Thursday, August 30, 2012

#109. or, Great things.

When I was younger, I imagined that I would be famous for something. Or in the very least, do something great. My dad did great things. He was a welder, a pilot, owned a construction company, farmed, and changed the direction of his life 2 or 3 times over the course of his time here. By that standard, I can't really say that I've accomplished a lot. I'm doing the same thing today that I started out doing.

  Last week my oldest son did something great.

  My oldest son plays basketball. Not professionally, but he has a passion for the game. He played in high school and was fortunate enough to go to Provincials on the team one year. He's been out of school for a bit now, but still has a hand in arranging charity alumni games at the school where he once played. Basketball has never, not been a part of his life.

  A couple weeks back, he was asked by an organization to play in a little game they were trying to put together. This little game was going to be a fund raiser to earn money so the hosting group could go to Mexico to build homes for the less fortunate.

  Except this wasn't such a little game. It was going to be the longest game in the world! EVER!
This is a link to the organization putting the game on.

 The previous official world record for the longest basketball game was 107 hours. Unofficially, it was 112 hours. The goal was for these teams to play 113 hours of basketball between the 19th to the 24th of August.

  On Sunday evening, August 19th, 21 guys and 3 young ladies began this gruelling task. Now, because the cost to have an official member of the Guinness organization actually be there to witness this whole affair would probably cost more than they might actually raise at this fundraiser, they had to tape the game. They also had to tape the score bench to make sure this was legitimately a competitive game. These tapes can then be sent to Guinness to have them decide if this is in fact an official record or an unofficial one.

  Unfortunately, because we were making hay (while the sun was shining) and the place they were playing was about an hour away, it was Wednesday before my wife and I could get there. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the rather heavy smell of sweaty people hanging in the air. Around the outside of the gym, inflatable air mattresses lined the wall with scattered sleeping bags and shoes and cords to phone charges all over the place. One side of the gym had a couple of those 6 foot inflatable kiddie pools filled with cool water for the players to soak their feet.

  Wednesday was about the worst day for them. The first few days really tested them. One young fellow had already had to drop out from a bad ankle sprain. They looked exhausted. You could tell that one of the young ladies was hurting because every step she took while on the court caused her to grimace in pain. Trainers, massage therapists and medical staff all volunteered to help the kids get through any pains and muscle problems they were having.

  Fortunately after Wednesday, they sort of crossed a wall and just coasted along. By Friday at 1:00 PM when the game was ending, some of them were down to playing in socks, they couldn't wear their shoes anymore because they had too many blisters on their feet.  As the seconds counted down to zero, and the final whistle blew, balloons and streamers  fell onto the court, and everyone in the stands gave the players a standing ovation as the players hugged and congratulated each other. A lot of them had been strangers before this all started, but now they were all brothers and sisters, having lived, competed, hurt, and laughed together over the week.

That's my boy.

It's a little hard to see but this is the roster.

final score, blue 9508 white 9516

And because it was 5 days, somebody did some calculations.

 Here is a bit of a video on the game from the local paper. That's my kid shooting a 3 pointer at the 30 second mark and making another basket right at the end.

  After the game, one of the organizers said to the players that from now on, for the rest of their lives, they can never say they can't do something. Over the course of that week, they had overcome any pains and thoughts of quitting, to accomplish something that had never been done before in the history of the world. That's a pretty big thing. A great thing.

  I can't say that I've ever done anything great over the course of my life. But maybe, getting married to my wonderful wife and having kids who volunteer to do things like this is close enough to greatness for me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

#108. or, Are you going to put that in your mouth?

  I've been back in the tractor the last week or so, making feed to get the cows through the winter. Sometimes when I'm there, I have free time to keep up on reading and commenting, but this particular job requires most, if not all of my attention. I haven't been around too much and I am sorry for that. On the plus side, my mind has been wandering at 6 miles an hour again, (actually, 3.5 miles an hour on this job.)  and I have a few ideas banked up.

  As much as I don't need it, I usually end up snacking in the tractor. Lately, my snack of choice has been pistachios. Pistachios are an awesome treat, they require a little effort to break into them, which is good, because it prevents me from shovelling them into my mouth by the handful. I'm pretty much restricted to one at a time. But I have noticed that if I could get a bag of pre-shelled pistachios, I think I would be a lot more picky with which ones go into my mouth. It seems, the more effort it requires me to break into my food, the more eagerly I consume it. Too many times, after I've shelled one, and fired the nut toward my mouth, I catch a glimpse of a brown, shrivelled, half decayed, morsel in that split second hang time between my hand and my mouth. But I always end up eating them.

  Now, I can't say that I have an aversion for putting odd things in my mouth. When we travel, I try to go out of my way to try to sample the local fare. I've tasted some odd things. My dad is the one that taught me you can tell tell if you have anti-freeze in your oil by putting some of the oil from the dipstick onto your tongue. If it's there, it will taste sweet. Of course, he's passed away now. I don't think licking dipsticks had anything to do with that. At least I hope not? Or I might be in trouble later on.

  I think my wife and I have been fairly good parents. I know from the first kid to the last, we went from "GOOD LORD, DON'T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH, IT'S BEEN ON THE FLOOR!" to  "HEY! If you're going to eat handfuls of dirt, at least move to the other end of the sandbox where the cat doesn't shit!"
We did the whole don't take candy from strangers thing, don't eat things out of the garbage, or off the street and all of that. But I noticed that sort of all went out the window when we went to the two different parades in the towns we live between, over the last couple of weeks.

  If you're a kid living near a rural community, the annual parade is cool because you get to come home with a bag full of candy, collected off the street, thrown from the floats as they go by. Now, my youngest son is 12. He's at that age where it isn't quite cool to be running out onto the street to gather candies. But don't get me wrong, we still WANTS the candy. At the beginning of the parade, he'll just stand on the curb and if candy comes his way, he will pick those up. All the while, I'm standing there with him, pointing out ones he missed and that he should be running out farther to get more candy. It occurred to me that basically, I'm telling him to run out into traffic, take candy from strangers, and put food picked up off the street into his mouth.

  Another thing I noticed, after he picked up a handful of peanuts in the shell, I asked him for those because I love peanuts in the shell. While I was opening them and eating them while we stood there watching the parade go by, I realized the peanuts had been thrown out onto the street AFTER the miniature horses and covered waggons had all gone by. Yummy.

  After the parade, we went to the small midway that they had at the fair grounds. I decided he should experience elephant ears. Because you can't go to the fair without eating carnival food. These particular elephant ears were quite bad. Although, they did actually resemble an elephants ears pretty much exactly. In fact, while I had intended to split it with my kid, he didn't eat more that a couple bites, it was so bad. They were really tough and chewy. I'm not sure that they weren't actually the ears of an elephant we were chewing on.

  I'm sort of glad parade and fair season is passed. I need to try to get back to eating healthier things. Maybe mix in a salad or two. Of course, with harvest right on top of us, I'm going to be in the tractor and combine for a long stretch this fall,  I'll probably still be bringing along my big bag of pistachios.

   The good thing about pistachios is that they are supposed to be good for the health of your penis. And who doesn't want a healthy penis? Except I think I'm going to start trying to avoid the brown ones.

 pistachio, that is.

I am submitting this post to Dude wtrite this week. It's where guy bloggers come together to submit posts, that get voted on from Sunday to Tuesday evening to see whose was most popular. I encourage you to pop over and take a look at them and maybe come back and vote on three of your favorites. 
You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK.

Monday, August 20, 2012

#107. or, no shirt, no shoes, no service

  A couple weekends back we had a family reunion/ camping weekend of sorts. The weather each day was fabulous while each night, thunder and lightening shook the skies while rain blasted down in threatening fashion. The noise of that, echoing about our camper through the 2 inch walls, keeping us from getting a decent nights sleep, was in a small part diminished by the knowledge that my uncle and his family were riding out these storms, a half dozen sites over in a tent. Each morning I half expected to find them washed away with only a trail of sleeping bags and camp supplies to lead us to where they were. But each morning, as I picked my way around the mud holes and soaked grass in my flip flops, they were always still there, in true resilient fashion.

 Come morning though, the sun was out once again to dry things out. It was beautiful.  I didn’t wear socks the whole time.  That’s something that’s become somewhat of a marker of the success of the weekend for me. While I don’t have the most attractive toes in the world, I’m certain they’ve seen more daylight in the 4 years or so I am, past 40, than all the years prior. I also spent some time with my shirt off and my fish belly white stomach leading me around the campground.  Now that I think about it, the older I get, the less clothes I wear, the more comfortable I seem to be. Considering how much time I spent in just shorts and flip flops, I’m thinking by the time I’m 55, I’m not even going to need to pack clothes to go camping for the weekend. Of course, even if you can man up and cook bacon on an open fire in the nude, chopping wood without any clothes on is giving me a rather unsettling mental picture.

  The worst part of the weekend was the lack of phone service. At any given time, you could spot someone wandering through the campground, cell phone in the air, staring at the screen, willing the number of service bars to climb high enough to push through all those emails, sitting somewhere in limbo until there was enough cell service to receive them. Well, OK, mostly me.

  All in all, I was a pretty awesome weekend. We sat around the campfire and talked about old times. My little, pre-teen cousins all giggled with school girl excitement (because they were ALL little school girls) when I got in line with them to get a glittery red, kissy-lips tattoo. I think that was some sort of unofficial  initiation into their club and I wore those lips with pride. We went for walks, and visited the lake, which happened to be one of the few salt water lakes in our province. I couldn't help but wonder if sharks would live in that lake. I played some ladder golf. That's a game where you toss a set of golf balls attached to either end of a cord onto a stand-up ladder affair for points. I desperately wanted to get the blue balls because, of course, there's an awesome joke in that. But alas, it never happened.

  We played a bit of a game of football. Old squad vs. the kids, and got our butts handed to us. It seems I'm not really the star receiver I imagine myself being. I also came home from that with a few bruises I didn't even discover until a couple days later. We probably would have won if i didn't have a bum shoulder. ya, I'm going with that.

  Something else we discovered is that my aunts and uncles may still be too close to some of the stories that my grand-father started to actually believe they happened.

  Sunday morning, my mom and my uncle spent the morning in the camp kitchen cooking up pancakes, sausages and bacon for the whole crew. Which while wonderful of them, I know was a bit of a hellish job, as the sun beat down into the kitchen, the fire in the massive wood stove had to be roaring to keep the heat high enough to properly cook anything. Sort of a Hell's Kitchen, Camping Edition.

  ...............I was glad there was a big bottle of Baileys to add to the coffee while I sat in the shade and watched them. And bacon.....plenty of bacon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

#106. or, I should of got the gel

  Recently, my barber moved away. His name was Sal. I used to go to a different place but one time I couldn't get a walk-in appointment there, so I wandered up the street, hitting every place until I found someone willing to cut my hair on short notice. That's how I ended up at Sal's.

  Sal was a dudes barber. It didn't matter when you wandered in, there was always a spot on the couch to read the paper as you waited, while Sal fired out hair cuts, 10 minutes at a time. Unless of course, you went on seniors day. Then the place was busy as hell. But any other day, was fine. Once I even saw an old straight razor on the counter. I always thought that I would ask him for a shave one day with the straight razor, but I never worked up the balls.

   I can't remember ever getting a haircut there without him being on his cell phone talking to someone in an Arabic language but it didn't matter, we didn't have to chat.  It was the only place I know where I was a regular and as I'd sit myself into the chair, he would ask if I wanted the usual and as I'd nod, he'd slip the appropriate fitting onto the clipper and get to work.  

  ..........but he moved away and I needed a haircut.

  So yesterday, after doing a crop tour, I thought I'd just try a walk-in at the place that I used to go to. As luck would have it, there was an open spot and they took my in straight away. It wasn't the familiar, easy-as-she-goes, hair cut I was used to. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive. My hair stylist was an attractive young woman and that was pleasant. She asked if using the clippers was fine, and it was, but I couldn't remember what number attachment I usually had and we had to experiment a bit to figure that out. We chatted about the weather, and vacations, and the wicked ass mosquito's that seem to have descended upon us in the last week. It didn't take her long to finish. Granted, I don't have a lot of material to work with these days but she did a fine job. Then, she asked if I wanted any gel. I said it was fine, and I thanked her and we went to pay.

   .........but that was a mistake.

  I sat on the street in my truck, with my head on the steering wheel thinking, why wouldn't I get the gel? Firstly, if you put your trust in a good looking young woman to make you more attractive, and she suggests that a dob of gel might aid in that effort, why not take her up on it? What have you got to lose? Second, I'm not exactly sure just how much longer I'm going to have enough hair to schmeer a bit of hair gel into. It's not like I use it everyday but occasionally, I do use the gel. More often than not, when I have the gel in my hair, I feel pretty darned stylish and good about myself. Why wouldn't I get the gel? Lastly, when we went to pay, turns out that I had been one haircut away from the free one on the places loyalty plan and I got the haircut for free. FREE! But by then it was too late to say, "hey, on second though, hit me up with a little gel."
So I left, satisfied with my new haircut but disappointed that I didn't get the gel. Why wouldn't I get the gel? 

  The gel is a little like life. Why not take advantage of the little things?  The things that seem inconsequential, but if you follow through on them, they might just make you feel better about yourself. Make you feel like you're the full meal deal. Master of your universe. Passing it up is like getting an ice cream sundae and saying, "hold the cherry." It's still an ice cream sundae, but it's not a complete ice cream sundae. Yesterday the gel way my cherry, and I passed it up. That's been bothering me a bit. Plus, you just never know when the whole shebang is going to be for free. I'm going to try to take more advantage of little things like that.

  .............This morning, first thing, I used a little dab of hair gel. Today my ice cream sundae is complete. I'm headed out to meet the day with confidence. Just maybe, if I'm lucky, I might come across a handful of sprinkles. And I'll use them! Cause I'm awesome that way.

 This week I'm entered, once again, at Dude Write. I invite you to visit the site, read the posts, and leave a few comments. But most importantly, come back to vote on you favorite three. Check it out here

Friday, August 03, 2012

#105. or, Advice to a 16 yr old ken-inatractor

I'm still answering questions over on Carries blog, The Hammock in The Honeysuckle, for the chance at winning her hammock. You can read about Thursdays question here.

 The question she asked was this:


 I've had this video sitting in my You Tube favorites for some time now. I knew that I wanted to use it in a post at some point because I like the message. Even though it's directed at a class from the 90's, the advice would still prove useful to a young, 16 year old Ken-inatractor from the 80's with his hair parted in the middle and feathered back.

  Of course I'll have to find a way to record it to cassette tape because that was the only way to listen to music while crusing in my pick-up truck on main street during lunch hour. No memory sticks, MP3's, ipods, or music downloads.

  Also, if this makes it back to the 80's, you should try to write it down because your deck will probably eat the tape and you might have to put a bic pen through the hole to wind the tape back in.

  I think that everyone has most likely seen this before but if you haven't, pay attention, it's good advice.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

#104. or, Love is in the air

  Our dog is in heat.

  Our female black lab, Abby, is in the mood for love. Well, maybe not so much in the mood for love. I'm not entirely convinced she's all that aware of  anything out of the ordinary going on. The male dogs in the area though, are more than eager to stop over with hopes of getting jiggy with her.

  We have two labs. Our male, Tuke is a really good dog. I know everybody says that about their dogs, but he really is a good dog. So much so, in fact, that we decided that there needed to be more of him. That's why we got our female, Abby. We've never had a dog raise pups here on our farm. If  we do manage to now, some of them are already spoken for. We're just hoping for another good natured dog.

  Abby seems quite oblivious of the fact that she's now the most desirable dog on the block. Tuke on the other hand, looks like he's been to hell and back. The poor fellow is having a terrible time. He's only trying to do what nature intended him to do but every time he puts his best moves on Abby, someones there telling him to get off of her.

  I can't really blame him. He's six years old. That's in his 40's in dog years and as far as I know, the only time he's ever had sex, was one time he snuck over to the neighbours. I imagine he remembers it because  he got into a lot of trouble over that episode.......and, well........he had sex.

  Abby has been in heat twice before. Each of those times, because she was too young, we had to keep her in the kennel. Tuke would spend all of his time, just outside the fence. Inches away from what he wanted, but it might as well have been a mile. Now she's out and what he's wanted so badly is right under his nose. We've had to keep an eye on her because the neighbour's dog is interested too. More than once, Tuke and he have gone a round or two to try determine whose the boss. Also, because Abby isn't  that keen on all this new attention, she'll often spin around and take a nip at Tukes nose.

  OK, to recap, our Male dog Tuke gets placed under a spell of sexual irresistiblity. He has to battle other dogs, has to endure getting bitten on the nose by the one he's under a spell for. Most of "his people" are getting on his case for having sex on his brain. He's in his 40's in dog years and has had sex one time which got him booted in the ass. Plus, we've been losing sleep because he's up all night yowling, and barking and scraping with the neighbour's dog. He's practically a 40 year old virgin. Although, I don't think you can almost be a virgin?

  I can't help feeling a little sorry for the poor guy. I've decided that I'm going to be his wing-man.

  I took him for a walk to the pond out in the back 40 because he loves to swim. I thought he might need to clear his head a bit. Except the swim that usually goes on for 20 minutes only lasted the length of time that he could swim out, around the dock, and back to shore. Then he looked at me with those, "I need to go have sex!" dog eyes, started whining, and got the shakes, and we had to go back. It's like he's hooked on crack or something.

  He needed help. I called him over, cleaned him up a bit, wiped all the gook out of his eyes, tidied up his new scars and took the two of them out to the pond to spend a little romantic time together. Then I pretended to be busy while I was on the lookout for any other males lurking about while they had some quiet time alone together. Last night, I let them spend the night together in the kennel.

  I guess we'll know shortly how well they got along together.

I think they'll make awesome babies?

  I think he appreciated it. I've never really had the chance to be a wing-man before. I don't suspect that in my mid 40's, I'll ever get the chance again.

  ........... But, if my kids turn 40 and are still living in the basement, I might have to intervene again. Of course, by then I'll be in my 60's. My skills might be a little rusty.