Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yeah...it's been a long time yada yada yada...bust me out a little...go ahead, a lot of stuff is going on here. I'm gonna be a dad again in March for one thing which most of you already know...but I saw this and thought it was blogworthy (our dictionary is definitely getting thicker by the year, is it not? I wonder what a conversation like this would be with Neil Courtwright...I bet he is just livid what with the music scene and where gov't in general is heading...ha ha ha)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Two people in California have been arrested after about 400-thousand dollars worth of stolen almonds was discovered in a Sacramento warehouse.

Investigators say the stash may be linked to a rash of nut thefts from orchards across California's Central Valley.

Is that not just amusing?? How much is $400,000 worth of almonds? Well, $4.89 per oz at one store (sans shell)...that's roughly 5112.5 lbs. Not even close to a truck load. That's right around 102 fifty lb bags. Not a bunch, I would say...although I couldn't eat that many in a year (but I should, they're VERY good for you) You and I watch and read the news of the day (you do at least try to keep up, don't you?), seeing all that is going on not just globally but locally for crying out loud, horrible stuff right here in West Michigan (check out woodtv.com for those of you from other places, and read the headlines...) and there are actually people staking out a warehouse somewhere, doing paperwork, and completely devoted to cracking th case of the stolen nuts (no pun intended). Money is money...yes I see that and you do have a valid point. It is a good one. But on paper...any way you say it, it's extremely amusing to me, thank you very much and enjoy your day...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Free fun here

Friday, October 13, 2006

This is one of my favorites:

A man walks into a bar after a day at the office, sits down and orders a beer.

He grabs a handful of peanuts from a bowl on the bar while he's waiting for his beer, and as he starts to chew he hears a voice say, "That's a beautiful tie, is that silk? Very NICE choice!"

Wondering who would make such a strange comment, he looks around and doesn't see anyone near him who could've been speaking to him. With a shrug, he pops a few more peanuts into his mouth.

Next he hears a voice, "Those shoes are stylin', my man. Are they Italian leather? They look GRRREAT!"

He whirls around to again but sees no one near him. He glances nervously around and then at his shoes, which he tucks self-consciously under the stool.

A little wierded out, he grabs another handful of peanuts. This time the voice continues with, "That suit looks FANTASTIC! Is it an Armani? Very nice!"

He immediately calls the bartender over and says, "Look, I keep hearing these voices telling me how great my tie, my shoes, and my suit look -- What's up with that? Am I GOING CRAZY??"

"Oh," the bartender nonchalantly replies, "those are just the peanuts."

"The PEANUTS?!?" the astonished man asks, staring at the bowl beside him.

"Yes," replies the bartender, ". . . they're complimentary!!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A couple of things...

Don't forget to check out the harvest moon this Friday night.

Pictures are coming, I promise. We are going up north this weekend so...

My brother John is getting married soon(October 21st to be exact).

I'm gonna hike a long long long hike in a couple of weeks so I'll either be dead or medivac'd for treatment...either way, there'll be pictures of it.

Keep checking and please feel free to comment (speaking to those who are lurking...sometimes even called cyber-stalking. Yes, I know you're there, you might as well comment and come out of hiding, you'll feel better and I will too, you know that creepy uneasy feeling you get just before you fall asleep and you just know someone's looking at your blog and not commenting...you don't? oh...)


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I really never gave any thought to space travel for myself...I figured until they give me a really good reason to go, I can just watch it on TV and look at the pictures.

Then I saw this:


Now I want to go there.

Also, if you're into this sort of thing, here is some information on our upcoming Harvest Moon:


Have a great day,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Check this out http://phoenix.craigslist.org/zip/212408812.html

What?? No description? Heart? Liver? Kidney? And in storage? That can't be safe. And what blood type, etc? And of course, who did they belong to? See? you can get ANYTHING on Craigslist. Even for free...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ST. IGNACE, Mich. There's one thing missing at a new Indian casino in Michigan's Upper Peninsula: gambling.

It was mistakenly built in an area where gambling is illegal.

The 36 (m) million-dollar casino and hotel complex opened in June. It has restaurants, a lounge and an indoor pool, overlooking Lake Huron's Horseshoe Bay north of the Mackinac (MAK'-ih-naw) Bridge.

But its 29-thousand-square-foot casino with 800 slot machines and 26 gambling tables has been unable to operate. The U-S government says part of the casino was built on land where Indian gambling is not allowed.

Members of the Sault Ste. (soo saynt) Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians are debating who was responsible for the mistake, with the tribe's current and former chairmen blaming each other.

**I thought this was humorous, especially because they're debating who's responsible. Who cares? It doesn't matter, they can't help you change the rules, I bet. Ha, I said bet.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Back Yard Friends

I was out in the back yard harassing Gus the other day when I noticed not one, not two and not even three, but four Garden Spiders. They are really a lovely creature with their distinct and detailed markings on their backs and their perfect looking webs. I took Sage out to show them to her (no, I didn’t do it to scare her, she actually asked to go see them!) and we had walked out under our gazebo where the most obvious and largest one was. She was on my shoulders for a good view. She was looking for them as I was pointing to them and I knew the very second she saw one because she squeezed me and started trembling like crazy. She wasn’t crying or all freaked out per se but she definitely was not comfortable being that close up. I could tell she wanted to be so brave though. She wanted to see them and she still asks about them. Mom won’t take her out there for some reason though…

Can you spot the one in the tree? I saw him and he was ten feet up there...look closely and remember, you never know who's watching you from up above...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Finally…hiking in Michigan. This morning, my brother Dave and I hike a small section of the North Country Trail. The whole trail starts in New York somewhere and ends up in North Dakota. We didn’t get that far, but we did travel about 11 or 12 miles along the trail. It was from M-20 (some of you Hesperians may know the parking area on the south side of M-20 between Stone Rd and M-37…see my map) down to 40th st. south of White cloud. Directly from M-20 to 40th st. is 6+ miles. The trail, by our best estimates, ended up being somewhere between 10 and 12 miles; nothing in comparison to the 4588 miles to the east and west of where we went today.

The coolest thing I saw today which unfortunately went unphotographed by me, was a bald eagle that Dave spotted from way out as we were headed to the M-20 trailhead. We were watching it as we drove closer and it flew down in front of us and grabbed a black squirrel out of the middle of the road, then proceeded to fly into a tree next to the road and began feasting. It was absolutely huge. It looked like it was 3 or 4 feet tall. It was just cool seeing a bald eagle in the wild and particularly here in Michigan.

So back to the trail…it is beautiful. We walked from about 9am until about 2 I think if I remember correctly, so that’s 5 hours straight walking. We actually only rested about 15 minutes total throughout the whole trip too. So, needless to say, I am rather sore tonight. Dave? Not even affected. He said no pain at all. I can hardly walk to the bathroom. Kudos to Mr. I’m in shape—Dave!

The photo of the random items is all the trash I picked up along the way.Dave had his pockets full as well and we likely could have filled up a large trash bag with more stuff we saw and could not handle ourselves. Don't do that if you go there or anywhere. Be responsible with our mother...

Well, we talked it over while we traveled and, even though I barely made it to the end of the 11 mile hike, we planned to hike the section north of M-20 to Nichols Lake which is right around 18 miles total. Yes, we can and will do it, too. Even if we can’t, we will.

It’s supposedly open to mountain bike and equestrian traffic to the north of M-20 (not so, to the south) and I want to see what it’s like as I would like to ride my bike (a mountain bike) off road, where it has never been. If it’s like the south part, it will be fun and it starting to looks like something I could enjoy.

So if anyone reading this wants to go on a good hike or wants more info on how to get there, etc. feel free to contact me. If you want to go on the hike and need or want someone to go with, I’m up for it again, as soon as my feet feel better…which will likely be shortly after my wonderful wife massages them for me tonight…

Thursday, August 10, 2006

We found out recently that we are pregnant again. That is WAY cool. I was worried about my daughter growing up without any siblings. Yes, she has plenty of cousins and other various friends and relatives, but there's nothing like a good ole' sibling to make life more interesting, don't you think? Ask any of mine. I'm sure they would agree that, if not for their siblings (not any one in particular, but it would be any of or a combination of all of us) life would be a bore. Need more proof? Ask my mom, she'll tell you.

Life is good. I don't get out there and jump up and down but I am extremely excited that we are bringing another baby into the world. I can't wait to hold it and have a little tiny baby in the house again, finding out how little sleep you can get by on, taking naps because you got by on not enough and perhaps best of all, seeing Sage's response to the whole thing. She is going to be an outstanding big sister, I can tell.

Last night we got a swing set for Sage. I guess her new sibling will want to get in on the action too, eventually, but last night we were thinking of Sage when we risked being stung by yellow-jackets while tearing down the swingset that we set back up in our back yard. I think it's way cool. Thanks to Donny B for your cheap but skilled union labor.

That's an update for now. I'm just kind of soaking it all in, we're gonna be a "family" instead of a young married couple with a baby. What will we do with two of them? The same thing we do now only it will be twice as fun.

By the way, am I the only one that wishes they sold the Oreo cream filling by itself in a jar?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wow. Did you hear about the lady who drove her motorhome for the first time to a ball game and on the way home, she set the cruise to 70 mph, got up and went to the back to make herself a sandwich? True story. When she crashed and was injured, she sued Winnebago and won $1,750,000. Also true. There must be something I'm missing because a jury of her peers...wait, her peers...now it makes sense. Oh well, anyway, she cashed in on her stupidity, or did she? Was this her plan all along? Hmmm...a lawyer or attorney had to gain some of this...33% of 1.75 mil is approiximately $577,500. Well now it really makes sense. The owner's manual doesn't say you can't do that. In fact, Winnebago adjusted the text in their manuals due to this. Crazy world we live in.

I love this world we live in. It IS crazy but it is so interesting. You never sit around thinking nothing's going on or that you're so bored because there's nothing to do. We have iPods, laptops, cable TV, jets, cars, you name it. We can go anywhere at any time and do nearly anything, be it legal or illegal, moral or immoral, depending on which country you go to to do it. All you need is money...which I don't have a lot of, so I guess I don't know for sure that you can go anywhere at any time to do anything, but I think you can. I bet Jack Johnson can. He must have a ton of money. I know he's got whatever percentage he gets from me buying like three of his CDs which is more than I've got in my pocket right now. But I've got enough.

I love life. I used to always wonder what it would be like to be a grown up and I used to think that it would be freakin' sweet because noone could tell you what to do. It is. If you're a kid reading this, (I hope no kids read this, please!) you will love your adulthood...or you should anyways. Even if everyone tries to tell you that you shouldn't, I remember bein a kid and I am happy with how much fun I have. I play in my yard with my daughter and have friends over and grill...noone tells me to be careful because the grill's hot, noone tells me it's late and I gotta go to bed on a Friday night. I am happy. Over all.

If your life sucks, or if you think it does, take stock. Think about what you used to dream about when you were a kid. What did you think your perfect grow up life would be? Forget about your goals and expectations for yourself for the moment. Think about what it used to be like and see if it doesn't weigh out on the side of satisfied. If it doesn't, do something different because this is your life and it's only so long here on erth and in those last years, days or moments, you don't want to be regretting or worrying about what you did, didn't or should have done. Like I said before, you can buy the old cartoons you used to watch and watch them any time. You can travel anywhere your wallet will allow you. You are in charge and you can do what you want to do. So do it and live the life you've always dreamed. (yes that's totally stolen from Emerson)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Well apparently I have crossed the boundary of sarcasm and some people aren't quite seeing the humor in my last post perhaps due to its hiding in the dark darkness of dark and angry humor. I spend alot of time writing all the chipper and funny stuff I thought I'd just let some angry funny stuff go. Sorry if you're not in tune with it or you just don't get it. There will be another sunshine daydream post coming I assure you. It was just the end of the day and I was in the mood to let one go so I did. I apologize if I've shocked or offended anyone (and by apologize I mean shut up and deal with it) and I promise to write more positively motivated and eloquently constructed essays for most of the rest of the time I am writing here which should be forever so...don't get lost yet.
OK,OK,OK!!! Here is a post. And I am not quitting the blog “scene”, thank you very much…thank you for all the faith to those who seem to want me to quit or whatever, I’ll be here a while. For everyone else who has patiently or not so patiently waited, thank you, non-sarcastically.

I guess I have no real explanation for my absence and I hate excuses so I’ll just take it like a man and blame it on someone or something else like I have been busy with a lot of stuff…nope, that won’t work, well then, I guess I’ll do the next more manly thing and insult you by saying I just don’t care about you enough to write sometimes. At least that way you can pretend I’m being honest with you.

At any rate, I’m here now spending my precious time writing some spindly garbage for you to pretend you love and write and comment about etc, etc. Do I sound cynical? Hmmm…well, I get that way sometimes and there’s nothing you or anybody else can do about it. Years of therapy, drugs, alcohol, sappy family moments, etc have not changed me in the right direction so I know any muddy junk you’ve got to throw my may won’t even leave a mark.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not angry or getting all weird, I’m just particularly sarcastic today. It could be the weather…nope. It’s gorgeous outside, did you hear me? It’s probably less than 75 out and sun abounds over the puffy clouds. I just feel like being rude. Let me self examine for a second…

I think it is Spike that has gotten me so irritated today. I was watching Spike while my wife was out of town and you know, for supposedly being the “man channel”, they really have some sissy stuff on there. Ok so what’s up with wrestling? Smackdown, WWF, ATF, WTF, WHAT EVER!!! Wrestling’s not real except in high school and college and the Olympics. If it is then why (now that we can have professionals in the Olympics) don’t you see Big Bob whats his face or any other of those steroid pumped spandex speedo wearing fruit cakes out there winning gold medals for our country? Why? Well for one as I have already stated, they are steroid pumped, automatically dq-ing them. And for another…IT’S NOT REAL! Get a clue, it is SO stupid that I can’t even watch the commercials without getting irritated.

That brings me back to the whole thing I’m here for…Spike sucks. Sunday morning church? Spike? What? And Star Trek? PLEASE…don’t use the whole manly thing to advertise spike and then show Star Trek reruns. That’s just wrong. Save it for the G4 geek channel. And I know I’m gonna get some feedback here but I’ve never been a fan of the whole Three Stooges stuff. It’s like a cult thing where people watch it just because other people say it’s good. Whatever.
I don’t buy it.

So Spike does have it’s good stuff like CSI: Las Vegas, UFC and then the post church 4x4/motor/hotrod thing which is entertaining. Also they do grace us with some Bond occasionally and they do great things with TV but why the fat? Trim it off, I say. Yeah yeah, who am I to tell someone to trim off the fat…but I don’t get paid millions of dollars to be slim either, and I am trimming off some fat anyway, just ask my belt and my big pants I don’t wear anymore, so there.

So what have I been up to instead of writing you? Outside of watching way too much Spike I have been on a few good bike rides, put up a fence for the back yard, got a dog, lived without my wife and daughter for two weeks, had a barbeque and put a workshop in my basement. What’s not manly about that? Spike ought to have a show about me. It could take the place of those weak Star Trek reruns or the lamo Three Stooges shows. Save those for the stupid cartoon network which is worthless all hours that they aren’t showing [adult swim].

I could be a reality show. A really boring reality show where the guy complains about the network he’s on while making millions from it. If it got too boring there’s an old truck out behind our warehouse and I could weld something to it and smash some stuff up and jump it over some other stuff. That would be freakin cool. Get guys with manly trucks and have them do manly stuff like pull out a stump or haul something ridiculously heavy. You know, use the winch for something besides making your truck look tough.

I like the shows like the monster machines or whatever where they do ridiculous things like move trains or old brick three story buildings all in one piece. That’s manly.

Friday Robinson Cartage is hauling thirteen 140’ bridge beams to Detroit to improve our road and highway system. That’s manly too. They’re so long they gotta have a steering axle on the back to get around corners. Back in the day they used to hook one end of the beam to a truck and the other end to another truck and one of them would drive (or get pulled) backwards down the road and then they could steer around corners. Now we have hydraulic steering trailers that stretch indefinitely and have a wireless remote that a steerman operates from a vehicle driving behind the whole rig. Not quite as manly but still beats whatever any of you do in a day.

Alright I think this will do for now. So go on and comment, let’s hear it and get it over with. Nowhere in here do I mention how perfect I am or anything like that so don’t go on and attack me personally, just the writing. It balances out the sissy stuff I’ve planted here previously. After all, the entire world is all about balance. If you want to know more about that or disagree then please email and I will explain or if I get enough inquiries, I’ll just post an explanation…I shouldn’t have to spoon feed you though, most of you are twice as educated as me…

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Well what to say, what to say…I guess I feel like I should apologize for not posting sooner, but then, no…you should all be so fortunate as to even possess the knowledge of the existence of this blog and be able to come here to recharge and to be enlightened. All for free too. You know I love a bargain, and this one trumps them all.

Merely an explanation, NOT an excuse, I continue to find myself entirely wrapped up in things at home and just life in general. This week finally saw the completion of Jill’s room which I personally assumed would haunt us through our retirement, a new outbuilding (read:canopy) in the back yard, a clean, green yard, raspberry bushes (red and black) planted, my birthday…yes, my birthday was his week too, and finally, this week saw, along with a few other unfortunate onlookers and passers by, my daughter peeing on and streaking through the front yard.

Yes, Sage officially (as if there were any doubt) heeded the call of her genetic make up by removing her pants (and diaper), following her unprompted and (hopefully she didn’t learn this from anyone!) instinctive Scripps-like behavior and wetting the lawn, immediately followed by a sprint across the dry part, and all that immediately followed by her slightly, if at all, amused, camera wielding mother.

Typical of the Scripps throughout history, this behavior sans camera wielding mother, as a rule, doesn’t start until high school/college age and is rarely photographed as we are usually aware of the ramifications that may ensue when photographic or otherwise tangible evidence is readily available. Lucky for us, mom was able to capture the moment, or you and I would never believe that such a shy, humble and reserved little angel such as Sage could possibly be capable of such debauchery.

It is with great pleasure and pride that I present to you for the second time, the first showing of Sage’s butt. I’m sure she will no doubt show it several more times throughout her life (and I predict an America’s Funniest Video appearance for starters) but (no pun intended) let this be the one. Let this be the photo that friends, boyfriends, bosses and others at high times in her life laugh at and pick on her about. Let this one make Sage wish for the old days when there was only the negative and the photo to destroy, not like today where no matter what, she will never get rid of this photo without completely destroying way too much property than it could ever be worth. Let us do it out of love though, as so many will enjoy the laugh. And deep down, if not on the surface, she will love it, and the knowledge that we care enough to go through the trouble each time of printing, posting, projecting and basically exposing (again, no pun intended) Sage’s behind to those around.

So back to that birthday thing…I am 35 now. That was so old when I was young. SO old. Now that I’m 35, it feels the same as 25. Really. Although I remember what I did last night and 420 only means my birthday to me now, I still don’t feel like I thought I would feel when I was young.

The birthday was way cool. I went out to dinner with ALL of my siblings. That happens maybe once a year if we are fortunate. I feel so privileged to have one of those times happen just for me on my birthday. Thanks to you who are reading this and are my siblings. It was nice to look down the table and see you all and to look at the pictures of us all together. It was a great gift.

So this coming week will be busy as well. Jill’s sister Amy will be visiting from Fort Collins, CO. Having visitors is always exciting but Amy is always fun so I am looking forward to her visit and I know Sage is too. Of course Jill is as well but I didn’t think I’d need to spoon feed you…

All is well here and it’s only getting better as the weather warms up. I continue on my quest to work the neighbors hard this summer. I bought a $35 bag of weed and feed, two bags of grass seed on sale for $3, and mowed. They called Chem-Lawn. I figure by June our lawn will look like a golf course.

I kind of pity their son who will no doubt pay for his father’s insecurities as he is forced to mow, rake and mow again in order to “keep up with the Jones”. Yes I am aware that this is evil and unnecessary, I am not doing it for my neighbor, I just want a nice lawn. It just so happens that the guy next door doesn’t share my energy and enthusiasm for the same so it tends to make his yard look worse than it already is. I want to feel bad, but then I wake up, step out the front door and look at the nice green lawn I’ve worked for, and I forget about feeling bad. It’s all good. My lawn makes me feel good. There, I said it.

Other great and wonderful things are happening here as well but I choose not to expound upon them at this time for lack of room in this venue. For details, you may email me if you wish, or keep checking here as I may decide to divulge them here at a later date…but then again, I may not, so you choose.

It’s late and I have to get some sleep now, I’ve got to get up early in the morning to water my lawn (just kidding, I think…) and I don’t want to be late for work.

Thank you for being loyal readers and faithfully checking back each day or whenever you do. I hope however this finds you, you will find yourself smiling at the end. Have a wonderful and productive week and I hope it turns out the way you want it to.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So I’ve been a little underground lately. Flying under the radar I like to call it. You know, when you get all quiet and not talking to anyone, like when I used to be a secret agent for the research and development division of the porta-john company. Those were the days…flowered shirts, flip-flops, blue-blockers…I had it all.

So anyway, I haven’t really had the time to be writing blogs and stuff because (unlike the R&D job, I can tell you about this stuff) I’ve been working really hard on the house. So far I have ripped out carpet, scraped old dried up foam padding off the floor, sanded and stained and finished the hidden hardwood beauties that were there all the time, and built a bed out of old doors. All this took place I think in about a week and a half maybe. I know that doesn’t account for the total time of my absence but that's what has been taking up the majority of my energy, both thought and action…but worth it all so far. Not that writing here is not worth it or just as (if not more, sorry Jill) important to my sanity and completing the spectrum of balance in my surroundings…what the…? Hold on to your Guru, what am I talking about?

Sorry about that one. But you know, you guys are important to me too and it’s important to me to tell you what’s happening. And I honestly do feel anxious and incomplete when things are happening and I don’t come out here (I’m not going to ‘come out’ here, if that’s what you’re thinking) and tell you about them, even though I feel neglected at times due to the lack of responses at times, I still know you are all (both) out there eagerly awaiting the next droplet of spectacular if interesting text to fall from the keys of my laptop here in Grand Rapids.

I’ve gotten plenty of projects completed or started with intent to finish since the weather turned warm. Besides the aforementioned projects, we have painted a room, started the yard (a daunting task, I might add) and painted a steel bed we got when we hit the jackpot at a couple of sales in the area.

We found one in Allendale where everything was going to be demolished so the lady was pretty much giving stuff away. Old doors for $1, a wooden window screen for free, an old galvanized washtub for free, and I even got an old machinist’s tool chest for $7. I found a big wooden White House Coffee crate--$1. Just random how in Arizona we’d have paid (or NOT paid) a few hundred dollars for the stuff we got for $20 that day.

So anyway, the quest continues for fixing up the Roys Avenue place so we can have an enjoyable summer here in west Michigan. Looking forward to the weather and it is warming up nicely here. Rain and sunshine both today, really helps the grass grow and fortunately I got the winter mess all raked up and out of the way. I think I’m going to make a compost bin and use it for our garden this and/or next summer. Lots on our plate and we are just getting started so keep your eyes peeled (love that CB lingo from the 70’s--thanks mom) for more posts on our progress and adventures.

By the way, it’s scheduled to hit 95 in the valley this week? No thanks! 70s here and LOVING IT! Windows open at night…ahhh…good ole Michigan weather.

Be nice to each other!

Sorry for no pictures, check back soon though.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Occasionally it is programmed genetically into my feeble mind to take back roads to places that it makes no sense to take back roads to. Much to the chagrin of my wife who sits next to me, teeth rattling and wondering, “Now why is it that we aren’t out there going 75 plus miles and hour on that expressway that the state has paid millions of dollars to build and maintain?” She tries, but I know she couldn’t possibly fully understand what causes me to do such things. I’m not even sure. I don’t dislike it at all, I enjoy every second of it, but I don’t know exactly why it is that I do this.

The other day I drove from Fremont to just east of Hesperia. A trip that would normally take one about fifteen minutes, took us a bone jarring, clock staring forty five minutes to conquer. For those of you who are not familiar with this area, or are and still don’t know where I am talking about, just read this and imagine where it might be. It’s not that important to know where I went, but if you know where I went, you’ll appreciate it even more.

First I left Fremont via Green Avenue and headed north. Then I turned right on one of those 44th, 32nd, whatever streets that run perpendicular to Stone Road and Maple Island Road, I just wanted to get over on Stone Road so I could drive past the old farm I grew up on and see how it’s changed.

By the way, they cut down the gorgeous White Pine (hello, state tree?) that was in the yard adjacent to the blue pole building. Those of you who have been there remember it as a haven from the sun on a hot day during a good basketball game. Others will recall the day dad chained a full load of railroad ties to it and drove off in the truck. Much easier than unloading them by hand, and way more fun to watch, too. I bet the people living there now always wondered what made that crazy scar all the way around that tree.

Past that we went straight at the corner of M-20 (One Mile) and Stone, curving around past Baron’s old place, past the octagon house and finally north on Green Avenue again over the Green Avenue bridge (famous for a nice cool shady dip, jump off the bridge if you dare, after haying all day, or whatever the occasion). Someone who reads this might remember when we all took off in a hurry to get there and I forgot to strap down the windshield frame on my Jeep and just as I remembered to…SMACK! It uprighted itself. Good times.

So then we went up to oh say Three Mile and headed west past John Muckey’s and the Norris’ holy-crap-they-got-a-huge-dairy-farm and over to Dickinson Road. North on Dickinson, here’s where the fun began. I went straight (you heard right—read right, straight) at Glomb’s Corner toward (now you who don’t know, don’t laugh) Mountain Hill. I have climbed Mountain Hill many times. The difficulty in continuing on Dickinson through to Five Mile is not Mountain Hill; it is after Mountain Hill, at the top. Ruts, mud, rocks, you name it, they’ve got it. Now don’t get me wrong by thinking that Mountain Hill is not a challenge. To the guy in a stock Jeep, which I have repeatedly been up it in, it is a formidable opponent. But the real trouble does start at the top. You’ve got a better chance coming back down Mountain Hill than going on through to Five Mile, and I’ve had trouble getting down Mountain Hill too.

Needless to say, I did not subject my wife and sleeping baby to Mountain Hill. The first road to the south of it, I headed west again. Fortunately I have four wheel drive because this road, Five Mile I think, was pretty bad.

But once down this road a little, we got our gem, the reason I take back roads. Well, the second or third reason anyway. I will describe it but you have to go back and look at the pictures to understand.

We’re out there. We’re several miles from any town, and a small one at that, and here up on a sloping hill to my right, I observe what appears to me to be a cave, no, a man made cave, more of a pile of rocks with a large, distinct hole in it. But next to it was a large rock.

We might have just driven past if not for my sweet redneck radar and vast back road skills. I turned around to verify my suspicions. Yes, it was what I thought it was: a replica of Christ’s tomb complete with a brightly painted cross nearby. For what? I’ll never know, unless someone who knows why (knows, not suspects) reads this and tells me. Then I’ll tell you. Promise.

No matter what the reason, it was just one of those “what the…!?” moments that really make me raise my eyebrows, tilt my head and say…nothing. But what do you say?

This my friends is merely one example out of hundreds I have of strange and bizarre things I’ve found while out taking the back roads. Is it me? Do I have good/bad timing or and just happen to be in the right place at the right time to find things like a huge sign for a daycare facility in the middle of the woods at a deer camp? I have probably forgotten more bizarre discoveries from back roads than truly interesting ones that I have seen on “main roads.”

Taking back roads is easy for me. I know which direction I need to be and I just sorta guess my way along until I get there. Map? Of course. I’m not a canine. I need help and when Jill gets that look on her face (actually the side of her face or the back of her head as she turns and quietly asks her window why we are doing this), I need to have a plan B. An “out” if you will. Hence, the map. Don’t be afraid to head out.

So as I bring this all together, of course I’m gonna draw a parallel and get all philosophical on you. Sorry. If you don’t like it, simply enjoy the comedic (if any) value of this.

When we do things the same every day or every time or the same way other people do it, it can and does get boring. Like following a map, the easy way or the quickest or the simplest, may not always be the best, most satisfying or the most interesting. Don’t be afraid to spice things up by putting your own flair into things. When I drive home from Hesperia, ask any member of my family and they will tell you there are a hundred different ways to get to or from and a million combinations of them all. And I utilize them to lower the boredom factor.

Do things differently. If your job sucks or is a blast and you want something more, don’t just be an idiot and do something drastic, change yourself or the way you do the things you do and take a back road to get it done.

I don’t know if that made sense but I just had this floating around in my head for about a week now so…yeah, that’s pretty much it. Oh, and to those who were paying attention, I finished my way down Five Mile over to Maple Island road, headed south and drove past the swimming hole, over the bridge and into Hesperia. Then we headed west again right there by Ed’s and out of town past Vida Weaver park past those amazing and incredible stone castles that someone (does anyone have any information on these?) stone castle things on the south side of the road and on out to 192nd (a.k.a. Walkerville Road) and up to my brother Dave’s house where they were waiting and wondering what took us so long because they did the same trip in about fifteen minutes. Jill was happy to be there. I was happy to have gone there.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What defines a redneck? I’m sure online somewhere—anywhere, one can find a “definition” of redneck on some joker’s website who does doesn’t really understand. Someone who sees people on TV on COPS or on CMT or even at Country Thunder and assumes instantly that they know those people’s life story, no doubt due to their vast knowledge, educated by endless (worthless?) hours of MTV, Joe Dirt and Raising Arizona to name a few schools that may have laid out the groundwork for the world to view, or begin to view, the redneck as a part of society.

Nicer and less dark than the title of “white trash”, redneck lends itself as a label from the stupid idiot type of simpleton of Joe Dirt on up to how cool and hip it can be in any Big and Rich video. The problem is that many people’s definition of a redneck includes a lowered IQ. I don’t think it is possible to simply entrap redneck as any person or group of people. I think redneck is a thing or something, and people may “do redneck-ish things” rather than “be A redneck”. Does anyone see where I’m going here? (well not where I’m going but where I’m coming from, you couldn’t possibly begin to fathom where I’ve been or where I’m going)

Even I tend to lump people who I don’t understand together with low IQ, such as racist folks. No matter what the context, I always parallel racism with stupidity, and I am even sure that there are really really racist people who are quite intelligent. Hitler was, wasn’t he? I don’t know, I’m not totally knowledgeable of things Hitler, although that would be something interesting to look up someday.

The other day while I was smoothing out the freshly poured gravel in my driveway with a snowplow attached to the front of a rusty Dodge pickup with a construction rack in the back, I couldn’t help but be self conscious of my position. As people drove by I wondered, “Do they think I’m a redneck? White trash? An idiot?”, and my neighbors, what do they think? I looked over at their rusty 1984 GMC Safari van next to their 1978 Dodge motor home and figured they probably didn’t care and in fact were probably wondering why I didn’t plow their driveway for them this winter.

Of course I don’t consider myself super intelligent but I don’t consider myself stupid either. I am still pondering this question and may never really answer it wholly. I think that I, along with so many others, am a product of my upbringing. I didn’t try and be one who said I couldn’t wait to get away, etc. I love where I grew up, I love those who affected me and still affect me today.

Because I cannot afford a sweet road grader or a tractor with a back blade and choose to use a borrowed plow truck to grade my driveway does not make me stupid or does not define me. It only shows that I care about my driveway.

The next time you find yourself putting someone into a category of any kind, stop and consider why. What is it about them that causes you to start that thought process without knowing them, “those type” of people, or any thing about anything for that matter…give it a shot and I bet it gives you new insight to yourself. I don’t know, it’s just a thought, just a blog post, and I’m just some guy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My daughter, the dare devil. Her mom says she’ll have stitches before she’s three. The first time I ever got stitches was when I was about twenty five and I had a mole removed from my back. Not very dare devilish. Not that I didn’t do stupid stuff and get hurt. If my mom knew half the stuff I did I probably would have been to the doctor a lot and been grounded even more. You’d never guess that today.

So I don’t know where she gets it, but I hope she never grows out of it. Maybe not the whole climbing-up-on-things and jumping-off-from-things, but the whole risk taking thing? A pretty cool trait of hers so far. I may have more gray hair (I keep it short so you can’t tell right off, and it’s harder to notice my hairline at all, let alone that it’s receding quicker than claims adjusters in Louisiana) but I truly enjoy seeing her fearlessness.

Testing the waters has not been a forte of mine for many years. I used to push the envelope with my parents to get their attention but once I was an adult, I realized I am responsible for my actions, success or failure. I mostly choose the safe route, something I should do less of…(do I smell another blog post?)

I really hope she keeps it up. Not only is it a source of entertainment for those around her, it is something that will help her in her life to be a strong and confident individual. But I wax poetic. If you were the parent of this awesome little person, wouldn’t you?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Saturday. I love Saturdays. They are a break from the week. They are not the week end, that’s Friday. They truly are a holiday, one that occurs weekly. But we often, like our employers, take them for granted (“hey, we need ya ta work SATURDAY MORNING”) We who have children miss them, the sleeping in, the all-nighters, the spontaneity. You remember that which I speak of. We who ARE kids miss the “good” cartoons like Schoolhouse Rock, the Superfriends(“shape of, an ice sheet!”), the REAL Looney Toons, including Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Speedy Gonzales, and others who have been nearly forgotten.

Today however, we relived the past, as best we could. We got up before Sage (well, after she got up at 2:30 and came to bed with us (see:teething molars) and went to a couple of estate sales and the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore (thank you, Amy and Tim!) If you’re going to do any work on your house or need appliances or furniture, you likely have a ReStore near you.

We spent a couple bucks on stuff we didn’t need and just had fun together. One of the highlights right off was people’s inability to spell the word accident. The first sale presented us with a sign on the door that warned “not responsible for accedents.” That was amusing. I have been to an estate sale or two in my life but have never seen a sign on the front door like that before. So, the next sale was even funnier because again there was a sign, only doubly humorous as it cautioned “not responsible for accents.” I’m not sure what that meant but it still is cracking me up.

Then we went down to a little East Town shopping district and hit a bakery for some hot chocolate and then went to some little shops in the area. Great place to go.

All this before 10:30. Then back home to finish our “to do” list. The weather has been so incredible here that it almost felt like spring cleaning. While we drove around in the sun shine today (well, we were in the Jeep, but the sun was shining on us) we had the sunroof open and the stereo cranked up to Jack Johnson’s latest, the Curious George soundtrack. (those of you who read Jill's blog will remember) We got a lot done on our list and we are starting to settle in here…I know it’s been nearly five months but now we are having fun living in a house and beginning to make the adjustment from apartment life. We can paint, change fixtures and decorate here. We’re loving it.

I am really looking forward to the summer Saturdays when we can do yard work. We have big plans for our yard.

If you don’t get the Saturday “feeling” then try to soon. Maybe it’ll have to be a weekday, but try to. Take a day off from the norm (no offense to those married to Norm) and watch some cartoons, hit a small bakery, some thrift stores, and catch up on yourself. Get your to-do list shortened (by do-ing it, not erasing half of it, silly). Don’t have a to-do list? Get one, they keep me focused, but maybe you don’t suffer from ADD as far as you know. If you’re working for someone else, you’re shouldering their dreams, their eternal Saturday if you will. Don’t forget about your dreams and your Saturdays.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The past few days I have been thinking about politics and how ridiculously inept I feel when it comes to conversation regarding politics and government. While I read (and re-read) forums, articles and papers on the status of our often untrustworthy leaders, by the time I’m done I still feel like I’ve just read Excel for Dummies, like it was easy enough for me to understand, but I didn’t. Am I the only one?

Okay so I only graduated from high school (and a very small one at that) and attended only community colleges thereafter. But it seems like less educated people have a grasp on the whole thing. Or at least they have an opinion that sounds like they know what they’re talking about. Maybe I ate some lead paint as a child? One too many blows to the head? Too many drugs? No, others who are involved or are knowledgeable on subjects regarding political philosophy have certainly had the same and worse inflictions upon their gray matter. What is wrong with me?

When I read through forums, I get dizzy from the words I read. Do these people actually spend each day reading articles from the people they quote? Do they really know these things or is it merely their opinions combined with an agile vocabulary coming out in their writing?

I realized recently that reading, responding and attempting to engage in conversations about politics and policy and issues currently affecting us today only reminds me of how uneducated and stupid I am in these areas. Not that the lack of prowess in this area is a direct result of my uneducated mind, but it seems to make me remember that I have less education, which bothers me from time to time.

I plan to continue and finish a degree…sometime, but I have no immediate plan to do so. Work, family, vacation. Too much enjoying the now to put away for then.

So what’s a guy to do? Often while reading, I get the feeling that the “right” loves me the way I am, religious, uneducated and uninformed. That way they can sneak stuff right past me. But wait, here it comes…the “left” may be working to degrade the morals of our country disguised as freedoms and liberties. Either way, it seems to me like I’m being “sold” something and paying for it later, like a Trojan horse. Neil Young said “they give you this, but you pay for that.”

Now with the voting machine stuff going on, it makes me not want to bother voting…but is that another right wing scheme to get me to not vote? Am I overly paranoid? Not in general, I don’t look over my shoulder or check behind the shower curtain when I go into the bathroom. What a mess, and what a dilemma. Let’s discuss. Do you have an opinion? I am totally lost at this point and worry and wonder where this country is headed and where it will be by the time my daughter has kids…

Saturday, February 25, 2006

OK so for all of you who do not believe in ghosts, here is the scariest thing that has ever happened to us. Driving down an old country road (192nd or “Walkerville Road” to those who know or care to know) we saw some turkeys up ahead and decided to slow down and take some pictures of them. Apparently the third turkey had passed this way before, unsuccessfully. Yeah. So that was pretty scary. I would have figured the first time I saw an apparition it would have been of human origin. And you might think that just because it was a turkey, and in relatively good shape, it was somehow less intimidating and therefore less of a frightful ordeal to be face to face with the undead. You’d be wrong. We all sat in silence and observed this thing crossing right there in front of us like the poultry version of the Abbey Road album cover. Only this time Paul really was dead. So for those of you craving another Jim blog-post and sadly checking each day and being yet again disappointed, this is why. It is rather unsettling to come in contact with those from the other side. It really shook me and I wasn’t sure what to do. I have been wondering why this turkey chose us. Why then and there did it decide to show itself? What did we do? What are we supposed to do? I can only imagine that it wants to communicate something to someone. Some unfinished business perhaps. We can’t figure it out. Any ideas? I’ll post again later…

Monday, February 20, 2006

Holy crap this is hilarious! If you can’t or won’t afford a PDA, give it a try! Don’t forget to purchase the perfect portability accessory, a pencil. When you get bored (and I know you do because well, here you are reading this and it’s not because you didn’t really feel like hanging out with Tara Reid tonight) then take your accessory and do this with it. What the…?

T-t-t-too much time on my hands…

But this is really cool I think. I downloaded it. I’ll give it a try and get back with you. I can totally see it now: You’re in an office with a group of executives making your pitch to sell them your product, say some software they really need. They want to try out the test-ware you’re lending them and you’ll be getting back with them next week. Which day? Hmmm…lemme check my uh…Pocket Mod. Shows your sleek advanced and techno-updated side off like no other item could. Fits in right next to my beeper. I scoff at batteries!

For all you folks who are thinking “wow, what a geniusly simple idea” I used one of these since my days at Hesperia Public schools. Oh yeah. And since it’s getting all technical, I guess I had email back then too, in a way.

Geniuses are all around us and most of the time, unless they do or create something such as this, they can go unnoticed. Like me for instance. Those of you who have known me all my life have scarcely considered me a genius. And yet here you are reading my blog, the anticipation of the next word is just thrilling. I bet you’re not even finished reading this and already you’re wondering “what and when will he post next?” Geniuses are everywhere and some day, they’ll do something that makes them a renowned genius. Then you’ll wish you’d have paid them a little more attention huh? Then you might have a chance of being one of these people (oh, the guy next to Smarty there is Charlie Chaplin and the lady is Elsa, Mrs. Smarty, so you couldn’t be one of them, but you might be able to be the other guy with a yellow arrow there behind Charlie).

So just a little more stuff to let you use your computer for good and not evil, incase the whole iTunes and Podcast thing has you all freaked out. And hey, if so, call my sister Jill because she teaches people how to do scary things like reboot, download and surf the net. Really, I’ll get you a link to her. Good luck!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

What a weekend. Really. It was Jill’s birthday Saturday so we went out. We went to Red Robin first where she got a free burger. Then it was off to Cold Stone Creamery for her free ice cream. She’s so thrifty. There’s a lot of stuff you can get for free on your birthday. Just for being born. That means everyone in the world is entitled to something for nothing once a year, unless you were born on February 29, then you’re out of luck except every fourth year or so.

After all that thrift and indulgence we headed to a small place to hear a friend of mine’s band play. I hadn’t seen them perform in about ten years and man, have they gotten better. Great music, more gelled, incredible energy. My old high school classmate, Chad is an incredible musician and hit the vocal harmonies flawlessly. What a great time. It’s been awhile.

Outside of the music and the band and stuff, it was way cool to seed Chad and a couple of other guys I went to high school with. We’re few and far between, Hesperia graduates. This world is big and Hesperia spits out around eighty graduates every year give or take a drop out or two so I don’t too often run into another one that I know of, or that I knew anyway.

So my topic of choice for this entry? Smoking. Sorry if you’re a smoker (and hopefully this gets to a few of you) but what’s the point? If it’s truly the nicotine, get some gum, get a patch, get some chew, whatever. Anything that doesn’t affect me or my health. Oh, your rights? It’s a free country? If you don’t like the smoke, you leave? What about my rights in this free country? We spent the evening at this establishment and I’m pretty sure we were two of the four people who didn’t smoke. As a non-smoker, I don’t get it. There is fresh air everywhere, except for in a vacuum (no, not the kind in your closet that you don’t use enough, the kind in a lab or something. The kind with an absence of air). Back to fresh air. And so people, many of whom are so pro-this and that blah blah blah, choose to inhale the fresh air while filtering it through this, well, anti-filter.

Yeah, what’s up with this whole thing? Hey, while you’re at it Mr. and Mrs. Greenpeace flick the still lit cigarette butts out the window of your sticker coated land roving Rainbow Warrior. Yes, that’s how we’re going to make the world a better place. By tossing garbage on the ground, on the road, even directly onto the floor of the venue we attended Saturday night. Sweet. Because, after all, that’s what good music and good times are all about: love, peace, harmony, and killing ourselves and those around us while simultaneously littering and polluting our mother, Earth.

Oh, I forgot to say that everything stank like we were nic-addict smokers when we got home. We piled our clothes up and immediately put them into the washer. The car we drove stank like we had smoked, Jill’s purse stank. Why would people do this to themselves to this by choice? Please let me know and we can discuss it.

Today we went and visited my grandparents. Along the way we saw these amazing trees with ice on them. They were beautiful with the sun shining through them.

My paternal grandparents are in their nineties. He lives at home with live-in care and she lives in a facility about twenty miles from him. They never have been the away from each other type of couple and it is heartbreaking to see them apart. She looks like she could start crying any second and as cute as it was, it was kind of sad that he tried to pull a fast one on my brother and I by trying to get us to take him to see her. He knows he has an infection that he has to get over before he is allowed to visit and the nurse is scheduled to clear him tomorrow. He wasn’t happy that we followed his care giver’s rules. But we don’t want grandma sick either so…it’s just sad right now. It was great to visit with them though and talk and laugh together. What a weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Today I got the opportunity to get this beautiful clock that was in my great grandfather’s house when the last occupant of the house, my great uncle, passed away recently. The face of this clock is 18” in diameter. The widest part of the clock is 24". It’s body is 6” deep. It’s big. I love it.

I know very little about clocks except the obvious like this one is pretty. I had to remove the hands to open it up and as I held the hands in my hand I realized the last person likely to have held these was my great grandfather Roy Joseph Charters, who passed away in 1975. I remember his funeral but that is about all I remember of him besides he always wore a hat. Not a baseball cap but one of those hats with a brim on it that all men wore out in public in his day. His very well could be the first funeral I attended or at least I know it is the first funeral I can recall attending as I was only four years old.

So then I opened the working area of the clock and realized that the mechanism is not the original as evidenced by the pieces not all fitting into the spots they would normally go and in order for the pendulum to have room to swing, part of the wood from the inside had to be removed. The marks from the tools used to do this job are still there. Likely the job was done by my great grandfather who was a clock repairman. If you know ANYTHING about clocks, first you will notice that the mechanism is not the original. Then, email me so I can ask you tons of questions like how do I wind this clock? There are no places to wind it. It’s almost like my great grandfather was in the middle of creating or restoring or repairing this clock and just quit for one reason or another.

The inside smells like an old piano. You know what I mean? You don’t? Next time you see an old piano, do yourself a favor and get near where the inside is, right above the keys and take a big, slow breath in through your nose. Close your eyes and think about the last time you smelled that. Think about people building these beautiful things and people who played them through the years. This clock did this to me. Made me think about old things and where they’ve been and what has happened to them and how they’ve lasted this long. Oh, a good Martin guitar also smells this way. Speaking of a Martin guitar, Neil Young wrote his new album using an old guitar that belonged to Hank Williams Sr. How do you just “have” a guitar like that? Like, “Oh, that one used to belong to Johnny Cash” or “That’s the one Jimi gave me”. What the heck? Anyway, Prairie Wind is a great album and there is also a movie about Neil Young out now called “Heart of Gold”.

I love old stuff. Jill and I love old books for instance. Again, smell an old book sometime. It’s less difficult and likely less embarrassing than the piano thing. (oh, I forgot to mention, if and only if there is nothing on top of the piano, open the top and smell it there, and while you’re in there, look around at the writing or the stamps in the metal or paper tags still there. Have “a moment” with the piano) Go into a used book store and voila, there are your old books. Smell them? Someone way smarter and more ambitious than I sat down and wrote tons of words and sold them and had them printed so people could read them and put them on a shelf in order to soak up the odors of their house so we could get a whiff of them now, all old.

My point in carrying about this is that these days, we probably take enough time to smell the roses but, how much time does it take? Sniffing them on the way by? Is that enough? I don’t think so. Stop, close your eyes and breathe deeply in through your nose with your nose in such a position to optimize the smell of the object. Oh, did I mention it’s not only roses?

Now I’m not one of those people like uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite (did you notice he sniffed a lot of stuff in that movie? Or was it Napoleon?) but the whole point of the saying is to take a moment for that moment’s sake and realize in order to remember where you are. Smell your significant other's hair. Babies. Not the poopy diapered crabby ones but the freshly bathed, nodding off to sleep in your arms ones. Smell your socks after a long day at work…gotcha on that one huh? But seriously take a minute and stop and think what’s going on and how good it is. If it sucks right now, do something about it. Take steps to change so it doesn’t, or change your perspective to see what your role in it is and what you can do for yourself and other people. Like me for instance. I’m gonna get off this whole sappy deep thing I’ve been on and start revealing some good humor to you all. See? It’s not that hard. Thanks for checking in.

Oh and also don't overlook my links over there to the right and up toward the top. If you're reading this then you probably want to stop soon so those links are a good way to get this terrible writing off your mind and sidetrack you so you'll forget you ever read it. You're welcome.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ok, another one today…aren’t you all so lucky. Jill showed me this cool thing a few weeks back and I must apologize for not immediately running out the door and shouting it to the world, coming back in and creating a blog just to inform everyone I know that this thing exists. It’s a freakin awesome juke box. You just type in your favorite artist or whichever artist you’re in the mood for and it begins to play, starting with that artist, and a list of songs that have something in common with the chosen artist’s genre. It even explains why it chose that artist and other stuff. It’s just way cool…I think anyway.

Oh, and it’s called Pandora and you should check it out. Play with it and see what all it does. Again, don’t fear technology, embrace it. If you don’t like it, remove it. You know, come to think of it, it’s not even a program, it’s just a page. Come on, go ahead. You’ll be a better person for it. I promise.

Oh, while you’re at it, enjoying the arts and all, visit this site. Again, you won’t be disappointed and if you work on, with or near a computer with web access, you can’t go wrong and you will enrich your mind rather than losing brain cells doing such challenging things as playing Mine Sweep or Free Cell.

While I’m on games, thank you Kerry K from AZ for telling me about Tiger Woods Golf. Thank you Tim for bringing it into my life. Without that special visit and you sharing your game with me, I would never have won over a million dollars in cyber-cash and beaten the Tiger himself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to Hawaii since I started this game. Again, thank you.

If you don’t like games, you owe it to yourself to take a minute out of your time and going to Target and dropping the $9.99 for the older version. Play it, save it, continue the game tomorrow, next week, whenever. Unlike friends and family, it is always there for you. Now don’t get all offended but if I wake up at 2am, I bet you’d rather have me play Tiger Woods than call you to say “did you check my blog?” or “why didn’t you post a comment?”, am I right? Ok, so maybe you would be there if I needed you to be, but why would I bother calling you if I had Tiger Woods a mere clickety-click away. Did I mention you can create your golfer to look like you?

That's sweet! My guy doesn’t look like me, although I do. I hope that this just helps you enjoy your life a little more and that you will truly engage in easing your anxieties about utilizing your computer’s power while having fun in the meantime. Have a great day.

Today I feel good. I feel a good one coming on, like something profound will come of this entry. Whoa. Excuse me. I just belched. Well, that was it, nothing profound, just a little gas. But since I’m here, I might as well write something.

Did any of you hear the State of the Union address? No? Don’t care? Oh. But if you missed it due to whatever, (see: flossing your teeth, American Idol, cleaning your fresh air intake vent) you can still hear it. I downloaded it from iTunes for free. And to be fair, I downloaded the Democrats response to it as well. Hey, it’s free and then you can listen to it any time you are available. Save it on your computer, your mp3 player, or a cassette for all I care.

For kicks, take a minute and download iTunes onto your machine. Reviews have and always will confuse you on any product with all sorts of technical stuff. It’s not that hard. Get into the technology, download it, use it. You should learn this stuff anyway. Did I mention it’s FREE? You do have to enter a credit card number so when you want to buy something you just click on it and confirm your password and it’s yours. It doesn’t charge anything so unless you’re way over paranoid, just do it. I’ve had my credit card on there for a while and no one’s stolen my identity…yet (knock on semiconductor material). Besides, 99 cents for a song instead of $15-$18 for a CD with a bunch of songs you don’t even know, want or likely will not enjoy sounds like a deal to me. AND, every week you get FREE MUSIC. Music you have likely never heard before. Come on, what are you afraid of? I have a TON of songs on it. It stores all of your music, plays it, organizes it and makes it extremely simple to search your library.
If you click on this, the guy dances

I just wanted to hear the State of the Union address because I was probably doing something good for the American economy like watching American Idol when it was on. I feel it’s a civic duty to listen to it and at least inform myself of the words that come out of the mouths of the people who are charged with running this great country. Even if they didn't write them.

You may have already guessed that I am a cynic. I wonder if those in charge are there for our good or their own. I wonder if the stories of how so many politicians receive moneys from people with agendas are true. I can’t be sure either way so until I see it with my own eyes I won’t be. Enough of that. “where’s the funny?” you’re asking. I agree that politics are not all that interesting, but you can’t escape being affected by them so we might as well attempt to inform ourselves. But funny is better, right?

Well, sorry. For some reason my funny isn’t working all that well. I’m just here trying too hard. The pressure is doing it to me. You know like when someone bumps into a comedian and says “say something funny” and they just look at them like “what?”

My funnies come quickly and naturally, on the spot. If I try too hard…nothing. So, like my daddy always used to say to me, “Son, if you only remember one thing I’ve taught you, remember this.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Well I know all of you, well, both of you who read my blog faithfully are just dying for another...er, a second posting. Wait no more. Tonight I have alot of things on my mind and if I wrote it all here a couple of things would happen. First you would be very confused as I could confound you with my vast knowledge of anything and mostly nothing. Next you would never come back to read this again because your brain could scarcely hold all of the information you would receive in what I could write.

So I was thinking today about stuff in general and I saw this design on the back of a car that I had seen before and I had no clue what it meant or what it stood for. Flashback to 1994 with me and I was in Georgia visiting afriend of mine. I had observed these decals on vehicle that were rectangular shaped with the colors of the rainbow on them. Now all of you know what this means but to me, then, living in hick town, Michigan with my innocent views of the world, well...let's say I was clueless, ok? So I said to my friend, those are kinda cool, I'd like one for my car. (you're certainly laughing by now...) He said "Those are to let people know you're gay!" Well some of you know that I am not gay. (my wife and daughter will balance the burden of proof in my direction, although who can really know these days. Uh, please don't take this the wrong way)

I really do have apoint here and I am going to make it, eventually. Back to the design on the car I saw today. I wondered aloud to my wife if it was a gay thing. Now if you're reading this and you're starting to think those thoughts like 'hey this guy's an idiot and he's all focused on this gay thing blah blah blah'...well, you're only half right. I'm an idiot. But I respect and love people. All kinds. I made the comment because of that day in Georgia when, without the assistance or intervention of a friend, I very well could have advertised to the world, or at least the cars or people who saw the back of my car, that I was gay. Totally misleading them and likely (I am a handsome fella you know) leading myself into some embarrassing conversations or confrontations.

Back to the design. My wife sees it and it happens to be a profile of a dog's head. Now mind you I've seen allkinds of 'logos' that are made with that intention so please bear with me, and keep my ignorance in mind (if, while reading this incredibly astounding article, you can). She glances quickly and says "nope, it looks like they bought the car at Fox Chrysler Motors." She then proceeds to point to the license plate frame with the same design and the Fox Chrysler Motors name. Right there on the back about two feet from the design I questioned. No rainbow or anything.

So that mystery was solved for me and my wife has one more thing to look at me with her eyebrows raised and shake her head in disbelief. She has had several occasions to do so in the six years we've been riding in cars together, but that's another blog altogether.

My mind starts to wander off as we continue down the road and Tracy Chapman sings "Change" from her new CD. Here is what it thinks (I say "it" due to the fact that my mind has a-well yes-a mind of its own? hmmm...that one even threw me) I wonder, what kind of decal, design, flag or insignia can I create that will show to the world "I am straight!"? Do I need one? Well, sometimes gays have stickers on their cars or whatever that say they're gay. Or does the world just assume you're straight unless you've got a rainbow somewhere on your person?

And who chose the rainbow? I LOVE the rainbow. It didn't used to mean what it does now. So if I made this design for straight people and a gay person put it on their car, are they lying? Or are they Bi? Because if I had the sticker on my car and wanted something rainbow there too...well, have you ever read Sneeches? Not that one way is desirable over the other or classes of society are drawn like they are in Dr Seuss' geniously written story to mock how society responds to popularity, etc. clevery disguised as a simple children's book, but how do you know who is who and whether someone is being honest? I say, WHO CARES?

If we all just treated each other with the love and respect that we know to be true, then it wouldn't make a difference. No judging or thinking back to the last time you saw someone who looked or acted like that.

I'm really not getting all serious here, just bumping the surface a bit. Let's do something. Let's go to the store and (I know we all can afford it) buy three things: a case of water bottles, anything to eat (cookies, health bars, something that won't melt and is individually wrapped) and some brown lunch sacks. Now take a water and whatever goody you got and put one of each into a lunch sack. Put these or a few of these in your car, maybe one in your purse or backpack and carry them with you. The object is to get rid of them. Give them to people instead of pocket change or instead of faking like you haven't got a dime or worse, walking away and ignoring people. It's charity. It is guaranteed to not only help you feel better but it will help the person who gets it. Just a nice thought I thought you should hear.

So how does a sticker on a car get me to this? I have no clue, but it was fun reading this at times anyway...right? Well like I said, check back later, it will get worse.

Props to my sister-in-law Amy who informed me that it's acceptable now to use only one space after a period. I tried to do that in this writing but old habits are hard to break.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Well, I am a guy. I've never posted on a blog before but since my wife started hers, I thought it would be at least interesting to have something to do every day here too. Those of you who know Jill, don't expect the talent and beauty to abound here, unless she lends it to me, that is.

I enjoy my family, the outdoors, music, and laughing. I love it when they all come together too, meaning I love laughing outdoors with my family, such as camping, hiking and just spending time in places like the beach or the woods.

Jill and my daughter Sage lived their entire lives in Arizona until we decided to take a job here in Michigan where I lived 28 of my last 34 years. The move was hectic and things are finally settling down now although Jill is adjusting to life without her life long friends and her family.
I, on the other hand, am adaptive enough and have family and friends here so outside of sympathy pains for Jill, the move has been great for me. My new job is incredible. I work for my brother as a dispatcher/multi-purpose-employee at a specialized heavy hauling trucking company.

I love music. All kinds. Even though I'm not that great at making it, I am somewhat talented, but either way, I love it. I love being around it, hearing it, making it, watching it being made, and so on.

Right off the bat let me just say that I do not proclaim to be a professional or any type of authority on ANYTHING. Any opinions found in this blog are strictly mine as the way I view and perceive things in the world around me. I do, however, appreciate and welcome your thoughts on what I write as I am always open to learning new things and new places to discover things.

Having said that I would like to talk about my favorite recording artist Neil Young. This blog is not going to be about Neil Young but I know that his name will be found on any entry on any given day as he has created music and other things that have affected my life for the better. Check out his interview in last month’s Rolling Stone.

It amazes me how he writes music that draws pictures and then I read or hear him say that he doesn't really know what he writes about or gives some vague response in an interview. Not that I need to know how any artist creates what they do but he truly does amaze me.

And then there is how he performs. How does he do that? I remember the first time I saw him play a song, I can't remember which one in particular, and it was a complex riff that he happened to be playing. When they showed his hands on the guitar he was just strumming. It sounded like he was picking but there he was just strumming and somehow magically picking out the right strings. I am not a great guitar player but I have played the guitar since about '92 and I have no idea how he does this. He's real.

Now I don't want to leave this post like some Neil Young fanatic. I just appreciate people and things like him in this world. I honestly don't know what this blog will be about. I just want to put my thoughts down here and even some of what I see and feel. If you don't like my blog or if it offends you or you think it's stupid, please post your comments and then check back later, it's bound to get worse. If you leave an email address, I will respond.