April 30, 2008


Since Monday night the family has been on sick watch. It started with Boopie Monday night around 8:00 PM. Then Ktreva started getting sick sometime in the middle of the night. I started Tuesday morning.

I'm going to save you all the details, but I really could go with out the abdominal cramping and two way exiting of any substance I happen to eat or drink.

Posted by Contagion at 03:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 28, 2008

Gathering at Macktown retrospective

We had a wonderful weekend. After receiving word that my mother was out of emergency surgery for her second heart attack, we headed to camp. Hey, mom told us to go! We were able to get set up in a soft drizzle with out any problems or issues. The new tent was a nice and easy set up for us. I'm really glad we decided to get it.

I did take some a lot of ribbing over the facial hair, not all the comments were as hateful on the ones left on my previous post. Some of you have a mean streak! Actually none of the comments bothered me, I figured that was going to happen. I just rolled with them.

The weather started off kind of crappy. Thursday when we set up it was drizzling a little with the occasional rain. Friday we had on and off rain through out the day. Sometime around 3:00 pm the weather started to get nasty. We had a severe thunderstorm blow through just south of us and the wind really started to pick up. At one point the rain was coming at us vertically. With winds gusting up to 30 mph we had some serious issues. Ktreva, the boys and I were standing under our friend Smokepoles 16 foot fly and the rain was coming so hard that my glasses were covered in rain as I stood at the other end.

Some of the campers that showed up late had to set up in the pouring rain. The wind never really died down all night. It blew hard and heavy all night long, which of course meant a lot of people didn't get much sleep. I have a hard time sleeping in high winds situation because I'm listening for ripping canvas and snapping poles. I know of at least 4 people that lost canvas that night.

Saturday morning a lot of campers just packed up in left, including some of the people that set up in the rain. We lost about 50% Saturday morning before the event even started. There was one well known individual trader going around telling people that the wind was going to get worse and we were going to get snow that night. A lot of people just took him at his word and started packing up. The booshway, event committee and staff kept telling people they were not canceling the event and encouraged people to stay.

Now I have a lot of re-enactors, living historians, etc that read this blog, so I'm not going to mention any individuals specifically, but I will say this. The bug out was really caused by one group of re-enactors that have absolutely nothing to do with the running of this event. I was surprised by the groups that did pull out.

Saturday after the event closed, even more people packed up and left. When we had the camp meeting I had been into my cups so when the topic of how to handle the situation in the future came up, I just started talking. I told them that I felt that anyone that left early with out a legitimate reason should not be invited back next year. I know a couple left because their ridge poles snapped and they couldn't fix it or their canvas was destroyed. Let them come back because they had a legitimate excuse for leaving. Most of the people still there agreed with me. Someone brought up that they needed those camps to demonstrate. I pointed out they weren't there anyways.

Since none of my friends in camp tackled me in the middle of the meeting I just kept shooting off my opinion. I did learn a valuable lesson this weekend. Never go to camp meetings half drunk. Definitely don't drink during the meeting. They are not asking me to be on the committee for this event. Yea, I told them no and that I didn't think it would be a good idea for me to join. I'd just be one more problem they had. Could you imagine my loud, opinionated self in a committee for something that I don't get paid to do? Yea, there's not enough sensitivity classes in the world to keep me from spouting off at every bad idea. I'm not a committee kind of guy.

The kicker to this whole thing is that the weather on Saturday was windy up until about 7:00 PM. Then it was just nice. We had no more high winds, no more rain. Sunday it was sunny and beautiful. All these people that packed up and left early, wasted their time. They missed a beautiful weekend.

Posted by Contagion at 02:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Lookin' Fancy.

Well, I did it. Last night I went and shaved off all of the facial hair. Now, I'll be honest I've had mixed reactions. First I have Clone, "Daddy, you look fancy." I don't know where that came from, but okay! I'm not arguing with a five year old.

Boopie just laughed at me and said I looked like a dork. Ktreva told me that I looked about 15 and that she liked me better with facial hair. That was between bouts of laughter.

At work this morning, for the short time I was there before having to get get Clone, I had mixed reactions. Everything from, "Did you lose a bet?" to "You look like younge." Some said they liked it, but I think they where just being nice. No, I agree. I think I look like a bigger dork.

See, I've had facial hair for pretty much all of my adult life. I started growing a mustache in High School and I kept it through college. I shaved it off for a short period of time when I did my internship, but grew it back. When I worked in Law Enforcement I couldn't have a beard , so as soon as I left that field I actually grew one. I had that for a while, but decided I didn't like it, so I shaved it down to the Goatee. For those of you that have met me, you'll recognize me in this picture:

Shaving 001.jpg

It's not the best picture, but it gives you an idea. That is the facial hair I've sported for the last 10 years of my life. Usually shorter and better trimmed, but it was always some variation of that.

What I had for years took me less then 5 minutes to get rid off. I trimmed it down and then completely shaved. My upper lip not having seen a razor since 96.

If you want to see how dorky I look now... just go to the extended entry.

Shaving 003.jpg

Now if you'll excuse me. I'm going to go share my dorkiness with others.

Posted by Contagion at 11:16 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale.

Back to the beer reviews. Repeat enabler Bruce of Back to the Bat Cave sponsors tonightís review. His contribution this week was Samuel Smithís Winter Welcome Ale by the Samuel Smith old Brewery in Tadcaster, England.

Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint 2.7 FL OZ brown bottle. The bottle has the name of the brewery molded into the glass. There is a gold foil wrapping around the neck. The label has a purple background and is very busy. In the middle is a picture of an old merchants ship.

There is a nice dark copper color to it. It is clear with no hints of cloudiness to it at all. When poured a half inch white head with a combination of bubbles formed. The head slowly faded into a film and ring on top the beer that lasted until the finish.

When smelled you can detect a mixture of malts and grains. It almost smells like a bran cereal. There is a touch of citrus to it as well as a hint of spice. The taste is a combination of malts and some spices. I had a difficult time singling any out. They mixed fairly well together.

This is a medium bodied beer. The carbonation level is comparable with most beers Iíve had. Itís very easy to drink.

Bruce usually goes out of his way to find some of the most jacked up beers Iíve ever had. In fact heís rather good at finding beers that no normal person would ever want to drink. This time he actually found something really nice. Itís pleasant and easy to drink. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 11:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm Back!

Let's see... MuNu has been down for me for about 15 hours. Yes, I have posts to make, including a beer review.

I'm home today. I was supposed to work, but Clone was up in the middle of the night vomiting. I thought it was just food poisoning as I'm feeling a bit off. I took him to the sitters and went to work. I was there about an hour when I got a call that he's complaining of an upset stomach and was getting sick. So I headed off to get him.

Also, last night my mother was taken BACK to the hospital. She had another heart attack. They are going to perform the surgery today to do the fourth artery, they originally were going to wait, but feel they can no longer do that.

To top things off, I am supposed to head to a re-enactment today. Now I'm not sure if I'm going.

Posted by Contagion at 11:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm Back!

Let's see... MuNu has been down for me for about 15 hours. Yes, I have posts to make, including a beer review.

I'm home today. I was supposed to work, but Clone was up in the middle of the night vomiting. I thought it was just food poisoning as I'm feeling a bit off. I took him to the sitters and went to work. I was there about an hour when I got a call that he's complaining of an upset stomach and was getting sick. So I headed off to get him.

Also, last night my mother was taken BACK to the hospital. She had another heart attack. They are going to perform the surgery today to do the fourth artery, they originally were going to wait, but feel they can no longer do that.

To top things off, I am supposed to head to a re-enactment today. Now I'm not sure if I'm going.

Posted by Contagion at 09:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

What day is it?

I heard on the radio itís Earth Day today. Until that moment I really had no clue. Now Iím sure Iím supposed to do something ďgreenĒ to save the planet, but we all know thatís not going to happen. So what have been my activities today?

Umm, put an additional 50 miles on my truck running around town. You know the one with the 5 inch tailpipe and gets 10 miles to the gallon. I have Boopie out cutting up a tree in the backyard. Some plastic bags accidentally blew out of the open windows on my truck during my travels. I bought a bunch of non-recycled plastic stuff. I threw away some aluminum cans. Later tonight Iím going to dump some used motor oil in my backyard in hopes of killing off some plants that just donít seem to want to die.

Yea, I think that is the majority of it.

The Environment. Ignore it, and it will go away.

Posted by Contagion at 06:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 20, 2008

I leave in 4 days.

In four days is the Gathering at Macktown. I've been keeping an eye on the weather. According to the weather channel we are supposed to get rain next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Let the annual soak fest begin!

Posted by Contagion at 07:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 19, 2008

I wonder if they are in counseling.

This is just hilarious, because it's someone else.

Watch this first:

http://view.break.com/479189 - Watch more free videos

I don't know why she did that, or why SHE thought it was funny, but she did. Don't get me wrong, I know why I think it's funny. Now watch his response:

http://view.break.com/480475 - Watch more free videos

I know why he did this, I'm not sure it was the appropriate response, but it was damn funny.

Seriously, I wonder if these two are still together and if so, what are they going to do to each other next?

Posted by Contagion at 10:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Lies, Lies, Lies

When we were in school we were taught all kinds of things. Most of us as children just accepted what the teacher taught us as truth. As adults many of us now know that Teachers more often than not just teach what is in the text books and really aren't a subject matter expert. What is in those books is often suspect and depends on the authors and publishers. As adults we learn more and more things about life we go back and remember what we were taught as wrong.

Here was have The 5 Most Ridiculous Lies You Were Taught In History Class.

Those are all pretty good, but honestly I think they should have added the controversial topic regarding the Civil War. Was it fought to free the slaves or fought to preserve the union? Anybody that studies history knows that slavery did have a hand in the fighting of the civil war, but the north did not go to war with the south to free the slaves. No, they went to war to preserve the union.

Posted by Contagion at 10:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Engineer's guide to cats.

This is for all of you engineers and pet lovers out there.

I found the portion of cat yodeling to be rather amusing. Personally, I would have loved if they had addressed the issue of the spayed female cat pissing all over the house.

Posted by Contagion at 09:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What happened to 80's metal?

Patton Oswalt did a comedy routine based on what happened to 80's Metal. Anyone that loved metal back than will probably find this hilarious.

I particularly love the ending about Damn Yankees... because I remember that video and was laughing AT it when I first saw it. Don't get me wrong, Ted Nugent Rocks, but that was just stupid.

Posted by Contagion at 09:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Empire Strikes back in 60 seconds.

Want to watch a movie, but just don't have the time. Check out the Empire Strikes Back done in 60 seconds.

Apparently this was done for some kind of competition. It doesn't look too bad for being done in a couple of days.

Posted by Contagion at 08:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More to fan the flames.

I was sirfing around the net and I stumbled across this clip about an "Art Show" and the University of Maine at Farmington's Student Center. Now, I think the clip would have been better with out the music, you might be able to hear what is being said better. I know it's not my usual lighter side to Saturday's, but I wanted to share this.

Besides the intentional disregard of the Flag, the disrespect of a War Vetern and the asinine comments by the professor/administrator about it being just a piece of cloth, the thing that really gets me is the kids standing on the flags with signs on their backs. Unfortunately the film quality isn't the greatest, but I do believe one said, "Future Teacher".

Yep, that explains why the future of America is screwed.

Posted by Contagion at 08:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2008

Now that just pisses me off.

I'm home watching Clone. As I sat here on the computer playing a game I got a phone call from Apple Computers. They had a question about an order I had placed. Well I hadn't placed any orders with Apple, especially for an Iphone or case.

I called my credit card company and verified the charges where on there. They were great and took the charges off, canceled my account and are going to re-register a new one to me.

I'm not sure how they get the card number they did, we don't use it. I'm not sure why they gave Apple all of my information, I'm so confused right now that I'm not sure what is going on.

Posted by Contagion at 02:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Rockin' and Shakin'

We had an earthquake lastnight? Well apparently we did, that's what everyone is talking about today. I wouldn't know it happened at 4:37 AM. At that time in the morning I'm sleeping. Apparently it was noticeable, but with the way Ktreva tosses and turns, if I did wake up, I probably just throught it was her.

According to the Rockford Register Star:

An earthquake centered in southern Illinois rocked people awake across the Midwest early today, surprising residents unaccustomed to such seismic activity.

The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered six miles from West Salem, and 66 miles west of Evansville, Ind.

Initially pegged as a 5.4 earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey revised its estimate to give it a value of 5.2....

...The quake shook skyscrapers in Chicagoís Loop, 230 miles north of the epicenter, and in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of the epicenter.

I just want to know why is it that when we have an Earthquake around here, it always happens in the middle of the night?

Posted by Contagion at 06:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Good news at last... sorta.

I finally got a call from the Doctor's office regarding my MRI results. There is some really good news, it doesn't look like I need surgery! YEAH!

According to the Doctor, the MRI didn't show any fractures or torn ligaments and tendons. They said I have a really bad sprain of the ankle and foot compounded by what appeared to be signs of a dislocated ankle that had corrected itself.

I'm supposed to stay off of it for the next couple of weeks, take it easy, don't do any heavy lifting. They said I can take ibuprofen for pain and ice it as necessary to reduce the swelling. Well, anyone that knows me knows that I'm going to follow the doctor's orders to a T.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go unload the water softener salt from the back of the truck, go through the re-enacting gear and see if I can finish cutting up that tree in the back yard.

Posted by Contagion at 03:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


If you're looking for the beer review, I didn't do one this week and am not planning on one right now. With everything else going on, it just isn't a priority. They will continue next week.

Mom had her surgery. She had four blockages, 2 at 99%, one at 89% and one at 75%. They were thinking of doing bypass surgery, but because of her age the decided that stints would work better. The surgery went well. They were only able to get three of the four stints put in yesterday. When they finished with the third one she had been on the table for a long time and they felt that putting a fourth one in at that time would just jeopardize her health even more. They are going to wait until she regains some of her strength and do the fourth.

During the diagnostic phase they also found two extremely large gall stones. They told us she is going to have to have her galbladder removed in the next year or so.

Mom is doing fine. She's not handling the pain and discomfort too well and she is being very picky about how things are going to be done. IE she likes Diet A&W rootbeer. Other than water or milk she refused to drink anything but Diet A&W rootbeer. She was telling the nurses and staff that if they can't bring her a Diet A&W rootbeer, then she doesn't want anything else. Even if it was diet rootbeer by a different company, she wouldn't accept it. So my Dad is bringing her some.

Posted by Contagion at 07:35 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

It wasn't indigestion.

It seems that mom had a heart attack last night. They've taken her into surgery for an angiogram and to place a couple of stints, that was about 2 hours ago. I haven't hear anything new since. In cases like this, no news is good news.

Posted by Contagion at 03:13 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Horrible day.

Yesterday is a day that will forever go down in my book as one of the worst days ever. It started off nicely enough but things took a turn for the worse quickly.

It all started while I was in a morning meeting, just after the meeting started one of my employees came into the conference room and advised us of an emergency. An employee that doesn't report to me had collapsed at her desk. Her supervisor, another and the managers went to check on her. The rest of us stayed in the conference room to finish the meeting. We paused for a moment when the ambulance arrived and then continued on. A couple of minutes later when it left with in minutes of arrival lights and sirens we knew something bad had happened. Usually when we have an incident the ambulance arrives, they stay for about 15 minutes prior to leaving and they leave rather slowly.

Upon leaving the room we were hit with the information that the employee had passed out at her desk, was having trouble breathing and they had issues finding a pulse. They had put an AED (Automatic Emergency Defibrillator) in order to find a heart beat. About an hour later our office was hit with the news that the employee had died. Most of the day was spent trying to comfort and support an emotionally devastated staff.

Then last night around 9:45 my phone rings. There is breathing on the other end and I have to say hello twice before I get anything. It was my mother. She was calling to say that she wasnít feeling good, she was rather incoherent and wasnít completing sentences. Then we were disconnected. I jumped off of the couch, grabbed my keys to head to her house as fast as Ktrevaís van could take me. While in route I called her back to see if I could get specifics and to see if I needed to call 911. I thought maybe Dad was out and she was alone having problems.

When I called her back she told me she was heading to the hospital, Dad was driving. She handed the phone to Dad and he told me she was having chest pains and was complaining of not feeling good. They told me not to head over as there wasnít anything I could do at this time. So I turned around and went home.

Through out the night and this morning I received news that she was being admitted and that they were running tests. This morning Dad tells me that no matter what happens, Mom is not going to be working for the rest of the week, which is to be expected. He also told me that mom was stable and that the doctor was in checking on here and preparing to run some more tests to make sure everything is okay.

Needless to say, not much sleep last night.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 14, 2008

I've got it bad.

Last year I was in a funk and really was not in a mood to do any re-enacting what-so-ever. What a difference a year makes. I've got two weeks before my next event and I'm already chomping at the bit. To make matters even worse this is after two winter camps and Fort De Chartres, so I already have some under my belt for this year. It's not like I've been sitting dormant since October like I did in seasons past.

Poor Ktreva is having to deal with my rants and rampages of cleaning up the camp. We got our new Wedge tent last week and are selling our wall tent. I'm looking at getting rid of our camp chairs because they aren't period correct, in fact they aren't period correct until you get to modern times. Sure they are made of wood, but they really were a product of modern re-enacting. I'm having a new coat made for me so I can get rid of my Capote, you know the one that they questioned when I juried into Fort De Chartres.

I think the biggest change is going to be that I'm shaving my facial hair off. After a discussion at Fort De Chartres with my pals Petey and Wil, I came home and did some research. Damned if it isn't heavily documented that Western Europeans as a standard didn't have facial hair. Sure, some of my research shows they may have gone up to a week with out shaving, but they would have shaved on the Sabbath and/or upon returning to a settlement.

Thus, I'm going to be shaving off my facial hair. That's right, my upper lip and chin are once again going to be exposed to sunlight after at least a good 12 years of being covered. Ktreva is a little mixed on this. She really likes the idea of no more scruffy face. To be honest, part of me doesn't want to shave it off. I think I look even dorkier with out facial hair. Plus I think it makes me look like I'm about 12. Yet a larger part of me really doesn't want to be incorrect for my persona. Thus I'm set that I'm shaving it off. However, I'm going to wait until the last minute to do so. It's getting bushy again and I'm going to donate the trimmings to locks of love.

I'm kidding, but I wonder....

Anyways, so I'm a bustle around the house all worked up and ready to head out to Macktown. I've gotten so bad that Ktreva actually laughed at me.

Posted by Contagion at 06:17 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 13, 2008

Lucas in love.

I know that I normally post stuff like this on a Saturday, but a friend of mine just sent it to me and I don't want to wait a week. It's kind of long, but funny. It's a spoof of Shakespeare in Love and the Star Wars Trilogy.

Posted by Contagion at 08:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 12, 2008

Off to get the MRI.

I'm off to get the MRI on my foot. Here's to hoping for a really bad sprain.

Posted by Contagion at 08:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

1.21 gigawatts!

Everybody is modifying their cars today. Be it rims, spoilers, artwork or what not, they are doing it. Well I finally found something I need to get for my truck... because I don't own a De Lorean. I can get a Flux Capacitor!

Flux Capacitor.jpg

Yes, it's kinda geeky... but it's still cool. Right?

Posted by Contagion at 08:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Photoshopping gone bad.

We've all seen it before, you know where someone photoshops something and it looks like crap. Hell, I'm guilty of it too. But what if it's a professional company, say an add company or a magazine that photoshops something and it just goes awry? Well there is now a blog dedicated to Photoshop Disasters.

Some of these are funny, others are just kind of disturbing, especially the half baby.

Posted by Contagion at 08:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bombs Away!

Ever want to get revenge on someone or someplace for a slight, but really don't want to hurt anyone? Well over atRockford City Hall"> Come Bomb they have a solution for you. You can place a "bomb" on Google maps.

I decided that since I'm tired of the City of Rockford's government I'd tag the Rockford City Hall.

Go place a bomb yourself.

Posted by Contagion at 07:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Yea, like this was a test.

I saw this over at A Wee Dram or Three and felt that I needed to take it.


Really, this wasn't much of a test. I re-enact an 18th century distiller. I've done a lot of research, both in library and bar, about alcohol.

Posted by Contagion at 02:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Response to comments on Travis Castle.

I had a couple of readers leave comments on my orriginal post about Travis Castle and the break in of Stillman Valley. I left this comment on that post.

Penny: There is a wrong and a right side to the story. Travis and crew were wrong for breaking into the house. I'm sorry, they were. I don't care how anyone tries to sugar coat that fact. He ought to have known that it was illegal. Two wrongs don't make a right, but killing someone to defend life, limb or property is not wrong.

A Friend: I never said Travis pointed a gun at anyone, just that he had a gun. But to be honest gun or not if it had been my house and he was in there, you're damn right I would have shot him. And no, I would not have "aimed to maim". I'm ex-law enforcement and I'm sorry, I know that tactic more often than not doesn't work.

I have a son that is with in months of Travis' age. And you know what, I can keep him away from friends I don't want him hanging out with. I have also instilled in him a serious sense of right and wrong. I may have my issues with him, but to this point the only criminal activity he's been involved in was damage to my property.

Travis wasn't murdered. He was killed while committing a felony in self defense. God gave man a brain and free will. Whether or not Travis and his friends used the first is questionable, but they definitely used the second.

Maybe, just maybe in this society of pass the blame if people would wake up and take responsibility for their own actions our country would straighten things up. But no, we are a victim society. Every time someone does something wrong, or every time something bad happens to someone it's somebody elseís fault.

Travis made a decision. His decision was bad. As a result of that bad decision HE GOT HIMSELF KILLED. IE Travis killed himself. Don't blame anyone but Travis for the death. It's not being filled with hate, it's not being cold hearted, it's not being an asshole, it's just the way it is.

I thought my response, due to length, really demanded it's own post.

I know the family and friends are grieving. I feel for them and their loss. It is a tragedy, but this is something that Travis brought upon himself.

Also there is an update to the story in the Rockford Register Star.

"Moore drove Castle and the other two teens to what they thought was an unoccupied house in Stillman Valley to steal weapons, Ogle County Sheriff Gregory Beitel said Thursday.

Moore knew that there were firearms in the house; and Moore knew that the homeownder was hospitalized. He did not know that another person was staying overnight in the house, "Beitel said. Beitel said Moore was acquainted witht he family that owned the house. "


"Other items taken from the house were found in Castle's jean pockets."

The article also states that the firearm that Travis was holding came from the house and that none of the individuals involved brought a firearm with them.

Again, to me it doesn't matter. Travis being in the house itself was room for self-defense in my eyes. The fact he was holding a gun just makes it more of a legally viable defense if the state decides to charge the House guest, which at this point doesn't appear they are going to.

Posted by Contagion at 07:53 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

April 10, 2008

Jacobite Music.

I was doing some research on part of my persona when I stumbled across The Contemplator's Short History of the Jacobite Uprisings. Which, really is a very, very short (even for Cliff Notes) history of the Jacobites. But that's not why I'm posting about it. That is because at the bottom of the page there is a very nice list of Jacobite Songs/Music. I've spent some time listening to the ones I hadn't heard before.

They also give you a little bit of history about each song as to when it was written and what the song is about. I thought that was pretty neat. So for you Living History Musicians out there... (Cough) Wes, (Cough) Petey (Cough) Me when I'm really, really drunk (Cough), you might want to take a look at these.

Posted by Contagion at 04:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Update in Stillman Valley Shooting.

There was a news conference today regarding the Stillman Valley home invasion where Travis Castle was killed. While searching for information on what was said, I found this following video clip:

I know this video was prior to them catching the other boys that were involved, but I wanted to share it anyway. The father is blaming the boys involved and not the yet to officially be identified House Guest. I applaud the father for putting the blame in the right general direction. Travis is still part of the blame, but there appears to be outside influence.

When I get the info on the news conference today, I'll share that with you all as well.

Posted by Contagion at 03:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

It could be worse.

I went to the doctor today to follow up on my foot. He's pretty sure it's not broken, but he thinks I may have done something even worse. I may have ruptured a ligament. Tomorrow I get to schedule an MRI to see if this is the case. If I did rupture a ligament, that means surgery and rehab and could end up meaning I have to take a couple of months off of re-enacting. BAH! On the other hand he also said that if that's not the case I may have just sprained it really bad and that all I need to do then is stay off of it for a while. I'm hoping for option number two.

Oh and just in case you didn't notice, I created a special section in my side bar to give credit to those of you that have donated beers to my reviews. May the gods smile upon you!

Posted by Contagion at 06:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Great Northern Porter

Shadoglare again sponsored tonightís beer. He was over a couple of weeks ago and left me a Great Northern Porter by the Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul, MN to review.

Great Northern Porter.jpg

It came in a customized 12 oz brown bottle. The bottle had the summit logo with grain stalks on it cast into the glass. The label is brown with the summit logo on it and the name of the beer below. Along with a seal that states it was established in 1986.

The beer pours a nice dark brown color with ruby accents. A nice tan quarter inch head formed as it was being poured. The head faded to a nice film on the top of the beer that seems to last. There is some lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is an overpowering combination of Coffee and Chocolate. You can also detect a faint scent of dark roasted grain. I donít know if it was the actual alcohol content or the combination of smells described, but there was a faint smell of alcohol. The taste starts with a bitter bakerís chocolate flavor with a hint of coffee. There is a slight bitter hop finish to it. The aftertaste is bitter, but not over powering.

It is a medium bodied beer. The combination level seems a little high for a porter, but itís nothing to complain about.

This is a decent beer, itís a little bitter for a porter, but not bitter enough I wouldnít drink more of it. Overall I give this a 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Tragedy in Stillman Valley. UPDATED!.

When I returned from my trip on Sunday I heard a news story about a 14 year old boy being killed during a home invasion in Stillman Valley. The kid was breaking into the house and a house guest who was house sitting for the owner that was in an accident a couple of days prior shot the kid. (Here are news stories about it from local news sources: Rockford Register Star, WREX, WIFR, WTVO). Tammi of Tammi's World has a post up about her reaction as she lives in the community shattered by this incident.

When I first heard this story, I told Ktreva I thought I knew the home owner from down at Fritz's. It turns out I was right, I had met him a couple of times when I was down there hanging out with T1G.

Today this was the big talk on the radio and news. I don't just mean the talk radio circuit either. The music stations where also discussing it. The big news today was that they announced the name of the 14 year old boy who was shot, Travis Castle.

This brought up a lot of different discussions, but the one that pissed me off was when people would say that the house guest should be arrested and sent to jail for killing the 14 year old boy. You know what, bullocks to that! The house guest, who was in the house legally heard someone breaking in, grabbed a firearm and chose to defend himself and his friends property. When he saw the 14 year old punk holding a weapon he shot him. This is a clear cut case of self defense if I ever heard one.

Now before I go any further I do want to give my condolences to the boy's mother and father. It's tough to lose a child. Yet, he shouldn't have been in the house. I don't know if this is the first time Travis got in trouble or if he had already started down the path to be a career criminal. Either way he chose the wrong day and the wrong house to break into. The kid brought it upon himself.

If anyone deserves to go to jail for Travis' death it's the two partners he had. I don't know if the kids are being protected, but I find it hard to believe that no one knows who Travis was hanging out with that night. If I was Travis' parents I'd be out looking for the two idiots, that along with Travis, decided to break into the house.

The police have not identified the house guest yet, so I'm not sure if I know the individual or not, but I really hope the State's attorney decides that he was acting with in his rights. If they don't I know I'll be donating to his defense fund.

The other thing that pissed me off about this is the number of people blaming the guns. "If guns were illegal, none of this would have happened. They wouldn't have broken into the house and no one would have gotten shot." Okay, were as if we lived in a world there were no firearms, that doesn't mean Travis would have been beaten to death with a baseball bat. The only way this whole thing could have been completely prevented would be if Travis and his friends didn't break into the house. The responsibility for the death lies solely at their feet.

UPDATE: (04/09/08) They caught the others involved.

UPDATE: (04/12/08) I created a new post based on my comment below. Also, here is an update in the RRSTAR on the story about the Three others involved and more details. It appears they specifically went there to steal firearms.

Posted by Contagion at 05:33 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

Fort De Chartres stories.

Over at the Spoon and Blade I have the review up of the Les Pays Des Illinois Colonial Trade Faire & Rifle and Musket Frolic. (Gasps for breath after saying that mouthful.) Most re-enactors I know just refer to the event as Fort De Chartres. (Which seems to be mostly pronounced like: Fort Duh Shard). That fills in a lot of the plain day to day stuff, but now I'm going to share with you the stories of things that happened that I didn't put into the review.

First off I left here Thursday and drove to my friend Will's house. If you read the comments on this post, he was one of the ones arguing with me as to whom gets who drunk. Well lets just say, we have an answer to that question. I show up and am not there for more than 5 minutes when he throws a beer at me. Later that night we go out to a local bar in Galesburg called Buddes. They were having an open mic night and Will's son was going to be playing. They had Dirty Bastard on tap. So there we sat, Will, his wife Red, our friend Taco and myself listening to these local kids get up and play songs. Well we'd been drinking since about oh, 1 when he pawned the first beer off on me. We watched and drank and waited for Long Spawn o' Willie to take the stage. This girl gets ups there and starts singing. She's really not that good. The first song was by Patsy Cline and her second by Pink Floyd. About half way through her second song Will starts booing here and telling her she sucks. He goes outside to talk to his son. The girl comes off the stage at the end of the song and goes outside to have a cigarette. The next thing I know she comes running back in crying.

I run outside to make sure Will is okay. I get out there and as soon as I see him I ask, "Did you make that girl cry?" He acknowledged he did, I couldn't help but laugh. Yes, it was mean, yes it was cruel... but dammit, it was funny cause she sucked.

Friday we got down to Fort De Chartres and that night we go to the period Tavern. Everything is done in the style of the 1750's. One of my Mortar Maidens, Davina Baillie whom has long since been captured by the natives and has changed her entire look, is one of the serving wenches. All I know is that when ever I turned around there she was with a pitcher of ale and filling my flagon. Now, I'm not complaining, but I did have to listen to a lot of complaining from my companions. She'd fill mine and then leave them empty. Or she would put the last of the ale in my flagon and then have to go get more. When she came back she'd refill mine before anyone else's. Now she is married to my friend whom I've referred to as Wind in his Hair, his actual native name is Wahoopitae (Wa-hoop-e-tay) I'm not really sure on the spelling, dang natives. Since I knew him and her I felt comfortable in telling everyone that I thought she was trying to get me drunk so she could take advantage of me.

It was at the end of this night that on my long drunken walk back to camp I jumped off of one of the low unfinished walls between the tavern and my camp that I hurt my foot. That just means that every time I go to an event I have to watch for Will, Petey and Davina trying to get me drunk.

Now you would think that I would have learned my lesson the night before, but I didn't. I want back Saturday night. I knew I was safe because Davina wasn't working... or so I thought. I forgot Will and Petey were in there still. Early in the night the tavern was crowded. Standing room only, all the tables and benches were full and the people were standing elbow to elbow in there. At one point a couple of guys get up from a bench to leave. Will, another guy I know called Wolfie and some shorter older guy all sat down on it. A couple of minutes later the older guy gets up. Will tells me to sit down. I really can't because the guy is standing right in front of where the bench is.

Will starts pushing the guy in the back. He turns and looks at Will. Will makes an innocent face and kind of chuckles. Then he starts to do it again, this time when the guy turns around Will points at me and I say, "it wasn't me." The guy then says, "That's okay, we like the French." I roared back "I'm a farooking Scot you Manky Anglish Get*!" I said it in a thick brogue and according to those that witnessed it, there was anger in my voice. So the guy, looking scared, apologizes and backs away. Will and Wolfie are laughing their asses off. I sit down and I'm having a little chuckle, but Will and Wolfie just keep laughing. I didn't think it was that funny.

Will finally says to me, "Do you know who that is?" No, of course I didn't, he was just some short older guy. Will then says, "That's Mark Baker." For those of you not in the re-enacting circle, he is considered some big re-enacting celebrity because he has written articles for magazines and has books out that everyone refers to. Hell, I have some of his stuff. I just never was star struck enough to an author to really care. Well apparently the big joke is that at these events most of the people come up and, to use the phrase they did, "humps his leg" all weekend and tells him how great he is. I meet him and I tell him off. Well anyway, this story spread fast and all I heard for the rest of the weekend is how I told off Mark Baker.

I wasn't even mad, I was just playing around. O'well, at least it's a good story to tell around the campfire. I'm sure many a person will laugh at this.

I had a great time there. I couldn't believe how much fun it was. I also can't believe how quickly it passed by.

*Manky Anglish Get: I've had enough people ask about this I'm just putting up the explication. Manky is Scottish word meaning unclean person or unclean act. Anglish is the nationality (English, just said in a Scottish Brogue) Get: Now more commonly spelled git, started as an illegitimate child/brat. It turned into a contemptible person or a stupid and unpleasant person. So basically when I'm calling him a Manky Anglish Git. I'm saying he's a filthy English bastard/idiot.

Posted by Contagion at 04:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I've returned from 1756

Okay, for those of you in the know. I just got back from the hospital and everything is better than expected. Nothing is broken as I had thought. Well, they didn't see anything but they are going to send off the x-rays to a specialist just to verify.

For those of you not in the know. Friday night on my jaunt back from the 1756 tavern I climbed over a short wall to get back to camp. When I jumped down I landed funny and I walked around all weekend thinking I broke my foot. It was swollen and bruised. The pain was okay... if I wasn't standing or walking on it.

Even the doctor when he looked at it was sure it was broken. He also lectured me on waiting until Monday to have it looked at.

His order to me was to take some pain killers and stay off of it as much as possible.

As for the rest of the weekend, I'll post that later.

Posted by Contagion at 12:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

Getting ready to head out.

I'm taking a little break from cleaning out the truck. Tomorrow I'm starting the first part of my trip to Fort De Chartres. I'm heading down to my friend Will's place. On Friday morning we are going to meet up with some of the other ONW guys and head down to Fort De Chartres. This is a really light pack for me as Ktreva and the Boys aren't going.

I'm pretty excited. Having never done this event before I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but looking at the group of guys I'm going with, at least I know I'm going to have fun... and very possibly a hang over. Especially since one of them is Petey.

I need to go finish getting some stuff ready, if I don't post again before I leave, I'll make sure to give you all kinds of details upon my return.

Posted by Contagion at 04:13 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

April Fools jokes.

I love April Fools day. I just love pulling pranks on people. Unfortunately, due to past, uh, "incidents" I've been forced to promise that I wouldn't play jokes on certain people anymore. Or because of my position at work, I can't pull anymore on the job pranks. Something about lawsuits and stuff. That being said, I want to give credit to some really good pranks pulled today.

First: The IT department at work. When we all showed up this morning, none of our phones worked except in the customer service arena. We couldn't make or take any calls. This caused people to panic for about an hour. I on the other hand just sat back and laughed. ITG, you guys rock!

Second: Ken DeCoster of Rockford's WNTA 1330 talk radio pulled one on the city. On his talk show, separate of the news portion, he asked people what they thought of the City of Rockford spending Millions of dollars to replace the street signs around the city. They are going to do all of them so they are in English on top and the Spanish equivalent on the bottom. IE if it was Cat Street it would say Calle Del Gato underneath it. He kept this going for hours. I didn't hear the whole thing, only part of it when I went to lunch. I did get to hear him tell everyone it was an April Fools joke however. Ken, I applaud you! At five o'clock tonight they were still talking about it!

Yea, some people are mad over the whole thing, even after it was brought out that it was a joke. To those people, get a life. It was a joke, and funny. Sure my blood boiled, but once he said "April Fools" I cooled off quickly and admitted he got me. It's for fun.

Third: The guy that thought it would be fun to chase his friend way too close. It was hilarious when he slammed on his brakes and you rammed him so hard you both slid into a ditch. Nothing is funnier than two teenage morons playing bumper tag at 70+ miles per hour. Wait, that wasn't an April Fool's joke. Those were just April Fools.

Posted by Contagion at 06:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

No GHT here!

Since tomorrow night Iím going to be packing and getting ready to head to Fort Des Chartres, I thought I should do my beer review tonight. That and with Ktreva being out of town and the boys running rampant all over me, I figured I could use a beerÖ or twelve. Tonightís brew is one that many people have been waiting for me to do. Itís a beer that anyone that has been drinking with me knows is probably one of my favorite beers to drink. Plus Ktreva sponsored this one before she left. She knew I was going to have a hard time with her gone and she left me an emergency sixer. Tonight I review Miller Lite by the Miller Brewing Company.

Miller Lite.jpg

Miller Lite Girls and me.jpg
Some Miller Lite Girls, Litey and me at a Packer game.

The method of delivery this time was a 12 oz aluminum can. Itís blue in color with the Miller Lite logo in an oval tilted sideways. The can boasts all kinds of awards it has won, including the World Beer Cup Gold Award for Best American-style Light Lager in 2006,2002,1998 and 1996. None of the other beers Iíve review can claim this!

In the glass itís a light straw yellow color. Light passes through it easily; there isnít a hint of cloudiness or impurities to it. When it was poured it formed an inch thick white head that faded quickly to a patching film on top. There was some lacing, but really not much to speak of.

The aroma has a slight metallic hint to it. Itís not because it came from a can. Iíve drunk enough of this to know that itís like this from a bottle too. The main sent is a mix of grains and bread. The taste is Mild and unoffending. You can taste some malts, but not much. Itís pretty watery. There really is no after taste, in fact if you eat anything while drinking this beer that pretty much becomes the flavor and aftertaste of it.

This is a light bodied beer. There isnít much to it. The mouthfeel is like you are drinking a glass of carbonated water.

Overall I think this has to be one of the greatest beers on the market. It goes with everything. You can enjoy one with a lobster or a microwave burrito. There really is nothing that Miller Lite doesnít go with. Because of that I give this a 9 out of 10. Itís a damn good beerÖ at a damn good price.

Okay, yes April Fools. I actually give this beer a 3.5 out of 10. It really is one of my favorite beers to drink. Mainly because 90% of the time I can get one in any bar or any stadium that I go to. That and I can still get a case of it for under $15.00. And even though this was partially an April foolís joke, the review above is accurate. Over the years Iíve had friends make fun of me over my dedication to Miller Lite. Such comments as, ďHow can you be such a beer snob and still drink Miller Lite?Ē or ďFor someone with a distinguished beer pallet why do you drink Miller Lite all the time?Ē The answer folks is simple. Yes, I love beer. I love really good beer. But sometimes I donít feel like spending $20.00 for two six packs when I can get 24 for $15.00 and I really donít like spending $100.00 in a bar tabs when I can spend $35.00. Special occasions, beer tastings and when Iím in the mood is when I prefer a higher quality beer. Sitting around the house watching the game and shooting the shit with the friends, give me a Miller Lite. Plus itís the official beer of Lambeau Field.

Posted by Contagion at 05:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack