Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How it can feel

On Babymama...the follow-up post

[This post is a follow-up to the one I just published, so I guess you should read the one below first, and then return, OK? OK.]





I'm scanning old pictures of Babymama into my computer to create a slide show for her. I'm throwing her a surprise 31st birthday party on February 8th, and I want it to be as special as possible, so I plan on using my projector and blasting a slide show of some old pictures of her and her friends and family onto the screen or the wall for people to check out while they hang out at my house. This weekend, I grabbed a few old pictures of her as a kid and snuck them out of the house at Graeagle. We were up there without any other family, just ours, and it was interesting. We have been kind of fighting lately, and it came to a rather ugly head on Saturday night. Eventually we resolved to get along and talk things out without yelling at each other, but it was kind of bad...even for us.






Now, as I sit here loading up pictures and looking at my wife when she was 10 years old, I'm thikning, "How could I ever say anything hurtful or mean to this little girl? How could I do anything but protect this little person's feelings?" I know that she's a big girl now, and just as capable of doing hurtful things to me or protecting herself, but I also know that inside of my grow-up wife is this precious little girl...this innocent soul that has just become a little different because she had to to deal with the world as she grew up. I want to always remember that she is just a little girl on the inside, even when she is yelling at me or not treating me the way I want to be treated...ESPECIALLY if she is acting that way.






We should all treat each other like children. We are all just kids who did what we had to do and became who we became because of it. Our love and acceptance of each other would be greater and I think our world would be a better place.






I find myself so fortunate to make little personal discoveries like this through the forgiveness and protection of my marriage. It has never been a perfect one, but I think that it is a very normal one, and I love my wife deeply in spite of AND because of our differences. I know that we can and will become better people together. When we make mistakes, like those so many young parents and spouses make with each other, we choose to stick it out and grow from those mistakes. Eventually I think we will be like kids again.



Keep telling the story

"Whatever has been is that which will be; And whatsoever has been done is that which will be done; And there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9)



So, as Coelho advises, "if thousands of years ago there was nothing new, just imagine now! Our feelings of happiness and anguish are still the same, and we should not hide them. And even though there is nothing new under the sun, there still remains the need to translate all this for ourselves and for our generation."

Thanks, Paulo. With that wisdom in mind I am going to follow up this post with one that has been sitting in my dashboard as a "draft" now for about 2 months. It's very personal because I reference the fact that Babymama and I had a fight. I don't usually talk about stuff like that here on my blog. I haven't gone there. The fact is that we do fight, and it's normal. We're (hopefully) coming out of another one right now.

It happens, not just to us, either. It happened again, and rather than go into too much detail, I'd rather post my original thoughts from the last time around and reflect on them, because they just helped me turn the corner.

[So I'm pretty sure that at this point, you can scroll up and read the post above now].

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hail!


Hail!
Originally uploaded by Zack Sheppard
From my buddy Z, who just celebrated his birthday. Happy late one, my man. I hope it was as cool as this video you made.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dirty

I'm not for everybody.

My humor and even my behavior has evolved quite a bit as I've aged, and even more so since having kids, but the truth is that I can still turn people off on occasion. It has to do with a rather sarcastic, sometimes crude, and regularly vulgar way of telling it like it is. I don't know exactly at what point in my adolescence this sort of rebellion against my Catholic upbringing started taking over my brain, but it was a slippery slope and I turned into a rather nasty dude. Now, don't get me wrong, I still put on a good face, dress appropriately for work, maintain clean guise at (most) social gatherings and try to demonstrate to my kids what a "good dad" should do. I think I'm mostly all right. As my good friends and family know all to well by now, however, is that I really do have a streak in me that can only be called "Dirty".

Segue to the impetus for the post. I discovered, some time ago, a lovely little movie called Dirty Love, starring one of the Academy's most overlooked starlets, Jenny McCarthy. [OK, perfect case in point right there: I am being sarcastic. I do it a lot. It's hard to get that point across in a blog sometimes, and lesser writers like myself might be tempted to bold or CAPITALIZE the sarcastic portions to help the reader along...or in this case, simply call it out as blatant sarcasm. The fact is that Hollywood could give two shits about Jenny McCarthy, and most people probably think that she hasn't had a good speaking role since her appearance as Miss October, 1993. Again with the jokes, I know, but mine are always laced with enough truth, because that very well may have been her best work to date.]

I have talked about "Dirty Love" with most of my friends, and almost every single one of the very few that actually saw it think that I am crazy for LOVING THIS MOVIE. Sure, it's crude and full of overacting. Sure, there are more vulgarities than a Dice show, but with lipstick and boobies and maxi-pads involved. Sure, by most mainstream standards, this movie probably does really suck. I am not mainstream. I really think that this movie sets the bar higher than even the Farrelly Brothers have yet to achieve in their many infamous shock-comedies. I actually think that Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy take Ben Stiller to school, and I love Ben Stiller.

The truth is that this movie is "over the top" even "over the line" more frequently than it is not. And having spent much of my youth being personally over the line, I can really relate to how funny that is. And, to be honest, it's a refreshing break for someone who, at the request of his better half, restrains himself to this side of the line on a much more regular basis.

So that's my obtuse review of a movie that most people who read this blog should, in all honesty, probably not go see. But if you're like me, and you find clips like the one below to be funnier than Hell, than take heed: if you rent this movie, you may find yourself laughing out loud at some of the raunchiest shit you've never thought of. Don't worry, you won't go to Hell for laughing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Sorry




I found the perfect card to give to Babymama tonight when I get home. It really sums up my feelings about a recent disagreement we had:




[In case you find it hard to view, the outside reads: "I'm Sorry", and the inside reads: "I still think its your fault, but they don't make cards that say that."]

It's actually a copyrighted piece from Bald Guy Greetings, who you can read all about on the company history page of their website. Seriously, it's worth the read. Hopefully these dudes don't get all panty-wadded about me posting the picture, but if they do, maybe they can make a card about the inconvenience. Something along the lines of "We're sorry about suing you for copyright infringement, but thanks for adding an additional 48 visitors to our website."

I'm going to buy a few cards from them. Ever since Soundwave CD's closed up it has been next to impossible to find quality humor of the greeting card persuasion.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Typing in Stereo

You can't fake this kind of shit, so I won't. I'll just paste this email sent to my brother regarding a property that we are currently marketing. (Happy birthday, Paddy, btw). Anyway, the names and phone numbers have been slightly altered* to protect the innocent...or perhaps to keep me out of court. Somehow, however, I doubt that the author of the following email would have the wherewithal to ever know I posted this.

Enjoy:



From: s*
To: p*
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008
Subject: 30 unit apt
hello mr p*how are you ? this j* maybe I like your 30 unit apt
I like ask you your apt 30 unit can you exchange my 80 ac land location is kingman az mountin vista 2 mil from vlley vista can divide 5 ac each may be lees than 5 ac cut
good news is internatiolal airport come in kingman az soon mountin vista is from kingman 10 mil
my land is county assessos land value $ 203.721.00 and $203.618.00 80 total $ 407.399.00- 80 acif you like exchange ? your apt $700.000.00 I give you 80 ac pulas $100.000.00 cash and I toke over your HUD loan $158.000.00 than your pris is $665.399.00
mr p* if you like intersting please emial to me or vall me 7**-7**-4*** j* thank you

Splish Splash







So we finally got to see the much-anticipated performance of the season on Friday night. It was St. John's "Spring Fling"; the highly-attended pageant wherein hundreds of little 3-5 year-olds sang and danced to the background tunes of the rockin' oldies like "Lollipop", and "Splish Splash".
Sean's class was involved in the latter, and they all showed up in their bathrobes and P.J.'s to put on the show. It was pretty freaking classic seeing all of the little personalities either shy away from the spotlight, or ham it up for the crowd.




There was standing room only, and being a first-timer, I made the mistake of showing up only 15 minutes early, which meant that I had to stand on the side in order to man the video camera. I was stoked, however, to see the Chapman's. They were there to see their little Sarah perform.




All of the kids were so cute, and even though Sean was a little shy at first, by the end of the show he was rocking his air saxophone with a vengeance.




I had a good time hanging with him over the rest of the weekend. He helped me clean the pool most of the day Saturday, and then we decided to head out to look for something fun to do. We ended up at the new Chocolate Bar at the Summit Sierra Mall, and had a great milkshake that lasted about 30 seconds. Cool decor in the new C-Bar.




By the end of the weekend, we were enjoying our pretty regular Sunday night dinner at Papa and Bobo's house when Sean hit the wall. Literally, he was playing with uncle Chris when he crashed head-first into the corner of the kitchen wall, opening up a pretty decent little chunk of skin on his dome. After a fairly traumatic night of me begging him to let me try to get a band aid on and him LETTING US KNOW that we would not be THINKING about stitches (which were fortunately not going to be necessary THIS time...thank you, GOD), I finally got him calm enough to let me properly dress the wound and apply a butterfly patch. Oh, the memories I have about my childhood injuries. I've had so many stitches and so many butterfly patches on my head that I've lost track. When Marissa asked me if I knew how to put on a butterfly patch, all I could do was shake my head and say, "Uh, yeah."




I can't say that no-one got hurt, but I can say that it was a pretty good little weekend, and we are looking forward to the sunshine and warm weather. With any luck, I won't need the last 2 butterfly patches for a few more years!




Friday, April 18, 2008

"Does anybody want some...

...MAGIC JOHNSON???"
-Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Magic Johnson"

That's right, that band was at one time so badass that they dedicated an entire song to a basketball God, and the team that was responsible for the terms "Showtime" and "Three-peat", and many, MANY fond memories from my own childhood. I love the Chili Peppers, but I wouldn't have given them the time of day were it not for that song.

I have to throw a shout out to DGM for stirring up the great memories about the ORIGINAL "M.J." The fact is that I was, as so many other middle-school-aged boys, way too caught up in professional sports at one time in my life. Fortunately I was raised by a dad who grew up in Tustin, so I was basically born a Laker fan, and by the time I turned 12 they were dominating the NBA scene. It was a combination of factors, including but not limited to Kareem and his sky-hook, Cooper and his dominating jump shot, James Worthy and his I-Mean-Business-Tomahawk dunks, AC Green's blackness, Rambis and his Rambo-like flair for being a rebound machine (and Jesus, who is gonna fuck with a guy who tapes the bridge of his glasses like that. I mean he must have REALLY got his ass kicked in high school with that look, and God help any motherfucker in between him and a board because there was years of shame and humiliation coming out when he played. OK, maybe not, I better take that back in case he ever reads this blog in some cruel twist of fate that ends with me getting ninja'd after dark by some 50-year-old four-eyed dude...sorry, Kurt). Anyway, there were a lot of factors that made the Lakers so awesome at the time, but none more real than the no-look-pass-with-a-smile style that came from Magic.

Magic was a three-time MVP. He was a 6 foot 9 point guard that could play center - and DID, by the way, when he took his team to the first of 5 NBA championships under his guidance. He has an college Championship with Michigan State, an Olympic gold medal with the "Dream Team", and he's a Hall of Famer too. The list goes on. One of my favorite stats is that he hit over 90% of his free-throws in the '88-89 season. That's just the whole package. And he was. As a matter of fact, before he came into the league (and won rookie of the year) the NBA was kind of on the ropes, suffering from a lack of interest in the sport. Thanks to Magic and his smile, and the rivalries he would get going with fellow All-Stars Larry Bird and Isaiah Thomas, the NBA came back strong in popularity and sucked in a whole new school of followers, including myself. (Although lately, babies like Kobe and the thugs that make up 50% of the league have me wishing the NCAA season would stretch out a couple more months. The truth is: I miss the Magic).

When I was 13, my dad took my little brother Paddy and I down to the Forum to catch a playoff game against Charles Barkley and the Suns. Little did we know what a special event it would turn out to be. We were star-struck by all of the celebrity around us, gathering autographs on the way in from Dominique Wilkins, Chevy Chase, Ton Loc, and others. Somehow my dad had lined up some magic night where we got to park close and enter through the "Forum Club", which was VIP before the velvet rope was a big deal. Little did we know what else we had in store. Rather than head straight to our seats, we took a detour as the owner, Jerry Buss's secretary (who my dad just happened to know at the time) took us on a personal tour of his office and we got a picture in front of all of his trophies behind his desk. (I'll add the picture later, but the muse is in me now, so I'm not stopping for breath.) Last but not least, we were escorted to our seats, mid-court, 3 rows off the floor. Dude, we were closer to the floor than most of the actors and musicians in the crowd. Even at that age, I knew how sweet this deal was, and what a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing we were experiencing.

And yes, of course the Lakers won. Magic had a triple double.

The next day, cruising through the streets of LA, I found 3 different Magic Johnson T-Shirts, and when I got back to Reno, I wore each one at least one day every week for the rest of the year. Yeah, it was overkill, but I was buzzed for months. Shit, just talking about it now I get a little buzzed still. Thanks, Magic. Thanks, Dad.


As many people know, Magic became the poster child for HIV, and has since made amazing strides in fighting it. I learned about the "cocktail" of medicine he has to take in a DNA class I had in college. He has never shown signs of slowing down, and in fact, sets example after example as a developer of commercial and residential projects in low-income areas around the country. I just read a great article about how he has handled his development career. Like everything else in his life, it has been with style.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yes, Master

Some sage advice from one of my favorite's, Paulo Coelho, on writing:


"
Your allies will not necessarily be those that everyone looks on with admiration and says: “there’s nobody better”. It’s very much the opposite: it’s people who are not afraid of making mistakes, and yet they do make mistakes. That is why their work is not always recognized. But that’s the type of people who change the world, and after many a mistake they manage to get something right that will make all the difference in their community.

These are people who cannot sit around waiting for things to happen before they decide on the best way to narrate them: they decide as they act, even knowing that this can be very risky.
"




That style reminds me of how someone once told me Tom Robbins writes all his books. He doesn't outline or anything...he just sits and types. I don't even know if it's true or not, but I like to think so. I, however, will be pre-meditating an upcoming post when I attend Sean's school's musical performance this coming Friday night. I saw the preview when I got home last night, and all I can say is that a muncha-buncha-cruncha 4-year-olds singing and dancing together will be worthy of many laughs. I hope to share the experience herein quite shortly thereafter.

Until then, here's a preview of the level of performance that I'm in for. Enjoy:



Monday, April 14, 2008

Thank God for Night Ranger

Dear God, I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for a couple of things. First off, thanks for my kids. They rock, in so many ways, and without their facemelting cherubitute, I don't know that I would make it through many of these (as of late) most trying times. Your work here is greatly appreciated.

Speaking of rock, I'm going to go ahead and thank you for Kelly Keagy's pretty sweet guitar solo during Night Ranger's hit, Sister Christian. It's not just that the solo was so brilliantly played out or anything, as much as it is that it saved a life this morning. You see, I was having a pretty bad morning. Having been singled out by the newspaper over the weekend as "The" owner of the apartments that my DAD, BROTHER, and myself own, I came into a pretty uncomfortable office environment. It was partially my fault for the misleading press, and having hindsight, I would have done things differently when the RGJ photographer asked to take my picture a couple of weeks back. Anyway, everyone I know now thinks I am trying to stand out apart from the brother I work with, share an office with, and am trying to come up in this business equally with. I know it bummed him out. I would have been pissed, but he's much cooler than I and insists I just let it go. So I tried, and I went to the dentist.

While waiting for what would turn out to be 2 ours of jaw-locking fun, I had the pleasure of not meeting someone special in the waiting room. I couldn't tell you what she looked like. Probably a sweet, motherly type. I was having a pity party of my own, and picked up a magazine and tried to ignore the way she was humming along to the radio playing over the sound system. As can be the case with these types, she took my refusal to acknowledge her humming as an invitation to increase the volume of her improvisational noise, often harmonizing the tune with her own brand of "Hmmmm, hmm HMMMMMMMM." At least four songs went through the rotation, and I found myself praying for a commercial. Her voice seemed to get louder and louder. She was basically singing without words, reminding me of the way a kazoo sounds when it's placed three inches away from your ear by a 7-year-old kid with ADHD. She had me on the ropes, ready to explode with an eye-rolling look of acknowledgement and anger that would bring her trainwreck of a concert to a screeeeeeeeching halt of shame.

Then Sister Christian came on the radio. At first, she tried to keep up with it. Everybody seems to know this song, although they usually mistakenly refer to it as "Motorin'". I'm not going to say that I didn't think that at one time in my life. But this isn't about me, this is about the lady who was, even when out so blatently of her humming skills genre, still trying to harmonize a muzak-like melody over the perfectly good ACTUAL melody of the song. Well GOD BLESS THE ELECTRIC GUITAR SOLO, because when it came on, she finally gave in an shut the hell up! The silence in the room as the guitar played on was like magic, and I have never been so grateful.

So thank you, God. For the kids. For the electric guitar. For my wife. My job. My understanding brother and father. My career. My friends. And finally, while I am at it, for the small amount of patience that you have blessed me with...for it proved just enough to save some well-meaning, sweet lady's life today.

Amen.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Great Green Goodness!

As seen today in the St. Mary's parking structure, on level one, which is the "Physician Parking Only" level:





MAN, that's hawt.



I would consider going out and looking for a little beauty like this to restore, or soup up, or even just rock around the hood with the windows down blasting some rad tunes this summer.


I WOULD, that is, IF I wasn't secretly saving up my money for the 2009 release of this dude right here:



No joke, this car actually gives me wood.



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

... I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero?

I don't like video games.

There was a time in my life, back in high school, when my buddy Max and I would play Mortal Combat for hours at a time. It was fun, and it was pretty much harmless, except of course that there is absolutely no redeeming quality to memorizing the button sequence necessary to "finish him" with "friendship"...gamers will undoubtedly pick up on this lame reference, and in doing so, reveal your own level of lameness. Cheers.

In college, when my roommate got the newest Nintendo and locked himself in his room for two straight days to defeat the latest version of Super Mario, I knew that I had outgrown a phase of my life, and I took some kind of pride in not wanting to plug my brain into the game world any more. I went surfing. I couldn't give a shit that I would no longer be able to compete with my friends when they got together to play whatever happened to be the latest kill-each-other game over beers at night. I still have never played Grand Theft Auto, nor World of Warcraft. I laugh like a fucking snob when I read about some secret scene in some video game that you can "unlock" with some secret decoder ring. I find those "Easter Eggs" about half as interesting as a "Bonus Egg". I think you get my point.

Imagine my conundrum when, as a Christmas present from my own father, my son received a Nintendo Wii. I struggled, but ultimately, I gave in to it knowing that:




  • His cousins and everyone else in the world has it, and

  • I've seen it, and it looks a little more harmless than the rest, and

  • He's only 4 so the games are all about riding cows and shooting balloons right?, and

  • HEY, it's actually kind of fun to go virtual bowling as a family and, ultimately,

  • WHATEV's.


I folded. What can a dad do but pick his battles right? What an ironic choice of words that turned out to be. You see, last week, Babymama took a gift certificate that we had to RC Willey and used it in the most evil way possible. She bought the "Guitar Hero 3" package complete with guitar control and video game in which you vitually pick guitar notes and battle rock gods like Tom Morello and Slash to get to Guitar Legend status. It's complicated, I know, but stick with me.

You see, I have a real thing for butt rock, and Rock Me Like A Hurricane if there isn't a TON of it in the game. I mean Poison, Metallica, ZZ Top, and so much more killer music that is in some way related to the genre, if not actual BR. It really does go deeper than the butt, but let's be honest, this game dropped me to my sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na knees, knees. I digress.



If you'll take note of the picture above I will reference it for a moment. It happens to be the second song that defeated me in my night of rock. It's The Mighty Mat's best known anthem "One". As you can ascertain from the final score of 100% completed AND the word "Failed" on the screen, I actually lost this on the very last note. I whispered an F-bomb, trying not to wake my kids up. I actually restrained myself pretty well from going all Pete Townsend with the controller, mostly because, as I mentioned, it was actually the 2nd loss of the night. The first, a true heartbreaker, was my humiliating defeat at the hands of Muse's "Knights of Cydonia", which anyone who knows me well will attest as one of my all time favey's. Now, there should be no further explanation necessary as to this song's true worth, but in case you are a newbie to kickass rock-hand worthy facemelting, please get up to speed so we can move along with today's lesson plan:



Obviously I relate to everything in that video, and you can quickly see how psychologically defeating it would be for a guy like me to NOT beat that song on my first attempt. Good. My downward spiral only got worse as the night progressed. \

Let me back it up and come clean: It's not like I didn't know what was going to happen from the moment I came home and saw the big white box sitting in the living room. I had played this game before, (on the cousin's wii), and I knew that it should not ever enter my house. It was like crack for me. What would I do when confronted with this type of temptation?


Devil: "You will play the game until you conquer it."


Me: "No, I have willpower, I'll just watch and not play."

Devil: "Of course. It's better if you don't try it at ALL. You probably can't handle it."

Me: "I can handle a taste."


Devil: "Of COURSE you can, you handsome rock alumni, you. Pick up the axe."


Me: "Yeah, one or two songs will be fine...what could go wrong."


Devil: "Yes, that's nice...what a firm grip you have. MMmmmmmmmm."


You know what's really sick? When you get to the final round you play the devil to win the whole game. His name is actually "Lou", but you have to battle him in a version of Charlie Daniel's infamous "Devil Went Down To Georgia". How do I know this? Yes, that's right, I played for 4 hours straight on Saturday night until I slayed said beast. OK, maybe it was 6. AGAIN, Whatev's. I am a fucking dork. If it helps at all, which I know it does not, I only beat the game on "Medium", which I'm sure qualifies me for lower-level dorkitude...middle management of gamer geekdom, probably. The good news: I don't really have to play any more. I don't need to EVER call myself a guitar hero on the "Hard" or even "Expert" level. I got "Guitar Hero Twitch" , and other side effects that lasted all weekend. I have not blogged in a few days because I was busy playing the game, and yes, my hands really hurt. I am not proud.


Sean, however, was pretty stoked to see me repeat the final battle royale when he woke up the next morning and felt some kind of battle vibe in the air. He watched me knock the devil into the flaming lava river and he cheered me on. He saw it as some kind of inspirado.


God help us all.


I'm back on the blogging for now. It's late at night and I'm restless and I'm at least 30 feet away from the Wii and you know what? It feels just fine. Everything's going to be fine.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dropping the Dooce

I'm not fashionable, I'm just late. Better that than never, but I do have a significant amount of reading to do to catch up on the Godfather of this whole blogging dealio, who just so happens to be a chick named Heather writing a blog called
Dooce.

Is it significant that my 200th blog will reference the Dooce? Only to a retard like myself.

Look, I realize that like, everyone in the internetz has already read Dooce except me, OK?! At least I'm honest. And I feel like I gotta pay some kind of respect or whatever. I don't know how this works, really. Is it like the Mafia? Should I put a couple c-notes in an envelope and mail them to her. Would I be made? More than likely, NOT. To be made you have to do a couple of things you can learn from her:

  • Be prolific
  • Be thick-skinned
  • Be funny
  • Punctuate
  • Repeat

She's on the blogroll, hit it. Dooce is now second only to Z on the list, because he introduced me to blogging, and well, he might actually be connected. Not sure.

For the birds

Do you ever find yourself subscribing to the "theory of threes"? You know, it's when you refer to some coincidental happenings as taking place in threefold effect. First it happens once, then a second time which grabs your attention, and then BANG-O, it happens a third time and the universe and all of it's strategery is plotting in your direction. Or maybe farting in your general direction, depending on what it is that's going down. Anyway, I just snuck a fart reference in there for some reason, and I'm getting WAY off the course of what it is I sat down to write about this morning, so back on track: birds are crazy.

To illustrate my point, I'm going to reference THREE examples of the coo-coo that I was privy to all within the span of one week.

1. I made a reference not that long ago to witnessing a freaky occurrence in my neighborhood. I thought it was 2-dozen or so hawks all flying through the air in some sort of Hitchcockesque happening. Well, it turns out that those were not hawks. According to my neighbor Pat, they are Turkey Vultures, a bunch of nasty buzzards, making their annual return to the little hidden lake in our 'hood. Lovely. OK, so maybe I don't have the keen "Eagle Eye" that I thought I did, spotting some as-yet-undiscovered hawk behavioral phenomenon, but I finally got a picture of these scavengers en-mass over the house and I'll put it here. Feel free to click on it for the large size, and just pretend for a second that they are a bunch of hawks, which is much cooler than the truth:



2. Up in Graeagle over the weekend, we had a visit from our local crazy-ass goose. This goose actually THINKS that it IS a hawk, apparently. It likes to make a nest in the hollowed out tall stump of a pine tree that broke in half several years ago. It's fucking hilarious to see this nutty honker pop it's head up from inside it's 'fort', and my kids were excited to catch a glimpse too:



3. Finally, last night I remembered to grab the camera during our semi-weekly feeding of the ducks that like to come and swim in the water that sits atop the winter cover to our pool. I know that it's probably a bad idea to encourage their frequenting of the pool, because they will no doubt fill it with duckshit, and perhaps even plan on making some ducklings in our back yard this spring. I also know that it fills my yellow lab green with envy to see us befriending the very same waterfowl that I would otherwise shoot dead and command him to fetch but not chew. Oh well, fuckit: kids like to feed ducks. And even though these pictures are post-sunset and hard to make out, you will also notice that on occasion and if the bread is not quite stale enough, kids will often feed themselves in the process:

So there you have it: Birds be crazy.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oh what a night

Let me just start this one off by saying that I am going on very little sleep right now. It's been a long night and an even longer morning after. That being said, I need to blog this and get it out there.

Everyone was fast asleep last night when I heard some rattling going on through the wall outside. I don't normally get alarmed by this sort of thing, but then Bodie chimed in, obviously also awoken from his slumber at the ripe hour of 1am. I started to worry. Then it got kicked up a level when Bodie's initial bark turned to the "guard dog" tone with a deep, mean growl that I have only heard him do once before. It's that tone that goes from "I just heard a noise and my dog instincts are telling me to bark" all the way up the scale to "I see you. I don't know who you are. You better get the fuck out of here or I'm going to bite your ass."

All of this took place in the span of about 15 seconds, in which time I was awake, out of bed, unlocking my gun safe and loading up the 12-gauge.

I bolted down the hall wearing nothing but my boxers, knowing that as soon as I turned the corner I would be at the 30-foot span of our house that is covered only by glass sliding doors, and whatever awaited me would be in my face. My heart beat was somewhere in the neighborhood of jackhammer and even though I was moving so fast, I felt like I was in some kind of slow motion movie...almost like I was having an out-of-body experience. I have never confronted a burglar. I have never, even with all of my "that's what I WOULD DO" talk, had to go face-to-face with a criminal looking to harm my person, my family, or my home. I have never, ever had to point a loaded gun at another human being. Until last night.

I turned the inevitable corner and there were two men in hooded sweatshirts and jeans, trying to climb their way back OUT of my yard, through the gate that tends to get stuck from the inside on occasion. One had a crow bar in his hand, and as they both looked up at me sliding around the corner, not even 10 feet away from them and separated by only a glass door, the other one (wide-eyed and reacting to the site of my Winchester pump-action shotgun) reached his hand around his back to his belt and pulled out a large black handgun. Words can not describe what went through my head at that exact moment. I really have no idea what I was thinking. To be honest, I don't believe I was thinking anything at all. I simply reacted to what I saw with a fight-or-flight move that was obviously pre-determined by some other DNA-writing universal force. Everything was in slow motion, the direction of the tip of his gun was moving from his belt to the ground to the door, on it's way to my face. I pointed my shotgun first and I pulled the trigger.

I don't remember hearing the gun shot. I don't remember hearing the glass break. I don't remember any of it at all because I actually made it all up as a little April Fools anecdote to chalk one up for my blog post of the day.

Thank God that when I heard my awesome, but often confused guard dog growling in that scary tone last night, I ran out to the slider to see those stupid raccoons tip-toeing their way around the pool on their way to their next hijinks's in the 'hood. The fact that I still have yet to pull a shotgun out for anything other than chukar, quail, pheasant or clay pigeons did nothing to ease my mind as I tried to get back to sleep last night for at least two hours. There's something about the adrenaline rush that leaves an acid-like taste in your throat when you lay back down. It gave me plenty of time to think about this stupid post, though.

Happy April 1.