Monday, December 18, 2006
But the presents! All around the tree in boxes with foil paper and bows, which had to come from Santa because Mom didn’t buy such things, because she said that they were too expensive.
And so you stood there and drank in the magic of the morning, not daring to breath because you might break the spell and it would all disappear. But it didn’t disappear even when your little brother would come barreling down the stairs breaking the quiet, but not the magic.
Where did that go? You get older and Christmas becomes a hassle. Lights on the house! Parties! Expenses! Traffic! Christmas Freakin’ Carols on the radio since October! Can’t we just not do a tree this year? We all feel like were drowning three feet from safety in three feet of water, but we can’t find our footing and we can’t reach the edge. Where does the magic go when you’ve all grown up and found that it was your Dad that ate the cookies, and drank the milk, and that your Mom does buy the expensive foil paper and bows, when the toys come from Santa.
I found it the other night at my family party in the eyes of my kids. My kids that still believe. Santa sits down, pulls my 3-year-old onto his knee, and she looked at him like a god sent down from Olympus to grant her every wish.
Maybe the magic doesn’t die… we pass it along it to our kids.
Find your magic folks…
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I’m gonna toss this idea out there… but before I do, I want you all to know that I am 100% serious. No Kidding…
Why do we love our vehicles and possessions more than we love our kids? Before you shut me off, think about this.
We put Lojack or OnStar in our vehicles. If they get stolen, we make a phone call; the satellites pick up the car’s location and in 15 minutes, you not only have your car back, but in many cases, the perps are behind bars. In the same way, we put alarm systems in our homes to keep unwanted people out and our stuff in.
But when it comes to our children, we teach them to run away, but we do nothing to find them once they’re gone. Well… we issue an Amber Alert. Big freakin’ whoop! I admit, sometimes it works, but a lot of times it does exactly jack.
Some years ago, the nation was caught up in the disappearance of Elisabeth Smart. She said that while she was held captive in the mountains above her house, she could hear the searchers, but could not do anything about it.
Destiny Norton was found dead in a neighbor’s house.
And now, I just heard on the radio a twelve-year-old girl has gone missing from her school.
(Update: It seems that they found her, when she showed up at school. Seems that she decided to spend the night at a friend’s house without telling her folks about it.)
Why don’t we put tracking devices on our kids? Or more to the point… IN our kids. A bracelet or necklace would be too easy to remove by the bad guys, but a perp could not easily remove an implanted chip from the hand or arm.
In each one of these cases the girl in question would have been found in minutes. The parents, after discovering that they could not find their child would simply have to sit down at their computer, go to a secure website that is password protected, or even better yet, biometric pass-code protected, and call up their child’s location. “Gee, I wonder what Liz is doing in the mountains at 3:00 in the morning? I'd better go check.”
Even better than that, an alarm could go off any time the chip (and thus the child) leaves the house between such-and-such o’clock at night. The 3 hour lead time between Elizabeth Smart’s disappearance and the call to the police would have been cut to microseconds.
This is the 21st century people!
Now you’re saying to yourself… but the possibility that the government would be watching my every move is just to much to bear. They can’t have that much knowledge about my comings and goings.
Well… true… but… Who in Hell are you! Quite frankly, you are not that important! Who the hell cares that you get up at 6:00 and walk on your treadmill for 15 minutes before showering, dressing and grabbing a breakfast burrito on your way into work? Hint… No One! Especially the government! If that's the case, I feel sorry for the agent that’s watching me, ‘cause he’s gonna die of boredom. I give him a week; he’s probably in a coma right now. Sorry dude.
Besides, they can already track your movements… it’s true… every time you use your credit/debit/check card, you leave a trail that’s as easy to follow as if you were walking in fresh snow… they just don’t care to… because… you are a nobody.
So get over yourself on that argument.
Now you’re asking yourself… but Murph… aren’t you a *Whisper* Conservative Mormon Christian? What about the number of the beast… thing?
What about it?
Don’t you think, that since the bible is full of symbols and symbolism that the number of the beast is the same thing? Why does everything in the bible have to be symbolic, but the number of the beast thing… that’s literal! It’s symbolic, folks. It simply means that your mind is not focused on Christ and you’ve chosen a different path. There is (or will be) no brand, or tattoo, or microchip that separates you from the followers of Christ in the last days. It’s symbolic.
And so, gentle reader, I propose, that we chip our children. Even better yet, we chip ourselves.
That family in Oregon would have been found days earlier had they had a tracking device on them. And you know I’m right.
There is no excuse not to do it. We're living in the 21st century and it’s about time that we start protecting our children like we protect our cars, because as precious as you think your BMW is, it’s nothing but a nazi piece of crap compared to your children.
Monday, November 20, 2006
She, being the lover of Christmas that she is, has always wanted a house that she could put Christmas lights on. You know the kind. One of those that have the gables out the front that you can outline with the lights. Anyway, this year, she has one. Our old house had a flat roof that just didn’t look good with lights, and besides, there was no outdoor power outlet. So we just couldn’t do it. At least that’s what I told her, and I got away with it for 12 years. But now… not so much, couldn’t do it this year.
Now here’s the thing, I’m afraid of heights. Terribly and irrationally horrified of heights. But it’s weird fear. I’ve done some rock climbing, quite a bit of rappelling, and I’ve done a lot of caving (spelunking), one cave I had to climb a 70-foot wall and had no problem. But, I’ve been on dirt roads in Moab that skirted cliff faces, and couldn’t keep driving because the 40-foot wide road wasn’t wide enough to keep me from thinking that I was going to fall off of the edge. Dumb and irrational, right?
Can ya see where I’m going with this?
So there I am, Saturday morning, looking up at the gables, thinking to myself, “Self, you’re gonna die.”
The tallest ladder I had just wasn’t tall enough to get to the peak of the gable, so I thought that I should get up on the roof and do it from there. Bad idea. It sure didn’t look like a steep roof from the ground, but it got really steep when I got up there. So, I walked the ridge out to the end, sat down and straddled the ridge. I’m not a very flexible person, so you can probably see how steep this mother is about now, right? So, I get the lights attached to the peak of the gabble, and by laying down, and praying, and stretching, I was able to get some of the other hooks in place and get the light string attached to those. I crawl back down the ridge toward my ladder because I just can’t make myself stand up again.
Back on terra firma, I go on a quest for a taller ladder.
Long story short, I began this little odyssey at 10:00 in the morning. I figured that I would be done by noon, but didn’t finish until 4:30. I love my wife enough to get up on a roof for her, but I hate Christmas.
Next year, I’m hiring one of those lighting companies.
Friday, November 17, 2006
So the silly season is upon us… again. If you sense a tone of chagrin in that last statement, you would be right. I hate this time of year, and I’m not sure why. That’s not true, I know why.
I’m not the most social of people. I don’t really enjoy hanging out with people, and I hate hanging around people in social situations. The Holiday season is a social season. Family parties, company parties, parties with friends, parties with neighbors, parties, parties, parties…
Company parties… I don’t mind so much. We usually do something fun and it usually involves a restaurant too expensive for me to ever go to on my own. So that ain’t so bad.
Family parties… Ugh! If we were talking about my brothers & sisters and their spouses, well, that wouldn’t be so bad. Unlike a lot of people I know, I like my sibs. But when you add in cousins, and Uncles, and Aunts, and so on an so forth… mix in alcohol and children and noise… it’s enough to make you want to stake the guy pretending to be Santa, and run for your life.
Is it just me, or did the season begin in October this year? I swear, all the stores this year had holly and wreaths among the ghosts and goblins of Halloween. Pretty soon we’ll start hearing Christmas carols on the radio right around Arbor Day.
And so… I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Scrooge who said, “Bah Humbug!”
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Sad day for the Republicans. They got spanked, but… that’s what happens when you ignore your voters. Those of you who read this blog know that I’m a conservative. I’m not turbo right, but definitely right of center, and so I can’t say that I’m thrilled about this turn around in the congress… but also can’t say that I didn’t see it coming.
NPR (which I listen to quite often, I’m a big fan of Morning Edition and All Things Considered) and the cable news folk are going to make it seem like this is a referendum on the war in Iraq, and maybe it is… to a point. I mean, even though I support the war, the troops, and the President, I am so tired of us loosing our boys to the terrorists. And the President just doesn’t seem to want to do what has to be done (i.e. step up the violence) to get the job done and bring ‘em home.
As for the rest of the, now out of a job, congress… You can’t ignore your base! You morons! It’s not that the Republican base voted against you, like I did, they just stayed home. They told themselves, “well, if your gonna to ignore me, I’m gonna’ ignore you. So take that you bastards!” And so, with a defiant finger, they changed the channel.
I didn’t do that, I can’t ignore a vote, so I went and for the first time in a long time, I voted Democrat. Yep, Pete Ashdown was my guy against Orrin Hatch. Of coarse, Ashdown lost (31% to 63%) but he tried, and he tried to do it without special interest money. It’s to bad, because Hatch is a do-nothing, but a do-nothing with seniority.
So, what did the Republicans ignore their base on? Primarily… Illegal immigration. The red states want a wall on our southern border. They want Illegals sent home. They want crippling fines for companies that employ illegals.
What they got? A 700 mile fence (that hasn’t been built yet) and a virtual (read: Fake) wall along the rest of it, which hasn’t been built yet either. Can you build a fake wall?
And there were other things as well, like the whole Foley thing and the like.
So, I guess Limbaugh, O’Brien, Letterman, and Leno have a lot of material for their shows for the next 2 years. I mean, with Nancy Pelosi in charge… holy cow… if the next 2 years are going to be anything… they are going to be laughable!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I’ve started reading another piece form this genre, Howl by Allen Ginsberg.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats
floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz...
That’s how it starts, and each time I read through it, I’m more blown away by how incomprehensible it is. Every time I think that I have a handle on what the text is telling me, I read on and realize that I know jack. Maybe my constant suburban existence
won't allow me to understand it. Maybe I don’t carry the correct baggage for such a poem.
It’s strange; I’m a pretty conservative person. I am everything that the beat generation was not, and yet I find myself strangely drawn to their writing. Maybe someday I’ll know why… and maybe someday I’ll understand Ginsberg.
Who knows, it’s possible.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Shame on Universal!
I haven’t gotten the whole story, so I’m kinda shootin’ from the hip here, so I may have to post a clarification later, and if that’s the case… so be it. But here’s what I know right now.
For some time, FOX has been going after Browncoats for the products (Tee-shirts and the like) that we have been producing about the television show that THEY cancelled. But as all Browncoats know, FOX sucks, so it never came as much of a surprise. But now... Universal is doing the same. From what I’ve been able to gather, Universal and FOX have been contacting CafePress companies that sell Firefly and Serenity related merchandise and shutting them down! Ya know, they were all for the Browncoat produced merchandise when we were advertising their movie, when we were pitching it to our friends, and producing flyers to hand out at bus stops and on the commuter trains, as I did. We were their Big Damn Heroes then, cause they did exactly jack to promote this flick themselves.
I’m not one of those anti-corporate types that jump all over big companies that have the audacity to earn a profit. But when a big corporation like Universal sends a $9000.00 bill to 11th Hour (a very talented browncoat) for the products she’s produced, including some of the most beautiful Serenity ads that I’ve ever seen... that’s going a bit too far! Shame on Universal!
Since Universal is all hip on sending invoices to the Browncoats… I think that it’s time that the Browncoats do the same.
Invoice # 000001
To: Universal Pictures
Due Upon Receipt
RE: Browncoat Advertising Services
1000 sheets 20lb copy paper……………………….$12.50
Copy toner and machine time & energy……………$25.00
Flyer production…8 hours @ $50.00/hr…………..$400.00
Flyer distribution…100 hours @ $50.00/hr……….$5000.00
Fuel…100 miles @ $0.21/mile……………………$21.00
Train Fare…100 fares @ $1.50/fare………………$150.00
Please pay upon receipt.
This is your final notice. Any delay in payment on your part will resilt in this invoice being referred to collections.
Thank you and have a shiny day.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
A question came up in the comments to my last post… What is a Browncoat? That’s not an easy question to answer. I could answer, that a Browncoat is just like a Trekker, but instead of being all hung up on Star Trek, the Browncoat is all hung up on Firefly. But, that answer doesn’t satisfy… because a Browncoat is much more than just a sci-fi fan.
A Browncoat is a dreamer. Specifically, a Browncoat is a dreamer of the impossible. You see, back in 2002, when Firefly was first aired (on the network that shall remain unnamed and accursed for time and all eternity) we knew that we had something special. We saw something that the network did not. Orson Scott Card said that in a lot of ways, Firefly was the first really good sci-fi television show (see donetheimpossible.com).
Originally there were 13 episodes filmed, 11 of those were aired, (out of order… I might add) in the Friday night “dead zone” of network television, before the show was killed. This was at the end of 2002. Joss Whedon (the creator), and the Browncoats (the fans) went to work and in September of 2005, the impossible happened… Serenity, the motion picture was released. We have taken to calling it the BDM (Big Damn Movie) in reference to a line in Safe, an episode of Firefly. It was the impossible because movie companies don’t make movies out of cancelled television shows that don’t really have any big name stars.
The movie did ok. It wasn’t the blockbuster that we were hoping for, but Universal broke even. So not bad, not good either, because it looks like there won’t be a second movie… ever.
So much for the background… back to the original question. What is a Browncoat?
A Browncoat is a fan, like any other fan. We go to Cons. We dress up for those geek-land events… but we go a step further. We live the fandom in our daily lives. I own a brown coat. It’s long and beat up and beautiful. I wear it whenever I can.
We use words and phrases from the show. Good things are “shiny,” and one of our favorite curses is “gorram,” as in: Reavers ate my gorram ship. A few of us can even swear in chinese.
It’s not uncommon to see us walking around in our favorite BlueSun tee shirt, or our home knitted “Jayne-hat.”
I guess that to be a Browncoat, you have to accept a certain amount of obsession in your life. When you’re a Browncoat, your cell phone rings with the Firefly theme or the Fruity-Oaty Bar jingle.
I guess that’s what a Browncoat is to me. By the way… the name “Browncoat” comes from the first (really the second… long story) episode of Firefly called The Train Job.
Check it out, it's on DVD.
See ya ‘round the ‘verse!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Dictionary.com defines it as “a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set.”
When we moved, we from an area where everyone was nice, inclusive, and treated new people very nicely. It was a settled neighborhood with very few people moving in and out. The ward (to Mormons, a Ward is much like a Parrish or a congregation) was very helpful to those who were new to the area.
Our new Ward… not so much. They’re young, almost everyone is in their twenties. They’re movers, shakers, professionals, always one-step ahead of the Joneses, i.e. probably up to their collective necks in debt. They are the newest version of the yuppie (for those of us who remember the 80's). And therefore Clique-ish.
I hate cliques; I hate them with a passion. But then I’m a geek… ‘nuf said. They seem to be made up of the beautiful people… those superior types that we really love to hate.
(Ever see the movie “Heathers”? Yeh, now that’s the way to break up a clique.)
And hate them I do. And so… since our new Ward seems to be made up of cliques, I hate the Ward.
Here’s my problem… I’ve never been one of those strong spiritual people. I’ve never been one of those bright, shiny, love the scriptures, endless spiritual energy type of people. You know the type, every church has them. It would be very easy for me to just stop going to church. In this new Ward, it would be VERY easy for me to just stop going. But, I have a deep desire to become more spiritual and so (according to the way I was taught) I kinda have to keep going in order to listen to the teachings, take the sacrament (Communion) every chance I can, to participate and hold a position in the Ward.
The proverbial rock and a hard place.
My only hope is that this neighborhood is just a stopping point on the way up for many of these people and that in the next couple of years, they will go away; That they will move on to even greater mountains of debt and be replaced by… well… geeks.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
My mind has been spinning ever since my deposition on Tuesday and I‘ve come to a realization. When the world comes to an end. When civilization has crumbled to dust. When human kind has finally gone the way of the dinosaur, the only creatures that will be left to pick at the scabby ruins, to run among the shreds of art and literature, will be the lawyers and the cockroaches.
At this point, I have to stop and sincerely apologize to my best friend, who as it turns out, is an attorney. But… also, as it turns out, would probably agree with my assessment of his profession.
What a waste of time it was for me to sit down with those… stupid… overpaid… scumbags! A whole day wasted because they wanted to ask questions about what a draftsman does? Do I know so-and-so? When you say this… do you mean this AND that?
The only fun I had was when I tried to slip in “Firefly” Speak into my testimony. I got a couple of “I don’t rightly know”‘s in there, and I got quite a few “Not so much”es, and a single “Shiny” but I really wanted a “Gorram” and it just never worked out that I could get it in.
Here was what I thought was pretty funny though. My boss was sitting out in the waiting area with the receptionist waiting for them to finish up with me. It was a pretty busy place, with secretaries, paralegals, and lawyers walking in and out, gathering for impromptu meetings and the like. So when they finally said that I could go, I walked into the waiting area and then asked my boss in the loudest voice I could (without being ridiculously loud), “These people did have to go to college… right?” And then summed it up with “Stupid!”
My boss just smiled and we left.
Ya, I’m more sure than ever. Lawyers and cockroaches.
Monday, October 09, 2006
“Trust in the you of now”
Well, now, that was profound… but not helpful.
“Do we need holes?”
Ok, cards are not working.
Sorry, folks… I got nothin’. My mind is swirling, and my hands don’t know the dance across the keyboard by themselves.
Tomorrow I have to give a deposition in a civil case in which I am only a bystander. One company, with whom I have no relationship, is suing another company for whom I have done some work, and I kinda got caught in the middle. So, I’m a bit befuddled tonight. Lawyers are such cockroaches.
Good night, gentle reader. I promise that I’ll write something good tomorrow.
Oh… now I’ve done it… no pressure there!
Monday, October 02, 2006
Today felt like a Slurpee kind of day. It’s a Monday… I’m Broke… The office was hot… and I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. Yep, a Slurpee day. The problem was, there isn’t a 7-11 within a couple of miles of the office, and so, I had to do the next best thing. There’s a little gas station down at the corner with an Icee machine, and they almost always had the two best flavors in the world. Coke and Cherry. So, at lunch time I found myself hoofin’ it down to the corner (‘cause I’m to cheep to drive) to get me 32 ounces of the ultimate mix (1/4 Cherry to 3/4 Coke).
Long story short, I fill my cup, waiting at intervals to allow the ice crystals to form so that I don’t get a Slurpee eruption and all is going well until, I pick it up to put in the straw. It must have been the dreaded delayed ice effect, because all of a sudden, “Thar she blows.” Coke/Cherry Slurpee running down the sides of the cup and it’s not stopping, the icy drink is expanding so fast, that I have no other choice than to slap my lips around the hole in the domed lid and gulp the overage as fast as it would come.
(This is sounding slightly adult in nature, but I assure you, gentle reader, I am talking about a frozen summertime drink)
By the time I am able to get to the counter and pay the cashier my head is frozen and in the beginnings of a phenomenon known to all as “Brain Freeze.” In fact it was the worst brain freeze I have ever experienced. My eyes watered, my head throbbed, the world spun, and the whole thing left me wanting to assume the fetal position and confess all my past transgressions to the gas station cashier, a fine older lady who goes by the name of Martha.
Even now, as I sit at my desk, chewing on the molten goodness of my turkey pot pie, I stare at the melting Slurpee, and shiver at the thought of just one more swig.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Now that I have a new home, and this time a real office, I think that I want to do the same thing. (Maybe something printed out with those vinyl letters, instead of my old glorified version of graffiti.) But I thought that I would start with a little poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
I’ve always loved Poe because he had a way of delving into the deepest, darkest parts of the human condition. He showed us parts of ourselves that we never want to admit may lurk deep in the locked parts of our minds.
A Dream Within a Dream
By E. A. Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Friday, September 22, 2006
I just had a talk with someone in the office about the death penalty.
Now here’s the thing… I’m an evil conservative Christian… which means, by definition, I’m all for the death penalty. Right? Isn’t that what it says in the vast right wing conspiracy newsletter? I don’t know. There was a time, back when I was a teen, when I was full on against the death penalty. I was a liberal back in the day, but then I grew up, I cut my hair, and realized that there are animals among us that were never going to be rehabilitated and thus should be locked away forever or put to death.
Then I went and became an English Major. I read a book called “Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison” by Michel Foucault. And it made me take a second look at my stand on the death penalty... but on a philosophical level only. The thing I began to wonder was this; by killing murderers, was society looking for justice or for revenge? I’m not sure, but I was thinking that that scale was tipped toward the revenge side more than justice.
And then, not long ago, I read “The Chamber” by John Grisham. Now I’m not a huge fan of Grisham, but I’ll listen to an audio book while at work from time to time. This book hit me on an emotional level that clouded the topic even more for me.
Today, this guy at work told me to read “Dead Man Walking.” I’m not sure that I want too.
Maybe I need to sit in this gray area for a while. I still believe that there are people out there that will never be rehabilitated. Their crimes are so horrendous that they can never be trusted in society again. And if we are not willing to keep them locked away for the rest of their lives, then we might as well put a bullet to ‘em. But then the Christian comes out in me and asks, “Aren’t they children of God as well?”
Just a small quandary as we go into the weekend.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
ARRRH! Ye scurvy dogs! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day! One of my favorite holidays. Every September 19th, I break out me treasure chest full of me booty. (Not that one… You got a smutty mind!) I fly my Jolly Roger with pride and generally make a geek out of myself (not a big jump) for the whole day.
If you have questions about this fine holiday… Google it. There is a website… I just can’t remember the address. Talklikeapirateday.com or some such. They even have pirate pickup lines.
So, ye saucy wench… how would ye like to shiver me timbers?
Ar, ar, ar, Arrrrrh!
Monday, September 11, 2006
I’m officially homeless. And I can’t tell you how good that feels... until I realize that in 17 days I’ll be signing a mortgage that’s double the one I just got rid of.
Ehhh... no time for that, ‘cause I got bigger problems. You see, since we have a couple of week lag between houses, we packed all of our stuff into one of those storage units that they drop at your house, and then store until your ready, and they can drop it at your new house. All good right? Well... not so much ‘cause when I put their handy-dandy lock on the container, I was pretty tired. You might say that I was trashed. So... long story short... I lost the key! Even now, all I can do is laugh. (It's gotta be in my bedroom... somewhere.)
I’m not rightly sure how we’re gonna open the sucker, cause the lock is one of those pick proof kind that doesn’t have an exposed bolt... so... I can’t use a bolt cutter on it. I may need a lock smith... or... a really big drill.
I’m so dumb. ;)
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
(Oh sweet YooHoo, Take me away.)
Should have been all over yesterday, but the buyer had some MORE issues to work through. Should be over by the weekend though.
I found the email addresses of some friends that I knew when I was in California. That, was kinda fun. Turns out that one of them moved to Japan! Road trip? Another one is living about 20 miles away from me. That one's doable. And the third is a freakin' college professor in New Jersey! I fired off some emails a few minutes ago but I haven't heard back from them yet. I hope I do 'cause those guys were great.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I’ve got buyers demanding this, that, and the other thing.
My realtor is telling me that they may just be bluffing in order to see what, if anything, they can get out of me... but then again... they may be… some other such thing.
What else do they want from me? Here *Cut* have my right arm... please... I want you to have it.
*Blood Curdling Scream*
Couldn’t I just sell the house like at a yard sale?
“Why, Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Onthehook, I’d be glad to sell you this house, and if you pay cash, I’ll throw in this lovely set 1960’s Encyclopedia Britannica for no additional cost.”
I’ll tell you what... I’m not a drinker, but by the time this is all over I may be ready for a nice chardonnay. Ya... that and a hammock. ;)
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Well... I may be living in a box soon, because it looks like my home has sold. Maybe. We had the first offer on the home two days after it went on the market (were we asking to little for it? Maybe... to late now...) But that deal fell apart while we were speeding across Nowhere, Wyoming. Then... we got a new offer on it while we were in New Mexico. So, we hit the ground running as soon as we got home and found a house that we like, but, before we could make an offer on it, the inspection report on our house came in and all wheels ground to a halt.
My house is in really good shape, for a tract house built in the 60’s. But, there’s an electrical issue that’s gonna cost me about a grand to “fix,” which really isn’t a fix at all. You see, I work in construction and so, when I got the inspection report, I called an electrician friend of mine who proceeded to tell me, in blinding detail, exactly how full of crap the inspector is.
So... now what do I do?
Tell the buyers to take a flying leap, because I’m not paying for a cosmetic fix and possibly loose the house we want to make an offer on, just to have the same issue come up in the next inspection with the next buyer? Or, do I bite the bullet, pay for this “fix,” make the offer on the other house and proceed down the path of doubling my mortgage payment.
I hate this…
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
It was a road with lots of twists and cul-de-sacs, it was wild, but we have returned with joy. Philmont Scout Ranch was so much fun. The kids had a blast, My wife had a blast, I... sat in class and was able to discuss different aspects of being a scoutmaster with scouters from all over the country. Oh... and I had fun too.
But it was a long road. We startd out by taking I-80 across Wyoming to Cheyenne. What a boring state! No wonder they call it “fly-over” country. And then shot down through Colorado into Cimarron, New Mexico, where Philmont is located.
Then, I thought that it would be fun to go the Mesa Verde on the way home. So we shot across the top of New Mexico on every little back road highway I could find until we got to Durango, Colorado. Stayed the night in Cortez, saw Mesa Verde and then shot up the side of Utah into Salt Lake.
Hello… Travel Log!
But the kids got to see some beautiful country, a lot of history and had some fun to boot.
This was a boring entry…
I’ll make it better later.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I was thinking the other day... What's my favorite song ever? Couldn't answer that one. So, what's a great driving song that you can sing at the top of your lungs when your alone in the car? Answer: The Eagles.
I'm off to Cimmeron New Mexico for a week, see you all when I get back.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
“Due to budget cuts
The light at the end of the tunnel
Has been turned off.”
Oh man… I knew something had changed, and now I know.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
Some guys are just scum, you know that?
I work for a small company that has about a dozen employees, and most of us have been together for about a decade. Our office manager is a twenty something little girl who started with the company when she was 18 and most of us love like a little sister. I knew her when she got married, when she told us that she was pregnant with her first child, when they bought their first house, when her son was born, and now when she told me that her scumbag husband has gotten himself a girlfriend.
I was sitting across her desk from her, while she was crying crocodile tears and telling me all her woes, and I’m thinking to myself, “what kind of bottom dweller would cheat on this beautiful little girl?”
My heart just aches for her. I know that her soon-to-be ex-husband’s a total dipstick, but I had no idea of the greatness there of.
Yesterday, one of our engineers bought a rat, named it after the dipstick-ish soon-to-be ex, and then fed it to his python. It was a good piece of vengeance for her.
All I've got to say to the dipstick is, May God have mercy on your scummy soul. This is Utah pal, we (and our judges) don't take kindly to guys that skip out on their cute little wives and their baby boys. She's gonna take you for everything you got, and a few things you don't got. Then, we're gonna throw her one hell of a shindig!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
A friend of mine just emailed me this picture and it made me chuckle and then want to yak in the trashcan next to my desk.
So… what do you do with such a piece of photographic revulsion? Why, post it for all those who like to read my blog, of course.
There you go. Lovely, ain’t it.
Monday, July 31, 2006
I’m living in hell!
Saturday afternoon, I got back from Scout-Camp to find my kitchen disassembled and sitting in big cardboard boxes.
It was just a little too much reality for a hot Saturday afternoon.
My wife and her mom, as it turns out, had decided that Saturday was the day to “de-clutter” the house before we put the sign up to sell it. Suddenly, the fact that we are moving became all too real to me.
I’m ok with the fact that we're moving, it’s just that I love being a Scout Master, and I’d have to be released from that calling. Plus, I love our neighborhood... but I hate our house. Hate... I'm using the word "Hate" here.
I’ll be all right with moving. I just have to wrap my head around the idea and give it a good squeeze.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I got back from my home troop’s scout camp at about 11:00 last night. I was so tired while driving that I was really kind of scaring myself. (No, I didn’t have any scouts in the car with me.) So I cranked up the A/C and turned the car into an icebox, then I blasted the radio (Classic Rock) and punched the gas.
I’m a little short on vacation time at work, so, I scheduled some dads to go up and take over for me so that I could come home and do a couple of days in the office. So, my assistant scoutmaster and I took them up to the scout camp Monday morning, and then came back down last night when the dad’s got there. I hate doing that. I’m so worried about them right now I can hardly stand it. I’m not worried about the dads that took my place. I know these guys really well and would trust them with my own kids. It’s just that… accidents happen at camp. Cuts, scrapes, falls... fill in your own catastrophe here... and I’m a two-hour drive from them. Not that they could get a hold of me, there’s only one working set of phones up there and they’re on the other side of the reservation. Cell phones? Nope. No signal. I know that they’ll be fine. There’s a great staff up there and they can handle anything that comes up.
I guess the thing that’s really getting to me is the fact that I had to have someone else do my job for me. Ya know?
I don’t delegate well, so, having to have dads go up there to do my job, really kind of ticks me off.
I’m going back up on Friday afternoon, so that I can give them a final “Scoutmaster’s Minute” at our Friday night campfire. Not sure what it’s gonna be. It’ll probably be something about Eagles. Scouts love stuff about eagles.
I’ve also got to meet with the second Silver Moccasin staff (who will be up there) on Friday. I've been asked to be the scoutmaster over that crew next summer and I've got to pick a senior patrol leader and see what adult staff wants to stay on for next summer. What did I get myself into. Wouldn't be so bad if I were getting paid. Then again... here is a certain amount for freedom afforded to being a volunteer. What are they gonna do... fire me? Please... no really... PLEASE!
I hope my guys are alright…
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I was going to write something about the lightning storm we had last night, but something happened at lunch today, that I think that I would rather talk about.
As I’ve already blogged, I’m reading a book called “Three Cups of Tea.” If you haven’t read it, do.
Anyway, the chapter I read at lunch today had to do with Greg Mortenson’s benefactor, a guy named Jean Hoerni. He was an avid mountaineer, and had something to do with semiconductors back in the day, so he was filthy rich, but he had a great love for the people of the Himalayas. So when Greg approached him to help with the building of the school in Korphe, Jean agreed, and paid for it, plus he paid for the bridge they needed. It was Jean’s idea for Greg to start the Central Asian Institute and paid him a salary to do it.
Then they found out that Jean Hoerni had leukemia and had only months to live. The one thing he wanted most was to see a photo of the completed school in Korphe. So, Greg, with only weeks before the start of winter, returned to Korphe and put the roof on the building.
Jean Hoerni died knowing that they had overcome countless obstacles and given a school to those children. The last act he did was to endow the Central Asian Institute with a million dollars so that they could continue to build schools and pay teachers in Pakistan.
At this point I was weeping. I wasn’t alone in my office or in some quiet place. I was sitting at a table, in a deli where I had stopped for lunch, surrounded by construction workers from a road crew.
I’ve said this before... I don’t cry. But I guess the subject of cancer, which has touched me deeply over the last few years, and the beautifully written description of a good life made better, made me kind of weepy.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
WARNING! GEEK MOMENT
With all of the things to moan and complain about, I’m gonna complain about Disney.
I just found out that Disney just changed the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so that it would be more like the movies.
Greedy corporate so-and-sos! I curse your name!
When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. I remember times when my Dad worked multiple jobs so that he could give us a good Christmas. And so, summer vacations were usually camping trips into the Uinta Mountains. These I loved, by the way. I still consider the Stillwater Fork to be “My River.”
So... it was a grand treat when we could go to Disneyland. And the one ride that my Dad and I would rush to get on was Pirates of the Caribbean. The last ride Walt worked on before he died. That kind of makes it sacred… don’t it?
This isn’t one of those Get on... Scream... Get off 45 seconds later kind of rides. This thing lasts 14 ½ minutes!
It was perfect the way it was, and then Disney Corp in their "infinite wisdom" decided to make the ride about pirates... politically correct! They changed several things, but the most noticeable one was that the pirate chasing the wench to get a little trim, was changed to the pirate chasing the wench to get a little food. What! A lonely pirate, been at sea for months, wants... food? *sigh*
Now, they’ve announced that they changed the ride to reflect the movies. They added characters and changed story line. They say that you’ll hardly notice, but... come on, why don’t they just go and crap on Walt's grave while their at it... or crap on his freezer, if that story happens to be true.
What are they going to do next? Put Eddy Murphy in the Haunted Mansion?
I haven’t gone to see the second movie yet, and now I don’t know if I want too.
Who am I kidding? I’ll go, I can’t resist Disney in any form.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Somewhere there is a lonely hammock... and I’m not there.
I just came out of a kind of crappy weekend and not sure how I’m feeling.
I guess I’ll start with the weekend...
We’ve been getting the house ready to be put on the market. After 12 years in the same little house, we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s to small, and so, we’re looking for something a bit larger. So... I have a lot of work to do.
This last Saturday was “clean out the dog run” day. We have this big dog run on the side of our house, but no dogs have ever run there. And so, I’ve used it to dump my grass clippings, tree branches, parts of old cedar fencing, plumbing parts that have been removed from our crawl space... that kind of stuff. So, we borrowed my father-in-law’s trailer; pulled down part of the fence, and 8:00 Saturday morning, I went to work with my brand new hayfork. There’s something about working in the 103 degree desert sun that just makes you want to keel over... ya know? There just isn't enough Slurpees in the world.
Well... long story short... I didn’t get it done. By the time the first load went to the dump, I was overheated (and not in the good way), filthy (again, not in the good way), and completely done in.
Sunday, I had a presentation to do at church. We call them “Firesides.” I was supposed to do it on the reason why young men should strive to get their Eagle Scout award. So, I had budgeted some time for some Eagle Scouts to talk about their experiences. This thing was supposed to happen at 11:30 am, but, by 11:00 am every one of them (whom I had talked to a week before) had called to tell me that they wouldn’t be there. So, exasperated and somewhat perturbed, I jump on the phone and found one guy, (God bless him) that would do a quick fill in for me. It didn’t come off the way I’d hoped, but it went ok.
Now... to put a shiny cap on this “wonderful” weekend from Hell.
This very morning, I had to drop my daughter off at the church for girl’s camp at 7:30 this morning. We walk out to my car, load in her gear, turn the key and... you guessed it... nothing! Dead as freakin' road-kill.
So, I borrow my mom’s van (so glad they live next door), get my wonderful little girl to the bus, return my Mom’s van to her and walk to my wife’s work and steal her car, so that I can drive the 10 miles to work in the 5 minutes I had left to get there.
Well, there’s always next weekend... right? Anyone know how to put in a laminate floor? Me neither.
There was an up-side to the weekend.
My wife and I went out to Iggy’s Sport’s Grill. Neither of us really like sports unless you’re talking Nascar (for her) and World’s Cup Soccer (for me) but the food is really good, so we go there every once in a while.
I had this Blackened Chicken that was... well... it melted my shoes with it’s spice, but was so worth it. And I got to spend some time with my wife which was great! And we didn’t even have to talk about the house.
Update (a day later):
It wasn't my Gorram Battery! After going out and buying a new battery, I find that it's most likely the starter.
I guess this is what going mad feels like. ;)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
So… with all of these friends and contacts in the “deep south,” should this be telling me something?
Should I be:
- Eating more fried food?
- Eating peaches? Don’t much like ‘em, but I’ll give ‘em another try if I need to.
- Drinking chardonnay? (Never mind, that may not be exclusively Georgian)
- Watching Nascar?
- Working on my Drawl?
- Chiggers? Do I need those? I’ll get ‘em if I need ‘em. Can ya get ‘em at the Walmart?
- Listening to… Country Music? *oooh* Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth.
I’ve read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Several times now. Does that count? I know, someone in Alabama (‘bammy) wrote it, but it’s close, right?
I drink a lot of Coke… That’s GOTTA count huge toward my Georgia-fication, right?
Georgia-fication… Is that anything like Cali-fornicating? Yeh baby, been there and done that! Cali-fornicated, all over the west coast!
Maybe I shouldn’t be bragging on that one.
…kinda, lost my train of thought…
Where is this entry going? Yep, that’s what I thought… nowhere. I started in Georgia and ended up smack dab in the middle of nowhere.
Well, thanks for helping me to burn up another lunch hour.
Monday, July 10, 2006
I’m reading a book right now (What? An English Major reading a book? Say it isn’t so...) Yes, I’m reading a book right now titled: “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. It’s about Greg Mortenson and his quest to build schools, mainly for girls, in Pakistan. So far, I’m only about 100 pages into it (I only started the read on Saturday) but it has really changed the way I look at that region of the world.
Ever since 9/11, I (I’m sure like many Americans) have looked upon Muslims with a little more than suspicion, bordering on contempt and hate. (I’m not too proud to admit that.) I’ve even gone so far as to look into buying gun oil made from pork fat, so that if I ever have to shoot one, (God forbid) I’d make sure that he didn’t go to heaven.
But this book has made me want to re-examine my beliefs.
In the book Mortenson describes people, Muslims, who have gone out of their way to help him in his quest. A hotel bell-hop who became his “goffer,” without being asked to do so. The truck drivers and porters who have transported materials over roads that barely deserve the name.
It has shown me that there is good in the world, even, in the Muslim world.
Contrast that with the hundreds of letters Mortenson wrote to wealthy, and influential Americans like Oprah Winfrey and Susan Sarandon (580 letters in all) asking for help in building his first school in the mountain village of Korphe. Every one of those letters went unread or ignored by every person except Tom Brokaw, who sent him a whopping $100 and a good luck letter.
Makes me wonder who, exactly, the better people are. There are wackos everywhere, and I’m sure that I have been wrong to pigeonhole all of the Muslims based on the acts of a vast minority of wackos.
Read the book. It’s a great one.
Friday, July 07, 2006
I just finished reading a book: “Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson. It’s basically the story of a couple of deep wreck divers who found a World War II, German U-Boat off of the New Jersey coast and then spend about 6 years trying to figure out the boat’s identity. In that time, the two primary divers, Chatterton and Kohler, both suffer divorces, they have three friends die on the wreck, and they learn a lot about themselves and the men who went to sea aboard these floating steel coffins.
I’m always fascinated by the stories of the men who go to war, no matter what side their on. Why they did what they did.
Not long ago, I read “Band of Brothers” by Steven Ambrose about “Easy” Company of the 101st airborne. Did you know that many of those men signed up to be paratroops because they could get an extra $50 per month? Jump out of planes, behind enemy lines, risking all for an extra $50 per month. Amazing.
I wonder if those same reasons were in the minds of the submarine corps during that time as well.
When the U-869 set sail, most of the men on board knew that they would probably not be coming back. The Allied forces had figured out how to hunt and kill these U-Boats. But the U-869 went to sea anyways. Why? Was it duty? Love of country? Fear? These are the things that I wonder about, and then make me wonder if I would have the courage to do the same.
I know... I know... you’re saying to yourself, “but they were Nazi’s. So what if they died in the Atlantic!” Well, that’s not entirely true. Yes, many of them were Nazi’s, but many of them were just boys, who were serving their country. Some of them probably even hated the war and Hitler. Are we any different?
I’m a scuba diver but not even in the same league as these deep wreck divers. Compared to me, Chatterton and Kohler are gods. I would love to do a deep wreck dive some day... but then again... I have fear.
Monday, July 03, 2006
It was fun. 70 participants and 20 youth staff managed to have a bunch of cuts and scratches... had a Dining Fly burn down (that was heart stopping) but, all in all, it was a good time.
It's always amazing to me to watch 70 kids, who have never known each other before the camp, come together and work as a team. In the first day or two, they hate being there, they hate the other members of their patrol, but by the last day, they are more than friends, they are a team. It never ceases to amaze me.
Any time spent at 9000 feet in the high Uinta Mountains, is time well spent.
I head back up there at the end of July for my home troop’s week-long camp.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Can I just tell you... I live in the coolest place in the world. My town (really a suburb of Salt Lake City) is a twenty minute drive from any kind of nature I want to find. Twenty minutes east, and I am in rugged mountains. Twenty minutes south or west and I'm in the driest sage desert you’ve ever seen. Twenty minutes north and I can be in a canyon where I can find prehistoric seashells.
The cool thing about Utah is that, if you don’t like the scenery, drive for twenty minutes, it’ll change.
Back a dozen years ago or so, a friend of mine and I decided that we were gonna hike to Lake Desolation up the Beartrap Fork trail. So one Saturday morning we got up at something like 4 am, and drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the trailhead of Beartrap Fork. It was so dark, but we had been there before, so we hiked with flashlights, only when we needed them. Well, we get up the trail and enter into this large field. Suddenly, we hear all these hoof beats. We had spooked a herd of mule deer, and they cut out of there pretty fast, but the cool thing is... we couldn’t see ‘em. We could only hear their departure. That was almost magical to me.
Nothing happens in the mountains that isn’t magical, at least to me. It’s like a drama that keeps on going, whether I’m there of not, it’s just that, when I am there, it’s happening just for me. That can be the herd of deer I come upon in the early hours, or the squirrels chasing each other up some lodge-pole pine, or a badger coming out of a critter hole with his face covered in blood.
There are also places that I've been to that feel like they've never had another person there for a hundred years.
One time, my Father-in-law, one of my friend, and I decided that we were gonna check out this ghost town we’d heard about. So, we drove 5 hours south to a place called Puria. There, we find this ghost town. Turns out it wasn’t a ghost town at all. It was a movie set. Used for Outlaw Josey Wales. Yep, walked into the very same building as Clint Eastwood. Now that’s cool!
I’ll tell you what... say what you will about Utah... I’ll take it over someplace else in an instant.
Friday, June 16, 2006
So... here’s how you make it.
Start with 3 cups of rolled oats (Hoot). I’ll usually get this stuff called “Cream of the West” out of Montana, because it’s made of oats and 6 other grains (Double Hoot). Good for the heart and cholesterol.
Then get about a cup of slivered or sliced Almonds (Hoot), and another cup of some other nut (Hoot). I like peanuts that have been chopped up a bit. Oops. I guess that there is come GORP in my GORP. Protein, protein, protein.
Now get about ¾ cup of sweet shredded coconut. (Nanny).
Then about ¼ cup of dark brown sugar (Nanny). I usually give it about 2 tablespoons over a ¼ cup (eyeball it, this isn't rocket science for cryin' out loud) for just a bit more Nanny. Now get about ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. (don’t use table salt ‘cause it tastes weird. Use kosher salt or sea salt. Trust me, not all salt tastes… salty.) By the way. I think that this is a Hoot, because you need to replace your sodium when on the trail. Drinking water, especially filtered water is not going to replace that sodium.
Now that’s all the dry stuff, so toss it all in a big mixing bowl, and stir it up. Break up any of the brown sugar or coconut that has stuck together.
Now for the wet stuff.
Get about ¼ cup of vegetable oil. I use Canola oil because it’s pretty low in saturated fats and has no trans fats. Plus it has a really light taste. I guess that’s a Hoot.
Now you need something sticky. Maple syrup works nicely. Don’t get maple “flavored” syrup, go for the real Vermont maple. I’ve also used honey. The regular mass produced Clover honey works well, but for an extra kick of Nanny, get a nice dark Buckwheat honey... oooh... or an orange blossom honey (Double Nanny). You can turn Honey into a bit of a Hoot by tracking down local honey. The reason being, if you have hay fever, like I do, you can lessen those allergies by eating locally produced wildflower honey, which builds up your resistance to the local pollins. Check with your doctor and make sure that doing this isn’t going to make you swell up and die. I don’t want that on my hands. Geez.
Molasses works well as a sticky as well. But I find that the taste is a bit too strong.
Use a little over ¼ cup of the sticky stuff. I take it just short of ½ a cup.
So... dump the oil and sticky stuff into the bowl with all of the dry stuff and stir to combine. It will seem like there isn’t enough wet to cover all of the dry, but trust me, there is. Just keep stirring until everything is lightly coated with the sticky oily mixture.
Now oil a sheet pan (save yourself some time and use Pam) and pour the GORP onto it. Spread it evenly and pop it into a 250 F oven. Let it bake for about 30 minutes. Then pull it out and sir it up and respread it evenly onto the sheet pan, and then back to the oven. Repeat this every 15 minutes, until the GORP is nicely toasted. Get it as dark as you like. I like it about the same color as buckskin.
Then take it out and give it a good press with your spatula (this will get the oat clusters working for you) and let it cool completely.
Once cool, the real Nanny begins. Take the GORP off of the sheet pan and put it in a bowl (big mixing bowl works). Getting it off of the sheet pan may take some spatula work.
Now add Dried fruits. I like Pineapple, Cranberry Raisins (craisins), and that kind of thing. No... I don’t add real raisins... yuck. This here is Mega Nanny. I’ll also throw in a handful of M&Ms and a small box of Good & Plenty, just for color and useless carbs. But then, when you’re on the trail at 9000 feet, is any carb useless?
So there you go. My Hoot-n-Nanny GORP. Looking back over it, I can see, there’s quite a bit of Nanny to go around.
I’ve given you the building blocks, now, build on it and see what kind of flavors you can come up with.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Went for Sushi today. Yep, my once every other month treat. I’m poor, so I don’t get to have it very often. But today is extra special cause I ain’t paying.
I have a friend at work who is a commander in the Pacific Submarine Fleet and he’s presently attending the Army War College. So, he’s asked if, since I have an English Degree, I can proof read his papers. Last night I proof read a paper on… well… I know that it had something to do with tactical vs. conceptual leadership strategies… but that’s about all I could get out of it. It had a lot of words like SECDEF and SUBCOMPAC in it. Heck, I never served in the military and my English degree is in literature. I can barely find the subject phrase in a sentence. So, I checked it for punctuation and made sure that all of the sentences had a good flow to them. But that’s about it. And for that… he’s takin’ me to Sushi!
I got a taste for it when I was living in Las Angeles. I used to go to this place called “Tokyo House” where the waitresses barely spoke English, but they thought that my friend was cute so they would give us free steamed rice. Doesn’t sound like much, but back then I was even more poor than I am now.
I’m not one for the California Roll. Never did like avocado. But, I’m a huge fan of what’s called “Nigiri” sushi. Especially when it’s made of salmon or tuna.
What it is, is a ball of vinegared rice, with a small blob of wasabi in the middle. Then they lay the sashimi (raw fish) over the top. Sometimes they’ll tie it up with a strip of nori (sea weed), but not very often.
Tasty! Sweet with this little kick of short-lived spice to the nose.
I’ll tell you, those Japanese folk really know how to eat.
No, I have no Asian blood in me, but I sure wouldn’t mind if I did.
My ancestry? Well let’s just say that I’m red headed and pasty white with no genetic ability to tan in any way. Fine dining to my ancestors was to get all dressed up in their finest coarse wool and animal skins, and smear their faces with blue mud, before sitting down to a nice plate of oats and sheep’s innards cooked in its own stomach. Mmmm-Mmm. Yummy!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Sometimes, the program can get a little... nerdy.
Skits, songs, cheers... all part of that program. I can’t tell you why. It just is, and it works. And to my way of thinkin’, don’t screw with what works.
So, here’s what’s been weighing on my mind.
There's a training course for Scout Masters called Wood Badge. It's a program with a lot of tradition, and a lot of prestige for those who go and put forth the effort to finish. What I mean is: Wood Badge is not one of those things that you go and do, and at the end of the week, they hand you your certificate and you go home. In Wood Badge, you attend a week-long course, then you write several goals onto what's called a “Ticket” and then you work that ticket. It can take 6 months to 2 years to work (took me 16 months) at the end of which you are awarded a couple of wooden beads on a leather boot lace. Seems like a lot of work for something so small.
My experiences at Wood Badge are some of the best I’ve ever had and I look back on those 7 days with alot of fondness. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the men in my patrol. Most importantly I learned how Scouting is supposed to work.
My boss, who is also a Scout Master and a man I have great respect for, is at Wood Badge at this very moment, and hating every minute of it. You see, I went to Wood Badge because after I became a Scout Master, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and wanted to be trained. My Boss… not so much. He’s being forced to go by his charter organization. He believes that he knows what he’s doing and doesn’t need any training, which may or may not be true. Finally, he feels that all of the “Rah-Rah” in scouting is just stupid. The weeks leading up to his going to Wood Badge have been a constant dump on scouting... dump on me... parade. I work with a lot of younger people who follow the example of our boss pretty blindly. (It's funny how many Utah Boys have picked up a New Jersey accent.)
I know that the people here at work have respect for me. I’ve been here since the company formed and have attained to high of a position not to know that. But, I know that they all see me as a Scout Nerd.
Maybe I am.
Then again… is it so bad?
I just hope that my boss catches the vision of Scouting before his time at Wood Badge ends, because if he doesn’t, it will have been a wasted week for him... and I know that he hates waste.
And now I’m finished Anteloping, I don’t know what to do.
I’m growing old and feeble, and I can Antelope no more,
So I’m going to work my ticket if I can.
Back to Gilwell, happy land,
I’m going to work my ticket if I can.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Devil-Spawn
Happy Birthday to You!
Oh yes, 6-6-06, the beginning of the end times.
You know, I believe in the Bible, when it’s not taken literally. And that whole “Mark of the Beast” being tattooed to or implanted in your right hand or forehead… nice story, but not literal. I’m looking forward to having a chip implanted in my hand. Think about it, no wallet, thus no wear marks on my back pockets and no credit cards to loose or have stollen, ‘cause all my cards and licenses will be stored on the chip. Cool eh?
If we could make that baby GPS compatible... Oh ya! I’d have on in every one of my kids.
Think about this. We put anti-theft tracking devices in our cars, boats, and motorcycles. We chip out dogs and cats, but we neglect our kids. Every day we hear about some kid being kidnapped or lost and we can’t find them. How easy it would be to have a small transmitter attached (or implanted in) to them so that we can zero in on their location seconds after they disappear. Now were talkin’!
But to my point. I have had a visitation. Yep, actual and whole. You know how the Virgin Mary appears to people in grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips and such. Well, a while back when I was putting in a sprinkler system for my sister, I had a visitation in a splash of purple primer. The Primer splashed onto a pipe, and the visage of Jim Morrison appeared. It was... a powerful experience. He appeared in the primer and told me to break on through to the other side. The other side of what, he didn’t say.
Eat, Drink, and be Merry for tomorrow... well, tomorrow will work itself out, won’t it.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Have you ever had something go through your head that made you go... “Freak, where did that come from?”
I had one of those moments the other day.
So... there we were, the whole family packed into the mini van. Driving here and there. Listening to some easy listening station (my wife and I have done the battle of music types. As long as it isn’t country, I won’t slash my wrists). So on comes the theme to Titanic. My mind, takes a little vacation.
So, I’m thinking about the movie. I hate (I’m using the word, Hate, here) hate Leo DeCrappio. So naturally, I’m thinking of the part of the movie where Jack dies. Yep, my favorite part, mainly, because Jack FINALLY dies, and because the movie is almost over by this point.
So, in my mind, here’s Rose... looking wet and cold, floating on her scrap of wood, and there’s Jack... dead in the north Atlantic. I’m smiling.
So then she says to his corpse, “Jack, I’ll never let go.” And then before breaking his hand away from hers, she kisses him hard on the face (Anywhere really, doesn’t matter) and, somehow, her tongue freezes to his face (you know like that Christmas story kid and the flagpole).
Hey, this is my board mind at work, not your’s...
She can’t get it un-frozen (lack of warm water) and so as he sinks, she trails behind by her tongue.
At this point I have a wicked grin on my face, and my wife, just, doesn’t want to know.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I rode my bike to work today. Yep, all a part of that "no heart attack" phase I’ve been going through. It’s just 10 miles (but feels like 50) with the last mile going up hill on a heavy traffic highway. No big.
Hey... if I get hit by some big SUV... Stay with me here... Maybe I can sue ‘em and put my kids through college. No, strike that. I had to put myself through college; my kids can do the same. I’ll sue ‘em and take my wife on a cruse to Alaska.
Ya... now were talkin’!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Sorry, I’m gonna get really geeky today.
Last weekend my wife and I went to see X3: The Last Stand. And while I liked it, it wasn’t great. I really don’t think that it deserved the 100something million dollars it made its first weekend. But, It was a good couple of hours. The thing that kinda bothered me was the trailer for Ghost Rider, for a couple of reasons.
How many freakin’ movies are they gonna make about comic book characters. I mean, let’s face it, Ghost Rider? How many people outside of the comic book world have ever heard about ghost rider?
Don’t get me wrong; I like Ghost Rider. I used to read that comic quite a bit... when I was in grade school! I still have a couple of them wrapped in protective vinyl envelopes (geek) and stored away from light and damaging elements.
Now, their bringing Superman back, there’s been talk of making a Witchblade movie, and Joss Whedon is writing the script for Wonder Woman. This one I’m actually looking forward to. In my opinion, it’s got two things going for it: Joss and Linda Carter... What? No Linda Carter? That’s it... I don’t have any desire to see this waste of two hours of my life... Well, okay, I’ll probably go see it anyway. I mean Joss is writing and directing it, so I'm kinda obligated. So... No Linda Carter? *sigh*
Nicolas Cage. I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of faith in Hollywood A-listers. For the most part I believe them to be talentless hacks. I’m not saying this about Cage. I actually kind of like him. Unlike Tom Cruise, he doesn’t seem to be a freak. He was good in ConAir, very good in Racing with the Moon, Very funny in Peggy Sue got Married (probably the only good thing about that snoozer), Fantastic in Moonstruck, good in City of Angels, and very good in Gone in 60 Seconds. So, I like Cage quite a bit, but can he pull off Johnny Blaze? I guess we’ll see in February. I guess that I’m willin’ to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Hey I got an idea...
As long as Hollywood’s hot for comic book movies...
Groo the Wanderer! I want a Groo Movie!
Friday, May 26, 2006
“I can see you…”
Chilling is all I can say about this little film.
Those of you who have read my little blog here know that I’m a freak for Firefly & Serenity. (Actually anything Joss Whedon as of late, but that’s for another time.) One of the things that I love about the ‘verse (world of Firefly) is that there are so many mysteries. These mysteries were just getting set when the series was cancelled.
Who was Shepherd Book before he joined the priesthood?
What did Wash do during the War? What are the shadow puppets all about?
Who are the Blue Hand Guys? (Kind of answered in the comic book)
What is BlueSun?
Why did Inara leave her home to travel the ‘verse? What’s she hiding?
What really happened to River in the institute?
What is she really capable of?
Some of these questions were answered in the movie Serenity. Others… not so much.
Some of the questions were touched on in the book that accompanied the movie. Others… not so much. And some of the questions were deepened, expanded, spawned new questions.
The R. Tam Sessions, at least, brings new light into the questions about River and the institute, in a haunting and quite chilling way.
I’m not sure where the film came from or why it was made. It stars Summer Glau and Joss Whedon (quite obvious from the voice, otherwise, you only see the back of his head). Whedoneque.com says that it was made as a kind of promotional thing for the movie, but this is the first anyone has heard of it, As far as I know. So… I don’t know.
I enjoyed it thoroughly, ‘cause I love the River character, and Summer does such a good job with it. Brilliant.
Check it out at www.session416.com
Monday, May 22, 2006
A. Scott Crossfield
I don’t have a lot of Heroes. There are a lot of people out there that I think have done some extraordinary things, but they are not my heroes. So, when someone passes away that I really do consider a true hero… well… that’s a time that I stand and take notice.
I just found out that Scott Crossfield died last month, when his Cessna 210a went down in a thunderstorm over Georgia.
“So,” you’re thinking, “lots of people crash in small private planes.” That thought tells me that you have no idea who this man was.
Crossfield has flown some of the fastest planes in the world, including the
- Bell X-1 (Yep, the same plane in which Yeager broke the sound barrier.)
- Northrop X-4
- Douglas D-558-1 (he was the first to go Mach 2 in this plane)
- Convair XF-92a
- Bell X-5
- North American X-15. This thing was designed to fly 250,000 feet (operational ceiling of 354,200 feet… that, by the way, is Damn near space! SpaceshipOne only went 328,000 feet. And Crossfield was never considered an astronaut, he was a test pilot) and travel at mach 6.72 (3,937 knots). He crashed the X-15 once. He had an engine burn up, so he landed it and broke the plane in half in the process.
So you can kind of see why I think that it’s a bit ironic that a pilot of his caliber could be taken out by a storm.
It’s hard to loose anyone, but a genuine hero? That there is a jagged little pill.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
On Monday I went in for my annual physical for the Boy Scouts, to make sure that I’m not gonna have a heart attack on some hike. Heaven help me if some 13 year old has to do CPR on me in the high Uinta Mountains. I don’t even think that they can spell CPR, let alone do it.
Sorry ADD boy again.
Anyway, my blood pressure is 140something over 110something. So, now, I’m being medicated for being a stress case. My wife doesn’t know if she needs to thank the BSA for making me get a physical every year, or to curse them for causing the stress.
No… I’d be fine if I’d just stick to being the Scout Master of my neighborhood troop, but no, that isn’t enough, I have to be the assistant course director for “Silver Moccasin” as well. (Silver Moccasin is the council’s NYLT training course, by the way.)
One of the really neat things that’s happening this summer is that the council is sending me to the national training center at Philmont this August. Which is gonna be a total blast because I get to bring the family along. It seems that they have programs for my wife and all of the kids on down to my two year old. So, they all get to go horseback riding, and have fun while I’m sitting in classes. No, really, it should be fun, if I can just make it through June and July without clutching at my chest and falling to the ground.
I'll tell you one thing though, at Silver Moccasin, I have power running to my tent, and I'm taking my little DVD player, along with Serenity, Firefly, and probably season 3 of Buffy. Oh yes, Whedon will be represented at camp this year.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Whoh! I’ve been getting way too heavy as of late and I think that it’s time for a change.
You know... I’ve been posting here for a couple of months now, and I think that we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. “Friends,” you might say. And so, as your “friend,” I’d like to tell you about a drink. The Nectar of the Gods it is; Joy in a bottle, you might say. Oh, and it must come in a bottle, anything less would be uncivilized.
Oh yesssss *elongated for emphasis* I’m talking about Yoo-Hoo.
That chocolaty goodness, made from pure... well...
I’m not really sure what it’s made of, but I’m sure that it’s good for body and soul. Well, soul anyway. Everything a growing boy (or girl) needs to be happy.
I first had Yoo-Hoo while living in that once golden land now rotting dung heap of Southern California. Had I known that Yoo-Hoo is almost unknown in Utah, I would have stayed in that steaming cesspool of LA just for the drink. Uh-hu, it's that powerful.
And so imagine my joy, when I walked into a gas station convenience store right here in the state of my birth, and heard the siren song of Yoo-Hoo in the refrigerator, right next to the Sobe. I don’t have to tell you that I almost kissed the Iranian behind the counter. Jumping for joy I purchased my first bottle in years for $1.69. Compared to what I had just paid for gas, it was a pittance!
I’m good now. The smooth chocolate liquid mingling with my digestive juices. I’ve never enjoyed a burp so much in my life. ;)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I’ve been spending my lunch hour looking around at blog sites. And I came across the site of a lady who has been going through a lot the last year and a half. Her posts were heart wrenching. I can’t imagine pain like that. She made me look back on the things that have happened to me over the last year. And I gotta tell ya... I’ve got it made. How she has been able to hold herself together... well, that’s a testament to true strength.
She got me thinking. If, God forbid, I were to loose my wife, what would hold me together?
My religion? I’m not so sure. My faith has never been that strong. I tend to side with Mal Reynolds on this one. “I ain’t lookin’ for help from on high. That’s a long wait for a train that don’t come.”
My work? What, are you kiddin’?
My Family? Well, they could be of comfort, if they took turns. Like most Mormon families... well... there’s a lot of us. Damn near an army. Overwhelming? Understatement.
My Kids? Yes. Those guys are my glue. I love them more than life itself. I found this picture of me and two of my daughters. It was taken at West Thumb in Yellowstone a couple of years ago. It’s a bit blurry and it was a cold, rainy day. But, I love it.
I hope that I never have to find out what it would be like to have to be a single Dad. I’m afraid that I would go off the deep end, and never be able to swim to shore.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
You may have seen posts from me with the phrase “Keep Flyin’” tacked to the end. Let me tell you where it comes from.
Back in 2002 there was a little show on FOX called “Firefly.” In it, a small group of people, one might say that there were a family of sorts, traveled the ‘verse in a little transport that went by the name “Serenity.” (Sound familiar yet? Yes, there was a movie out last summer that went by the same name.)
Anyway, at the very end of what should have been the first episode, the Captain, Mal Reynolds is inviting Dr. Simon Tam to join the crew. At this Simon asks Mal why he’s being so nice and Mal answers that it’s been “a good day.”
To this Simon says something like, “You’re carrying two fugitives, you’ve run from the law and from savages. Most of the people on the ship, including yourself, have been shot or wounded, and it’s been a good day?”
To this Mal answers, “Were still flyin’.” And then Simon says, “That’s not much.”
“It’s enough.” Mal says, before turning back to the ship’s helm.
You see, no matter how bad it gets, if you can get to sundown and your still flyin’, well, then it’s enough.
Monday, May 08, 2006
I really wanted to write some scorching rant about something... But…
Nothing’s really bugging me today. Hu... how about that? Life is going really well.
-I’m going into the Scouting summer from Hell. (3 weeklong camps).
-My wife has decided that she hates our house and so wants to sell it, even though we probably only have a couple of bucks in equity (no lie).
-My car is making some unholy screeching sound under the hood.
-My back yard lawn is so long that I’m gonna need a field mower to get through it.
-I can’t find anything good to read... Print is dead.
-I have some gardens to put in. (flower and veggie)
-I’ve been remodeling our bathroom for two years now.
-My (almost) teen-aged daughter wants her own room, and I’m about half done with that.
-My kitchen cabinets are falling apart.
-The entire house needs to be painted, inside and out.
-Our mini-van needs tires.
-After saving and waiting for three years now, I finally got a mountain bike, but now I’m too busy to ride it.
But, life is going ok. I can’t say that I have anything of meaning to complain about.
Keep Flyin’… it’s enough.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Anyway, I read On Writing by Stephen King some time ago and there is one thing, (well... there were a lot of things) that stuck in my mind. What he said about writing is that:
“it’s first about seeing the impossible and then saying it.”
Isn’t that great?
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that Burger King… King guy give you the creeps? For the love of all that’s holy! Get that thing off the television!
Ever since that thing debuted… I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. My blood pressure is through the freakin’ roof. I know that some day I'll wake up to find him in my bed, smiling away, just before he bludgeons me to death with a Whopper.
Please, please, please… Burger King… Get rid of the evil King guy before he really kills someone. I don’t want the last thing I ever see in this world to be that smiley face of evil!
What was that? A banging at my door…
Noooooo! It’s the King and he has a Whopper! Noooo… Get away…
Monday, May 01, 2006
I love to walk into a used bookstore and take a big wiff. There is something about the smell of old books that just make me go all gooey inside. It’s darn near a spiritual experience. They should make incense that smells like that. But, then, that wouldn’t work very well, ‘cause it would probably smell like burning old books, which would just make me want to take my own life. What if Glade made a plug-in that smelled like old books? Yea... now were talking.
Why old books? I don’t know. I think that it’s all the acid free papers and inks that they use these days. If you walk into a Barnes & Noble, today, you won’t get the same smell as walking into a Sam Wellers. It’s the smell of time; the consequence that time takes on books. The pages yellow and go brittle, the ink fades. Books are mortal, just as we are. I recently got a copy of an old book that went out of print in the 1960’s. In fact, it went out of print 5 years before I was born. As soon as I got it, I opened its yellowed pages and smelled. Not just a sniff, but a full lung full of the musty air... The smell of the bookstore. The smell of time.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
here --> http://www.theimpulsivebuy.com/
Who ever this person is... well... he’s my kind of stupid. What he does is... ummm... he buys random things from the store and then gives you his review of them in just such a way that... well, he made me laugh, especially with his review of Vault Soda. Oh, yes my friends, chuckles were had. (You may have to look in the archives to find it.)
I also think that he may be a Browncoat. Not that he makes any direct references, but just by some of the things that he says. Body language of the pen, you might say. I could be very wrong, but, he has the faint, yet pleasin’ odor of the ‘verse.
So, check him out, you’ll be pleased.
Monday, April 24, 2006
So, I walk up to the counter, and in come some kids, who sign a sheet before disappearing into the back room. “Tournament” I think to myself. So I ask the guy behind the counter, “What they playin’ in the back room?” He tells me, and I don’t remember what it was ‘cause I’d never heard of it. I just nod and hand him some bills for the useless crap I just bought. Then some kid next to me asks, “So... what d’ you play?” I turn to look at the short, slightly overweight, tee shirt clad gamer to my left. “Nothin’ any more,” I said, “used to play D&D back in the day, but not so much any more.”
He nods, “What edition?”
EDITION? I didn’t know there were any editions of D&D. So I fake it.
“Oh,” I say, “Advanced.” Now, just to straighten the record, I used to play a lot more than that. AD&D was the standard, but I also played Traveler, Shadow Run, Battle-Tech, Car Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (yes, it was an RPG long before it was a cartoon) and countless other experiments.
“Oh,” he grins and nods in that timeless geeky fasion, “Old School.”
Old school! Old school? I’m trying to let this sink in. Old school. Like 70’s rock on vinyl records? Ya, that can be cool. So, I’m an “old school gamer.”
I gotta get a hobbie. As cool as being "Old School" could be in the geek world, It just doesn’t feel that cool.
“Old School!” The little dork!