Saturday, July 28, 2012

#103. or, the Hammock in the Honeysuckle

My good friend Carrie, over at Hammock in the Honeysuckle, has been having herself a bit of a fun contest at her blog over the past week.

 Her contest, the Great-Get-To-Know-You-Give-Away, is a crazy bit of fun, where she asks a new question each day and your answers, along with everybody else's, help us to all get to know each other a little bit better. The give away part is that each answer, as well as some random, quirky tid-bits, decided upon at her discretion, is an entry into a draw. She's giving away a hammock. This hammock!

  This isn't your run of the mill Wal-Mart hammock. It's a hand-made Nicaraguan hammock! Brought back from Nicaragua, the hammock capital of the world, by Carrie on a trip there, hacking her way through the jungle with a machete, all in an effort to find a prize worthy of this grand contest!, maybe some of that isn't true but I sort of got caught up picturing her as an Indiana Jones character for a second. Sorry Carrie. But it is a Nicaraguan hammock brought back from there on a recent trip. Exciting enough, don't you think?

  I've decided that I'm going to answer one of her questions over here, in the tractor. The question posed was this:

 What is your favorite place/ time/ mindset for blogging?

 The most efficient place for me to blog is cooped up in our office in front of our big desk top computer. Some days, nice days, I find it's hard to force myself to sit in there and be creative when I have things to do outside.  Usually, if I'm there, it's early morning or late at night. But, I do blog from other places. I've blogged off my phone from the seat of a tractor but that proved to be more of a challenge than I thought. I've blogged from a picnic table while camping, from my wife's old hand me down tiny notebook, using my phone as a modem. I've blogged from the deck that way too.

  I quite like blogging from there with a coffee in the morning, except it seems to always be raining here lately and my ass keeps getting wet from the damp cushions. And sometimes, I blog from the love seat, my wife and I share in front of the television.

it seems bloggers write better if they can see their toes

   I have to be sitting comfortably to blog, I tried to write this post in bed last night. After about 20 minutes of trying every position conceivable, I finally just gave up. (much to the relief of my wife as I am pretty sure she was just about to exile me back to the office so she could finally get to sleep!)

  Lately, I haven't really had the proper mindset for writing down my thoughts. I'm starting to get a little concerned about this rain that seems to continue everyday. I've got lots of farming things to get done and the rain isn't helping too much. I keep having fleeting thoughts of ideas that would make a good post but unless I jot them down immediately, they seemed to get lost in the wasteland of my mind. Really, I am trying to get back into the swing of things and post a bit more.

 There's still a week to go in her contest. I'd like to encourage you to stop over at her site and say hi. Maybe answer a question, maybe leave one for her to answer? Even if that means the odds of having my name drawn to win become a little less. It doesn't really matter. I've already got the spot picked out I'm going to put that hammock anyways.

.........I'll let you know how comfortable it is.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

#102. or, FYI, MRI

  A couple months back my doctor scheduled me to get an MRI to see if they could figure out what's wrong with my wonky shoulder. Part of the process of being cleared to actually get the MRI was that I needed to get an X-ray of my eyeball.  The MRI uses a strong magnetic field and in the past I had some metal fragments in my eye from a careless grinding incident. They wanted to be sure that no metal was left in my eye because if there was, the possibility was there that the MRI machine could suck that metal right out of my eyeball. I posted on that before, you can read about it here.

  Friday was finally the day for my MRI appointment. I had never had an MRI before. There's a shit-ton of questions to be answered to make sure that there is absolutely no metal on you before they proceed. No piercings, pins in your bones, electronic devices that keep you alive, or any recent tattoos. I was clean, but still am not quite sure why you can't have recent tattoos. I should have asked that?

  This particular MRI unit is a mobile one. It travels between the local communities to make it more accessible. They pull up beside the hospital and you go through a tunnel like you would when you board an airplane. It's actually in a trailer like they move produce in that they pull with a big truck. But inside, there's millions of dollars of equipment. It's pretty pimped out, I'm sure that in the back, behind the MRI machine, they keep the Knight Rider car. 

 The whole procedure was going to take about 15 minutes, I needed to be still for that time. The technician put me on the table, positioned my shoulder in the cup, gave me the button to push if anything was wrong, put headphones on me, (she said it was going to make a lot of noise.) and pushed the button for the table to slide into the MRI tunnel.

  The next thing I noticed was my ring finger was twitching. HOLY SHIT! I forgot to take my wedding ring off! How long ago did we buy these things? This tunnel is way too small to turn around in and crawl back out! When this machine sucks my ring into it, it's going to rip my finger clean off. My knee is itchy. Isn't gold non-metallic? I wonder how much iron I have in my blood? Is magnetic metal, ferrous or non-ferrous? Did we get ripped off when we bought these rings 18 years ago? With my finger ripped off, am I going to be able to push the abort button to stop this thing? It's awfully white in here. There has to be something else metallic on my body that I've forgotten about? Itchy. I wonder if I have a steel plate in my head? Non-ferrous, I think. This is a new t-shirt, if my finger comes off, it's going to be ruined. I'd probably know it if I had a steel plate in my head. If my head comes off in this thing are they going to make my wife clean it up? This machine is noisy as hell! Wonder if I should push the button and bail? Has anybody died in one of these things? Hey, those are exactly the same sounds Alien Invaders made on my old Atari 2600. I'm pretty sure I can still function with 3 fingers and a thumb on my left hand. Where is that Atari 2600?  Do tattoos explode? My wife is going to get sick if they make her clean up the mess, they should make someone else do that. Wonder what's happening on Twitter? OH, THAT WAS LOUD! My knee is itchy, should have picked a better position. Finger is still twitching. Itchy, itchy,itchy, itchy. I have to pee. I should stop this thing. If you lose a finger, the ring finger isn't such a bad one to lose. I should let this thing finish. Must be close to 15 minutes by now. What if they forget I'm in here and drive to the next town. If I have to walk 40 miles back to my truck, I should have worn something other than flip flops. Finger is still twitching. Why have I never broken a bone? Maybe, when I was a kid, I could have been abducted, taken to a secret government research facility where they fused my bones with an indestructible metal alloy. Then, wiped my memory of anything like that ever happening and reintroduced me into society to be called on at a later date to save the world? That would be so cool. If I have metal bones, I'm probably going to explode in here. Is it 15 minutes yet? Itchy and I have to pee. If I'm going to be a super hero, I'm going to have to lose some weight. Itchy, itchy knee.....  

  And that's what went on in my head. For another 14 minutes, 58 seconds.

 But nothing happened. I just layed there, still, for my 15 minutes, while they bombarded my body with magnetism to take pictures of my insides. Aside from my twitching ring finger, it was relatively uneventful. Until, that is, I tried to get my valuables back out of the locker they had me put them into and the code I thought I used wouldn’t work. I had to get some hospital staff to come and put in a master code to get the locker open. All the while my phone is in there vibrating like crazy on the metal floor of the locker and I’m worried about what I’m missing on Twitter while they think who’s this idiot that can’t remember a 4 digit code for 20 minutes.

  I have an appointment next month to go over the results with my doctor. He’s most likely going to tell me I’m just getting old.

 .........the only hurdle that I have left to cross is to see if I’m going to turn into a giant green hulking monster the next time I get angry. I’m a little excited to see what happens.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

#101. or, being a beach'in dude

  We spent the greater majority of last week camping. It was lovely out with the temperatures in the 30's almost every day. It was nice to get away for a bit and just take some time to relax. I think I needed that. While we were camping I spent part of my time people watching.(you can read about that here.)

  Also while we were gone, we went down to the lake everyday and spent some time on the beach. It used to be, that I was too wired to just sit on the beach. I couldn't stay for more than a half an hour before I was getting up to go for a walk or something. It seems that as I get older, it's easier just to hang out in the sun and the sand.

  Lately, I've been thinking a bit about what it means to be a dude. Mostly because I've been submitting some of my posts to the Dude Write Challenge. So, in an effort to help achieve maximum beachy dudliness, I've come up with a few general guidelines to help you not look like a complete idiot while wearing the least amount of clothes possible without being completely naked.

 1. If there's a choice, pit toilets should probably be avoided when you're at the beach in +30C weather. (90's F) It's safe to say, you shouldn't be staking your claim to the beach anywhere within a 100 ft radius of any outhouse. It's sort of like the government imposed 200 mile unsafe zone around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. Sure, you can go into the unsafe zone but you might end up with an extra arm growing mysteriously from your neck.
You can set up any place that you like but you certainly aren't going to look like a dude, kicking back next to the crapper.

 2.  Dudes never run in the direction of the toilet. It doesn't even matter if you're not going there. If people see you making a bee-line for the outhouse on the end of the beach, (especially if you're doing that clenched-ass shuffle) you're always going to be the guy who waited too long. The only way to successfully run to the can, is if you are dragging a kid with a hand clamped to their backside and a look of horror on their face. Sometimes that works.

  3. You really can't go wrong with colourful board shorts. If you're the guy, walking onto the beach in the banana hammock and everybody stops to watch, it's not because you're a dude. It's more of the, "can't help but look at the train wreck" thing happening. Unless of course, you're Mathew McConaughey or Channing Tatum. And NO, I didn't go to that movie! I'm just saying! (But what's the deal with Channing Tatum? Dude gets to have two cool names for a name AND look like that? I hope he has really, really small feet!)
(just an added public service note. If you're going to be in a swimsuit all day, walking about and doing activities, that mesh lining in your suit can be as abrasive as sandpaper. You might end up with some very sensitive spots worn a little raw.)

  4. For some unknown reason, every middle-aged guy still thinks he has chance to get with that, girl in her early 20's, bikini model. You don't. Most likely you never had a chance even when you were in your early 20's. Anyways, if you're drooling over that 20 year old girl with her boobs falling out of her bikini top, just stop it, it's not cool. Spend some time looking over at that woman that helped you drag the coolers, blankets, shade umbrella, and that stupid inflatable alligator from the parking lot. Chances are, she can do things to you that would make that inexperienced girl blush with shame.....not to mention that fact, she did choose you.

  5. When choosing snack foods for the beach, you're best to stick with things that you can pop into your mouth in one bite. Things that require you to spit part of it back out, like cherries or sunflower seeds, can be dudely around a campfire but if have to spit pits or shells into a baggie at the beach, not so much. Also, you need to be careful with things that stain your fingers and lips like Cheesies or cherries. Dudes don't spend the day  with orange, Cheesie fingers or purple, cherries lips! Not to mention the fact, too many cherries may send you running toward the crapper with purple lips.

  That's all I have, I'm not going to say that if you follow these things, you're going to be a dude. You're going to have to do some of the work. But if you're struggling in you're dudlieness, trying to stay within these few guidelines while at the beach, might give you a leg up on that guy in the speedo, with the bag of cheesies, trying to get a spot on the girls beach volleyball team, while running past on his way to the pit toilet with purple lips. Unless that's Channing Tatum, then probably everyone is thinking how awesome he is.

  ..........oh, and to the woman wandering up and down the beach trying to pass her bra off as a bikini top, you weren't fooling anyone. But thank you for trying.

  ......... if you are Channing Tatum reading this, maybe you should try and follow me or something so we don't end up in this awkward situation again. Also, having you in my followers might add to my own dudliness.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

#100. or, report from the picnic table

  So, we're at the lake. We've been here since Sunday evening. It was supposed to be Sunday afternoon but true to form, we didn't get gone until about four hours after we had originally planned. It's OK though, we're here and that's all that matters.

  The weather has been exceptionally awesome, 30 degrees Celsius and above every day so far. My tan has progressed from ending at the bottom of my t-shirt sleeves, to full arms of my sleeveless shirt, to a life jacket shaped vest of white on my torso. Technically, it isn't a life jacket. Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is the term. They used life jackets on the Titanic. Anyways, it's been really nice weather and I can't actually take off any more clothes without making more of a spectacle of myself.

  We have some interesting neighbours in our campground. From the picnic table where I'm typing this, I can look across and see the family with the young kids and the dog. They spend a good deal of time yelling at each other but it's still pretty early so that hasn't started yet. They camp in a tent so I figure that probably makes the parents about 25% bitchy, right off the bat. They also have a dog. About 10:00 they're going to pack up and head to the lake, leaving the dog behind and it's going to bark for 45 minutes. I have that to look forward to yet this morning.

  Directly behind us is the older couple in the motor home who we never see together. The wife spends a good deal of time sitting under the awning reading, which isn't a bad thing at all. They just never come outside at the same time. One comes out, the other goes in. Except at night I think? I mean they came together, I think the can be inside together, just not outside.

  Directly to my right, there's the campsite filled with people under 25. There's nothing wrong with them. They seem to be polite campers. The odd thing is, they pull a huge boat with a Lincoln Navigator, there's a Hummer in the site, great big trailer, and at least 2 sports cars. I think they might be drug dealers?

  Across the road and slightly up is the family with the feral children. When they arrived yesterday, the kids started out having nerf sword duels. That quickly turned into full on Jedi, light-saber battles, with them whacking at each other with 4 foot sticks. Just before dark last night, I had noticed they had stepped it up to hurling Poplar tree javelins at each other. I'm not expecting them to go home with all the children they brought along.

  Somewhere, across the loop we're staying in, is "listen-to-how-much-bass-my-truck-sound-system-has-guy". I haven't really seen him but about 7:00 every night, it gets cranked up enough to vibrate our picnic table. Now, I can appreciate any type of music and I certainly know the value of a good sound system. I just think he might get more bang for his bass if he played something other that Johnny Cash's,  A boy named Sue.

  Some random creepy dude just wandered through with grease stained shorts made from cut-off sweat pants and untied work boots talking to himself. He's new!

 Right on cue, the family with the kids have struck up a new session of yelling at each other. They seem to be in fine form this morning. I can hear some clanking and I suspect the feral children may have found some metal poles to beat each other with today.

  It's oatmeal for breakfast this morning so I better get some water going for that. We're heading back to the lake this afternoon and there's a whole 'nother group of interesting people hanging out there. I'll most likely report back on that.

 ..........I wonder what all these people think about my family?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

#99. or, Dude Write. So, here's the thing

  I've been doing this for about a little more than half a year now. The thing about bloggers is that a lot of them are women. That's not a bad thing at all. I've learned a bunch about being a better writer from some of those women. I've become friends with a handful of them and that's also a good thing. One of the other things that I've noticed is that there isn't a lot of Dudes writing blogs.

  Now don't get me wrong, they are out there. There are some damn good ones. It's just that dude bloggers are quite the minority in the blogosphere and therefore, finding them is a bit of a task.

  Three weeks back, a few of those awesome dude bloggers got together and started Dude Write. It's a blog where other dude bloggers link a post to each week to raise awareness and spread the word that we are out there. While only dudes are allowed to enter, anyone can go there to read these submissions and in the beginning of the week, vote on those posts for those they deem worthy of the coveted, Dude Write Man Card.

  Last night, after the dust had settled and the votes tabulated, turns out, top prize went to me?

i know....right?
  But that's not the half of it. If you are voted to receive the prestigious diamond Man Card, your post goes into the Dude Write Hall of fame. PLUS, (what? there's more?) the diamond Man Card affords you the option of voting on a chairman's choice from the following weeks lineup. It just so happens that my post was also chosen in that category as well.

because you can never have too many Man Cards!
  This is all pretty awesome stuff to be happening to me and I'm pretty pumped about it. In fact, right this instant, I'm imagining myself walking away from an explosion in slow motion without looking back to see what's going on. My black aviator shades on and the corner of my diamond Man Card visible out the top of my pocket. Awesome.......and Dudely!

  As much of an honour this is, I need to also mention the winners of the platinum and gold Man Cards as well. The Six-Fingered Monkey wrote a very entertaining post on the douchbaggery of the instagram app that seems to be ever so popular these days. And winning the gold Man Card, Change The Topic had a post that I loved about a cabin on the lake with a whole lot of memories. But that's not all! There were other Man Cards handed out and other stories to tell. I strongly suggest that you stop over at Dude Write and check out all of the posts. And if you know a dudely blogger who is not aware of this site, encourage him to take a look and enter a submission. Because, after all, it seems that everyone has a chance at that top prize.

 .............oh, in case you missed it (and i'm pretty certain you didn't. It's now my most viewed post!) here's the link to diamond Man Card winning post. Dear Middle Son. Thank you to everyone for voting for me. I can't begin to express my gratitude.