Trick or Treat Smell my Feet!!!  

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I refuse to let "them" take away my Halloween fun. There are people in the world that refuse to have fun. They figure if it's fun there must be something inherently wrong with it. I don't follow the original idea of Halloween as some profess it to be. Halloweeen for us was always about getting a chance to dress up and get some free candy. Now if you are a 7 yr old kid that is a pretty cool thing indeed.

We generally like to decorate the house to a great degree. There are tombstones in the front yard, and one of those creepy ghouls in a locked cage, bats, and pumpkins. We have colored lights and a fog machine. We love it....I dress up and sit out on the bench in the front yard with a bowl of candy next to me. If a small kid comes up I don't move. I let them think I'm a fake. BUT...when the 13 and older crowd comes knockin well then they are just on their own. If you are a teenager and come looking to trick or treat at my house, then I'm planning on at least attempting to scare you. I wait until the drop down spider startles them, then when they get over that and go for the candy that's when i pounce. Nothing gives me quite so much Halloween joy as to watch a big tough teenager run flat out as fast as they can back to the safety of the curb.

Now for those people that see evil in this, I'm sorry for you. There is nothing wrong with people dressing up and walking around to get a treat from the neighbors. It also promotes good community welfare. We get to know some of our neighbors from a couple blocks away. When parents walk with the kids, we tend to strike up conversations with them, and get to know the people that live around us a little bit better.

So to clarify...first of all I'm not Celtic..I don't celebrate this as the day when the worlds of the living and the dead or "blurred". I don't slaughter kittens, or goats and drink the blood. I don't put razorblades in apples, and I don't butcher people with a machete and a mask. I think people need to take a breath and get out there with their kids, or grandkids, or nieces and nephews. Walk around and get to know your neighbors again. If you don't have any kids to go trick or treating with, then get a bunch of candy and meet the kids and parents as they come walking through the neighborhood looking for that sugar fix. Let's not pretend that this is really some nationally celebrated satanic ritual. This is one tradition that we need to keep going. So get those jack-O-Laterns carved and put them on the porch. Put up an old sheet with some eyes cut out ( you don't have to buy your stuff at the store ready to go, make your own). Have somebody flicking the lights on and off. Just relax and enjoy Halloween for what it is in our part of the world. Simply a reason for kids to get out and cut loose and have a good time. AT NOBODY'S EXPENSE.

Have fun everybody and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

The New Science Fiction  

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I started watching Stargate Universe when it came out. I was a little less than excited after the pilot. It seemed like maybe they were just setting up the show though, so I figured a lot of the emotions and personalities are essential to give everybody a good idea as to how things will play out.

Well here we are a month in and it's all just a big drama with a spaceship. The only thing science fiction about this show is that it's set in space on an alien spacecraft. The technology is advanced, but the emotional plots are stale. If I wanted drama only, then I would watch lifetime or one of the CSI shows. I like the whole spaceship, shoot em up lasers, photons, aliens, and far away planets that come with a lot of the science fiction of the past, which would explain why I became a fan.

I am all for deep plots, and looking inside the head of the characters, and really getting to know them, but would it kill SyFy channel to put a couple of laser blasts or maybe an alien encounter along the way? It gets harder and harder to remain a true sci-fi fan, when there is so little in the way of true (my version of true) sci-fi left to watch.

Eureka is very cool, and it defintely fits the parameters of sci-fi to me. What else is there on sci-fi that offers true science fiction? I find myself turning more and more to the written word for my science fiction needs. I even jumped into some older sci-fi recently. Rereading Foundation, as well as The Mote in God's Eye. That in my opinion is true Science Fiction worthy of reading and rereading. I can't figure out why somebody hasn't gotten the grand idea of making a movie of Mote.

Anybody else a sci-fi fan that isn't getting what they want from the programming or is it just me? I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one that noticed a shift in the type of stuff we are being presented with. I even read a ramble (blog) from some sexist dude, talking about how females are taking over syfy and changing it. I don't think this is a male/female thing, as much as it's a failed attempt to restructure what science fiction is.

Anyway, I guess for now I should be happy with netflix and my 3 seasons of sliders. Where o Where did those shows go???

Come on Blue!!!!  

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OK, so I'm a bit of a sports fan. I played sports when I was a kid. For that matter, I played them as an adult, until about 3 years ago when I realized that I had lost more than a step. I had a hard time giving up baseball (and softball), it was such a part of my life and watching is just not the same as playing.

Since I'm sorta on the sidelines nowadays, I get to relive my youth by watching my nephew play baseball. Now Ryan is a great fielder. In the 10 years I've watched him play I can only recall 3 errors that he has made in the field. Batting is not so strong for him, but he still manages fairly well, and is a starter on the high school team as a second baseman.

So this time of year we have what's called Fall Ball (duh it's fall). There is no score in these games except that every parent and every coach keeps score. So it's not officially scored, but trust me people pay attention to it. It's supposed to just be a sorta practice session for all the high school teams to prepare for the regular baseball season. Some of the kids don't take it serious, but for the most part the kids seem to play it like it's a scrimmage and they hustle and try their best.

Unfortunately for us there are very few good umpires at the High School level. There are even fewer good umpires in Fall Ball. In fact there has been one game that I was happy with the umpires so far in Fall Ball. I sorta figured that this was practice for the umps as well as the players. So I try not to be too critical, but I'm a big baseball fan, so it's hard not to scream at blue when he makes a bad call (blue is the umpire for you non fans).

So bring us to the game this afternoon. We are playing at our home field, and while there isn't too much of an advantage at this level for home field (since all umps suck). The advantage lies in the fact that I don't have to drive out of town to watch Ryan play. The game is pretty nip and tuck, very close most of the time.

Unfortunately for us, the umpire behind the plate is the epitome of what is wrong with high school umpires....inconsistent. The guy can't decide where the strike zone is. The kids don't seem to be getting overly upset with him, although there were a few times that I thought they were gonna argue with this blind schmuck.

I figured that since we had such a load of crapola behind the plate at ump, maybe we would make up for it with our field umpire. Usually you don't get stuck with two total morons in the same game. Well I guess today was just our lucky day. The guy in the field couldn't make the same call twice if his life depended on it, and the guy behind the plate just deserved all of the not so pleasant thoughts I was sending to him. I considered the Jedi mind trick, because I remember obi-wan saying that it worked on the feeble minded and this guy was if nothing else feeble minded. Reminded me of Tom Cullen from The Stand. If you have never seen or read The Stand, I suggest you check it out, just so you can get a better understanding of how terrible this guy was.

So we got 4 innings of bad calls, from the field and behind the plate. I noticed that the kids stopped caring all that much, but the coaches and parents (and uncles) seemed to be pretty unsettled. Thankfully, the game was called after a 2 hour time limit (the only good thing about Fall Ball). My nephew went 0 for 2 with an RBI and a walk. So I wasn't too terribly upset. I always feel bad for him if he doesn't hit well (silly since the kid is 17).

I have come to the conclusion that if all the umpires are going to be this bad, then I'm absolutely glad that it's still football season. I would rather complain about bad refs compared to bad umps.

So Many Ideas, So Little Talent  

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I enjoy writing. Usually just for my own personal enjoyment. I have written some short stories for my kids (more of a series for them really). It's a ton of fun, and they enjoy reading about the adventures that we create through our collective imaginations.

My boys don't realize that most of the time, the majority of the story they read is coming from comments they have made to me from time to time. I simply incorporate the thought into the storyline somewhere. Usually it's not exactly intentional, it just seems to fit.

Now my other stories, are not for my kids. In fact they haven't been for anybody but me. I have few insecurities, but this seems to be one of them. I'm OK with that though. I realize that I will have somebody read my stories when I'm ready. In the meantime, I continue to write them, and for the most part as long as I keep them as a short story they turn out just fine. My big problem seems to come when I decide that there is more of a story to write. So I continue and then the story seems to take on a life of it's own. I know that can be a good thing, but sometimes I feel like my characters are controlling me, instead of the other way around. Is that totally crazy???

I have three in progress at the moment. they have all been stopped and then restarted within the last month or so. I have developed a "relationship" with my characters now and have been able to drop them into any story I might be writing.
I don't know if that's normal or good, but it just seems to be what I have done. Shalako has been an assassin, a ranger, a cowboy, and most recently a vagrant who is shanghaied aboard a time traveling ship (don't ask :P ).

So what do you think? Should I develop other characters, or should I stay with the three that have basically become extensions of my own personality (or vice versa)?

10 Honest Truths  

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I like to jump around and look at a lot of blogs. I read a mess of them in any given day. It's much more entertaining and enlightening than the news in my opinion. Of course I have my regulars that I never miss, and one of these is Sharon Mcpherson's bookish blonde. I have been tagged to share with you 10 honest truths.

In all honesty (no pun intended), this is not something I do often enough. I am absolutely an extrovert, but I tend to be a bit closed about the real me (in real life). BUT...This is the internet right? No inhibitions or something like that.

So let's give this a try...

1. I enjoy many "chick" flicks like Ever After.
2. I am a pyromaniac (a controlled one of course)
3. I love country music but in school I was into rap...(cracker rapper..ha ha)
4. I used to play online video games(Guild Wars)about 10 hours a day (and night :P )
5. I'm allergic to onions.
6. I was a jock in school, but also played in the drum and bugle corps.
7. I love cartoons.
8. I read at least 5 books a week.
9. I sleep with my socks on.
10. I never sleep more than 5 hours a night.

I will definitely be passing this to some people later on. :)

1/ Accept award and post on blog together with the name of the blogger giving it
2/ Pass the award on (or not if your prefer).
3/ Links to your nominees in your post, and let them know by leaving a message in their comments box.

Road Crews....You're Killing Me!!!  


Well since we got this "stimulus plan" pushed through congress, one of the key points of it was supposed to be infrastructure. So here comes the road repair. Not a terribly bad idea. We all like to have nice highway or freeway to roam upon.

My problem is more with the road crews that are managing this debacle. Now I'm not normally one to put somebody down for getting a good paycheck. BUT...(and I hope there aren't too many cal trans people here) $18.00/hr to hold the sign that says stop/slow???Seriously....For that kind of money, I would think they could get somebody with at least an ounce of social skills. You don't have to come and give me a hug and bring me coffee, but would it kill ya to give a smile? Or a slight nod of the head as I pass by, just as a sign that you recognize that I've been sitting in front of you for the last 15 minutes waiting for you to turn that stupid sign from stop to slow.

Another great thing for me with these crews. In my lucky neck of the woods they are repairing a highway that I'm unfortunately forced to drive on at least 3 days a week. In a 2 mile stretch they stop us 3 different times. Now call me crazy, but wouldn't it be easier to just stop us once and let these people move the WHOLE 2 miles at a time. I would rather sit in one spot for 25 minutes then 3 spots for 15 minutes each time. You do the math, and can see that my way is better :)

In the past 4 months I have only encountered one person on these crews that seemed to have a personality. I was sitting there like usual and this guy holding the sign walked over to me and asked if I had to go all the way through or was I going to turn off. I told him I had to pass through the whole thing. So he told me, if I didn't mind a little extra drive time, he could give me a route that would save me about 15-20 minutes from waiting here for the lines to move. I was absolutely grateful and told him thanks about 10 times. You would have thought the guy won the lottery by the smile on his face (and mine). I guess not many people bother to tell people thanks around here when they do something nice. Which might be the reason that not many of these guys are all so friendly in the first place.

Oh well, I figure I have about 2 more weeks and they will be out of my hair. So for now I just bring a bigger size cup of coffee (and maybe a danish) and hope for the best.

SyFy Really??  

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I am what some might call a Sci-Fi buff. Green Lantern is my favorite comic book hero. I watched Buck Rogers in the 25Th century. I loved the movie Soylent Green, and Logan's Run (the original). Star Wars? You bet.... Battlestar Gallactica, I love em all (even some of the poorly made ones).

When cable took the Sci-Fi channel some years back I was completely stoked. I got to watch some of the cheesiest (is that a word) Sci-Fi films ever, and also some of the best ever. They had some great new series come on. In fact my favorite show on TV for about 3 years was Sliders. They sorta wrecked it when they switched out the original cast. All in all they put on some good stuff for us closet Sci-Fi nerds.

Imagine my disgust when they started putting all these ghost hunter crap shows on the channel. I'm sorry, but I don't consider ghosts Science Fiction but more on the lines of Fantasy. Then of course they started with all the Fantasy adventure movies. Again, I love a good Fantasy adventure (book, movie, or TV series). I just happen to think that a channel called Sci-Fi isn't the proper avenue for it. Then the kicker....Professional Wrestling..REALLY?????

They managed to throw on some good series in the middle of it all ....Stargate is an awesome series, and I enjoyed Stargate Atlantis, and even now I'm getting into Stargate Universe. Then of course there is Enterprise and Warehouse 13, oh and don't forget Eureka. All in all if you are into those types of shows this is good stuff.

Then they got this great idea to change the name of the channel to SyFy...What the heck is that about? What is the point of getting cutesy(real word?) and renaming the channel. First of all they just confuse those of us that are getting a bit slow of mind. It screwed up my TV guide listing, cause sometimes it lists the old name sometimes the new (it's fixed now).

And now it it overrun with Ghost Hunter/Ghost Tracker shows. WTF???? Give me back my good ol' fashioned cheaply made B movies. I like Tremors and Killer Ants and all those crap 70's films that were made with paper plate flying saucers and model towns being flooded by a pitcher full of water (you could see the pitcher in the top corner of the shot on a couple of those movies).

Maybe that's why I have turned back to books so strongly. If they don't fix all this deception pretty quickly, I'll be reading 4 hours a day and I'll be forced to buy new books weekly, and I just can't afford that right now. So SyFy or Sci-Fi or however you are spelling your name now...FIX YOUR PROGRAMMING!!!!!

I guess I have whined enough for one evening. Fortunately Stargate Atlantis is on at this late hour so I'm temporarily appeased. If it turns into a rerun I can always go back to my latest read Devices and Desires by K.J. Parker. Really interesting read so far :)

Do As I Say Not As I Do....  

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Well I'm a little conflicted. After I graduated High School, I worked for about a year and decided that if I wasn't going to college I better figure out what I was gonna do.

Enter the Marine Corps. A friend of mine had joined right out of school, and he asked me if I would mind talking to the recruiter. I figured what do I have to lose, so I had them come on over and the recruiter gave me his pitch. It sounded pretty good. I was being told about the reserves and according to the recruiter I would get my schooling paid for, and I could get a loan for a house, and all sorts of other cool stuff after I did my time. Needless to say my parents were pretty against the whole idea. They were aware that we had not had a war in some time, and we were overdue for some sort of conflict. I figured I knew better and at least it was a direction so I signed up for a 6x2 contract (6 years of active some of it reserve and 2 years of inactive reserve).

Boot Camp was 13 weeks long. This was in 1986 and they were just getting away from the whole physical approach to boot camp. In other words, Drill Instructors weren't supposed to hit recruits, but it still happened. I was not even remotely ready for boot camp. They screamed and hollered at us from the time we got off the bus. If I got 4 hours of sleep in any given night it was a blessing. I went to boot camp at 5'10" and 181 lbs. I left boot camp at 5'11" 161 lbs. I was lean, mean and ready to kill anything I was told to kill. They seriously brainwash you while you are in boot camp. Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely necessary. You have to be broken down to be built back up. I went in a confused unruly teen, and came out a lean single minded, focused Marine. I learned skills in a number of different fields (not all of them were related to killing). Close order drills, a great deal of military history, communications. The most important thing I learned in the USMC was how to work as a team. I learned what it means to be a part of something bigger than myself. To be counted on and to count on someone else for my very life.

My reserve time ended up being less than I had expected. I was sent to school immediately after boot camp. My school was a bit on the technical side. I was involved in a form of High Frequency communications. The school was in the middle of the desert and it lasted a total of 13 months. I went from 29 palms to Yuma, AZ. Desert to Desert so it was no big deal acclimating. I spent a short time there and then was sent to North Carolina. Now that was some culture shock. From dry and extremely hot, to humid and moderately hot. By the way I will take the desert and scorpions over that jungle heat and ticks. I left Cherry Point after a fairly brief stay (about 6 months) and ended up in my reserve base in Fresno. I was thinking to myself "OK let the reserve time begin". Unfortunately it was the beginning of Desert Shield, and our unit was activated. So I go shipped right back to Yuma AZ, and then guess where? Yep Cherry Point. It turned out that we were just cycling around the bases and covering for those troops that were already in country.

Six years went by fairly fast and I got out of the military. My parents were happy that I was not shot or stabbed or blown up (although my little brother was hoping I would have a battle scar). I am to this day sure of the fact that this was the reason I grew up. The military gave me direction when I had none.

Fast Forward to now. My 17 year old son has told me that he wishes to speak with the Marine recruiter about possibly joining the military. Now it's my turn to be on the parent end of things. i find that I much prefer when the decision is in my hands. I am scared to death that my child would consider joining the military. I dread the idea of him being shipped off to some foreign land and possibly being injured or killed in the name of freedom.

I say this, and at the same time I am so proud of my son for considering it, that I am almost brought to tears. This is the first time that he has come to me about something that could profoundly impact his life. He has thought about this more than I imagined. He has even given me some of his reasons why he has considered this path. I still have more talking to do with him and the recruiter before he will get my blessing.

As much as I want to tell him that this is the worst thing he can do. I don't want to lie to him. This very well might be the best thing for him, and I feel like I do him a great disservice by misleading him that way. My Mother and Father (and Sister) tell me I should try my best to talk him out of it. I just don't know that I will. I'm going to hear him out and I am going to give him the honest truth about my experience in the USMC.

Being a parent is one of the greatest things to ever happen to me, but I have to say I wish that this was one of those times I didn't have to make the grown up decision...

Think I found my Halloween Costume  

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Wow!! I am completely baffled by this nonsense I'm reading in the newspaper and on the web. People are protesting this Halloween costume depicting a space alien in an orange jumpsuit with a green card. Are you serious????

Has anybody seen the movie Men in Black? I thought it was a great flick. I can't understand how people can get from space alien to undocumented (illegal) immigrant. Have we slid that far, that now we find offense in a Halloween costume? I'm embarrassed for the organization that is protesting this, and I feel sad for somebody that would find offense in something as silly as this.

I wonder how people would react if I was to dress up as a saltine cracker (I'm white). Would that offend other white people? Possibly that would offend crackers? Maybe Morton salt would get offended cause I was an unsalted cracker.

Enough of this garbage people. Come on what happened to people having a good time with Halloween? Kids dressed up in just about anything they could find when I was a kid. We were a hobo, or a ghost, or sometimes maybe even a ghostly hobo. Will homeless people get offended if my kid becomes a hobo for Halloween? How about mediums? Will they get offended if my kid dresses up as a ghost that doesn't match their idea of a ghost? Heck, will goats be offended that I just called my child a kid?

I would rather have my kid dress up as an illegal space alien, than a hooker, or Charles Manson. No offense intended to killers or prostitutes. I just think that it's a cooler outfit. How about if we all lighten up and quit worrying so much about everything somebody is doing. Everything is not meant to offend. Some people are still trying to have a good time, and guess what? They shouldn't have to worry about whether me or somebody else is gonna be offended, because they are entitled to their opinion of fun.

Maybe the new theme for Halloween should be caffeine free, sugar free, fright free, color free, fun free...... I guess I shouldn't be that surprised, they took the fun out of Christmas years ago. It was just a matter of time until they got around to Halloween.

Finished Sandstorm  

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I just finished up a really good book called Sandstorm by James Rollins. It's a strange supernatural, scientific, spy, adventure. It's a little bit of everything all rolled up into one. There are a quite a few characters that you will be introduced to in this story.

Painter Crowe is a member of a high level top secret organization. He is special forces trained, and highly intelligent. Then there is Dr. Safia Al-Maaz, she is a curator of the Arabian wing of a British Museum in the middle of Downtown London. Her best friend, Lady Kensington, who is the sponsor of the gallery. Then for good measure add Omaha Dunn, the former love interest of Safia Al-Maaz. He is an archaeologist/treasure seeker. Along with his younger brother Danny, they will eventually meet up with the rest of this unusual group to search for the secrets to the greatest secret in Central Arabia.

The hidden city of Ubar is the prize they all seek. It holds secrets to the past as well as possibly a power source for the future. The problem (one of many) is that a mega storm is headed into the region and that coupled with a massive storm coming in from the sea, are on a head on collision course. Yep you guessed it, the storms should meet somewhere in the middle of their search area. There are lots of twists and turns in this book, and a lot of internal conflict. You will find that everybody has their own reasons for wanting to find the hidden city, and some of them might be a little less than Honorable.

The book had tons of action and some really cool twists and turns. If you like a few surprises, along with some actual truth to go along with your fiction, you will definitely enjoy this book.
I can't really say if this would be a fast read, as I was forced to put it down a couple of times (real life got in my way). But it was easy to get right back into the story even after setting it down.
At 569 pages (paperback), it wasn't all that long. It surely didn't feel like that it was that long, but that was because the book kept pulling me back in.

Overall I would definitely suggest you get a copy of this book. It's a good story, with some great characters, and it gives you a little bit of a history lesson, mixed in with some science and just good plain imagination.

Bowling is a Sport!  

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I am sure I mentioned that my kids are into bowling. I have 3 boys and they all Bowl. The 2 older ones have been bowling for about 8 years and my little one for about 5. Truth be told they are all pretty decent at it.

My oldest son has anywhere from a 150-170 average (depending on if it's school or youth league bowling). My middle boy carries a 109 and my little one (8 years old) carries a 90 average.
They love it, and they are pretty good at it. They have made tons of friends at the bowling alley, and that has spilled over to school and other activities as well.

In fact my oldest boy, is or I should say was a pretty shy kid. He has always been a lot bigger than most people his age, and sorta felt out of place. Not so when he bowls though. Since it's an individual sport, he isn't matched up next to somebody. He feels much more at ease then in a football or baseball game. This allowed him to sort of come out of his shell, and he has made many friends while bowling. They hang out at the house, or around town or at school.

Anyway to my point (I am easily sidetracked). A few days ago, my son came home and told me that a kid at school told him that bowling isn't a sport. My son argued that it was indeed a sport, and of course the other child responded no it wasn't. So I guess that evidently they went back and forth like this throughout their lunchtime. My son asked me if bowling was a sport or not. I told him that it absolutely was. I explained that it was a competitive activity that was governed by rules. Which is as close to the definition of sport I could come up with. He said the boy told him that it's not like the big three (baseball, football, basketball) or tennis or soccer where you have to be fast or catch good, or any of those things. He told my son that bowling was just rolling a stupid ball and it was easy.

I asked him what he told the kid. He said that he told this little boy that if it was so easy, maybe he should come down to the bowling alley on Saturday and see if he could do it better. Well sure enough this young boy showed up with his mom for Saturday bowling. I hate to say this, but I could just tell this kid was a jerk. He was a cocky, pompous little jerk. His mom signed him up, but told the directors that she didn't think it would be competitive enough to keep her son interested (wonder where he got his arrogance from). the little boy proceeded to bowl on the lane next to my middle son. I sat close enough to watch this boy make a complete fool out of himself. He would have been just fine if he wouldn't have told all these kids how they were wasting their time playing this little kids game that wasn't even a sport. He explained that he probably wouldn't bowl after this week, cause it would be too easy.

Wrong answer, the kid bowled a best game of 82. Did I mention that was his best game? Yeah, worst game was a 51. I ALMOST felt bad for the kid. He made excuses for almost every shot. He was complaining about the ball, the shoes, too much noise, it stuck in his hand. You name it the kid had an excuse and the mom wasn't far behind offering her reasons. i ignored that woman after about 2 minutes of her jabbering.

The best part of all this was, that none of the kids were rude or made fun of the kid. Most of them even tried to give him tips to make it easier for him to get a better throw. Of course the boy didn't listen to any of the advice, and he continued to do miserably. Funny thing though, he did mention that he might come back next week just to show that he was only having a bad day.

When the bowling was over for the morning, my son was talking to this rotten little kid. My son told him that bowling was a sport and that this kid better practice if he wanted to be good at it.
The only good thing that came out of all this, was that the little boy did admit that bowling was a sport (albeit a dumb one).

There's Gotta Be an Easier Way  

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I'm a little ticked off. I had to get tires put on my truck today. I figured that it would take a couple of hours, so no problem. I had plenty of work to do in the area. So I drop the truck off and sure enough he tells me, "No problem it'll only take a couple hours." I'm thinkin' this is pretty good. I can finish up my paperwork at my office, get the truck and run to the next site and finish up all my paperwork and be home by 5:00. Sounded really good in my head, but unfortunately..............

The tires were the first problem. They didn't get finished with my truck for about 4 1/2 hours. So that alone threw off my whole getting home by 5 idea. Then I ended up fielding phone calls more than completing paperwork. Now I'm figuring maybe 6:00. So I finally get my paperwork done at office #1 and I rush to office #2 thinking "I can still do this." It's only 3:00, I can rush through and get out of the office by 5:00 and that means home by 6:00. Oops another rush of phone calls. I always wondered why these guys never want to know about the possible side effects of pesticide inhalation on Wednesday at 11:00? Why does it always have to be when I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off? So I finally get the answers they need to the people that need them and set off at mach 10 to finish up this pile of ....paperwork.

By 5:00, it's painfully obvious that I'm not anywhere close to being done, and I get to bring this stuff home. But I still figure it's not that bad I can be done in a couple hours and everything will be A-OK. Raining cats and dogs, so it takes about 1 1/2 hours to get home (a lot of people don't really know how to drive in the rain apparently). Get my kids and we realize that we have to go get some Dog House repair materials (small leak in the house.)

So finally, I sit down and get started only to realize that I didn't bring home all the information I needed to complete all of this boring safety material that I have to present tomorrow in a meeting. So now I'm fishing through the Internet for the information I need, and it's coming along at a really quick snail's pace. Low and behold I finished at about 11:55. Which is not too bad, except I realized that I have to be up in about 4 1/2 hours. Did I mention I suffer from insomnia...Yeah my day is now complete. I have 3 1/2 hours till I have to get up, I have no coffee (well I have coffee, but it's not the good coffee), and I'm going to present a safety meeting to 58 people, and about 50 of them don't understand English all that well (can you say hand signals and drawings).

Wow....I feel much better now that I have just unloaded all that on any poor unsuspecting reader that happened by. Now I can concentrate on the fact that, I am actually feeling pretty good, my kids are getting over their school induced cold. My wife is still getting almost 40 hours at her job (makes for much nicer weekends). And I am gonna have a really good lunch tomorrow.

Of course I am buying for everyone, because they always sucker me into lunch on meeting day...


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How Awesome is this. I was fortunate enough to be given this award by Jan of If you ever want to get a great idea to remodel, or add a little spice to something you have, this is definitely the place to go. So thank you very much Jan, and please keep doing what you do :)

The rules, upon receiving this award, state that you must:
Accept the award;
Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link;
Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered;
Contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award

I would like to pass this on to:

This Train of Thought has been Derailed

Writers & Teachers

The Blueprint To A Positive Mindset


A Book With A View

The Crazy H



just kicken it around

Writersoup; fuel for the mind.

The Louis L'Amour Project

Political Pluralism


Lessons From The One Who Learns

Write It Anyway

I promise that if you visit these blogs you will definitely get some interesting takes on a whole variety of things. great reading right there :)

Time Flies  

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Everything lately seems to be moving at a pretty fast pace. I can't explain why it feels that way, but it just seems that no sooner has the week started than the weekend gets here.

My boys are in bowling. So every Saturday morning until May will be spent at the bowling alley(few holiday exceptions). On top of that my wife and I have tried to make sure that we have some "quality" family time. Our schedules don't allow us a ton of time together, so we try to make what time we do have count. On the brighter side of that, my boys and I spend a great deal more time together now then we have in the last couple years. We have always had a good relationship, but this just seems to strengthen the bond.

My reading appetite in the last couple months has turned ravenous. I can't explain what did it, but lately I can't seem to read enough. I have one read, and two more waiting in the wings. That hour and a half between my kids going to bed and my wife getting home from work allow me a good head start on my reading for the evening. It also seems to have given me the writing bug again. I think that is where a lot of my time seems to be going now. It just seems like as soon as I start researching something, I look up and it's already 2:30 am (thankfully I'm an insomniac :P ).

Really leaves me with one question for those of you that have labored with writing. When is enough, enough? When do you decided that this is where your story ends? I have thrown away at least 3 written pieces and the smallest of them was 42,000 words (i never professed to be smart). I just got mad at myself for the direction the story took, and instead of fixing the problem, I seemed to have abandoned it.

Yeah time flies when your having fun...

A Case of Need  

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Well, I've been reading a lot of L'Amour lately. So I decided to try something a little different. I picked a Michael Crichton book and it was a really pleasant surprise. He wrote this in 1968, and of course the way things were looked at was much different. It's sort of interesting to get into the social views of the 60's a little bit and get a glimpse of perception from that time.

The story revolves around a Doctor by the name of Arthur Lee who is arrested and charged with the murder of the daughter of a prominent medical family. Karen Randall is the daughter and she shows up dead after an apparent abortion. Abortion is illegal in the 60's and they are holding him for murder as they believe he is an abortionist. The main character (I don't like the term protaginist) is John Berry, a pathologist who is friends with Dr. Lee.

The story takes place in Boston. Michael Crichton gives a pretty good description of a dirty seedy part of Boston. You are introduced to some pretty in depth medical observation, so it doesn't hurt to have some familiarity with medical terminology. Although he footnotes just about every medical term he uses.

There are a ton of twists and turns in this story, and you are a bit surprised at the ending (I won't play spoiler). The end of the story seems more of a lesson in the social aspects relating to abortion and more to the point, it seems like Crichton is a little biased in his writing as far as his beliefs go.

Although it's an average length book in my opinion, at 416 pages it's a fairly fast read. Considering there is some medical jargon in here, it's not at all difficult to understand or follow. You are easily pulled into the book by Crichton's easy and smooth style of writing.

All in all a very enjoyable book, and a nice shift from some of the other Michael Crichton books I have read (this ain't no Jurassic park :P ). Of course I always enjoy when they use pen names and this is written as Jeffery Hudson.

Check this one out if you have a little free time for reading (took me about 3 days of leisure reading). It's a pretty solid read all in all.

Crossfire Trail  

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Just finished up Crossfire Trail. This is in my opinion one of the stronger L'Amour books out there. It was made into a movie, with I believe Tom Selleck as Rafe Caradec, and I'm not sure but I think it was Virgina Madsen as Ann Rodney.

The basic storyline is that Rafe Caradec and Charles Rodney are both shanghaied. Charles Rodney is beaten by the captain one too many times and is dying, but Caradec promises the dying man that he will bring the paid mortgage for his ranch back to his wife and daughter and make sure that they are able to keep the ranch working.

So Caradec and three others leave the ship by rather brutal means and make their way to Painted Rock, which is the town closest to the Rodney ranch. Caradec finds out that the wife is dead and the daughter has moved into town and is engaged to the man that holds the note on the ranch.

The story revolves around Rafe and his companions making good on Rafe's promise to take care of the Rodney family while making sure that the people responsible for Charles Rodney's death are punished.

With a good amount of gun fights and fist fights and a great description of the landscape of Wyoming. (classic L'Amour) you will find yourself caught up in this story in no time. Rafe Caradec is the typical hard western man that L'Amour likes to write about and you find yourself really cheering him on at times in the book. All in all I really enjoy this book and this made about my 6th read of it. At only 157 pages you can afford to read and reread a good number of L'Amour books, which is in my opinion one of the reasons they are so dang popular even today.

If you have a few extra hours I highly recommend this one.

Growing Pains  

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So this morning my middle son Cameron is complaining to my wife that his leg hurts. It's not that uncommon for somebody to have some sort of ailment prior to school. (somebody always trying to work their way out of going to school.) My wife told him that maybe he was having some growing pains. He agreed that it was possible and went about his morning routine of getting dressed and combing his hair.

Now Cameron is 11 and he is a bit (quite a bit) small for his age. He has been irritated about it at different times in his life. Mostly because my oldest son Andrew is pretty big for his age. Andrew just turned 17 and he is about 6'4" and about 215 lbs. So Cameron has always asked why he can't be as big as his brother. I told him that everybody grows at their own pace, and he should just give it a bit of time and things will be fine. After all I didn't grow much till the summer before my junior year in high school. I left my sophomore year at 5'2" and came back a junior at 5'9".

Fortunately for Cameron his height is one of the few places that he doesn't excel. He is one of the smartest children I have encountered. Now I know that all parents like to dote on their children and what they accomplish, but with Cameron it's just true. He has been reading since he was about 3 1/2. He was already adding and reading in preschool. He won the spelling bee in 2nd grade and now in the 6th grade, he reads at about 11th grade level. He reads the newspaper and likes to argue politics with his father (sometimes quite effectively). He can sing really well, he is a bowler, and generally whatever he decides to try, he does. Unfortunately for him, he has a bit of a temper for a nerd. Kids have teased him from time to time in school, and found out rather quickly that this is one nerd that can and will fight back (did I mention he watches a lot of MMA fighting). So the occasional suspension has been encountered by us in his short tenure at school.

Lately he has encountered a bully at school, and this is one of those times that he has been a little unsure how to handle it. I have always told him to try and handle problems without violence, but I remember school, and how hateful kids can be when they want to. I've told him over and over to try talking first, but sooner or later there will come a time when talking is pointless. Some kids (and adults) don't understand dialogue. When that time comes strike first and strike hard. He knows that I will back him up to the hilt. I'll be in the principals office with the familiar argument. "If your yard monitors would have taken care of it, Cameron wouldn't have had to hit the kid." So this big kid grabbed Cameron and dragged him into the bathroom and punched him in the arm. I asked him what he did about it and he told me that he told the kid to leave him alone, but it wasn't working. Well we have the 3 times rule. Tell them 3 times and then you defend yourself. Well a couple days ago, he reached the end of the 3 times rule.

I go pick my boys up from school that afternoon, and Cameron is acting sorta weird. So I ask him what's wrong? He explained to me that he had more trouble with this kid and this kid had passed the 3 times rule. The problem for Cameron was that this kid was really really big and Cameron didn't know if fighting back would do any good. I explained that he didn't have to beat anybody up, but he has to stand up for himself. Usually with a bully if you face up, he moves on to find easier prey.

So the very next day Cameron had the encounter. I guess that he decided to even things up a bit. So the kid made some comment, and then slugged Cameron again. This time my little boy, faced him kicked him square in the gonads and punched him in the stomach, he then made a point of yelling to the kid that he was tired of his crap and that this is what would happen from now on every time the big kid picked on him. Well I was excited for my boy (as many fathers would be) and asked him what happened. Evidently the kid was sitting down crying, and didn't do anything. I waited for the phone call from the school, telling me that we needed to have a talk about Cameron's attitude or something. Nothing has come and this has been a week now.

So take us back to tonight, with my sons sore leg. I asked him after dinner this evening how his leg was feeling, since he had complained about it a few times over the course of the evening.
He explained to me that it was sore. I figured we would make it through without too much argument since he left it at that. But right before bed he explained to me that he had been thinking, (always makes me a little nervous). He said that he decided that his leg pain was no different than his bully problem and I was lost. So my soon to be 12 year old had to explain to me, that what he meant was they were probably both just growing pains.

So once again, I am sitting here wondering where in the hell this kid came from, cause I would have not thought about it like that as an 11 year old or for that matter as a 20 year old. But it made me feel pretty good to realize that some of those times that I'm trying to make a point to my kid about something that is going on in his life he is actually listening and not watching tv, or listening to that dang Ipod. I might not be a great parent, but I sure do have great kids.

Insomnia - Friend or Foe  

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1:30 in the morning and yet here I am, no closer to sleep than I was at 1:30 this afternoon. I'm the lucky owner of insomnia. Sometimes a curse but sometimes a gift.

I haven't always had it. Growing up I was always quite capable of falling asleep (sometimes right in the middle of class :P ). About 10 years ago I was afflicted with a "condition" called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. For those of you that are into medical terminology it's Idiopathic demyelinating poly neuritis. It's autoimmune, so basically my body thought it was fighting an invading body, but in reality it was attacking the myelin sheath around my own nerves. It causes a severe slowdown in nerve conductivity. No big deal you might think. The problem with that is you get severe weakness in the arms and legs, and you get as clumsy as the corner wino. If you are really lucky (as I was) you will also get a Bells Palsy. So I basically was walking around like an 85 year old man who had suffered from a stroke.

Another of these wonderful side effects is insomnia. They don't know why, but it's extremely common in people that are afflicted with this condition. Now the cure for this wonderful little experience is something called plasmapherisis which is basically pulling the blood out of your body(via a central line through the carotid artery) where it is then put through a centrifuge and separates the blood cells from the plasma. The blood cells are introduced to new plasma and reinstated in your body. If that sounds uncomfortable. It is most definitely uncomfortable. I sat through 5 of those procedures, I every other day.

But after about 6 months I was considered cured. They test you for this condition by a lumbar (spinal tap). Fortunately they only do nerve conductivity tests to gauge your recovery. I will take the little shocks from the conductivity tests over a lumbar any day of the week.

So I was given a clean bill of health and told not to worry about it, that this is random so my chances of getting it again are about 1 in 200,000. Guess what the doctors don't know enough about how this works to say that. I get relapses on a regular basis (nothing as bad as the original thankfully). Unfortunately one of those symptoms that I get (along with the numb fingers and toes) is insomnia.

Well the curse side of insomnia is that in my former employment, I was forced to get up rather early on a regular basis. It wasn't uncommon to have to go to work at 5:00 am till 3:30 or 5:00 pm. Not a problem if you can get to sleep at some sort of a decent hour. It really sucks though when you don't get to sleep till 2:30 and then have to get up at 4:00. Do that for a couple weeks and you start to see things (no really).

Now the gift side of this, is that I have tons of time to indulge in my favorite books, or in the past my favorite video games (Guild wars). I could read an extra 3 or 4 books a month with that extra time. It also didn't hurt when I was writing my short stories. It's amazing what kind of weird sick crap you can come up with when you haven't slept more than 3 hours in a week.

It's like tweaking without paying for it. I've tried relaxation exercises, drinking, sex, you name it. Nothing allowed me to sleep. So I decided what the hell, I'm just gonna go with the flow and accept that it's part of my life and enjoy the ride.

So if you get a few really off the wall rants on my blog, just remember this post. It's bound to happen, and sometimes I'm told that the BS I spew while in a "mood" is highly entertaining.
Who knows one of these times I might even get up the nerve to put one or two of those short stories on here for some critique.

Ramen Noodles are Perfect!  

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I was enjoying a plate (that's right plate not bowl) of ramen noodles this afternoon and I got to thinking that they are quite possibly the most perfect food I could ask for.

Think about it, they take about 3 minutes to make in the microwave (6 on the stove). You can use the flavor packets if you want. I don't use the packets, I might put pasta sauce on them, or maybe just butter and grated cheese. Sometimes I'll scramble some eggs and put them in the mix. There are so many things you can do with this food it's mind boggling.

I was in the USMC for a little while, and along with our MRE's (Meal Ready to Eat) some of the guys would bring along some crushed up packs of ramen. The way we would use it then, was to crush them up pretty fine with the flavor packets in a plastic bag. Simply shake it all up and you have a sorta trail mix, but more like a chex mix. Very good and it will definitely hold you over till you can stop somewhere and get a decent meal.

A friend of mine use to make spanish rice, and then crush up the ramen and boil it adding it to the rice mix to make it seem "fuller" as he put it. I didn't like the sound of it, but when I tried it I had to admit it was pretty awesome.

The bottom line is, ramen is easy, affordable, and the possibilities are endless. So go spend a couple bucks on some ramen and try out a half dozen different ways to make them and see if they aren't all I've said.

Besides, a couple million college students can't be wrong.

Milo Talon  

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Just finished up with Milo Talon. Much better book in my opinion than Radigan. Milo Talon is more along the lines of Tell Sackett or Logan Sackett.

Lots of action in this story. Milo is hired by a man named Jefferson Henry to find his grand daughter(really only a step). The guy offers Milo a pretty large amount of money for the job and he figures it's a pretty easy way to get paid. Little does he realize that a lot of people along the way have died because of this girl as well as the people she is associated with.

The nice thing about this book is L'Amour ties in the Talon's and the Sackett's. Em Talon who is Milo's mom is a sackett. I think that might be why Milo is meant to share so many traits with his cousins. Regardless, you get a little history regarding the Talon family and some tie in to the Sacketts and you also get to meet some really salty (and extremely interesting) characters in this story.

German Schafer is a cook at Maggie's in town. Pablo is the Mexican rider for Shelby who Milo befriends. Portis, a friend of his from St. Louis. I always like when L'Amour adds in these types of characters. Portis is a man that Milo helped out in the past, and they became friends of a sort Portis has a lot of contacts in St. Louis and is sort of an informational warehouse for most things in the city. There is also the love interest in the story which happens to be a pretty young girl by the name of Molly Fletcher. He doesn't leave out the bad guys in this one either although they might not be the ones you would think. The toughs in this book are many but the main ones seem to be John Topp, Tom Baggott (The Bald Knobber) who is a known killer for hire. Then you get one of the Mexican toughs, Felipe (who as it turns out befriends Milo because of his friendship with Pablo.)

All in all I really enjoyed the book, and I just touched on the characters. L'Amour develops a pretty good picture of Milo Talon in this book. Also it is told mostly from a first person account so you really get into the characters head.

I'd suggest this one to anybody interested in Westerns. If I was grading it would get a solid B.

Finished Radigan  

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Well I just finished up another L'Amour book called Radigan. Here is the basic storyline. A Rancher by the name of Tom Radigan is working his piece of land up in the mountains of New Mexico. Another outfit is trying to move in on his range and force him out. Seems they have a bogus claim to the land granted by a former Mexican Governor of the territory. Radigan has the legal claim to the land.

The Key players in this book are Tom Radigan, John Child, Gretchen Child (adopted daughter of John Child), Angelina Foley, Harvey Thorpe, and Ross Wall.

The story mainly works around Radigan and Foley. Very typical L'Amour stuff. I enjoy the way he is able to make you actually see the country he is writing about. I could almost feel the cold when he was describing some of the storms they encountered.

The only thing I didn't really like about the story was that it felt sorta rushed at times. Like he wasn't as worried about all the juicy stuff in the middle of the plot like in many of his books. It seemed like it was more important for him to get to the end of this one instead of letting us get to know, and enjoy the characters as they are brought to life.

If you want a book that is a fairly easy read, with all the shoot em up rough and tumble drag out fighting that is classic L'Amour, then this will be a good one for you. But just a word of warning, if you are looking for a Tucker or Milo Talon out of this book, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. In Radigan is definitely a character that I wish L'Amour would have done a little bit more with.