me.
April 27, 2006
What started out as "harmless" fun, turns out to be an expose. I fear that I may further lose a friend (he already doesn't want to hang out with me after the "tick post") over this...
It was a while ago, but I ran across the My Heritage Face Analyzer Doo-hickey thing over at Agent Bedhead's. I had no pictures loaded into my computer at the time, so I didn't check it out... forgetting that there were already a couple of me out there on the intraweb. Later, I saw it again at Oddybobo's, and I knew I had to check it out. I looked through my archives, and located a picture, then I used the picture of the rabid Joe attacking his dad, to see who came up as matches. I also used my father's shot, since it's been said that I look just like him. The results were interesting...
I also checked out another angle, found in this post. A few names came up quite often, so I'll just give you them, though, I had some very strong matches from that bungies shot. Almost all were above 70% matches.
Here's the names that seemed to be common:
Off of the bungie pic, I had Johnny Depp, at 74%, Pier Paolo Pasolini, at 72%, Beckham, Roberto Rosselini at 71% (Ingrid Bergman... lucky bastard), and, Gott help me, Macauley Calkin at 71%. This pic gave me the best results. Among the others were many, many Europeans, mostly German (imagine that... I'm over 3/4 German!), and some very weak matches.
There were also some female matches that had me wishing I lived in West Virginia. Milla Jovovich, at 74%, Kylie Minogue, at 72%, and Liv Tyler, at 71%. There was also one I'd never heard of before, but DAMN she do be hot! Her name is Rani Mukherjee, a Bengali actress. Mmmmmm... Bengali....
I guess one positive thing from this is that when I finally let Jennifer Aniston catch me, it won't be like making out with kin...
I know, by now you're wondering, "How the hell is this endangering a friendship?" Or, "Where the hell is this expose?!?" Okay, okay... I'm there already.
In the midst of this "research," a name kept coming up, and though it sounded familiar, I couldn't place it. Bashar al-Assad... Bashar al-Assad... I decided to check this guy out. Hell, I checked everyone out, but it was killing me not to know who this dude was. Turns out, he's the President of Syria. Yeah... a bad guy. I did an image search on him, and what I saw made my blood run cold. You see, you could very well have met this guy. At any rate, you DO know him...
I'm a little worried about this weekend...
April 26, 2006
Memories From Boot
During the past few days, I've had many things to do. A lot to get taken care of before heading out to meet up with a bunch of degenerates, and then possibly on to Florida. The problem has been keeping focused... I keep running across old things, or things that get me to reminiscing. Not very conducive to getting things done, but it has brought back some great memories.
The other day, with full intentions of scanning the news and then getting to work, I saw a picture gallery of Marine boot camp, at Parris Island. It wasn't a bad group of pics, but it could have been better. But it did cause me to pull out my "yearbook," and dust off it's cover... and my memories.
Platoon 3107, I (or "India") Company, MCRD San Diego. My bootcamp training platoon. I may have told you that before, but hey, I'm getting older. It's time to start repeating myself. My brother was in the same platoon with me, another fact you may know, but we managed to convince our DI's that there was no love lost between us. Something that greatly improved the quality of our training. Oh, they found out later that we were full of shit, but by then, we were in third phase... our last stage of bootcamp. Our "heavy hat," an R. Lee Ermey clone, told us over a beer on graduation day, that they (the DI's) had thought it funny that we had pulled it off the way we did. The "do you love your brother" routine ended early for us. Not so for another set of brother's that went through in our platoon.
Bootcamp was probably one of my favorite things about the Marines. Your schedule is made, the day planned. All you have to do is follow orders and keep up. Granted, I went in when I was a little older (24), so I had a slightly different view. But as long as you understood that everything you did or said had a purpose, whether immediate or eventual, it was easy to take. Hell, it was even FUN. And the DI's we had were some of the funniest dudes you could ever meet. Gott help you if they caught you laughing, but they were funny, nonetheless. Once, one of them lost his straight face, and started laughing before he could turn away. Heheheh... we paid for that one, but I think we were all still grinning from ear to ear.
Anyway, one of the memories that sticks with me most, is our day at the "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." The MCRD Parris Island recruits fought in an Octagon, Eric has a story he could tell you, and we "Hollywood Marines" fought on a bridge. I looked for pictures, and the only good ones I found were in my yearbook. I also noticed that there were more than a couple pics of my bro and I, including the day of the battle, so I scanned them, and they're found below.
The "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" is an event that takes place at the end of bayonet training. Combatants face each other in the center of a 6' wide bridge, and try to knock their opponent over the edge, using the tactics learned the day before. If a recruit is knocked to the bridge, he is allowed to stand up again, and battle once more. If he's knocked into the water, he's considered "dead." The way it went when we went through, if you returned to the squad bay wet, you got to spend time in the "classroom." That means, getting bent... "Run. Run. Run... Pushups. Pushups... Run. Run. Run. Run... Leg lifts... Run... Leg lifts... Run..." You get the picture. (Some of this is done for the amusement of all... my cousin had a kid in his platoon that would go into a leglift position in mid-air, and drop on his back. The DI's loved it.) At this stage of bootcamp, it's not that big of a deal. Hell, we had guys, who hadn't fallen in, running up to relieve the "thrashees."
To get back to it, my brother and I were going into this event without a frickin' clue. The one time that our "We hate each other" facade didn't work for us, we got sent to the company office to be runners for the day. So while the rest of the platoon spent the day in the bear pits beating the crap out of each other, and learning, we sat on our butts, unless papers needed to be run to the other side of base. I think I only ran twice, and R may have went out three times. Kinda pointless, but I guess it's gotta be done.
This pic is of R (on the left)and me (next to the floating head) watching as the others fight, trying to learn what we had missed from the day before. Kind of a cram session. He's a quick study, I'm... well, you'll find out in a second.
According to Section VI of the "Arts Safety & Training Equipment And Facilities Handbook," the Bridge and the Octogan are "used for Martial Arts training to include various types of free sparring and combative events. It is an outstanding means to instill cohesion as well as motivation and aggressiveness." They aren't kidding about cohesion and motivation. It's like you're at the state finals, and the teams are tied, just seconds left on the clock. Everyone is screaming and yelling... the combatants are pumped up. The waiting watchers are pumped. The kid that may have been working and joking alongside you at the firing range just a couple weeks ago is now your enemy. You end up cheering the kid in your platoon that has gotten you the distinction of being the only platoon of the series to go on an "island hopping campaign" (running to every sand pit on base, and getting bent, seriously, at each)... the kid you'd have loved to given a blanket party, if not for the serious punishment that would occurr should you try. Now, he's your teamate.
We watched in nervous anticipation, keeping track of who we might battle. In that pic, R is putting in his mouthpiece, about to take his turn. I ended up going before he did. Not sure why, other than the kid I drew was a pretty stocky dude. I had about two inches height on him, but we had to be similar in weight. We made our way to the middle of the bridge, and awaited the start.
The whistle blew, and I made a serious mistake. My great plan was to react to his moves. I thought for sure that I could nail him before he hit me hard enough to get me in trouble. Wrong. No sooner had that whistle went off, than I saw a flash, and I hit the bridge... my feeble attempt at ducking being just enough to keep the impact from knocking me into next week. As it was, it was a solid hit. Of what happened next, I don't remember a whole lot.
I do know I was pissed... to me, I considered myself "dead." But R told me that no sooner had I hit the bridge, than I had let go of the pugil stick, and upended my opponent. As he hit the ground, the whistles were going crazy trying to stop the bout, and I was going crazy, climbing on top of him, holding his weapon immobile, and punching him. I don't remember this...
That bout was over before it began. I wanted to knock him out, and as soon as the whistle went, I shoved him, and clobbered the snot out of him. I dropped my hands down so that I was gripping the stick like a bat, and smashed him once more for good measure, as he was falling into the water. I kinda remember that...
One thing I remeber clearly, is hearing my platoon's side of the pool cheering like a bunch of madmen. I was pissed off, and pumped up, which you can kind of see in the last pic. I wish that they had gotten R's grin, because that's one thing I'll never forget.
R was up next, and he was fighting the mirror image of himself, as far as build, and reactions. R a lefty, and his opponent right handed. When they began, it was a very short "getting to know you" phase, and then it was on. R got him a good one, but when he went to finish him off, the guy got R off balance. Back and forth like this it went. They stopped and restarted the bout. Same thing.
The next restart, they stood back to back. When the whistle blew, they both turned the exact same way, blocking each other's moves. Once turned around, it was a repeat of the previous starts and stops. Neither could land a "killing" blow, though they were hitting HARD. The instructors were having a blast with it, and everyone was yelling and screaming. A couple of DI's from another battalion stopped by to watch.
They stood back to back, with their toes over the edge for the next restart. Same thing. We were yelling and laughing... it really did look like a mirror at times. Once they got themselves established in the center of the bridge, it was again stopped. This time, they had to sit with their legs dangling over the sides.
They came up, and the kid caught R weakly in the side of the head. R went with it, and came all the way around to smack him. They nearly repeated their earlier acts once again, but R managed to catch him dead in the face. His downfall came from trying to smash the dude as he was falling... he lost his balance, and nearly went in. Just as he got his balance, the instructor laughingly gave him a shove. Told him he'd been on his bridge long enough.
When we got back to the squadbay, yeah, R got bent, but it was no big deal. The big deal was that the whole series was talking about his match. I'm always proud of my siblings, but I've gotta tell you that this was one of those times that I couldn't be proud enough.
And though my story didn't do it much justice, it was one of the greatest fights that I'd ever seen. On both sides.
April 25, 2006
Looking through some old things today, I realized how much I've changed over the years. I wasn't always as chill as I am today. Nah. I've come a long way from being the tempermental fireball I used to be.
A perfect example of how I used to be was found among some old pics. I had dropped through a register in the floor above, and had a death grip on my father's head. One quick wrench, and it would have been lights out... he knew it, too. You can see the fear in his eyes.
Click to super-size
Just so I could have my first birthday a month early.
April 16, 2006
Well, I've risen, but I've got to be honest, and say, "I wish I was dead." Damn, I'm hurting.
The past few days haven't been an excercise in wisdom. Thursday and Friday, I walked the steps of Lowden... Friday was to stretch out the sore calves from the day before. That was a brilliant move. Friday evening, Contagion and I set out to alleviate the Guinness overstock at Hooters. We finished up at his local watering hole, and I ended up crashing at his place. I slept well, but fast, waking only a couple of times, once to a vicious attack from his (actually, Ktreva's) cat. I woke up feeling a little shakey, but not too awful. Just weak. After watching a couple episodes of Spongebob, and having a quick breakfast, I headed home to catch at least 15 winks.
As soon as I entered my house, I had a feeling of "I know I'm supposed to be doing something, but I can't remember what." It quickly became, "I'm supposed to be somewhere..." I was focused on hitting the hay, when the phone rang. It was a friend, asking when I was going to head over to help build their deck. Aha! I told them to give me about forty five minutes or so, and I'd be right over.
I got there, and found that they had the frame of the deck finished (no, I wasn't that late), with about the only thing left being the deck boards and railings. Easy. I love doing this stuff anyway, but when it's at this stage, it's all gravy. Usually.
I was still feeling weak, and while walking on the joists, my legs began to shake... Add the constant squatting and standing, and my legs became worthless. Heh... when I tried to drop down to the ground between the joists, I ended up going through a lot faster than planned when my legs gave out. Got a pretty nice mark from that, even catching myself. I was lucky... my friend's grandfather stepped on a wrong board, and dropped through. He was a mass of scrapes and bruises. As a matter of fact, as I was leaving (after only a few hours), I heard he was being taken to the ER. Hopefully all is well with him. That's a tough old guy, and to have him suggest making that trip is not a good sign.
Contagion and Ktreva had come down to visit Tammi, so I ran over there to mooch some steaks. Sproingtagion had brought along some beer to try, so we went out on the stoop, and gave it a shot. Let me give you a tip, if I may: DO NOT TRY CAMO SILVER ICE HIGH GRAVITY LAGER!!! Trust Contagion and me. And if you don't, go ahead and Google it. Read the reviews. Not many are as nice as mine. "Swill made by evil people" is one phrase that I remember.
This stuff gives off a warning when you first open it... it stinks. Badly. Very badly. The first sip makes you shudder, but after that, you only have to worry about puking. High gravity, my ass... the stuff just seems to begging to be launched. I will say, by the time you hit the bottom of the can, it was tasting good, but that's only because you knew that the experience was about to be over.
Why would someone drink that? Well, because it's 9% alcohol, folks think it's a good quick drunk. When Contagion picked it up, he had hopes, but he knew that it most likely going to suck. You should always try new things, though, right? Yeah, but I'll tell you, it'll be a while before I do something like that again... not that today's pain has anything to do with that. It doesn't.
That can be chalked up to my incredible brightness...
March 28, 2006
So you're wondering how the interview went... or maybe you're just wondering why the hell it takes me so damn long to post. I'll tell you about the interview.
I was a bit over dressed, wearing new black jeans, and dress shirt. My interviewers were wearing pullovers and jeans... and quite possibly, diapers. Heheheheh... I'd lay money that one of them was 21, tops... Now that's not really a problem. Keep in mind, I went into the Marines when I was 24, so it's nothing new to me, having a youngster in a position of authority. I just figured that my interviewers for this job wouldn't be fresh out of Romper Room U...
There were groups of 8 - 10 people getting called back at a time, where we were sent to a training room. Commercials for this company ran non-stop on a small 20 screen. After a bit, my name was called, and I was walked back to their chow hall, where each table had an interview going on. They're hiring 300 people, so I guess it's a little easier this way...
As I said, my interviewers were a couple of young dudes. One hardly spoke, at first, and the other was supposed to be the interrogator. Once we got started, the questions pretty much alternated.
About a quarter of the way into it, I noticed that one of the interviewers, who had been smirking off and on, kinda rolled his eyes about something I said as to quality of work. Believe it or not, I got a little pissed, but I tried to play it cool. I looked him in the eye for every question and it's answer, even if the other guy asked it. I was as pleasant as I could be, but I think I made him a little nervous... he wouldn't keep eye contact. I could see his partner out of the corner of my eye... he was grinning. I looked over at him, and grinned back, and it was cool from then on. I don't know what the hell that was about, but I either did good, or I screwed up.
A couple of questions had me chuckling to myself, especially one about confrontations with your boss or supervisor...
When I was still making paper machinery, we had a new boss come on to the floor. He had been one of us, but a layoff was in the works. The company approached him with a supervisor's job, to keep him working. He reluctantly took it, which turned out to be a good thing... he would never have been called back.
Anyway, Flip wasn't one of the hardest working guys on the floor... hell, he was actually one of the hardliest working guys. But he was excellent when it came to organizational skills. He proved to be a damn good boss. However, with his past rep, some of the guys, from his old floor, refused to do any work he assigned them. He ended up with a core of about 5 people who would work for him.
Flip was cool in the way he got the work assigned... he actually asked you to do it, or if you thought you could get it done for him that night. I used to bust my ass for him, and in return, I got to work by myself in one of the isolated bays, stereo blasting. Most areas of the shop were off limits for radio. Like I said, he was cool.
One night, as his core of guys was walking in, we noticed a customer and sales rep talking with him. As soon as we got close enough for them to hear, he started barking at us, "T1G, you clean, deburr, and build these heads... drop the bearings on, and assemble the housings. Buck, you do this, S and K, you two work on this... we need four rolls built tonight. We will get them done tonight." Before the buzzer even rang, he was riding us... totally not like Flip, at all. I even was told to cut the tunes...
Now, to build these rolls, and four of them in one night, is not impossible, but it's incredibly hard work. And, it also involves some luck, as far as taps breaking and such. They were a real bear.
Well, the four of us got all situated, and figured out how we were going to work it. I filled them in on my plans, which didn't include finishing the rolls. We also got rolling on "Little Hitler" jokes. After some serious work, it appeared that we were going to make it, after all.
The bearing fit on the heads were for a shrink fit, so I had tossed them into the oven while deburring, and I made great time. All eight heads were sitting on the floor by the oven, waiting for the bearings to be dropped. The housings were cleaned and waiting for heads to cool, and all would be good... and we still had three hours in the shift. Flip was impressed, though irritated by all of the "Ja's" and "Nein's", and "Mein Furher's" that he was getting. He went into the other bay, and listened for the crane, which would be his signal that I was putting the bearings on... then he'd likely come over and harass us some more.
Heheheh... the bearings weighed about 110 pounds, and the four of us who were working on them never used the crane, unless a bearing cocked on the fit. So within twenty minutes, I had all eight bearings on, my tool box locked up, and was heading for the shower.
When Flip got the call from the bar across the street, minutes later, asking him to see if I had forgotten to punch out, he was incredulous. He asked me three times if I was kidding when I told him where I was... then he blew up. I guess it was a beautiful thing... the other three had been trying to get as close as possible when the phone rang. After promising to raise a brew in honor of "Little Hitler," I cut the call off. There were two and a half hours left of my shift...
The next day, the four of us kept goosestepping and saluting him. He finally apologized for being an asshole... and so did I. The kicker? Those rolls didn't need to be done for another couple of days. They just wanted to see if it was possible...
Anyhoo... that's what went rolling through my mind as I was asked that question. I couldn't hide the smirk. Did I actually use that story? Hell, no!
I told them some other lame ass story about my last boss, and his changing micrometers on probes... to see if you were paying attention. It was his form of training. We got into it one day, and we were both laughing by the time we were done.
How's about you folks? Any "conflicts" for you?
March 09, 2006
Now you see me, now you don't....
I just spent last week with Bloodspite and Bloodfamily... guess where I am right now....
Army Wife's, with Pink Ninja curled up against me, fighting off a nap... heheheheh. And now, Dash is mooning me...
Gotta run to Apollo Beach, FL, for a memorial service for my uncle, on Saturday. I may catch up with a couple more of you on the way. Trying to make Atlanta by this evening, but I'll be too late to hook up with anyone (cough...Zonker... cough). Maybe on the way home...
Before I sign off for now, I've gotta recommend a place for chow... The Whole Hog Cafe... better ribs you will not find. And this from a person who doesn't really like ribs. Believe me, this is by far the best barbeque I've had, in regards to pulled pork and ribs. You get near Little Rock, AR, you've gotta stop for grub... seriously.
Well, I've gotta hit the road... unfortunately. Dash is getting wound up... could be a very good show.
Catch ya all later!
March 02, 2006
I've mentioned it before, but growing up, there were nine of us cousins who were very tight. Four in our family, four who lived within five miles of us, and a cousin who was always coming out to the farm to see us. We had some great times, and even today, we are close. It's something that I always planned on doing were I to reproduce... keep my kids close to their cousins. I realize that their closeness depends on their individual personalities, but always doing things with my family would help, too. This past weekend was a fine example of that.
My mother wanted to take a trip as a whole family, as it had been a very long time since we were able to get everyone together in one place. It turned out to be a hell of a lot more fun than I had thought it would be, and most of that was just watching the nephews and niece playing. My sister's two boys, and my brother's little boy and girl. Sis' kids are a couple of years older than the Perfect One's perfect spawn, and they love to be around their little cousins. It was funny as hell to watch them...
Click to swell... on all pics
Watching them in the water park was great, too. The little madman was so excited (his first time at something like that) that he looked like he was floating over the ground as he kept running back and forth between my brother and myself so we could send him down the water slides. The little dude is 17 months old, and he insisted on going down the slides that three and four year olds were afraid of... he's got no fear at all.
My sister's eldest kept wanting people to go down the Howling Tornado with him as he was just tall enough to be allowed to ride. I went with him twice, almost flipping the first time because his little body was not near enough to counter balance me. The second time, we almost flipped again, but that was because there was four of us on the tube, and we had almost matched the seven hundred pound weight limit... we gathered so much speed that we went too far up the wall! Now that is the way to do it... if you ride that, max out the limit... you'll haul some serious ass!
Meanwhile, Sis' youngest and the madman were flitting across the floor, splashing in the water and being splashed. I wish I would have brought the camera down there, but I was worried about it getting ruined. Not to mention that I had half the kids in the water park trying to chuck harpoons at me, and calling themselves Captain Ahab.
As for the niece, hey, she's only six months old... it's not like she was running off to play. She went swimming and seemed to like it... great big smile... but she was tuckered out too soon. What a baby!
Yeah, it was good to see the kids having such a good time, and being so close. Ma has already determined that this will be an annual event, and we're all looking forward to it. Just as I'm looking forward to watching our family's kids grow up close like we were able to do with our cousins...
February 21, 2006
Nope, that's not the posts needed to hit 1000. It's not a monetary value. It's not an area code. It is an interstate, a school district in Minnesota, a Gato - class submarine, lost in 1944 (RIP gentlemen), a standard form for Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report, and a Braddock Heights, Maryland Cub Scout Pack, along with other things, I'm sure. Those aren't what I'm talking about. That would be the amount of poundage you would feel, should I happen to step on you.
My frickin' weight.
Now, I'm not going to whine about being a lard ass. I'm really not. I am way out of shape, and I weigh more than I should, but I'm only concerned about that number because of something that I've really wanted to do, and as long as that number shows up when I step on a weighing device, I can't do it. To do it, I need the scales to read 250 or below, or to find a skydiving joint that will take someone over that weight.
Yeah. I want to jump out of a plane. A friend and I have decided that that is going to be the planned event for my birthday in July. I've wanted to do it since I was a kid, but I really got fired up when I was in the Marines, and a couple of the guys that had gone through recon training had their own chutes, and would go out on Saturday mornings...
Huh... I've been trying to find links to their weight restrictions, and as of right now, I can't find anything. I know that I was stoked last year, and then I found the limitation on multiple local sites. Not finding them now.
Regardless, I've gotta drop a pound or ten, and if my personal health isn't good enough reason, being able to launch myself out of a plane should work even better.
February 17, 2006
If you've read here at all, you know I'm kind of a sentimental guy. That's just me. However, I hadn't realized exactly how carried away I can get, 'til yesterday.
My phone and answering machine is on it's last leg. I can get calls, and there will be no ring at all. I'll be in the midst of talking to someone, and the phone will die. I'll have to answer on speaker phone.
The handset battery was the most logical suspect, but, while it is a bit worn, it's not totally to blame. It's the base itself. Eight years old, it is, and it no longer works proper. I've had folks call me all day, and never heard a call, or got the message.
Time for a new one, I guess. But it ain't quite that simple. There are messages that I've saved on that machine, that I just can't seem to let go into the trash to make way for a functioning machine.
Should you hit play, you'd hear my oldest nephew saying, "Hi, Unca Doe," and then launch into a nonsensical "scat" that I had taught him, my sister encouraging him on in the background. Next you'd hear my cousin's daughter's birth announcement, with all the vital stats. After that, you'd hear one of my best friends rambling on, trying to see how long the machine would go before cutting him off... there was alot of funny shit that he was talking about.
The next two are the birth announcements of The Perfect One's little boy, and then his daughter... The Perfect One and his significant other leaving the messages.
Next are just a couple of friends that I haven't heard from in a long time, and my cousin calling to tell me that he got accepted into the sheriff's department.
I have only one phone in my house. The place isn't that big, and one phone is more than adequate. Yesterday, I decided to pick up a new machine. But first, I listened to the stored messages.
I can't toss them. Can't do it, at all. Yeah, it's kinda stupid, but I like those messages better than the one's I've been getting lately.
The machine stays...
February 12, 2006
Febuary 13, 1936: Blizzard, cold, baby. Folks in the country were trying to dig out the roads so that the town doctor could get out to deliver an immigrant farmer's wife's baby. In the small town, folks were trying to dig out to meet them. They were late.
My dad was born in a small farmhouse seventy years ago. I'd heard the story as a little guy. Never knew where it was. I found out shortly after I moved down to Stillman, that it was here... right up the road. Some of the old timers still talk of that winter, though their numbers are fast dwindling. There's a good chance that it was immortalized in a book written by the doctor, just one of his many experiences as town doc. I've been looking for a copy of it...
Taking the day off tomorrow. Making a trip to the cemetery, and down memory lane.
I'll catch ya on Tuesday.
February 09, 2006
Schwanz On Fire
Dunklezahn, son of Raging Mom, posted about "Chemical Abuse of the Penile Region." A pretty damn funny post, complete with a description of pain from each chemical. Examples are provided. Reminded me of a post that I started writing awhile back...
When I used to work for Beloit Corp, it wasn't uncommon for a couple of guys to get together and bring in a feed for everyone in the department. We'd have ribs, elk, caribou, venison, sweet corn, egg rolls... all kinds of different chow. One of my favorite's was my buddy Bob's chili. This was some of the hottest stuff I've ever had, but it still had tons of flavor. Mmmmmm...
The stuff was a little costly to make, and Bob asked for some help buying the groceries. The Perfect One and I offered, and before you knew it, we were back a my brother's place, drinkin' beer and making chili.
I wish I could tell you everything that went into that chili, but I can't. I've tried to duplicate it, and I end up coming up short. Anyways, if I started telling you all the ingredients, this would be a frickin' recipe, not a post about agony. One thing this chili had in abundance was peppers... red bell, jalapenos, habarneros, serranos. The bells were pretty much for color and sweetness.
Bob started cutting up the peppers and onions, but when he started sauteeing, I took over. Noticing that he hadn't worn any gloves, I asked if I would need them. "Nah, you won't be cutting enough to burn you..." Don't ever trust "friends."
Brews went down rapidly, as we were sampling the peppers as I was cutting them. The serranos were the only peppers that weren't fresh, and we dug the carrots out of the can and snacked on them. (They're packed with carrots to soak up the extra oils... 'least, that's what I was told.) That really sped up the beer consumption! Soon, I was finished, and we settled back to bullshit while the chili was cooking, the smell of the fresh garlic, peppers, and onions making our eyes water. A slice of heaven, it was.
I remember scratching my side, and not long after that, the beer had run it's course. I needed to make a pit stop. Not being a total fool, I washed my hands before grasping the plumbing. I thought I was being one sharp cookie...
A few minutes after I hit the can, I realized that my side felt like it was on fire. It burned badly, and it just kept getting worse. Heheh... wasn't long after that, and I was in tears. Old Sluggo soon felt engulfed in flames, too. Obviously, washing my hands did nothing for the oils of the peppers. That was the longest hour of my life...
Oh, yeah, my hands eventually caught up with everything else, but the pain was a numbing burn. It did hurt to touch anything, but burned nowhere near as bad as the burn in the southern hemisphere...
I'm only half as dumb as I look, and I walked away from the incident a much wiser man (with cinders for a schwanz) who knows to wear gloves when cutting peppers... and to never trust a smiling friend... at least when potential pain is involved.
February 01, 2006
Bodies As Pranks
I was reading over at Samantha Burns' the other day, and she pointed to a dude who plays dead. He's taken pictures of himself as a dead body, in different positions of death, and displayed them on his web site, Dead Body Guy. One of the pics is of him trapped under his garage door... it reminded me of the "body" we had hanging around our shop for a while.
One of the shippers was walking by a dumpster one day, and noticed part of a leg sticking out from under some of the garbage. Further investigation revealed a whole body. Not knowing what to do, he started asking around. One of the guys from our floor was down in the area, and took charge of the thing, bringing it back up to the bay. What a blast...
First, one of the guys who was built similarly started talking very loudly about how he hadn't gotten any sleep the night before, how tired he was, how he could just pass out. Meanwhile, some of us were dressing the body in some of his spare workclothes. When we finished, and the foreman left the bay, we put it just inside of a large roll shell. Then we went back to our various stations and resumed our jobs.
After few minutes, the foreman came back in, glanced at the shell, and went to his desk. As he started going over some of his paperwork, he kept glancing over at the legs just protruding from the end of the shell. Finally, he got up, walked over, and started talking to "Mike." Soon, he was yelling, and then finally, he drew back and kicked him. He went pale when he saw that it wasn't Mike... and then he turned on us, who were all rolling about the floor. He did eventually laugh, but it took him a long time to see the humour in it.
The body was stashed in an unused freight elevator until we could use it again. It wasn't long... a few days later, the yard crew were moving some large crates around when they found the body sticking out from under one of the crates, a large pool of "blood" spread around it's side. Funny how glyptal lacquer (a sealer used between gearcase halves and on shims and bearing covers) looks like drying blood. Especially on the snow. The yard crew wasn't too happy...
Body was again stashed and brought out about a week later.
We broke the legs, and placed the body in one of the stalls in one of the very quiet restrooms. The door was locked, and stall exited. Over the wall.
One of the old timers used to hit the can just before shift start. He'd spend about fifteen minutes in there, reading the newspaper. An hour later, he'd do the same. He kept this up until he was finished with the paper... usually about four trips. After his third trip, he came back to his workbench and got a couple of guys to go and check it out. He was freaking...
He said he noticed that the guy had been in there for at least three hours, and he was pretty sure that he wasn't just sleeping... Paper Reader had been banging on the stall wall, and shouting, "Hey, buddy!!! You alright in there? Do you need help?" When he and his entourage arrived, one of them popped his head over the wall, and busted out laughing. The door was kicked in so that all could see, and most of them got a good laugh. A few didn't, and the body was removed and properly disposed of.
Ah, the fun a group of guys can have when they discover a mannequin in the trash!
January 30, 2006
Riding Into The Sunset
This ain't T1G. It's a guest post.
Me and my partner been working for the same guy now for nigh onto 10 years. While we spent 'bout the first six years employed full time, he's kept us on as "part time" help. Heheh... ends up we still get most of the work. Ol' boss knows who he can count on in a pinch!
Truth is, I'm not sure as he could ever bring himself to let us go. He's brought in replacements, but we've outlasted them, while assumin' most of their duties. Plus, I think he's kinda soft on us. I ain't talkin' no Brokeback shit. We've all just gone through a hell of alot together.
We've been through 45 of the lower 48 states and 4 countries, walked through marsh and explored mountains. We've been on Pacific, Altantic, North Sea, and Gulf shores. Ridden through blast furnace desert, and hiked the Yorkshire moors. Heh... that ryhmed. Who'da thought I could do that.
We've had a pretty rough life, Lefty and me. Working in all kinds of weather. Snow, rain, hail, nearly unbearable heat... Pushing cattle, building, machining... we've done some pretty hard labor, and we both have the scars to show. I've got a nice burn scar from when the Boss was tryin to learn to weld. The man ain't very good with a welder...
It ain't all been rough, though. Boss has taken us with him to places all over. When he goes on vacation, we're usually brought along. When he goes drinking, we're usually right there with him. Concerts? Same thing, though it's pretty obvious that we don't really fit in at some of the shows he goes to... honky tonk lookin' folks we are. We've waded through our share of mud, vomit, and beer. Been in a bunch of scuffles, but never actually been in a fight, thanks to Boss looking out for trouble. Been a fun ride, but it's coming to an end.
This long life has taken it's toll on both of us. We ain't what we used to be back in the day. Boss has mentioned that it's time for us to retire, or be retired. It's hurtin' both us, and him. Maybe him most of all. We've developed such a deep bond that he can't imagine just hanging out every now and then. Hell... I can't. But maybe it's best...
A couple of years back, Lefty got a cut in his side. Weren't no big deal at the time. But it's never closed up, and in the past year, it's gotten a hell of alot bigger. Me not willing to work with another partner, and Boss being unwillin' to try and force me, we took some time off, and Lefty got himself checked out. I decided to do the same since we don't take much time off, and who knew the next time we'd do it again. Unfortunately, it's going to be rather often...
Now, let me say right here... Boss has been good to us. He's been happy to pick up the bills when we've needed care and surgeries. He's good that way to all of his employees. The man don't skimp none. Ain't his way. If you're loyal to him, he's loyal to you. The way it oughta be. That's why he's in such pain now.
See, after the last visit to the doc, the news is that there ain't much to do to help any either of us. Doc told Boss that it's time to remove us from service... we can't really handle much more. I feel fine, but I've always been a bit unawares. Seems I've got a major problem with my backside... I just chose to ignore the symptoms. Anyway, Doc stitched Lefty up, and we both got patched for the last time. Any further surgery is going to be a waste of funds and time, only giving the false sense that more time got bought. It ain't happening.
Boss has made it clear that we are going to be missed when it comes to work, and anytime he goes riding, we are to drop everything and go with him. I'm lookin' forward to it. I mean, it ain't like we're gonna be doing much more than biding our time, anyway. If you're reading this Bossman, we're both looking forward to hitting the road with ya.
This is kinda rough, just waiting for the end.
Here's a couple pictures of Lefty and me, back in better times. We was a bit tipsy at the time... couldn't get Boss to get in the photergraph with us. Heheh... big chicken. Click on them to make'm huge.
They're big files...
Yeah, we ain't purty like Eric's shoes, but there ain't much better than a good pair of boots...
January 21, 2006
Yesterday, I got an e-mail that reminded me of one of the stories I was going to tell...
Long, long ago, it was the "in" to make darts out of pins or needles. You'd take the eraser off of a pencil, shove the pin through, and make fins out of scotch tape. I'm sure almost everyone's done it, but now you know if you didn't before.
Anyway, I was a journeyman dart maker... there were darts all over our house. I was constantly improving the design of my darts, and my brothers and I were throwing them at anything and everything... we ended up perforating a family portrait because it was funny at the time to see a dart stickin' out of your sibling's head. Didn't take long, and just hitting a picture was no longer acceptable.
I had made up another batch of my world renowned darts, and was in need of testing them. The Perfect One and I convinced R (my youngest brother) to be the test subject. Much like Bones, Bou's youngest, R was all for it. So we ended up drawing up a bullseye on notebook paper, and having R hold it against his ass. Heheheh... the screaming damn near got all of us in trouble! But at least he wasn't the test subject for the darts I made out of straightened fish hooks... that was ugly.
Hey, at least we didn't play any games like the one found in the extended entry...
Thanks to Tammi for the pic...
December 16, 2005
Suppose you are driving on an east/west road, and heading east. You see snow blowing across the road from your left. Quick: What direction is the wind coming from?
I bet you said North, right? Well, you would be wrong, my friend. West is the answer. Believe me.
I ran up to Rockford tonight to meet with the family for my Grandmother's birthday. Anyone who knows me knows that I'll always go by backroads. It probably wasn't the best of decisions this eve.
I ran into some drifting while on the east/west roads, but nothing more than about six inches in a couple of spots. Most of it was clear. But turn onto the north/south road, and what a frickin' mess. I hit a couple of spots where it was deep enough to drag the car... the undercarriage wasn't clearing the snow. And that was in the good spots.
I hit one area where the snow went over a foot deep... I was heading for the ditch before I managed to get it straightened back out.
Coming over a rise, all I could see was snow. I kid you not, it was all tire marks and cars. Three of them. I slowed as much as I could before hitting the edge of the drifts, and then just hung on, steering and countersteering. I have no idea how close I actually was to one of the cars, but she had her domelight on, and I could clearly see her eyes bugging out. She was bracing for impact. It would have been a head on collision... only she was on my side of the road, and almost in a field. I don't know how I kept from smacking into her, but I somehow I avoided it. Continuing on, I saw another couple of cars in the ditch, but my own ride was uneventful.
Got safely to the restaurant, and spent some time with the family. Heheh... that may well be another post. I tell you... I love the hell out of them, but... well, I love the hell out of them. After chowing, my youngest brother and I went Christmas shopping. 'Twas cool.
When I was about 9, I was told to do some extra chores. Rather than dress properly, I tossed some rubber overboots on (barefooted), and raced outside to do them, so I could come back in and watch TV. It wouldn't take long at all.
As I ran across the yard, I nearly missed stepping onto a two by four with nails sticking out of it. (Probably one of my aborted construction projects) I made sure to call Ma's attention to it, carrying on about "how close it was. I could have stepped on it.... blah, blah, blah." Once she knew that I had narrowly avoided death, I ran off to do my chores.
It only took a bit, and I finished. I was racing back to the house when I felt a sharp pain in my foot, and then a heavy weight. I looked down, and there was the board... stuck to me. I looked up, and there was Ma... glaring at me. I went to lift my foot, and the world swam. I was so stuck on that board, bandaids had nothing on it. Ma had to stand on it and lift me up. Let me say right now, I screamed. I screamed like a frickin' hog getting his nuts cut.
While I was dripping blood all through the house, Ma was right on my tail saying some gibberish about knowing the board was there, if I had almost stepped on it, why not pick it up before someone actually did, yada yada yada... But she had a point.. I knew there was something dangerous out there, and yet, I chose to ignore it. In doing so, it lept up and stuck me in the foot. Have I learned the lesson? No. Are you kidding?
I could have taken the highways home, tonight. It would have been bad, but not as bad as the country roads were. But no, I chose instead to head back down the same route I had taken before. I wasn't very far into the country when I saw two cars in the ditch. Hell, it was worse. But I charged onward. Two more vehicles in the ditches, but I moved steadily on.
And I made it. Safely. Again. And that is why I'll never learn that lesson.
There's a great amount of satisfaction in pushing the boundaries of Tard-dom and walking safely away. Sometimes it's riding in the rain and tornado warnings. Sometimes it's carrying on when you know you can't... but you do it anyway, and do it safely.
It's a lesson I keep in mind, but I don't apply. Heh... when I word it like that, perhaps I have learned it. I just spurn it.
December 14, 2005
I'm a quiet guy. It's a fairly well known fact. I don't go out of my way to meet people, but I'm happy as hell to join in a conversation that's been started. It's just me.
I've known some great folks, and in the last year, I've met some truly great people... many of them bloggers. Here at home, however, I don't visit much with anyone outside of Fritz's. As a matter of fact, I don't visit with anyone outdside of Fritz's period.
Today, I started shovelling my drive. It's a long haul, so I concentrated on just the area in front of the garage, and the end of the drive itself. I figured to charge through what was left... the car bottoms out, but you're safe as long as you keep rolling.
I just got home. The drive is totally spotless. Somebody took a snowblower to it all... someone nearby is cool as hell.
And I'm an asshole.
November 07, 2005
I was up at my ma's today, helping to move boxes of small stuff again... I don't think we've really made a dent in all she's got. But everything is going well. I'll be up there for most of the week, so my visits to you folks may be a little limited, as well as my posts. But, as Army Wife says, "It's a good thing." Less suffering for y'all.
Anyway, moving junk around got me thinking about my dad's old stuff. No, none of what was moved today was his, but nonetheless, my thoughts were about him. He used to have a few harmonicas... different keys they were. He also had an old Jew's harp... not sure exactly where that is, but it's around. (If you don't know what a Jew's harp is, here's a sketch.) That harp was a blast... tones are made by shaping your mouth. Many a time did we have a nice rattle as accompaniment to our strumming, as the metal tongue smacked into our teeth.
I spent most of my time thinking about Pa playing for us... it wasn't something that happened often, but we all enjoyed it when he did. For all I know, he could have sucked, but when he was playing, there wasn't ever any one who did it better. Never. After he was finished, we couldn't wait for the next time. In between, I'd hear shortened versions of "Old Dan Tucker," and this, (which I can't find any info about):
There was a wise guy, from the city
And he picked up a striped ole kitty,
He's a movin' on,
He'll soon be gone.
He held his nose while he buried his clothes,
He's a movin' on.
There was more, but I can't remember much other than there was a train involved.
So I was kinda lost in my thoughts all day, smiling to myself when I wasn't visiting with Ma. As I headed home, I took the backroads through the area by the old farm. It was dark and peaceful... hardly any other traffic on the road. I was jamming on a cd that I had just opened today, and as I drove, a dirty slide guitar started wailing, playin' some rockin' blues. I could feel the grin on my face widen, as the music went on. Just as I started wishing for a harmonica, one started in with a short solo... I laughed. I was grinning, laughing, and had tears forming in my eyes from the laughter. Once the song ended, the mood was gone... so I hit repeat. And it started all over again...
At first, I felt a little stupid laughing to myself, and having such a great time with no one else around. But I wasn't alone. I looked above at the Cheshirean moon, and knew that somewhere out there, Pa was jamming right along with me.
September 20, 2005
Here in Stillman Valley, we have Fall Festival coming up. It starts this Friday, and goes through Sunday. There are usually a couple of dances (one at the firestation Saturday night, and one Sunday on the street out in front of Fritz's), car show, tractor show, pork roast at Fritz's Saturday evening, and of course, a midway with the usual rides and games. Leaving town on the way to work this morning, I noticed that the carnies have already started to arrive.
Many folks view carnies as a totally different class of folk. There are a few strange ones... well, I guess VERY strange would better describe them. Most, however, are okay folks. I used to work with a guy who had been a carnie for years. The guy was like a calculator... he could arrive at figures in seconds. Very sharp, and a pretty good guy. At least in my eyes... some folks were bugged by him.
Anyway, whenever I see the caravans arriving, I think about one of our "not so nice" encounters with carnies.
When I was growing up, my mother belonged to a rabbit club. Yes, there really are such things. She raised domestic rabbits, both for show and meat. The club hosted various shows in the region, and also ran the rabbit tent at three different county fairs. If you've been to a fair and seen a tent, or building, full of rabbits that aren't being shown by 4-H members, more than likely, it's run by a rabbit club.
The rabbits are displayed for the week, and this means that someone has to be there to feed and water them. The owners could do it, but not many of them would spend every day there. So usually they'd hire some kid to take care of the rabbits. Or kids. Enter my brother, The Perfect One, and myself.
At night, after we'd get the animals fed, watered, and settled down, we'd hit the lights to the tent, wait for about half an hour, and then start running around the fairgrounds. Many of our friends were still in 4-H and showing animals, so we'd hook up with them. We'd never really get out of hand, but we always had a good time. Sometimes the carnies would come around, and bring their beer, so we did manage to keep from dying of thirst.
One night we were hanging with some of our friends, male and female, camped out in the dairy barn. Along came two carnies. We'd never seen them before, but they had beer, so no one took off when they worked their way into our circle. It didn't take too long, and we knew that the main reason they were there was to get a couple of the girls drunk, and head off with them. Hell... we were all around 15, girls included.
They had brought up a case, and set it on the ground behind them. After our first beers, The Perfect One and I started passing out beer while the carnies' attention was focused on the girls. It didn't take very long, and we had either drank or passed out all but a couple of bottles... to the guys. One of the carnies finally reached back for another beer, and discovered there was a serious deficiency. Unfortunately, it was very obvious who the culprits were. They were pissed.
After a bit of cussing and threatening, the biggest carnie told us that we all owed him two bucks apiece. Of course, it was pointed out that they weren't going to get any money... they shouldn't have been serving minors. The little guy, though pissed, started to ease up. Not the big guy.
Now, let me mention right here, that the guy had a speech problem. It wasn't very evident when he first showed up, but as he became riled, it was very noticable. So when he insisted on "toooouuu dallorz... toooouumarroooooow," with us being a little tipsy, we laughed. Yeah, that always calms the troubled soul. And it didn't help when TPO mocked him.
As soon as my brother mocked him, big carnie guy hopped up and announced that he was going to "keeeeelll" us, then pulled out a knife. Like the flash of light on his blade, we were gone. I don't know how we had the presence of mind, but instead of running for the rabbit tent, we bolted into one of the other barns, where we ducked down and worked our way out the other side. Once outside, we ducked into a ditch and worked our way back to the tent, where we didn't sleep a wink. We expected him to show at any time.
Our friends told us later that the smaller carnie restrained big carnie, but they watched us run into the barn. Later, they came through looking for us. Not a good thing. Like I said earlier, thank gott that we had the thought to run into that other barn. We never went down to the midway after that. And that was our last time taking care of the rabbits.
I guess some good did come from that episode; none of the girls had any interest in them after the appearance of the knife, we got a bunch of free beer, and a lesson learned.
Don't laugh at a rabid carnie.
September 18, 2005
Some of you that have been reading me know that my father died in a farm accident 29 years ago. He was working on a combine, and sent my grandfather and mother to get parts. While they were off, he must have had another idea of what the problem was... he crawled under the cornhead, and a hydraulic hose blew. The head dropped on him, killing him.
My mother and grandpa got back, and he was nowhere to be found. They noticed that our two dogs hadn't come to greet them, so they set off to find them. They were sitting next to the combine... and my father. They managed to get him out from under it, and called the ambulance.
It was obviously a stressful situation... I fear my grandfather never really got over it. He hardly ever came out to the farm afterwards.
As for my mother, well, there were four kids she had to look out for. She was freaked. As she told me, she was scared and had no idea of what she would do. That evening, all of us kids stayed with my aunt. Mom was alone in the house... trying to think, mourning, being scared.
My father was a joker... loved to tease. Always had a twinkle in his eye. I was nine when he left, and I still remember this. Always will.
Anyway, we lived in a very old farmhouse. Well over a hundred years old. One of the pranks he used to do to my mother at night was to sneak through the house, not making a noise, and just outside of the door, he'd make the floor creak. Always took her by suprise. He was the only one that could do that, walking through that hallway... my ma never did figure out how to do the same.
The evening of his death, my ma said she was laying there crying and stressing, when she heard the floor outside the door creak. Then she felt like my father entered the room... she said she definitely felt a presence. She felt calmed, and assured that everything would work out alright. After she settled down, a considerable time, she felt the presence leave the room, and the floor creaked again.
She never heard it again. She was convinced that my father came back one last time to reassure and comfort her.
I do believe there is something else out there... whether it's another side, another plane, or an afterlife. I know many intelligent types figure that belief in any of these is an imbecile's way to explain what they don't know. I don't believe that.
I'm not one that runs around pointing at everything strange screaming "Supernatural! Proof of ghosts! Evil spirits!" As a matter of fact, I usually come up with explanations for things. But there are sometimes when there is no explanation... no reasoning.
There was an elder member of our church, back in the days that I darkened their doors. This man would creep you out. He would walk up, shake your hand, and sometimes, not always, start shaking. Then he'd look you dead in the eye and tell you things you had done... things no one would or could know. I was definitely not a saint... I stayed the hell away from him after the first time. Some say he was in touch with God... I don't know that I believe that. I know of things he'd done himself. I just think he had a gift of sight.
So when Sally mentions what the reader had told her, I can believe her. Not sure exactly why I posted this... I guess I just wanted her to know that.
September 12, 2005
I remember long ago, when Pa had taken me out to the field to "help" while he repaired some fenceline. As the morning went by, thirst started to grow, so he took me down to the creek (pronounced crick) to get some water. Nope, it ain't what you may be thinking... we didn't just start guzzling out of the creek.
There were little springs all throughout the fields, and farmers ran tile down to the water's edge. These tiles (if I remember correctly, there were five) were the source of some of the best water I've ever had. Pa showed me how to cup my hands and drink, but it wasn't long, and I would just stick my head in the springwater as it fell to the creek. That was some good stuff... nice and cool.
After Pa died, we moved off the farm, to a farmette outside of Roscoe. About a mile or so away, there was a forest preserve. We used to spend hours there running through the woods, pretending to be all manner of things. Didn't take long, and we located a couple of springs there that you could drink from. The best water ran from between the rocks of a cliff, about two feet above the stream's surface.
So it took me back a bit, when I was asked to bring up bottled water during my last advisory meeting. At first, I started making fun of the guy who requested it, but then I saw he was serious. I could only think, WTF? Part of his complaint I could see... the water in the plant does indeed taste a little funky at times. But I fill up my water bottle a few times each day, and I've never had any real problem with it. Nothing extra floating in it. I just couldn't fathom someone bitching about "impure" water. 'Course, my mind runs a million different directions, thinking of the springs on the farm, and other things, including health problems. But mostly, the farm.
Soon, it will no longer be a part of the family. So today, I sit here listening to Johnny Cash (my father's favorite... and one of mine), remembering. Thinking.
It's not that I don't think, or haven't thought, of the place for the past twenty five years. I drive past the place a few times each year. Many good memories are there. Well, as many as you can get out of thirteen years.
The house and buildings have been sold off long ago, but the largest part of the acreage is still ours. The creek runs diagonally through the property, with a small (maybe an acre) stand of woods located centrally, and right alongside the water. I was able to see an aerial photo recently, and the area along the creek is beautiful.
We spent alot of time playing not just by the water, but the whole farm. Running the fencelines, building forts out of corn stalks and tree limbs. Fishing in the creek. Looking for, and occasionally finding, arrowheads. Once, even a tomahawk head. We marched across the fields as soldiers and explorers, played in the "woods" as cowboys and indians. Tried sneaking up on wildlife. Always, before heading back to the house, we would drink from one of the springs.
Again, the place will be ours for only a short time remaining. Before it's sale is complete, I'm going to go back, and walk the fencelines. And, you can bet your ass, I'm drinking from the springs one last time.
September 09, 2005
Mortars, Marines, And Muppets
The night was dark... an oily dark. Even the stars didn't throw much light. There was no "twinkle."
After the eyes got accustomed to the night, one could make out eight shadowy figures split into two groups of four. They were huddled around what looked like two tree stumps. The stumps were mortars, and each group was a gun crew.
Behind them, a radio crackled to life, and a red flashlight beam lit up a small area about fifty yards back inside the woods. Within seconds, a fire mission was sent to the two guns... deflections and elevations, followed by rounds and charges. The crews went to work in near silence, the clink of metal on metal a sound that would carry through the night.
First one, then the other mortar fired. An illumination round popped open, and began it's graceful descent to the ground. Within seconds, the HE (high explosive) round from the second gun hit the ground. After the concussion, the night returned to silence, the illume round still floating slowly to the earth.
The radio again came to life with a correction. Almost immediately, the new numbers were given, and the gunners readied the mortars. Another two rounds went out, with the scenario a repeat of the first, only this time closer to the target.
Another correction was radioed in, the new data figured instantly. Data was passed to the gunline, along with the order for a five round fire for effect. The gun crews silently readied their rounds.
As the illume round from the first gun was popped, the first HE round from the second gun was dropped down the tube. Immediately following the loud bang, you could hear a loud impression of the Count from Sesame Street: "ONE! One round down range! Hahahah..."
The next round is dropped, and again, the "Count" cried out: "TWO! Two rounds down range... hahahah!" This time snickers were heard from those in his crew.
This kept going on, with the snickers giving way to laughter, not just from his crew, but the whole section laughing harder each time.
When the last round is dropped, the Count finishes: "FIVE! Oh, five beautiful rounds down range! Hahahahahahahah......" This was followed by one of the crew announcing loudly in a very well done impersonation, "Hi ho, this is Kermit the Frog reporting live from Camp Lejeune... tell me, sir, do you think any frogs were killed by that last fire for effect?" The place fell apart with laughter.
These were the guys I went to Advanced Mortar Gunnery School with. A strange group. Hell, it seems that most of my friends from any stage of my life might fit into this group. I just thank gott that I'm normal.
What brought this about? I was whistling "People In Your Neighborhood," and got one of the other guys to start whistling Sesame Street songs. Once he got going, he wanted to hear this story again, and my impression of those involved.
I figured y'all might enjoy it, too. Not to mention getting an earworm from a person who likes to share.
October 14, 2004
Today is October 14th. The anniversary of my father's death. Not really a day of mourning anymore, although sometimes I will mourn what was. Most years, this is a day of reflection.
I go to his grave. Sometimes I sit, others I stand. Sometimes I'm there for only long enough to clean off the headstone, other times I'm there for almost an hour. Sometimes I actually speak out loud to him. I make jokes, and yes, I know I sound loony. :) It's just something that I do every Father's Day and fourteenth of October. I know that I'm not the only one of the kids visiting... sometimes there's a rose laying on the headstone. A sure sign that my favorite (and only) sister has been there.
I'll often sit there and look at the dates: February 13, 1936 -October 14, 1976. I always do math in my head. * 29 when he married .... He was 31 when I was born... 32 when "the perfect one" arrived ... 34 when my sister made her appearance ... and 36 when younger brother got here.... I'm (insert age ...37 this year) and no kids .... 40 when he died .... damn, I'm closing in on him there* Sometimes I'm depressed by the numbers, but not that often. Mostly, it's just time to reflect on my life and his.
Johhny Cash songs will go through my head most of the time I'm there. Sometimes I'll sing them to myself. Dad was a huge fan of Cash, and that's but one of the reasons that Cash meant so much to me. Harvey had asked, rather, told me that I should do a post on why Cash meant so much to me. I've tried. I've honestly tried. I just hasn't felt right yet. Maybe later on.
Thought I would show you something that my aunt had written for one of her classes. There are a few time that I hate this, and most where I sit back and admire it. Always in awe of how she nailed her, and others', feelings that day 28 years ago.
I remember that day when the telephone rang; a woman's voice announced there was an accident
you were not breathing
I jumped into the station wagon praying it can't be, it can't be
two miles seemed like an eternity
someone told me what happened that morning the monstrous machine fell on you piercing your brain
but I knew that you'd be alright
everyone rushed to the hospital but I stayed wandering aimlessly
trying to understand
I love the cornucopia fields the trees that huddled your home
the brook that rippled sinuously
I walked past the milkhouse where you poured warm milk from the cows each morning and night
sometimes spilling the white liquid
multitudes of cats and kittens would lap with soft pink tongues
each cow had a name and knew which stall was hers
at Christmas you and your wife exchanged gifts that said "From: Bessie" or "Goldie" you loved your farm the animals the crops your family
the detective stopped by to investigate your accident I asked him if he knew what your condition was
with a kind voice he replied, "Didn't you hear? He was killed."
No-o-o-o-o! It can't be he has four children a wife a farm
God can't do this but He did
the birds stopped singing the breeze stopped blowing the brook stopped rippling everything stopped.
realization of death filled my heart overpowering every sense I had
nothing nothing mattered
days passed into months months into years I walk aimlessly brushing cobwebs from empty stall where cows once stood hungry cats prowl searching for warm spilt milk
a homemade birdfeeder sways in the breeze
the gentle brook whispers your name
I'm sure that I don't need to tell you that almost everyone in our family has this framed and mounted on our wall.
September 15, 2004
I don't know what my problem is, but I've been kinda depressed lately. I'm not usually that way. Hell, almost never that way. I have no real idea why I'm that way now, but have been for a couple of weeks. That may be part of what broke me today.
The phone call started it. My cousin called me at work, and asked if I had heard that my old neighbour, Mr. Upchurch, had died. I knew he had been fighting cancer, but hadn't heard anything in a while. I started to ask when the visitation was, but I got beat to it. Call at 7:30 pm, visitation was at 5. Great timing. Funeral tomorrow, rather today now. I thanked him for the call, and hung up. Developed a nagging tear that just hung in the corner of my eye. Tried working, and that did help for awhile, but after a bit, I started to lose track of what I was doing. So, I sat for a minute. Damn tear finally dripped. Got rid of it, and started trying to work again. Yeah, I sound like a baby. A good friend stopped by to give me some crap about something, and I just barely kept from losing it. Damn waterworks were trying to run uncontrollably. Unfortunately, I put him in an awkward spot, while trying to fight off my unwanted guests. Thanks for being cool, Mr. Bagg.
Here's the kicker: my misery was not just about losing an old neighbour. There is so much more to it, but I have a hard time finding the right description. I'm frickin horrible when it comes to sharing. But right now, I feel I have to try. Not for you to understand, but for me. I'm one who usually keeps things inside. For the most part, I'm pretty good at it, but lately, it's a little hard to do. Maybe it's part of what's bumming me. Things eating at me for too long.
My dad died in '76. I was nine. Yep, long time ago, should be over it. Never over it. We were a farming family, and that was how Pa died. I'm not going into that right now. Our neighbours played a huge role in our lives for awhile after Pa was gone. Helped my mom through some hard times. She had four kids, and while, not demons, we weren't angels. Forgive me for rambling. The Upchurch's were across the road. Mr. Upchurch (I can't call him by his given name ... just doesn't seem right) came over quite a bit to help around the farm, until Ma sold off a lot of the animals. I personally don't think he thought that my mom was doing things the right way, but if she asked, he would help. Winters, he plowed out the drive. We had a 1/4 mile drive, and theirs was 1/2 mile. The plow had been bought from some county vehicle by my dad, and fitted to a tractor. After Pa died, Ma gave Mr. Upchurch the plow to keep, as long as our drive was kept clean. Three years later, we moved away.
We still would see the Upchurch's once a year, at the county fair. Every time I saw them, I thought of my dad, and how he and Mr. Upchurch got along. They didn't always think that the other was doing the right thing, but if you needed help, they were there. Neighbours ... the way they are supposed to be. Need help during harvest? If possible, help was lent. Cattle out? They'd be right over. I'll never say that they were the best of friends, but friends they were.
When I saw Mr. Upchurch, I thought of him coming over to help at the harvest bee that was held after my dad's death, even though he had two broken arms. (Farm accident for him, too.) I thought of his nervous offer to buy the farm from my mom. (She wouldn't do it.) I thought of two scared boys watching from the haymow door, while he and my mother were trying to work out a deal for the once new hog feeder, that now had countless holes from a .22. Watching him point out the holes, and seeing the sorrow on my mom's face. He did take the feeder, and gave my mom a reasonable price.
There are so many things that I used to associate with the farm and my dad. And now, I think I realize why this has upset me so. I do mourn Mr. Upchurch. I mourn not a perfect man, but one of the best you could find. But, selfishly, I fear that I mourn "what was" even more. And I mourn for the gates to the past that are being torn down.
I know I haven't uncovered all that is affecting me, but I do feel a little better now. Thanks for listening.