Thursday, August 28, 2008

Upcoming Weekend

Leaving early tomorrow morning for a weekend at Rendezvous.

Pierre Bulbona Rendezvous. Within spittin' distance of the site of his original trading post in Bureau County. This will be one hell of a shooting event. I will probably end up shooting at least 3 gun matches (rifle, smoothbore, and palisades), plus archery. The range is all down hill and can be pretty tricky. The palisades match, at least in the past, is shot in pairs and is a timed event. Ten minutes to shoot as many targets as possible. Including some that pop up for only 5-10 seconds. Wil and I have shot it the last two years. The first year we though we did pretty well but actually ended up sixth. Last year we ended up 2nd by only one target. Tootsie Pops. But they didn't come up as a shootable target until about 8 minutes into to the match. Wil and I were both shooting smoothbores and by that time, the barrels were so hot you couldn't touch them and when you tried to aim- the heat was causing so much distortion that you couldn't see the tootsie pop.

This year we are going to win.

Other than the matches, this will be a weekend to relax. Some music. Good amounts of alcohol. I spent $140 at Friar Tuck's earlier this week. 5 Bottles of Dragon's Milk, 7 cans each of Muphy's Stout, Belhaven Scottish Ale, and Bemish Irish Stout. Plus a HANDLE of Captain Morgan's Private Stock Spiced Rum. And I will probably have an extra case of beer in reserve.

Back Monday. Will post some new music and maybe pictures.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Great Music Monday-Angels Among Us

I know, I know, I know. I am a day late.

But this week's Great Music Monday is worth the wait.

One of my favorite country groups of all time is Alabama. They were making awesome music before I was born, including greats like "Down Home," "Born Country," Roll On (18 Wheeler)," "Cheap Seats," Dixieland Delight," "High Cotton," "If You're Gonna Play in Texas," and lots of others. At least 41 Number 1 hits in their repertoire.

I saw them in concert twice prior to their retirement. Once at the Illinois State Fair and then when they were on their American Farewell Tour. Not a flashy show, just lots of great music.

But they have one song in particular that really hits me. "Angels Among Us." This song ranks very near the top of my all-time favorites. When I was searching for a good video tonight, I played the selection below and it literally gave me goose bumps multiple time.

It is a beautiful mix of Randy Owen's vocals, the children's choir, strings, and piano.

Listen to the lyrics, and think about when you were an angel to someone.

As always, leave thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Saturday I attended a Family Reunion. It was for Grandpa's family on Mom's side. The reunion was held in Mom's hometown in Iowa. This is actually a reunion I don't mind attending since I actually know some of these people, lots of 2nd and 3rd cousins (unlike the reunion that was for Grandpa's family on dad's side, since Grandpa was an only child, the closest cousins I have there is something like 5th or 6th-I didn't attend this one).

The folks, Grandma, and I headed out Friday night (Grandpa passed away in 2004) around 6:30. It's a 3 hour drive and we made a short stop for a quick bit of supper. We had reservations at a motel and when we got there, they had screwed up the reservations. The rooms were supposed to have queen-sized beds and didn't, they stank, and reminded me of this horrid SLEep eAZY motel I had to stay in while working on a project in Bloomington. At least this motel Saturday didn't have a beer label stuck to the wall in the room (the Bloomington one did). After consultation of those of us in our car plus my Aunt and here Fiance and his son, we decided to go somewhere else. It turned out to be a smart decision.

Saturday morning we had to go pick up some food and then to the Reunion. It was actually fun. My Grandpa was one of 5 kids, and those 5 had 15 kids. Of those 15 cousins, 12 were at the reunion. The three that couldn't make it, 2 are in Tennessee and one is in California. This was the first time this family has gotten together since 2001. Since then, 3 of the 5 original siblings have passed away. The other two seem to be in pretty good health and show no sign of slowing down any time soon. Which is good.

It was also cool that so many of my generation were there, and all but two of us had kids. Actually, I think my Grandma was the last of the 5 original siblings/spouses to become a Great-Grandparent (my nephew CB).

Anyway, we had a few games, including "Name that Tune" and "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" which pitted the Cousins against everyone else. These two games solidified my as a total nerd. I pretty much answered every question for our side in the 5th grader, plus new all the answers for the Cousins, even without out the multiple choice. They ended up giving my the prize for the game. NERD.

Then, in "Name that Tune," I literally moved my chair up to be able to reach the bell without leaving my chair. It got freaking scary how many tunes I knew, including lots that were popular before I was even BORN! TOTAL NERD!!!!!!!

Or as Bill Engvall says, "15 degrees off Cool."

The only thing missing now is the glasses and to be camped out in my parents basement playing dungeons and dragons. It's bad enough my computer is in the basement, just not at my parents.

What a Nerd.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Today seems like a good day for some reflection on life, since as of today, I can no longer claim to be in my early 20's.


26 today.

Holy crap.

Why didn't I get a freaking memo or something.

So I have been doing some reflecting on my life and where it is at. And I thought I would share some observations and thoughts with you.

There is a possibility that this could sound bad, I don't know how it is going to go from here on out. Just know I am not depressed nor contemplating anything stupid.

Work: What work? I am unemployed....For the second 13 months. I graduated from college in 2005 with a 4.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Department Scholar. Top student in my department. But still, I am on the unemployment line. Royally sucks.

The strange thing about it, I have very little motivation to find something new. I had an interview last week, but my heart isn't really in it. I know that I don't want to go back to an office. I am totally burned out on sitting behind a desk all the time. I actually am looking at a possible home based business and then starting to build canoe paddles, guns, knives, clubs, axes and such-splitting my time. Then I could dictate my own schedule and not have to answer to anybody.

Health: The last visit I had to the doctor was about a year and a half ago as part of a wellness screening for work. Including a blood work-up. Basically-healthy as a horse. Cholesterol just about perfect. No high blood pressure. Only one problem....Overweight. And not a little bit. If you've ever heard of Morbidly Obese. That's me. At my worst, I was 434. It has come down some, but I could still damn near cut my weight in half and still be a good sized guy. My brother dropped a bunch of weight over the last few years and I am jealous as hell. If you've never been big, you don't quite understand how the world is for the fat. I try to not let it stop me from doing thing. Actually, I have amazed some friends at the things that I do accomplish being my size, but it still is a hindrance.

Dating: What the hell is that? Last date? Pull out the calendar to count. August 2008. Graduated August 2005. 2003-2004 Junior year. Yep. Last date was January 2004. 4.5 years ago. One date. Before that? No freaking clue. Hell. I'm a virgin. With no intention of changing it any time soon. At one point a couple years ago, I was actually told I needed to lower my standards. No chance in hell.

Life: WTF? I live with my parents. And am rapidly approaching creepy geek. I'm on the computer almost every night. From the Basement of a house (at least not my parents basement), I have played and for a while was damn near addicted to an online game (Call of Duty). The only thing missing is the glasses and stalker complex.

But the good stuff.

Family: I have a great family. Two great parents who have worked their butts off their entire lives to make sure my brother and I had all the opportunities we could want. They also instilled concept of civic duty and being active in community organizations. Lots of activity. I still have two grandmothers living and both are here it town. Their health is not the greatest, but they are still around. My brother has a wonderful wife and they welcomed their first child in April. The nephew is such a cute kid, I just wish I could go see him more often, but we always seem to have schedule problems, and the three hour drive is not condusive to quick trips for an evening or something. I have one aunt getting married for the first time next June. The other aunt is married to a really great uncle. Their three kids are around the same age as my brother and I. They are doing great, too. One is a private school teacher in D.C. and is trying to finish up her Masters Degree. Her twin sister is working in South America. And the brother is a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Friends: One of the biggest blessing in my life is my friends. The Motley Crew. Dog, Squatchy, Evil People Inc., Lunchbox, SeanX, and me. 6 friends from High School. We've done some crazy shit. The re-enacting friends. Lots of them. Started out as folks I would only see at events, but now they are all good friends who I communicate with regularly, visit, shoot the shit. Like the old saying, "Friends are the Family you choose."

I guess life ain't too bad, even when your lost.

Heritage Days

A little slow getting this put up, but anyway.

I headed out Thursday morning. Got set up and spent the rest of the day lounging around and catching up with friends.

Friday morning after breakfast at Two Eagles Kitchen, I had to head back home to prepare for the Masonic Lodge Golf Outing that I was part of organizing. Pretty good day. 17 players. My group shot 7 over on 18 holes, which wasn't bad, especially since I didn't remember how to swing until the 14th hole. After dinner, headed back to the rendezvous. Got there about 9:00.

Spent the rest of the night partying. The women were having a bachelorette party and trying to get guys to pole dance for them. (Evidently, I started something terrible at Bloody Lake)

Saturday started with breakfast at Two Eagles again. After breakfast, I had about hour to relax before the day started running at warp speed. The thing about Galesburg, is that we always have a "Fashion Show" on Saturday, and somehow Wil always ropes me into participating. So I had to put on my 18th Century Gentleman's Clothes. Black and white cocked hat, frilly shirt, couch killer weskit, fancy coat, knee breeches, clocked stocking, buckle shoes, fine walking stick. Hotter than Hell (in more than one way). And then for the show, I got to have Ktreva on my arm as my consort. Everyone was Jealous. And then Cow was following along behind as my Haiji manservant. Carrying my chair, and a box with a chalice and bottle of wine. Every time I stopped walking, the chair came out, I sat down and Cow poured me a glass of wine. I was on first. And after I got done with my short speech, we moved off to the other side of the area where the show was being held, continuing to maintain 1st person. Wil, who was emceeing the show, told us after the show that someone came up to him and asked "Who does that guy think he is?! And what is that woman with him, his concubine? And that Haiji with him?" The guy was genuinelly pissed about it. It was great.

As soon as the show was over, I had to set up the archery range. Once the range was set up, was the ONW Company meeting. After the meeting, was the actual archery match. A simple shoot that seemed to really screw with some people. I gave all the shooters a target and told they were shooting for group-10 shots. The shoot took about 2 hours.

Once the shoot was over, several of us cleared the range to set up for the Wedding. It was all done in a colonial style, and was very cool. Congrats again to Mr. and Mrs. Dragonfly.

The wedding was of coursed followed by the reception. Very cool.

And finally, I was able to get out of the Gentleman's clothes and back to something comfortable. About 8:00pm, there was the camp meeting where prizes were awarded. And I was done for the day. Even considered going to bed. But I didn't and after sitting around and jawing with some friends, I wandered down to where a bunch of folks were playing music. A couple guys requested I do a song or two, so I did, along with Wes.

All in all, it turned out to be a good day, but tiring.

Sunday, was again breakfast at Two Eagles. Western omlette and blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Damn good.

And I had nothing else to do for the rest of the day. The family showed up, so I talked to them for a little while and they went wandering. I was the last person to get packed up and out of the area where a bunch of the ONW/River Scum camped. Really didn't want to leave.

Of course, Omar the wopdog went along. Everybody loved him. Some threatened to kidnap him. And he was really tired. But it was good socialization for him.

I want to go back. Everything was so much easier there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Take Notice

It was brought to my attention that over the weekend, especially on Sunday, my attitude towards some people may have come off as being like I was upset with people.

This is not the case.

If you felt like there was a problem, it was not intentional, simply the rest of my life weighing in on my mind and distracting me from the time I was getting to spend my friends.

Please take no offense.

That is all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Great Music Monday-45 Years

I know it is late, but it is still Monday when I am posting this.

Saturday, I was at a rendezvous and attended the wedding of two people I am honored to call my friends.

So, in honor of them, this weeks Great Music is a piece composed by the incredibly talented and taken too soon (age 33), Stan Rogers. The influence of Rogers is still felt today, especially on folk music singers. The stuff I like to do includes several Rogers' compositions.

The song is "45 Years."

Where the earth shows its bones of wind-broken stone
And the sea and the sky are one
I'm caught out of time, my blood sings with wine
And I'm running naked in the sun
There's God in the trees, I'm weak in the knees
And the sky is a painful blue
I'd like to look around, but Honey, all I see is you.

The summer city lights will soften the night
Til you'd think that the air is clear
And I'm sitting with friends, where forty-five cents
Will buy another glass of beer
He's got something to say, but I'm so far away
That I don't know who I'm talking to
Cause you just walked in the door, and Honey, all I see is you

And I just want to hold you closer than I've ever held anyone before
You say you've been twice a wife and you're through with life
Ah, but Honey, what the hell's it for?
After twenty-three years you'd think I could find
A way to let you know somehow
That I want to see your smiling face forty-five years from now.

So alone in the lights on stage every night
I've been reaching out to find a friend
Who knows all the words, sings so she's heard
And knows how all the stories end
Maybe after the show she'll ask me to go
Home with her for a drink or two
Now her smile lights her eyes, but Honey, all I see is you

(Chorus twice)

The video for this song is by The Bard of Cornwall, a young performer from Canada who does several Stan Rogers pieces, along with lots of Celtic stuff. And while most of the videos are shot in the kitchen, they are still good.

So, for Mr. and Mrs. Dragonfly, this is to you. May you have 23 years and another 45 years, and more beyond that.

And as always, leave your thoughts in the comments, along with suggestions for other Great Music.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rendezvous Time

Leaving tomorrow morning for Galesburg Heritage Days Rendezvous at Lake Storey Park. I need it.

Then, have to come back home Friday to play in a Golf Outing that I helped to organize for my Masonic Lodge.

Then back to the Rendezvous. Saturday I am running the archery shoot, plus the Fashion Show, and Dragonfly's wedding.

Maybe something new on Sunday night.


Went to the interview.

Very Strange.

Two separate interviews. This company does a different style of interview than I have ever had. They called in a Behavioral Based. Both interviews went the same way. "Tell me about a time when x happened?" X could be "when you encouraged a peer to excel" or "when you got someone who is more timid to speak up" or "when your plan turned out to be wrong." I kinda knew this is how it would be, but it really threw me for a loop. Felt like I struggled more than in any other interview I have ever had.

Really, I have no idea how well it went. I can't tell if I nailed it, or if I came across like a fish out of water.

Really, I am up in the air as to whether I would accept a job offer or not. 55 miles each way. Plus some on call time. But 39 paid days off a year. 15 vacation, 5 sick, 4 floating holiday, 9 paid company holidays, plus 6 summer Fridays. And because of the type of work, they kept telling me the pay is supposed to be really good.

We'll see.

I am still thinking of doing a home business and just being self employed.

Job Interview

I am off to a job interview.

Can't say where, but if it turns into a job offer, it would interesting.

Interview scheduled to start at 2:00pm and last until 4:00pm. But it is at least an hour drive.

For some reason, I am nervous. I recall every being this nervous before a job interview. WTF?

Monday, August 11, 2008

TSO Tour Announced

Great news for some Great Music.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra has announced their Christmas Tour Dates for 2008.

For those of you who have never seen them, the show is amazing. A mix of Christmas Classics with a rock twist, and a 1980's rock light show. The first half of the show is a Rock Opera for the Christmas season, and the second half is a showcase of several other pieces. Some of there own takes on Classic Rock, to stuff from their Rock Opera "Beethoven's Last Night," and even the only live version of "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's "Carmena Burana."

The shows close to me are in Peoria on Friday December 12, and in Moline on Saturday December 13.

If you want to see some video of what their concerts are like, check out their YouTube channel HERE. Or see the live video of Requiem below (caution-it may be seizure inducing).

I highly recommend, if you can, to go. Well worth the time and money. But as a note, if your eyes are sensitive to lots of flashes and such, bring your sunglasses.

(Any of my friends who want to join me at the show, let me know as I buy tickets in September)

Great Music Monday-Undone in Sorrow

This week's Great Music Monday comes from a recommendation by regular reader and commenter, Wil.

From a group that I had never heard of, but now, need to find more of their stuff. The great music today comes from Crooked Still, and is a song composed by Ola Belle Reed.

"Undone in Sorrow"

As always, if you have a suggestion for some Great Music, leave a note in the comments.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Project Update

Well, since Contagion is a whinny little bastard and actually expects me to post the stuff I say I will when I say I am going to, here is a belated update of The New Project.

The day started with a laying out the basic shape of the paddle.

After layout, cutting out the blank.

Then, more layout of the finished shape to be able to start removing wood.

I didn't get as far as I originally planned, but for a first attempt at a a really different design compared what I normally produce, not terrible. By the time I actually try to produce a few of these, it should be down to the normal 3-4 hours each.

I did make a little more progress today, for those of you coming to Heritage Days at Galesburg in a week and a half (holy crap), this finished product should be there for display.

Anybody want to place an order?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Great Music Monday-This Old Road

For this week's Great Music Monday, we visit the great singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson.

The song, from the album of the same name released in 2006, is "This Old Road." It was also written by Kristofferson. From wiki:The underlying theme of the record is a retrospective and reflective look at what Kristofferson deems to have been important elements of his life.

(Sorry about the advertisement before the video starts, stoopid yahoooooooooo)

As always, if you have a suggestion for some Great Music, leave it in the comments.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A New Project

Sometimes, a mind has a really screwed up way of solving a problem.

Case in point.
A little over a year ago, I decided I was going to start building canoe paddles. So, when I made a visit to a friend in Northern Wisconsin who has been building paddles and working on canoes and boats for 40 years, I got a crash course in building. We started one paddle that day and in the ensuing year, I would build another custom paddles. I have built paddles for lots of friends, custom fit Ark Builder who is 6'10" and sent one paddle to Norway. Some have been custom painted.

But the piece that has haunted me for months, is a the Columbia River Paddle. The blackhearted asshole I call a friend Wil has one that he called a "Lewis and Clark" paddle. So many days on the shaving horse I have tried to figure out how to construct this paddle.

And then last night, I was reading through a book I have on building canoe paddles. The Columbia River paddle is in shown in this book. So, as I passed from wake to sleep, this paddle
was on my mind.

As I began to dream, the construction of this paddle came to thought. And then it hit me like a proverbial brick.

A revelation.

And tomorrow morning, I will test this dream solution to see if it works.

Hopefully, results will be posted in pictures by tomorrow night.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I've been a bad bad boy

No, not like that you sickos. Get your mind out of the gutters.

I have been totally remiss in getting some very important things done. It all started a year and a half ago.

While on an annual trip to Northern Wisconsin, I purchased a Marlin 917VSF. Which is a .17HMR chambered rifle, and then on the return trip I picked up as BSA Sweet 17 scope to mount on it. The scope was mounted withing a week, but the gun has yet to be fired.

Then, this spring, I decided that I wanted to add a side by side double barrel shotgun to my "collection." After doing some price checking, I decided on the Stoeger Uplander Combo, with the 12 gauge and 20 gauge barrels. I already have a Stoeger Condor and have had good luck with it which influenced my decision to add another. The sadness, all four barrels still sit, unfired.

An then early this summer, while browsing the circular for a sporting goods store, I saw a couple of sales that piqued my interest. First, was a Taurus PT1911. Brazilian gun manufacturer Taurus' take on the John Moses Browning classic 1911, which was the American Military Pistol for nearly a century. The second, a Smith & Wesson SW40VE, which is from the Sigma Series Pistols. Well, I decided that I needed both of these. So I made the purchase. And where are they now? Still in their cases with loaded magazines, but never fired.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

This is a situation that must be remedied very soon.

The one nice thing about unemployed, I have some free time when I am not up to my eyeballs on job boards. And really, it will make a good break up of the monotony.