Friday, March 30, 2012

#65. or, cats and dogs

  I'm not really a cat person. I tolerate cats. Probably a lot more than cats tolerate me. I can see the argument for cats as pets, especially if you live in the city. They are independent. If you have to leave for the day to go to work, cats are perfectly happy to spend the day doing what they do, all by themselves. Plus, cats will crap in a box. That's a pretty big plus if you have a pet in the house. That being said, i'm pretty sure that if they had opposable thumbs, cats would be going through your underwear drawer the second that door closes on your way to work.

  The internet also loves cats. I guess they're cute and cuddly. They also are very flexible and quite often, you can get a picture of a cat in some sort of compromising position, then add some witty caption, put it on the internet, and get a lot of hits.

  Still, i like cats. Barn cats. In fact, i can say that the most favorite cats that i have ever had in my life, lived in the barn. They serve a purpose there, catching mice. I'm more than happy to occasionally shower a barn cat with affection when she drops a carcase of a mouse at my feet that she hunted out of the barn.

  I'm a dog person. Where i like cats, i love dogs. I don't think dogs are getting enough love on the internet. ( although, that just might be in the circles i've been travelling in lately.) Now, i'm the first to admit that my views are pretty biased here, but i think that dogs have way more loyalty than cats. I've seen dogs morn over the loss of a partner. I've seen dogs so happy to see you home from shopping that you think they are going to explode. My dog would fight to the death to protect one of my children, and come and put his head in your lap when you just feel shitty. In my opinion, dogs are way more in tune with our emotions than cats are.

my dogs. they have bodies as well

  Now, granted, where i live, all of our pets spend their time outdoors where they can run and play and roll in dead things. If i lived in town, i probably wouldn't own two big dogs. They need to get out and explore things. That being said, our yellow Lab would make the transition quite well as he is more than happy to think he is a lap dog. He's happy anywhere, as long as we're happy.

  .............these views are mine. Truly, i don't want to say that dogs win over cats or vice versa. We had most of a cat that lived in the barn, but i haven't seen him since the fire and i'm pretty sure he didn't make it. Although, when you are only most of a cat, you learn to be quite sneaky and if he showed up again some time, i wouldn't be surprised at all.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

#64. or, i might be a fugative

  So, our youngest son wanted to be on facebook. My wife and i are on there and he's been after this for some time now. Apparently, AAAAAALLLLLLLLL of his friends are on facebook. It would seem, that if he could only be on facebook, everything in his world would be awesome.

  The trouble is, he's only 12. He doesn't have a phone but he has an ipod. On that, he has something called text plus. That basically turns it into a phone. He has to be on wifi for it to happen, but it works nonetheless. Oh, text plus and facetime. (Damn you Apple!)

  Anyways, we caved. Actually, it was more of a decision based on the fact that if we let him have a facebook account and made him friend my wife and i first, we would probably have more of an idea of what he was up to than to have him texting and doing facetime from his ipod. (Damn you Apple!) So, first i had to set him up with an e-mail account. Because he's the age he is, it had to be linked through my e-mail account. That was fine, i was OK with that, we're honest law abiding citizens. Next, when we tried to set him up a facebook profile, it wouldn't let us do it. The problem is, facebook doesn't want you to have an account if you are 12. So, we had to create a fictionalized birthday for him so facebook would let him in. He was happy. Except, it wouldn't let him do everything that you are supposed to be able to do on facebook BECAUSE, facebook wants to talk to his e-mail. (which still says he is 12 years old.) So, i had to abandon his e-mail that said he was 12 years old and create a whole new one that has a fictionalized birthday which also corresponds with the fictionalized birthday that facebook thinks he has. I YI YI!

  Now, instead of having 3 sons, i have 4. Our fictional oldest son, who has the same name as our youngest, was born around the time my wife was 4 years old!

  If i've learned anything at all from years of watching cop shows like CSI, it's that the more convoluted story that you weave, the more difficult it will be to keep it straight when they come to bust your ass for fraud. I think, that in an effort to keep better tabs on who our kid was associating with, we might have inadvertently become fugitives of the law?

  ..............i fully expect to get a call from Revenue Canada demanding 17 years of back taxes for our 35 year old son who is actually 12 years old. I'm going to use my call to phone Apple or Mark Zuckerberg. One of them should have enough money to bail me out of jail.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#63. or, a half a cigar

  So, last night, i didn't eat anything after supper. EXCEPT, two strawberries, but i'm not really going to count those because......well, they're strawberries.

  Also, as i had planned, the wife and i spent a little time in the hot tub talking about things that didn't piss us off. Things like throwing summer parties and smoking meat and potato salad without creamy dressing. It was indeed relaxing and glorious.

  I'm not really supposed to be in the hot tub yet. I'm supposed to wait for three weeks after my tattoo to let everything heal and have the ink set properly. Finally getting my hot tub up and running again just before getting a tattoo was probably not the best laid out plan. It's been there taunting me for the past couple weeks. Last night we used it anyways. To be cautious, my wife let me use her throne. To clarify, it's more of a slightly elevated portion of the tub floor than a throne, but it did the job to keep my boob out of the water. I think that's probably why i like having her sit there so much? Also, while hot tubing last night, i smoked half a cigar.

  You're not supposed to smoke a half a cigar, i know that. It dramatically reduces the image of me being any sort of cigar aficionado. (which i am not) But, i do like cigars. I like everything about them. I like that if you have good ones, someone, someplace else in the world took the time to craft it by hand, then it made it's way into my humidor. (Granted, it's probably in a sweaty factory, by children, for minimum wage, but i like to imagine it's a buxom young Spanish lady in a flowing summer dress.) I like that they require attention to keep them from drying out and stay in optimal condition. By no means am i an expert, i can't smoke a cigar and tell you that it has nuances of nuts, or what type of manure the tobacco plants grew in. I do like, though, that it takes an hour or so to get through one. (A whole cigar in the tub leaves me all pale and wrinkled, mind you, i'm fairly pale and wrinkled at the best of times.) It's not a cold winter activity, they need to warm up to work they way they're supposed to. I have to pick my spots until the summer comes. The hot tub just works, but only for a half of one.

  To smoke a cigar, for me, is an exercise in relaxation. An hour of time, sitting on the deck in the summer, sipping on a glass of scotch, making my way through a cigar. Everything goes away for a while. When the world is going a hundred miles an hour, it's nice to have something that slows it down so you can step back for a bit. It's the same reason, that i switched from an electric shaver to a blade, to have some things that require a bit of  slowing down to do a good job and appreciate.

  .........i am aware, that because i used the term cigar aficionado, somebody is inadvertently going to be sent here on some google search, wild goose chase. If that happens, please keep in mind that shovelling the snow to my deck chair, and sitting there, shivering for an hour in winter boots and a heavy coat is NOT relaxing. Give me a break buddy, i'm doing the best i can.


Monday, March 26, 2012

#62. or, reset, start again

  I weighed myself this morning. I gained three pounds. This morning i weigh 190 pounds. I'm not very happy with myself. I need to curb this disturbing trend.

  When the winter started i had a goal. I was going to look awesome on the beach in Mexico. I think that i got close. Granted, i don't really have a lot to work with here, but all in all, i can't say that i wasn't unhappy with how i looked.

  Winter is slow for me. It affords me the time to go the the local walking track at the Agrena. I was getting up early to stretch and do squats and push-ups and all sorts of nasty things. While i didn't seem to be losing the weight that i wanted to at the time, at least i was doing something. I felt better.

  I think that the things that happened to me over the last couple months have left me a little wrung out. Stressed maybe, but i've been trying to fight that off. I think i need to do something to shift gears in my head. Too many times, i plunk myself into the couch in the evening and stuff chocolate covered pretzels into my face. It's too easy to have a beer. It's too easy to do nothing. If you ask me the next morning what i watched last night, i most likely wouldn't be able to tell you. It's mindless drivel, that does nothing to take my mind away from what happens during the day. I need to stop this.

  So, today, i will attempt to reset and start again.

  Today, i will stop having that beer in the evening and drink a cup of mojito tea instead.

  Today, if there is nothing on TV, i will get off my ass and do something that actually raises my heartbeat.

  Today, i will try to stop eating anything after supper.

  Today, i try to stop pissing around on my phone in the evening, and try to read a book instead.

  Today, i will grab my wife and try to spend  some time in the hot tub whenever possible. Also, the hot tub will be a place for talking about things other than what pissed us off and rather, good things we want to do.

  That's what i have for now. My goal will be to look stunningly awesome in my suit when my son graduates this summer. Goal number two will be  to look acceptable without a shirt at the beach when we go camping this summer.

  ............i think i will also get a haircut this week. I always feel better after i get a haircut.

Friday, March 23, 2012

#61. or, tiny beers

  Sometimes i like to have a drink in the evening. The last little while i have been looking at those drinks that require a little of assembly. Occasionally, i wish that i had one of those stainless steel shaker thingys. I'm pretty sure that if i had one of those, i would be a way better concocter of magical beverages. And a muddler. I need to get a muddler. It's only been recently that i have even come to know that a muddler existed. You use a muddler to bruise the mint leaves when you make mojitos. It releases the flavour. Basically, it's a stick with a knob on the end. A mortar and pessel will also do this job, but i've been using the back of a wooden spoon. I worry though, that might be coming off as a little red neck.

  As much as i want to learn how to put some of these fancy drinks together, the difficulty in it arises if you are making these drinks and testing them yourself. After a few, you're going to lose a little perspective. (That's how you end up doing Vodka and Jager shots straight out of the bottle, but i'm not talking about that today.)

  Anyways, i've been practising on trying to make a good mojito. I had some really good ones in Mexico, but i can't seem to recreate that. I'm a little worried that mojitos might be location sensitive. I think that they might taste way better if you have one on the beach if flip flops as opposed to say, looking out the window at a foot of snow. Come summer i intend to test this theory.

  Now, we also happen to be trying to do things a little healthier in this house and that is not exactly the the best time to be making a drink that asks you to add a spoon full of sugar to it. That other day i did try a cup of mojito flavoured tea in the evening. It wasn't the same.

 As much as i've been enjoying trying to play bar tender, sometimes i also just like to have a beer. I like beer. Beer is a wonderful beverage. Sometimes, though, if you're not really doing an activity, or just finished a game of hockey, a whole beer can be too much. Yesterday, at the liquor store, if found tiny beers. I had them in Mexico a couple years ago, i didn't even know they were available here.

same great taste, 2/3 the quantity

   Tiny beers are perfect. It completely redefines the whole thing. You can have a half a beer, or you can mix and match tiny beers with regular sized beers and have a beer and a half. If you wanted, you could drink a half dozen tiny beers and tell your buddy's the next day how you finished off a 6 pack during CSI. But if you're drinking that much beer by yourself, you probably have other problems. Last night, one tiny beer was exactly what i needed. I was so glad i came across them that i bought two cases.

  ............the only negative thing that i can think of regarding tiny beers is that if you're going to stroll into a guy party with a pack of tiny beers, you are probably going to be ridiculed, and your manlyness will be in question. I think they might be a little feminine, i'm only drinking them at home.




Thursday, March 22, 2012

#60. or, no trucks to be found

  Yesterday, i got up at 4:30 AM, and by 5, i was on the road with my brother for a three hour drive to look at yet another truck. It's been that way for the last month or so as we look for equipment to replace the things that we lost in the fire. Between the two of us,we have covered a good majority of the province in the last while looking for things. Some of it came together pretty easily, some not so much.

   Early on, it was obvious to us that we were not going to be able to go with new replacements. The trick was to find the very best of the used equipment we could find for the best deal we could get. Insurance allowed us to replace a couple of our newer pieces pretty much straight across for pieces of equal value. Once we found those, the decision was rather easy. Some of the older pieces that were on the verge of being replaced before they were destroyed, we decided to add money to and try to find a piece that would give us a better unit for trade, further down the line. All in all, the tractors went rather well, finding the ones that would work for us was a relatively painless undertaking. The trucks have proven to be a bit more of a challenge.

  We lost three big trucks. Granted, they were older trucks, but they were in really good shape. Each of them had been torn down and rebuilt, and rigged specifically for the jobs that we require of them. They were all painted to match, and when you lined them up in the yard, i'm going to say they looked rather impressive. Tractors are sort of my thing, trucks, my brothers, and i think he was pretty proud of them. As things progressed with the insurance, it was looking more and more like we were going to be able to replace one truck with the money we received from the three.

  Now, i'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that this province is based somewhat on agriculture and trucking. Oil too, but i'm including that with trucking, because everything moves by truck here. You would think that in an environment that seems to be truck saturated, finding a nice used unit wouldn't be so hard, you would be wrong. There is nothing out there that has the base for what we need to work with. Everything everybody has for sale, is 2 to 3 hours away, and in wonderful shape. It's only after you drive the distance that you discover something that's ready for the trash heap.

  Yesterday, we looked a lot of trucks and talked to plenty of salesmen. We met, "start  $15000 high and drop significantly to impress you guy". We also met, " please buy my truck because it's been sitting here for 3 years, and although it will never, ever be road worthy, it's perfect for you guy". In the end, we agreed on a truck from an owner operator. He seemed to take care of it mechanically. It's pretty sound in that respect. Cosmetically though, it's going to be a work in progress. It's going to need a bit of loving. If we order a grain box to put on it today, it will be 4-6 weeks before that's ready, so i guess the that gives us some time, but the clock is running.

  Calving is almost right on top of us, and seeding is right around the corner. It's going to get pretty busy here this spring. There's a lot to do, but i guess that's when we thrive.

  ............yesterday, our trip took us past the airport. It's funny how much doing that these days finds me longing to be on one of those planes headed somewhere with sand and fruity drinks. March is nearly over and that means i'm one month closed to my next holiday, i can't wait.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#59. or, my wife's shampoo

  So, i've been using my wife's shampoo, my hair smells like apples, or some other fruity delight.

  Our youngest boy just turned 12, and that being the case, he also has begun to smell bad. We knew this was going to happen. It's happened to us before. Twice. Our two other sons live in the basement, and truthfully, sometimes i dread going down there. On occasion, i've poked my head into their rooms, and more often than not the smell is enough to make me gag. We are pretty much resigned to the fact that that portion of the house has been lost until after they move out. ( at least i'm hoping they will move out someday.) At that point, i think the plan is to hire a crime scene clean up crew to come in and attempt to restore it to an actual livable enviroment.

  Our youngest son lives upstairs, and we have to walk past his room on a daily basis. It's because of this fact, that we have taken pro-active steps to at least keep this problem at a minimum. I try to open his door every day to keep it aired out. We fight what often seems like a losing battle to keep it tidy, but these are things that are only the tip of the ice berg. The main cause of the foul smell just seems to be that of small boy becoming teenager.  It occurs to me that the reason boys start to smell so bad when they become teenagers is so we can find them then they turn 13 and disappear into their rooms and stop talking to us for the next few years.

  This also happens to be the age where he is becoming more aware of how he looks before he leaves the house. I've been noticing that he's making more of an effort in this regard. Aside of course, from his gangster looking Monster energy drink hat with the flat brim, that i don't see working at all for the kid whose "hood" is down on the farm. I think he's sending a sort of mixed message there. Anyways, he's been after my wife to help him do his hair before he leaves for school. She had a little trouble with it early on and asked him what he was using to wash his hair with, she said it was like trying to style a wire brush. She suggested that he try use her shampoo for a few days, and after that, i noticed that she was saying how much nicer his hair was to work with. Apparently, he had been using my shampoo.

  Now, i've never tried to pass myself off as the smartest tool in the shed, but it did occur to me that if my shampoo is making my sons hair feel like a wire brush, it would only stand to reason that it is also making my hair feel like a wire brush. The next logical step for a middle aged, fellow who wants to do everything in his power to be irresistible, (and have hair that his wife couldn't wait to run her fingers through) would be for me to start using her shampoo as well.

    ..............I've been been pacing myself a bit and so far haven't seen any noticeable change. Later this week i plan to start using her conditioner as well. I hope i become sexy and awesome before she runs out of hair care products or she's going to be pissed.


Monday, March 19, 2012

#58. or, i could use a little sleep

  I'm not feeling all that chipper this morning. I think that i may be coming down with something. Last night i went to bed with a headache hoping that it would be gone when i woke up, but it wasn't. In fact, i was awake at 4:00 AM, trying to convince myself that i needed to go back to sleep.

  I hate it when i wake up early when i desperately need sleep. I seem to have this small window of oportunity before the gears in my brain begin to turn, because once that happens, any chance of falling back to sleep is lost. It didn't help that last night, the littlest of our dogs decided that she needed to be up at 4 as well, barking her fool head off.

  I'm laying there, awake, but still on the edge of being able to fall back to sleep, when all of the sudden, BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK. Now, there's a 99.9% chance of there being nothing out there other than a rabbit, or deer lingering in the bush, but there's also a .1% chance that something sinister is happening outside. So, i have to get up to take a look. Nothing there, except the little dog, proud as punch of herself for driving off some foul beast and saving our home from emminent destruction. It's odd that all of the warning that she does has to take place from right below our window.

  Anyways, after that, all hope of going back to sleep was lost, My head was up to 3/4 speed going over things that needed to be done in the day and week to come. At 7:00 AM i'm already yawning, it's going to be a long day. I might need to try to take a nap.

   ..............I'm not really sure how intimidating a middle-aged, half asleep, naked man peering out the window is, if in fact there did happen to be a burgler lurking around the house? I imagine that it's probably a lot less intimidating than it would be if it was a middle-aged, half asleep, naked man peering into the window?

Friday, March 16, 2012

#57. or, cow pie top hop

  We rented a movie last night. The Three Musketeers. While it might not be every ones cup of tea, i thoroughly had a wonderful time. I think it's a lose yourself for a couple hours with popcorn movie that's just fun. It's the same musketeers story that's hundreds years old but it adds a few twists to bring it up to date. There's grand sets, three different love stories, tall ships that fly through the air, Orlando Bloom rockin' a wicked, awesome hair style, and plenty of  swashbuckling.

  I'm a bit of a fan of the swashbuckling, but there isn't a lot of call for it in doing what i do. When i was younger, and more agile, sometimes while scooping up calves, wielding my cow cane, i would imagine that i was doing a little swashbuckling. However, it doesn't really translate when you have rubber boots and coveralls on. About the most swashbuckling thing i do these days is the frozen cow pie top hop. That's where you jump from frozen cow pie to frozen cow pie without ever landing on the actual ground.

  The frozen cow pie top hop tends to become a bit of a necessity around this time of year. It happens when things start to melt. You end up with water running across slick ice, plus the occasional area of mud that threatens to suck the rubber boots right off your feet.You can cross these areas by hopping from pie to pie. Here's a little cow math:

    Approx 180 cows, multiplied by approximately 3 dumps per day, multiplied by around 150 days below freezing, equals 81000 frozen cow pies. Then add 180 calves at say, 2 dumps per day, for about 75 days before i sell them equals 27000 smaller frozen pies. 81000 plus 27000 is 108 000 cow pies. (and you thought you had a lot of dog shit to clean up when the snow melts in your back yard) Crossing a field without actually touching the ground is completely doable.

    Now i agree, that if you were to look across a field at me, in rubber boots and coveralls, doing the light step shuffle across a field of frozen cow pies, you're probably thinking that this fellow should get some medication, but rest assured, i'm swashbuckling the hell out of it.

  .............i think i might look a little more awesome if i could find some knee high rubber boots that i could fold down in a sort of pirate fashion. Also wear one of those big hats with a feather in it and some 4 inch wide leather belts. Although, that may be a little flamboyant? ( i probably shouldn't even mention my hetero, man-crush on Orlando Bloom.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#56. or, it takes a lot of balls

  I went to a bull sale yesterday. I have to replace a few bulls because they have gotten old. It seems somehow strangely fitting to me that after a lifetime of living to eat and have sex, that you end up being slaughtered and made into sausage.

  The bull sale is sort of a big to-do. You get fliers in the mail with pictures of each bull in the auction. Beside each bull, there is a little bio of the bulls pedigree, weights at different times of his life, and the measurement of his testicles. If you are a bull, and you want to be attractive, you have to have large balls. In the world of the cow pen, there isn't time for dating, and romance, and just getting together for a few drinks to see if you like the personality of your mate. Most likely, the cow sees the bull, says to herself: "hey, that guy has nuts that hang to his knees. I think i would like HIM to be the father of my offspring."

  The more good genetics that you can put together, the odds are with you that their offspring are going to be superior. But it's still pretty much a crap shoot. You can have two Nobel Prize winning parents, mix their baby making goo together in perfect laboratory conditions, and you still might end up with a biscuit for a kid. Conversely, you could have a child conceived in a trailer park, on a futon, while Hillbilly Handfishin' is playing on the TV in the other room, grow up to be the leader of the free world. You just never know.

  That's the magic. You just never know. You do your homework, you try to make the best decision, you drop Forty-five hundred dollars on bull, but until those calves start hitting the ground, it remains a mystery. If they get up in a hurry, start sucking right away, and grow like crazy, you win. If they wander in circles and keep walking into the wall of the barn, you probably didn't do so well. Anywhere in between is cake.

  ...........Hillbilly Handfishin' is a real show, i saw it on the guide the other day while i was flipping around. I stopped for a second to read the info but i could feel my teeth loosening in my head and had a sudden urge to tear the sleeves off my shirt. I moved on before i was permanently scarred.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#55. or, tattoo part two

  About 2 weeks back, i went to see a really talented lady at Bittersweet Tattoos. Her name is Jodie. For the most part, she is an exceptionally talented artist. An exceptionally talented artist, who decided that the medium through which she was going to display her work, would be on other peoples bodies. She is an up most professional, and although i can say i was nervous about the procedure, i can't say that i was nervous at all about having her bring the image that i had in my head, to the piece of artwork that she put on my body yesterday.

   When we first met that day, i brought along a picture of the fake tattoo of the tribal sea turtle that i got in Mexico. I had been pretty sure that that was the image that i wanted to go with. I kind of liked it, i was comfortable with it, and i was ready to go. This is the picture that i brought to her that day. 

i think this may be the symbol of the Hawaiian mafia

  After talking with her and looking at other pictures of sea turtles, i decided that what i really wanted was to stay with the sea turtle, but go with a more traditional looking picture. We went over the process, and she assured me that the location that i had chosen was going to hurt. A lot. Apparently, it seems that the spot i picked, my left boob, is an area chock full of nerve endings. I had picked it because, aside from being a nice discrete place to have a tattoo, my left boob (as well as my right one, for that matter) is rather fluffy. I thought of all the soft spots on my body, that would be the least painful. Jodie told me i was wrong. It turns out that this process was going to be nothing at all like the one that took about 15 minutes on the beach in Mexico with a glorified sharpie.

  Over the course of the last week or so, we corresponded through a series of e-mails. She drew up the image i decided on, i had her tweak it a bit, then yesterday, i went in for the 3 hours she had me booked for, to have her permanently tattoo it into my skin.

  Now, over this last week, i've been talking to a few of my friends that have tattoos. The consensus was, that this was going to hurt. I was going to spew profanity, and quite possibly consider doing harm to this poor woman. I didn't want that to happen. In my head, which can be rather dramatic at times, i had imagined that this was going to be somewhere between experiencing  having a beaver with a chipped tooth, gnaw through my flesh and someone do doodle arts on my tit with battery acid. (neither of which i had experienced before, but it was about the worst i could imagine.) I have to say though, it wasn't so bad at all. I mean, it wasn't the most enjoyable of experiences but i think it was more unpleasant than painful. That being said, i was pretty happy when my three hours was up and she was finished. This is the final product.


    Jodie was telling me, over the course of the 3 hours, that during the process of learning how to tattoo, she practised on fruit. I was interested by this and wondered which fruits were the most similar to human skin. She said that grapefruit was the closest but she also liked to tattoo bananas because they were nice to cut into and see how different pressures penetrated the skin. I think i resemble a grapefruit, but i certainly know a few guys that resemble a kiwi.

  This morning, everything still looks alright. For the most part, it feels like i have a sunburn in that spot. She told me, that like a sunburn, it is still going to peel. I'm not really looking forward to that but it's part of the process so it's all good i guess.

  ...............i apologise for not showing you a full upper torso picture of my wonderful body. You're pretty safe though if you imagine Ryan Reynolds. You should probably also imagine Ryan Reynolds after a few years of excessive doughnuts and too many beers. I'm working on that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

#54. or, 14 day learning curve

  Someone told me when you get a new cell phone, it takes 14 days to get your head wrapped around it and know what everything does. I don't know who came up with that stat, but i know it's not something that my parents worried about.

  When i was a kid, the phone was black and hung on the wall. It had a numbered, rotary dial, and i can't be certain about the statistics, but i think that the learning curve on that phone was about 37 seconds.

  I know that there were other styles of phones available. I know that if you were fortunate enough to have a hot-line from the Batman, that phone was translucent red and flashed then he wanted to get a hold of you. For the most part though, everyone else had the same phone. I seem to remember one of our neighbours having a beige desktop model, but really, they all were pretty straight forward to operate.

  It's been about 14 days since i replaced my old phone. I like the new one quite a lot. In reality though, it doesn't really do much more than what i could do with the old one. It just does it 100 times better than my old one. To be honest, i spent a significant amount of time looking for apps that will help me find grain and cattle prices, and tools that will help me do what i do better. But, i did also find a pretty cool whip-cracking app. I drove my kids crazy this weekend going around the house cracking my bull whip. It didn't help that Raiders of the Lost Ark was on last night and every time Indy used his whip, i was right there cracking the whip with him.

  As smart as my smart phone is though, i think it makes me a little dumber. When i go to bed, i like to try to read something. Something from an actual book. I helps clear the things of the day out of my head, and i seem to be able to sleep better. When i sleep better, and i give my brain time to relax from the stresses of the day, it seems to be all kinds of easier to come up interesting things to tell you guys about.

  The last couple weeks i've been learning my phone. Spending the time that i usually set aside for reading on going through the ins and outs of this phone. The side effect of this, is that when i go to sleep with my gears turning, i tend to wake up just as tired as when i went to sleep.

  I'm going to try to put the phone down a little more. I think my family will appreciate it if when we are talking to each other, part of my attention is not drawn to whatever news is being sent to my phone at the time. One good thing is, we all are on a more healthy kick in this house and all of the vegetables we are eating these days has made me so mush more regular. I thing that i can use the extra time i'm spending in the bathroom to catch up on the commodity prices.

  ...............that being said, i don't think i'm quite done with the whip crack app yet so i'm pretty sure i have at least a few days left to traumatise my children before it gets old.

Friday, March 09, 2012

#53. or, high schooll basketball

  This weekend could possible mark the end of my 6 year run of being involved in High School Basketball. When i say involved, i don't mean that i ever really did anything more than attend games to cheer on the kids.

  When my oldest son started this, i honestly had no clue about basketball other than the ball goes through the hoop...score. I wish that i could tell you that now i was an expert, i'm not. Sometimes i still have no idea what the hell some particular call was for.

  Occasionally, i have been called on to take game stats. OK, one time. I suck at that. I tend to get too involved in the game and end up forgetting to mark down pertinent information. That's probably why they only asked me one time.

  Over the last few years, i started driving the bus for the team road trips. I especially liked driving for the senior boys. They travel in the sweet white bus with the bucket seats. Last year, the school added swag to the sides of the bus in the form of the school name, team name, and logos. It's pretty awesome. I like driving that bus. In a way, it made me feel like a small part of the team.

   Our middle boy graduates this year but i still have one kid on his way into Jr. High next year. He says he plans to follow his brothers footsteps and try out for the basketball team next year as well. I hope he does. The Junior teams hardly travel though, so i know it will be some time before i'm any more than just a crazy parent again. Still, i hope that i can try to be involved in some way. If i knew more about the game, i might even consider coaching, but i don't think i would do the boys justice.

  Today and tomorrow, we travel to zones. I think the boys legitimately stand a chance. They can play at the same level as any team in the zone. Sometimes, the teams near the city underestimate them because we're just a rural school. That's their edge, anything can happen when it's down to one game, win or lose. the event that they win zones, we head of to Camrose for Provincials next weekend. I really hope they get to go. We went one time before with our oldest son. It's quite the show, but i'm not putting those eggs into the basket just yet. I know it's cliche, but it's just one game at a time.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

#52. or, Princess Auto

  My wife is a very efficient shopper. She likes to go in, get what the hell she's after and then get the hell back out. I don't think she particularly likes shopping with me. I'm a bit of a distracted shopper, so when we go shopping for groceries, my job, aside from pushing the cart, is just to keep up. The only exception to this is clothes shopping. Clothes shopping requires more effort. Things have to go with other things and articles need to be tried on. Now, i'm actually quite fond of helping her shop for clothes. I'm more than happy to wander the isles with her while she looks for things that work. I try to lend support in helping her to make some of the decisions. I know though, that my job is to basically look after the cart while she's in trying things on. I know that shes not going to come out of the change room in an outfit and ask my opinion, so it's up to me to find a quiet place to park, while she's in there deciding if she likes what she's picked out. I think i'm pretty good at that too. I know it's better for me to wait in the jacket section than in, say...... the bra department. I think it's probably a little more comfortable for a woman to choose a bra when there isn't some middle aged guy loitering around at the end of the isle. I do however, quite often suggest she buy the leopard print underwear set. She hasn't yet, but i can be pretty persistent.

  If i was going to design a shopping complex, the store that i would choose to put beside a Wal-Mart, would be Princess Auto. It seems pretty logical to me. The husband could go one way and his wife, the other. The shopping would be done in half the time and they could get home early enough to have his wife model that leopard print number i mentioned earlier.

  Princess Auto is, for lack of a better description, two acres of awesomeness. I can't think of any other place that you can be pushing a cart along and hear: "OH LOOK! A WHOLE BIN FULL OF CHEVY POWER WINDOW MOTORS FOR 5 BUCKS A PIECE! SWEET!" At Princess Auto, you can get everything from a gas powered excavator you can pull behind your quad, (gas powered excavator......say that three times in a row.) to an empty military ammunition box. Truthfully, if i could think of a reason to own an empty military ammunition box, other than to say to my buddy, "hey, look at this! It's an actual empty military ammunition box!" i would probably already own one.

  Princess Auto is the store where it's my wife's job to push the cart while i wander around like a kid who's just eaten a whole bag of gummy bears asking questions like, "Do you think we could ever use up a thousand feet of camouflage colored rope? It's only 7 bucks!" I can imagine she'd probably rather stab her eyeballs out with a spoon.

   Yesterday, i had a bit of free time, so i went into the city to replace a few of the items we lost in the fire. We had gotten a Princess Auto flyer earlier in the week and i knew i could get a good deal on some stuff. I went by myself, so i had plenty of time to wander the isles. It was wonderful. Imagine my surprise to find these.

12 inch traffic cones. Because 24 inch would just be overkill

  I actually spent some time in the traffic cone department deciding on these. They make collapsible traffic cones. I know why they do that, it's for convenience. But if i'm going to shell $3.99 for a traffic cone, i want everyone to be able to see it, so those were out. I was afraid that if i bought the 24 inch cones, people might think that i'm compensating for something. Therefore, by process of elimination, i am now the proud owner of two, glorious, non-collapsible, 12 inch traffic cones.

  ...............i can't wait to come up with something to use them for.   

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

#51. or, no good pictures

  Google doesn't like my face.

  Every time i add a picture of myself to my blogger profile, it seems to stay there for a couple days then disappear. It also happened on my blog page. Yesterday it was gone, and i had to reload it.

  There seems to be a very limited number of profile worthy pictures of my head in our computer picture album, and the ones that i do think might work, are all too large of a file size to make google happy. I'm having trouble finding a picture that will work. In truth, i only have a handful of pictures that i am happy with. The ones that i like the best are all of me on holidays. I had one of those up here for a bit. It didn't really feel like it belonged here. It's not ken-inatractor-inapoolinMexico.

  The other day, in an effort to take a picture of myself in an actual tractor type setting, i attempted to use the camera on my phone while i was doing the chores. Keep in mind, i was moving bales across the yard when i did this. I could stand to brush up on my multi-tasking, photography skills.

this is a little more casual than i was going for.
      I don't think that i'm very photogenic at the best of times. The picture that i want to have here is one of my looking casual as all hell, yet cool and stylish in my farmy attire. Just me being awesome. That picture doesn't exist. At least i don't think it exists. Not in a file size that google likes anyways.

  ......................also, i was looking on my google analytics page, and in the section where it says what country some of the people that check this site out are from, one of the views was listed as unavailable. Are you kidding me? Google has maps of the entire Earth! I think google is just trying to screw with me.

Monday, March 05, 2012

#50. or, it's a fricken miracle, i think

  a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..................

                                                   .............i started working on my hot tub.

    Some of you know this story. Saga really, of my broken, leaking hot tub. My trials and tribulations are well documented over on my facebook page. I think though, that they might be over.......maybe.

  We own a hot tub. Actually, it's a Soft tub. We bought it used about six years ago. Basically, a soft tub is a styrofoam shell with the tubing running in that with a vinyl covering over it. There's a heating unit that attaches to the side with a couple hose clamps. While it does have a seat in it, it doesn't have the fancy molded seating that you get in those top end hard bodied tubs. The good thing about a soft tub is that you can just plug them into any wall outlet, they don't need to be hard wired into the electrical panel. If you could get it down the stairs, you could put this thing in your basement. Although they do create a lot of humidity, so i probably wouldn't recommend that. Unless you also have a grow-op in your basement, the humidity might be a good thing? We went with the soft tub because it was the most affordable option for a couple approaching middle age, raising three boys. It also made sense to us not to put out a lot of money for something that we might only use until the fad wore off. Turns out, we're pretty happy with it and probably would rather spend the extra money that a more traditional tub would cost, going to Mexico or someplace equally tropical. But that's just us. One other thing about a soft tub is that it takes about 3 days to get it up to hot tubing temperature. Once it's there, it stays there pretty nicely and you can spend an hour or so easy without any significant temperature loss. They are just slow to heat up.

  Last year, just into the new year, we did some significant house renovations. It turned out, that for a time, the door that we have our tub right beside, became the main entrance. Also, during that time, in the confusion of rerouting some of the electrical  wiring, the receptacle that the tub was plugged into became disconnected for a while. Like, at least 4 or 5 days before i noticed it. Plus, during that time it was really cold out, around minus 25 degrees Celsius. By the time i discovered there was no power to the tub, it had dropped in temperature significantly. I got the power to it back on and started it up again but after that it had a slow leak. It leaked down to where we couldn't really use it any more, then we just drained it and that's the way it stayed until the end of summer.

  Over the course of time, (7 or 8 years)  the vinyl liner will shrink a bit from the chemicals used to treat the water. I suspected that the liner might have developed a crack in it from the shrinking, so we measured it up and ordered a new liner. It took about 3 weeks to get it made and have it installed. we brought it home and filled her up with water. The liner cost about $800, and we haul treated water from town to use in the tub. It costs about 5 bucks to fill the tub. The next morning, i went to check on the progress and discovered there was only about half the water left in the tub. It ended up that a hose blew off in the pump unit. I fixed it, replaced all the clamps in the unit, refilled the tub, and tried again. After a couple days, it was obvious the tub still had a slow leak. We drained it out again, i lifted the liner, cut into the styrofoam to the tubing and discovered that the original problem was that an improperly glued fitting had let go and caused the slow leak.  I ended up having to order a completely new jet body, glued it all into place, repaired the styrofoam, reinstalled the new liner, filled the water again, and discovered there was still a slow leak.......BAHHH!

  With what i spent on parts, water, and time repairing this thing, i probably could have just kicked in a little more money right off the bat and had a brand new one and my problems would have been gone. That and i could have spent the winter hot tubing.

  Pretty much annoyed with the whole thing, i walked away from it for a couple weeks. After that, for another week, i was a little afraid to even lift the cover to take a look. Partly because i didn't want to see a tub, half full of water again, partly because i was a little afraid of what sort of eco-system would be living in the pool of 40 degree water after being unattended for three weeks. When i finally screwed up my courage to take a look, to my surprise, the water level hadn't changed, i inspected it all around the bottom, and it seem to be dry. Even the water didn't look all that bad. A couple days treating brought it right back to comfortable levels. It just might be a miracle. wife wants me to renovate the main bathroom in the house. I think i'm going to board it off for a couple months in the hopes that when i go back, it will all be done. It's worth a try.


Friday, March 02, 2012

#49. or, sprayer envy

Yesterday, i took a little trip. A little trip to look at a little sprayer.

I jumped into my big one ton dually truck, drove to the other town that i live near.(the one that i live closer to has a statue of an 8 foot high Blue Heron. I'm only telling you this because it's pertinent to the story.) Got into a different tractor salesman's truck, and off we went. The drive was going to be about two hours and the route we took went through some little towns that i had never been through before.

Along the way, we went through one town that had a statue of a giant 1200 lb concrete pumpkin. Then, another town that has a statue of giant Mallard Duck with a 23 foot wingspan. We also drove past a 6 ton kubassa monument in different town. I was reading that it cost $120 000 to erect the giant sausage. Eventually we got where we were going. That town has a statue of a giant elk and 31 foot high Easter Egg.

We seem to have an obsession with size in Alberta. There's a web page dedicated to it that i got some of the details on the statues from. It's called, Big Things in Alberta. By my count, there's 67 different statues of big things in Alberta on that page, Plus there's links to big things in provinces all across Canada.

I can't help but imagine that when the members from the town councils of these places all get together, they spend a good deal of their time arguing about, "mine is bigger than yours".

This is a pretty small blog. Most days, if i get 30-40 people come to look at it, i'm happy. I spend some of my time checking out other blogs, bigger blogs. Some of them are really impressive. It seems though, that you really have to have a lot of talent to wield a big blog. Sometimes, one that looks impressive, might not be creative enough to keep me interested all the way to the end. Other's though, do such a good job, that you have to come back again the next day for a little bit more. Some are so big and impressive that the writer can make a living off of their blog alone.

This is a pretty small blog. It might be average size. I'm OK with that. I try to be consistent so there's always something new to see when you come back here, day to day. I know that most of the time, what i'm putting out there is pretty average stuff, but i try to do it in a way to keep being interesting. I know this isn't a big blog, but i'd like to think that maybe, once in a while, i make your toes curl. I'd be happy with that.

................after i took that little sprayer for a test drive yesterday, i had to back it into it's spot beside a much larger sprayer. The fellow that was looking at the giant sprayer (i think he probably owned it.) guided me while i backed up. I have to say, his was pretty impressive. I was a little envious.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

#48. or, a movie review

  A little over a week ago we went out to see a movie. We don't go to the movies all that often, and it usually happens on the event of a birthday or anniversary of some sort. It takes a bit of planning to make a movie night happen, we need to arrange if one of Wyatt's brothers will be home to keep an eye on him. If that option isn't available, we look to granny. Generally, we like to include a meal at a restaurant that doesn't have a drive through window. Plus, the drive to the city takes about an hour so more often than not, we end up stopping to pick up a few things that we can only get in the city.

  Our luck at the movies hasn't been all that good lately. When we went in last year to see the last Pirates movie, we bought the tickets for the show, then went to get something to eat, as we had a few hours before the show started. We ended up getting back just before the show started and had to sit in the front row. We left with muscle spasms in our necks and headaches from watching a 3D movie from 10 feet away from the screen.

  This time, we decided to pay extra for the AVX. Apparently it gives you a better movie experience. We went that way because it also lets you choose your seats. We chose back row, center. We got there early and had plenty of time. Went out to a nice restaurant and had mojitto's with our meal. Everything was going to plan. Except, that is, the choice of movie. The only one available for the time we needed it to be in the AVX was Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance.

  Now, i'm pretty willing to give any comic book movie a chance. I'm pretty forgiving with movies that don't completely follow the story line from the book it comes from. I'm there to have fun, not to judge. But this movie was terrible. I didn't mind the first Ghost Rider at all. It had Nicholas Cage, Ghost Ridering the shit out of the bad guys. Plus, Sam Elliot, a custom built chopper for the bike, it had a good story line, Peter Fonda as the devil, sexy Eva Mendes, decent CGI, and it was pretty fun to watch.

  The only thing the same from the original was Nicholas Cage, and his acting was terrible. Everyone's was. The storyline was weak. The Ghost Rider bike was a Yamaha V-Max with CGI flamed added into it, and the CGI Ghost Rider wasn't nearly as cool as in the first movie. You know the acting is bad when the CGI character out-acts the living actors. The whole movie was shot in someplace like Yugoslavia, or someplace that i imagine Yugoslavia looking like. The scenery all seemed drab and grey, and the highways were all deserted and looked like no one had lived there in years. All that and the only scene that could have made use of the 3D, had the Ghost Rider peeing flames off the back of a truck away from the audience while he looks back and nods at the crowd. I think it might have been a little cooler to have him pee 3D flames out over the audience?

  The movie was a bit of a let down. I wouldn't recommend paying a lot to see it. Maybe on DVD? We ended up having a good meal and the company was good, so that made up for it some. I hate to admit this, but i probably would have had a better time watching the chick flick. Maybe next time.

  .............when we were younger, we picked a movie and watched it as soon as we got there and had supper after. I think we changed from that because we got old and didn't want to be driving home late on an full stomach. I'm finding it pretty hard to beat a DVD on the couch in my pyjamas with popcorn these days.