Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CHRISTMAS LETTER 2012

Another year flies by.  And next week the world ends (Mayan calendar. Dec 21st)  But just in case it doesn't, here's the annual letter.  No cards this year.  But for a good cause.


Everything is sooo big!

Back in February we flew in this little 12 pound ball of fluff from Kentucky.  Now he’s 45 pounds of mostly muscle, teeth and fluff.  His name is Chester.  Born on the day we had to put down 15 year old Jessie the Cocker, he’s about a 2/3 scale Golden retriever. Lighter fur than Donald Trump.  He’s a rare breed.  Way back in the day, a certain poodle was put into the bloodline as the breeder played Genetics. Dad was a shrimp.  Not seafood, short.  Mom was a beautiful white Golden.  Or White-en.  She should have been named Betty, but was DameMutworthUptail  or something ASPCA friendly. As a pup, Chester’d eat anything.  I found a light cord where he chewed through and bared both wires.  Somehow he survived.  And the house didn’t burn down.  I haven’t been able to teach him to speak English, but I swear he whined “Rigatoni” once.

I love rabbit poop!

I own the world.
Mrf mmrrrf mrrrrr.












Chester, earlier in puppyhood, would eat any plush toy we gave him.  It wouldn’t take but a little chewing, OFF goes the leg, OFF goes the head, stuffing being swallowed like cool whip.  Of course we’d try to carefully monitor him and when the stuffing became exposed, we’d trash that little piggy or ‘coon or hedgehog or whatever.  So Chester gets better at it – faster – bigger sharper teeth.  Pretty soon he’s swallowed a squeaker.  It’d be funny if he’d fart a squeal, but more’n’likely the squeaker would plug his intestine, and we’d face serious surgery.  After a quick consult with his trainer, we took him to an emergency vet (of course it was the weekend) where they induced vomitage. Somehow they had an old Madonna movie... said it works every time!

BANG! We were hit by lightning.  It scared the beejesus out of us.  There was beejesus all over everything.  Again, no fire, but damage included both computers (Compu-Toast!), an air conditioner controller, the pool equipment master control board, and other fun repairs. No hole.  Metal Roof.  It was like being on the inside of an exploding bubble of light and concussion, but very very fast.  You don’t say, “Were we hit?”  You say “Where were we hit?”  One of my mirrored hard drives was dead, the other iffy.  Both computers were later replaced.

Taking this as an omen (not really), we put the house up for sale (really.)  Selling these days is mostly via building an internet presence.  We are very present and very internet, and have had a few nibbles but haven’t hooked a buyer.  After a showing, one realtor left a door open.  Not to negotiation – she left a door open.   I see no critters appearing yet, but that’s sloppy realtoring.  If the doorknob is a challenge, then I’d expect a buyer’s contract in Crayola.

So where will we go?  Don’t know.  Austin, yes.  Roof, yes.  Running water, yes. Toilets, hopefully. Why are we selling?  Downsizing.  We are at some sort of crossroads.  Life.  It’ll getcha.

By the way, when warranties expire, things break, die, or stop working.  In my experience that's in 7 years.  We have been here 8.  Have seen a lot of repair people lately.  One day we had 12 guys working.  You can't sell a broken house/waterheater/refrigerator/stove - you name it.  Heck, back in Minnesota the house sold with a new AC and heating system, new floor, new roof, new driveway, new landscaping and more.

About Christmas, whatever happened to tinsel?


Here in our little community of about 150 homes, there seems to be a holiday decoration race.  CREWS are at work making spirits (if not streets) bright.  They line the roofs, the gardens, wrap trees, and it’s not even cold yet.  I remember doing it myself as a kid on two of our overgrown shrubs, hanging the good lights – the big bulbed ones, on the coldest day ever.  It seems a lot of the Christmas Deco-dollar has landed on giant inflatables of the jolly old elf, be he in a helicopter, 18 wheeler, or beer truck.  This year, due to Chester, we won’t risk tempting him with a tree and decorations just right for clogging intestines.  He’s a smart dog, but still a pup.  He can hear the big cats (Lions and Tigers and Panthers) Oh My! from the local ‘rescue zoo’ a few miles upwind.  He always give me the look that says, “That’s not right, Bob.”  Feeling completely scrooged we are skipping cards again this year, but will donate to water.org instead.  Sorry, post office. Water.org is very worthy.

You KNOW about the Mayans and the predicted end of the world on December 21st?  It’s an earlier version (or later) of Y2K.  If somebody doesn’t run an end of the world sale – “put it on the credit card!” – then the advertising community will let us all down.  If you were going to end the world imagine the show you could put on.*  Of course there are billions of stars with billions of planets so you know they come and go.  Our hubris makes us think it won’t happen here.  Hey – wait – don’t mean to bum you out.  Just saying…  

*If I was to produce the end of the world it'd be commercial free, that's certain..  I'd reunite the Beatles.  They'd seem huge, spread across the sky, backed up by some crazy Grateful Dead lightshow.  They'd do a medley and maybe even a new song or two, then,  The End.  As they finished, luminescent flakes would fall all over the world, like snow, even indoors, but when they touched anyone they'd have an orgasm and pass.

...meanwhile we dance with danger at the fiscal cliff.

Fiscal Cliff Santa

The Family Crest
Looking forward to the new album by The Family Crest, a band we fell for in San Francisco and have subsequently seen in a house party here.  Helped fund it on Kickstarter and even though thousands of people kicked in too, it’s so nice to be able to help a creative venture, especially when the talent is so good.  The best way to describe their music is cinematic, visionary meets pop.  I know, it’s special.

Well, not so much biting sarcasm this year, so no ointment will be needed now.

Happy and Merry!!!
video


Monday, November 05, 2012

FLIGHT

We went to the 3:30 showing on Sunday.  That (crowded) audience didn't make a single sound for the entire film!  It was that engrossing, but, as Denzel Washington said on some interview I saw, "The stuff in the preview isn't what it's about."  It's not.  The rest of the story is triggered by the crash.

It's really an exploration of rock bottom.

Not entirely realistic, but easy to have empathy for the character played by Denzel, and in the end, it depressed me.  I'm not sure why.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NOBODY'S HOME

This is the halloween story of the christmas grinch.  We don't welcome kiddos tonight.  We used to, in Minnesota, where the neighborhood was larger and closer.  We'd even give out full size bars of A list candy.  And I'd eat what was left.  One year we had 70 kids.  I think the word got out.

My job was (and would be) to hold the dog back.  Terri would say nice things to the kids.  I'd lurk and feel like a perv if I went to the door myself.

So here we just turn off the lights and try to stay below the windows.  Terri gets some special things for the kid almost next door.  And that's it.

Tonight I am going out as a restaurant patron.  Wearing a white shirt.  To the Italian Restaurant.  If I make a mess I can always claim it's blood.

Monday, October 22, 2012

STATIC

Random half sentences and things:

"like claiming "the cigarette lighter fell out and started a seat fire" could be the best defense for erratic driving..."

My dog has big teeth.

It hit me at a low level, like being ankle pecked by ducks.

He had a look like you'd expect on a constipated man.

Her hair blew in the breeze like spun cotton candy.

The remote control was so hard to understand, nobody would ever know when the thing stopped working.

A wooden clothes pin is the thumbtack to the past.

Did they tune the sound of a strike?  Did they figure a way to make that hit on those pins to sound so fulfilling, like a brief orgasm?

I would like a job where they pay me to do this all day.

The vulture actually landed on his car's hood and its talons scratched right up.  That's the moment when he started to believe the voices he'd been hearing in his head.





Tuesday, October 02, 2012

LIGHTNING STRIKES1

Thursday the 13th we had rain. Rain has been rare here and last year we were in mid-exceptional drought. That's the worst category. This year we are over the running average but it hadn't rained in about 6 weeks, so the rain was welcome. The lakes that feed Austin water are still up to 30 feet below their average levels. Feet, yes.

Terri and I were standing in the kitchen, enjoying the sound of rain on the metal roof, and the break in a long string of sunny hot days. We hugged and as we had heard a few rumbles of thunder throughout the rain shower, I joked, "I'm taller, so I will get hit by lightning before you do." As we parted there was a flash and bang all at once. I didn't see the bolt but did see sparks fly outside the window. It didn't hit me, but something on the roof was zapped.

Immediately there was a loud hissing noise from somewhere in the house. I knew right away that we had been hit by lightning and that it was a direct hit. Since the house was hit and we were in the house it was like being within the explosion somehow. Was that hiss a propane leak? I headed for the noise : my powered computer speakers were blasting static. The computer was dead.

Terri's computer, plugged in in another part of the house was dead.

The upstairs air conditioning/heat controller was off. The upstairs AC wouldn't run.

The pool equipment also stopped. That controller was also dead.

We lost phone, Internet, and phone service via Time-Warner. My router was fried.

Insurance (Encompass) has been helpful. Their inspector saw no roof damage. Everything else will be handled by replacement value and receipts less the thousand dollar deductible. We brought in a computer repair guy who held brief ceremonies over the bodies of our fried computers. Over Terri's, he said it would cost more to fix than replace. Subsequently, we ordered one which is less powerful but should fill the bill. Mister Repair will be back to try to transfer all from her old hard drive to the new one from Newegg.

My computer was a custom build - my first. The replacement will be built by Tigerdirect and then Mister Repair will try to get data off my hard drive. One of the twin hard drives was dead. The other appears to be sick but he thinks he can get the data. Yes it had an expensive surge protector on it. No, it didn't save the day.

If you are a techie, my new one will be an i7 series 3 processor with 16 GB ram and two mirrored 1 TB hard discs. Mister Repair will be sure all is well. Some issues I must admit, I don't understand, especially getting info from one to the other... Those transfer cables never worked for me completely, which he verified.

We will hike through the weeds of permissions, serial numbers, drivers (many lost), etc. as we attempt to get them operational to the state they were once, or even better.

Meanwhile the days have stretched to very very long spans of time with nothing but my iPhone to use. Our iPads are wifi only and we await a new super whiz bang router as the former was fried too. This new one is said to have better speed and range, and it should, since it cost twice++ of the one I lost. Technology leap or false advertising?

Mister Repair says you can't trust some of the reviews on the more common review sites since they are "salted" with reviews from those who would benefit from them. Just what the world needs now: more mistrust.

I can't audition or record with no computer. Happily, my recording rig was unplugged as was my stereo. And some device appears to have saved the TV, TiVo, Receiver, BluRay, etc.
Time Warner came 5 days later to get us phone and tv. Internet would work if we had a router.*

As I write this to put onto my blog down the line when I can access it, I just found out the phone is out again.

The pool guy aka The Pool Doctor has been unable to repair the controller.

The ac guy did bring us back to an air conditioned upstairs. The transformer and controller was blown out. So was the deductible on our insurance.

Speaking with some neighbors I know that three of the houses I can see from here, one just across the street, have been hit by lightning in the last 8 years. One bolt started a fire as it hit a gas line under their punctured roof. Another blew out $60,000 worth of gear. And that house was hit a second time after the repairs. For another 60k!

Terri brought home a cold and now I have it. So I couldn't audition or work anyway.

I would have thought the addiction to computer would fade with time. It hasn't.

Our new computers have shipped and we will bring back the man who hopefully can rescue the data from the dead. If he succeeds we will build a chapel on the spot out of junk computers, a router, several control boards for air conditioning and pool equipment.

Sent from my iPad


* update:  Mister Repair did get us up and running.  He also had an argument with Time Warner's Mister Fixit as TW had wired the system improperly and the new modem was acting like a limited router.  Mister repair came back to fix THAT too.  The new router does go faster and farther than the old one.  And man, is it ever encrypted!

We are up and running.  I am powering through 1000 emails+ and wanted to get this, which I had written and stored on my iPad.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

976

This is number 976 blog posting on this blog.  Some day I will go back and read from the beginning.  As the song goes, "I was older then, I'm so much younger now."

Stuff happens: On Labor Day Chester swallowed the squeaker in a plush squeaky toy. Vet, vomit, done. BTW: Martha Stewart Plush Pets are stuffed with children's hair cut off while they cried.

Stuff 2: I backed my car into our wall in what you'd see is a parking area.  UNLESS you try to see it all via the backup cam.  No excuse.  Should have paid more attention.  It'll be a whole assembly replacement as there's holes in it now.  Remember when bumpers were for bumping?  Whatever happened to bumping?  It's lost, that's what.  Bumping was once part of who we are - or were - as drivers of America.

CHROME SWEET CHROME
I miss it.

I saw a Fisker.  There's automotivation.  It's like a swoopy Solstice had a baby with a Corvette.  It looked wide and long, but I only got a quick look.  I like the look of the new Lexii and still favor Audi for good looks and good everything else.

There are more trucks in Texas than in the whole country of Truckmanistan.

It's the 5th of September and the temperature is 96 in the shade.  Not complaining, but I long for a good long rain and thunderstorm.   Happily, Chester doesn't freak out at all over thunderclaps.  I've been recording thunder (last storm about 2 months back) which is easy on the iPhone app I have as when you see the flash, roll record.  Seldom is there no time to push the button to get the bang and on those times I find you record a lot of swearing.  "#### that was ####ingCLOSE!"

Somehow Spotify snuck onto my computer.  So far so good.  (It creates music streams based on your opinion of songs it presents as it gets to know you.)



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WHAT I DO

I kind of flinch when someone asks what I do and the answer I give is voicework or voiceovers.  I get the blank stare you'd give because they don't know what that is.  Funny thing is, that definition changes.  Sometimes it's acting by voice, sometimes it's announcing - seriously or friendly.  Sometimes short little tags: "BLAMMO, The First Name in Lethal Ammunition." Or full commercials.  Or narrations.  Anything you can conceive is narrated these days by someone somewhere.  Since everyone with a computer and internet and microphone is now also able to claim the term "voiceover," many don't sound good or have good enough SOUND.  These wanna-bes will work almost for free.  This has horribly devalued the rates over the years.  Unless it's union (rare) the average spot would pay less than it did in 1978.

Often clients will ask for something they already know - clone Morgan Freeman and you'll make a ton, or Mike Rowe (Deadliest Catch), for Ford.  Or a type... like... spoof this or imitate that.  (This won't work well with bad copy.)  

This leads me to this spoof of direct tv's latest campaign.  I think the script was well written and paced as that's the key to this working.  See and hear what you think. Click on this link below.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

DREAMS

I dreamt last night that I was having trouble sleeping. This is a breakthrough! I have had the "I have to find the bathroom in this big place" dream where I awake to find I have to go to the bathroom. I've had that "falling" thing a few times when I was younger but not lately.

I wish I could control what happens in my dreams - but the unconscious, the brain's Drive In Theater, books its own shows nightly.

I know I dream in color sometimes or even all the time but I only notice once in a while where it makes sense in the story of that dream. A red car. That kind of thing.

I absolutely have had audio dreams which sounded completely real and I thought I was awake, but wasn't. Just this morning I swear I heard the doorbell. Only it wasn't. If I SAW something with the vividness of that doorbell sound, well, it'd be much much more vivid than the strength of my normal dreaming.

I fell asleep while doing homework in high school and found I had written "head engine room ok" in my notebook. I told some friends and they took opportunities to joke about it. Better than 'head engine room NOT ok,' I think.

I have tried to force dreams by trying to stay awake and focused on a scenario but it doesn't work.

I went to a place to study out of body travel (of the spirit, I guess). Whatever that ride is like, I am sorry to say I haven't any personal experience, but think it'd be really cool!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

THE AMAZING GROWING DOG

You feed him kibble and water and he grows.  It's like Ghia Pet!

While a tiny pup Chester was so cute.  Now I have to look for photo ops to try to capture his 5-month-old look.  He's still cute, but maybe doggily related to awkward teen (in dog years he should be 3 and a half, but you get the idea.)




He's been in the pool several times.  We even took him to the local dog park and he ran around in 96 degree heat while we watched and sweated.  Too hot, I think, but when it cools, we'll be back!


I awake at 6AM and feed him, then we go for the morning walk before it heats up.  We both enjoy the cool before the sun comes up, the sunrise show, birds, and rabbits everywhere.  Sadly, there was a dead one on the side of the road, and I had to distract Chester from this yummy reminder of mortality.

HAPPILY AFTER EVER

It's time for an update.  Today's so slow I fixed my nose/earhair trimmer.

But what's wrong with slow?  Well, other than in the Olympics...

Most recently I am on the T and V on a spot in the NW.  Portland and all that.  It's for a credit union.  I am the voice that speaks off camera (mercifully) as my grown daughter dances at her wedding and I reminisce before I remind anyone in their emotional peak about the credit union.  Hey.  I can post it.



I guess that's "me" dancing with "my little girl."  Or she married an older guy. Is he old enough to be her father?

A very nice piece, producers.  Thanks for the work!  (They hired me off an audition and used the audition.)  Recorded right here.  That always blows my mind.  Another relatively recent sponsor VO I did was on SIRIUS/XM, beaming from space... and recorded down the hall.)


Saturday, July 21, 2012

I SCREAM YOU SCREAM WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!

My name is Bob.  (Hello Bob)

I am an ice cream-junkie.  Mine is the addiction that consumes half-gallons in record time.
I can stop.  It's easiest to stop when the half-gallon is empty.  I make promises to myself.  No more.  Give it a rest.  Time out.

But then... it HAS been hot and I just crave something cold and sweet.  I concoct some rationalization that I DESERVE ice cream.

And so, having lived all over, having eaten ice cream all over, and having a passion for the subject, here is my ice cream breakdown.  Ice cream is basically several elements mixed in various combinations: sweetness, creaminess, airiness, and strength of flavor.

Sweetness.
This is the jolt of sweet you get.  It can lean sugary or syrupy.  I can't remember the name of the company, but in Buffalo you could get this WONDERFUL sweet ice cream.  Very sugary and a great combination of everything else. Less creamy than the creamiest, which is good, because you don't want a fight to break out between a snap of sweetness and creaminess.

Creaminess.
You'd expect creamy to equate with cream a la cow, but it is more.  Emulsifiers or other chemical treats can make things froth, and have the touch of creamy, but it ain't.

It's  better when the creaminess is bovine.

The difference between custard and ice cream is because custard has more butter fat, which is like cream, but is a part of cream.

Airiness.
More air = less weight = less stuff = more profit.  Really ruins the taste.  Haagen Dazs, for example, is dense, probably at one end of the scale of dense to light 'n' airy.  Store brands seem to tend to airy. I think it's the mark of cheapness.  More air, less cow.

Suddenly, it's ice MILK as the butter fat drops and there seems to be a watery consistency.

Strength of Flavor.
Blue Bell, here in Austin, is made just down the road in Brenham, is world class to my taste, and slightly muted in flavor.  That can tease you into having seconds and even thirds because it's not as an extreme sensation as it'd be if the flavor was more amped up.  Baskin-Robbins is stronger.  I think Blue Bell is very close to as good as it gets.

I once had home-made pepper ice cream.  A dry dry moisture content complimented the peppery overlay perfectly.  The moisture approached Gelato, but dry.  Maybe it was colder.

Various brands vary in their flavor strength.  Baskin Robbins is stronger than Blue Bell.

I like ice cream hard, but then I let it melt and eat the melt first.

I am addicted.  (Hello Bob)


About nuts.
Nuts are not ice cream.  They take up space that could be ice cream.  Put em on if you like at home, but leave nuts, marshmallows, ball bearings, marbles and bbs out of ice cream you are selling me.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

RIGHT THIS WRONG WITH ME

I am writing this one to encourage resolution to an injustice.  I welcome your support.  For too long this situation has persisted, and those who would benefit most are unable to help themselves in this matter, are denied the ability to rally public sentiment, or even speak on their own behalf.

I am taking this up on behalf of dogs everywhere - our loyal, loving, four-footed friends.  They can't use facebook - they can't twitter - they can't get the local paper to do a canine-interest story.  You might never know their deprivation as they sit quietly licking themselves, or chewing on your shoe.

Why is there catnip but not dognip?

Give tabby a snort of the mouse-filled-with-nip and there's immediate gratification: much more so than even when Bubba has a good chaw 'n' spitcup going at a NASCAR event!  The cat practically floats into the air, bounces off walls, happily nuts.  But there is no alternative for dogs.  It's unfair.

And while the DEA may indeed expand the War on Drugs to include catnip as a gateway drug, our little Chester or your little Spot has little but rabbit turds to elevate his mood.

I would like to invite you to join me in a new organization - we'll call it AARF.  Let's bring a smile to man's best friend!  Donations are encouraged.

--

And while I am thinking about things, if cash-strapped NASA would join forces with our most popular spectator sport and become NASACAR, well, the synergies would be an immediate win-win. I foresee a 2 second quarter mile run in the very near future.

--

Two people recently mentioned to me they enjoy my blog.  To them and you I say a big MERCI!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

DOG DON'T

I walk Chester every morning and evening.  Today, at about 6:45AM, we were on a nice quiet stretch of neighborhood road.  It's so quiet back there, with good distance sightlines, that I can see no car is coming, so I will sometimes let Chester run.  He's really good at coming when called.

Unless.

Unless someone has thoughtfully plastic-bagged and tied another dogs's deposit then left it on the grass where Chester's super nose can smell it and it will call to him.

He grabs the bag and before I can yell "come" it is gone.  GONE.

I walk up to him and wave a piece of pork - a special treat I carry in a treat bag ($8.95 at Petsmart.)
He isn't moving.  I discover he has the whole bag and contents, in his mouth with nothing hanging over the teeth.  I command him to "Drop It."  He looks back at me with a shit-eating stare.

I take action.  I pry Chester's mouth open and reach in and retrieve the baggie.  Perhaps his needle-like teeth have punctured the bag - I don't do an exam - I throw it away.

Grossed out.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A SOBERING STAT

Have you ever counted how many people you've known in your life who  are now passed?  It's that one ride we all take -  hopefully to something more and better...

And the older you get, the higher the number.

I remember the first - Jerry Sullivan - they announced his death at mass... he was a grade school chum who had been shot and killed in Viet Nam.  I remember him as a cheerful boy.

One Christmas we got the usual card, not from Jim Brown, a former high school buddy, but from his wife, with details on his passing (in his 40s, as I recall.)  He was blessed with a genius IQ and many other outstanding abilities.  We had only been in touch via Christmas card over the years.

The years do separate us, as did my radio journey across the US and Canada.

My old college business partner Art Constantine was killed on his motorcycle as was his wife, and his brother Robbie died many years before from a botched hospital stay.

Not including family, I count 11.

iLOVE

Ordered the latest IPad.  Terri can then have my IPad2.  It'll be interesting to see if I note much difference.  The IPad is a game changer.  Good as that is, though, I can't quite believe how much I like my IPhone 4s.  I love the thing.  It makes me look back at the Blackberry with a sneer.  I have all sorts of apps which work very well... love the camera in that phone, and it'll be cool to see those pictures on the IPad '3' to see if they look even better as the new display is better.

Here it comes.




Thursday, May 24, 2012

TRAPPED IN PLASTIC

It seems that after 7 years, a new house will need work.  Ours is 7.5 years old in June.  As I write this, sheets of plastic hang from the ceiling and doorways to keep in the white dust and scrapings as we are having some ceiling work done where the mastic? tape has separated, leaving cracks in the paint on top of it..

It also seems that 7 years in the attic turns a sealed ceiling paint can into a brick.  Happily, the label was still legible and I visited Sherwin Williams to get a replacement.

Can you imagine what a little 13 week old puppy would do if he saw that hanging plastic?  I can.  He won't.

Monday, May 14, 2012

CHARISMA?

Our dog is a rock star!  People driving by when we walk stop to see him.  People in Petsmart go nuts - it seems like everybody wants to pet him or hold him.  I don't know if it's puppyhood or being a Golden Retriever pup or what, but the dog has something going.

I saw it once before.  When I worked in Montreal, there was a sales guy I became friendly with - Louis Pasquin.  Louie in the mid 70s looked like Robert Redford at his good-looking-est.  Louie and I would go eat lunch together and the noisy restaurant/s would noticeably get quiet when we walked in.  Sadly, I know it wasn't MY appeal.  Louie was a rock star.  Women just melted.  Call it charisma or just exceptional good looks, but there was something happening - something foreign to my world.  (an aside: Louie was a kind heart too.  I am sorry we've lost touch as the winds of broadcasting blew me away.)

Come to think of it, I saw it in Pittsburgh, too.  Crowded bar.  Sexy secretary (from the radio station) had gone to the ladies room.  Someone had come over to talk to me and I said - you won't believe this, but there's a woman in the rest room and when she comes out, the room is going to react.  This was met with disbelief.  Then she came out.  And the noise level went immediately way down as she was being checked out.  A friend once spotted her ACROSS the stadium at 3 Rivers!  She had something magnetic.

Back to Chester.  He's growing like a weed.  It will be interesting to see if he outgrows this attention.


That's Hedgehog's butt, by the way.




Friday, May 04, 2012

DUMB IN PETSMART

...so I go into Petsmart to get some toys for the new pup.  And I figure I need a plush thing and a squeaky and a bone.  I pick up a maybe 5 inch long bone and proceed to the counter. The place is crowded. A line forms just like that behind me.  I happen to notice - the bone is $27.95.  Huh?  Naaa.  Yes!  I bought my pup a hunk of elk horn.  I was too embarrased to take it back.  They're probably roadside in Wyoming, antlers everywhere.  $27.95  The pup says it's as good as a bone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DOGANGEL OR DOGDEVIL

How can something so cute and wonderful turn into a monster just like that?  Not that the change is on purpose - it's instinct or hormones or that leaf or that electric cord or that tempting rabbit turd.  Yes, our little Chester is "willful."  Somehow I think this is karma coming back in a feedback loop to me.  Of course, our pup is only 8 weeks and some days old, so hopefully at some point he'll actually want to be on a leash, stop eating carpet and turn into the doggie love machine we hope for.

Last night, on duty for the 2AM trip outside, I found the widdle boy had launched diarrhea in and out of his crate and after doing the potty encouragement visit outside  (a beautiful night, btw), I then proceeded to clean it all up.  Walking through the house in the dark I managed to accidentally kick a wall with the foot on which my big toe was effectively sewn back on a few years back.  It still acts up.  Yowtch!

But then you get a hug and all is good.


Here he is in the crate, dreaming of rabbit turds.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CAMERA CAMERA

Thailand floods delayed the production of the SONY NEX 7 camera, likely to replace my Olympus E 620, which I will then sell.  Ironically, originally I had planned to await the update to the Canon 5D, which is now released at a MK III version with all the bells and whistles I originally wanted.  It retails for about 3x the Sony.  It's probably superior.  But is so pricey!  And large.  I had hoped to get away from the large form DSLRS due to the size when travelling.  At about $5000 with lens, I think I'll pass on the Canon, but with reverence.

Friday, April 06, 2012

DOS BRISAS

Last Sunday and Monday we traveled to the Inn at Dos Brisas, which translates to the Inn at two Brisas. It's secluded, about 2 hours and change from here.  It seemed like another geography, with more lushness and even a different color palette of green.  Limited guests, 5 star re$taurant -  you can rent one of several houses or four one room deals.  They give you a golf cart for roaming the 300+ acre spread.  We roamed.  Horses, or Hosses as I like to say, were in various corrals and pastures.  One had Opossum Sickness whereby it ate some grass that an opossum had 'gone' on, and "wasn't right in the head."  It was trying to open the gate of its enclosure to escape the asylum, kind of like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.


We had a nice time in the peace being away from the usual.

Note from the road: we saw a wild turtle on the road
Note from the road: from 60mph to 30mph.  Speed trap?
Note from the road: noisy gravel




On Monday morning we had signed up for shotgun lesson.  The 20 gauge kickback/recoil really hurt after a while.  I didn't master it.  Man it hurt.  I am a delicate boy.  Then I asked if I could try from the hip.  Didn't take long to hit that clay!  I quit immediately, while the state champion 'guide' was a-thinking, "that was luck, right?"  All I can say is it'd be fun from the hip, but would take a lot of ammo to become proficient.  And I was really surprised how hot the rifle got.  Quickly, too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

WHY I DON'T SPARK

I await the arrival of the electrician. We have a list of items which need attention. There are several which seem beyond what I could do myself and another several I could do, but know deep in my heart I should not.

I was the child who once plugged in tweezers.

Some of the work involves going up a ladder, the base of which, due to blockages, will have a wide wide span or an uneven surface. I can hold it for him but Terri couldn't bring enough heft for me. And besides, my nature to GET IT DONE might have me off balance easily. My pride suffers a little but I'd like to stay relatively intact.  I can imagine putting a slipping ladder through a window while I ride it down into cactii or a broken leg.

How hard to rewire a switch? Three wires, color coded... of COURSE I could do that. But as long as he's here working on other stuff...

And it turns out that of 4 new halogen outside lights, only one worked. I zoom back to LOWES while he's here on the clock. Before I left the store I actually tested each bulb THIS time.  They couldn't figure out how to test, believe it or not.  I then went to the lamp/lighting display and simply unscrewed a bulb which was lit and tested the new ones one-by-one.

Do you ever start out a small project solo only to discover that you need a special tool, or maybe an adaptor, or that your fix causes more trouble than the original problem?  That wouldd be a snapshot of some of my fixes.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

JESSIE


She was an all black Cocker Spaniel pup when we first met in Lonsdale, Minnesota. She came running with her pack of brothers and sisters and seemed to be the one most unafraid of human touch - she was all over me.

There are so many memories cascading into my mind as our good sweet dog Jessie was put to sleep yesterday afternoon. She was 15 years 1 month 10 days old. The last weeks seemed to bring a breathing struggle. Some time ago, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and/or lung cancer. At the vet she entered nicely in her sweet way. Even in the exam room she was calm, and her breathing difficulty seemed slowed in rhythm. Terri says she knew. I think she was in discomfort and wanted us to help make it stop. She was losing strength quickly. Never a good eater, she was still picky as we tried to make her last meals the best. She was down to 15 from 22 pounds at her peak. Skin and bones and fur. And sweetness.

She will be missed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"STRANGE SOUNDS"

Google it on YouTube and then listen.

I have no clue.

But it does seem that something is up. I suspected a hoax, but it's pretty darn worldwide. Normal sound diminishes at the square of the distance to the source. This doesn't seem to. One popular theory is it's HAARP (Google this.) Another is its the shifting of the earth's magnetic core (how this makes noise eludes me.)

Some think it's a religious thing.

Your theories are welcome.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

JANUARY RANDOMNESS

I feel the Christmas letter posting below was a failure.  Or it stank.  Or was too long.  Versus the number of comments I used to get to the printed version, this idea was a bust.  Maybe people are just too busy to click a link and read,  I don't know.  I got some response, but not what I am used to.  Unsure what to do next year.

Show off!  Show ON.

I was listening to myself from 40 years ago yesterday.  Someone had posted something on Facebook which reminded me that airchecks from my days as a disc jockey are still online.  Listening back to this raw kid on the radio in Pittsburgh - then a top 10 market -  with what I know NOW about how to entertain and do great radio, the best opinion I can muster is: "interesting."  Whatever it was, it WAS NOT the sterile crap that airs on many stations today.  That's somewhat in part due to cost-cutting measures where a person on-air in today's radio can dial up the future in the computer, and drop what he's going to say where it fits.  There's no SHARED experience.  That is, the person you hear didn't just hear what you heard.  How's that cut costs?  Because the person you hear is doing this for multiple stations in several cities, reducing staff.  And payroll.  An example:  a show that would have paid $35,000/yr now pays about $5,000 to the "voice-tracker.".

THE SECRET


If you listen to a radio station with a "call-in to win" contest, you stand a much better chance by using your cell phone to make the call.