Monday, July 31, 2006

Welcome to Boxland... you are... Where?

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


Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb (Live)

I just found out that Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett died last week.
I hope that he has found peace.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Scout-Camp Worries

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

Cry Baby

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

Bloody Pirates!


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

Weekend from... well... not from the Islands.

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.
And then...
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

Georgia... Sweet Georgia

Georgia. What’s the deal with Georgia? I was just thinking today, (that’s a switch) that I have several friends in Georgia. Never been there my own-self… so… Why Georgia? One of ‘em is one of my best friends and his family. Look in my links section: Leaking Mind Juice and Sketch Pot, those are his blogs.
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…

Well… anyway…

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

Three Cups of Tea

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

U-869: The Lost U-Boat

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

Silver Moccasin - NYLT

I just got back from Silver Moccasin, our Council’s National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) course late Saturday night.
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.
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