August 14, 2010

I'm off to Beerfest!!!!

I was lucky and scored a ticket to the Great Taste of the Midwest. For those that aren't familiar with it it's a gathering of multiple breweries from across the Midwest.

The Great Taste of the Midwest is one of the premier beer festivals in the United States. On the second Saturday in August, over one hundred brewpubs and microbreweries from the Midwest come to beautiful Olin-Turville Park overlooking lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, to share beer and good times with six thousand patrons.

I'm heading up with some friends to spend the afternoon sampling beers at the festival and then after, we'll probably hit some of the local breweries and brew pubs. I'm going so excited!

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May 22, 2010

How to make friends with media personalities.

Ktreva and I have a kid free weekend. We decided to head out last to a couple of bars last night to have a good time. The last bar we went to they had a local Radio personality DJing. They brought him in hoping to boost customers on Friday nights. Thats not why we went, it just happens to be our favorite bar.

For most of the night, this radio personality whom wont be mentioned by name, but I will refer to as Peve Mannon, was hitting on my wife. Right in front of me! For the majority of the night he kept coming up to her, talking, flirting, touching and staring at her chest. Of course, as I was sitting right there and we made it abundantly clear she was my wife, he continued to do so. Now, also keep in mind that he is married and talks about his wife and daughter on the radio all the time.

Finally at one point, I had put up with enough and was about to chuck a beer at the guy. Fortunately for my beer soaked brain the bartender and owner advised that it would not be a good idea for me to chuck a beer at him. We ended up settling up our tab and heading out shortly after.

So in the end, I was almost bounced out of my bar by a local radio personality because he was hitting on my wife and I didnt like it. Good times!

Posted by Contagion at 09:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 17, 2010

I'm not a hippie.

When I was in High school, I had longer hair. I wouldnt call it long, but it was past the collar of my shirt, ala mullet style. When I went to college I let it get down to the middle of my back. During the summer after my freshmen year I had to get my hair cut for a job I took. The long hair was a safety hazard in welding cages. Something about bursting into flames. So I had it cut, shaved the sides and went with a big fuzzy Mohawk. There is one picture still in existence of me with this hair cut. Some days when my wife is being particularly snarky shell pull it out to show people. That hair cut lasted for about six months, and when I was home, Id leave the hair down, not fanned out. I got tired of dealing with it, so I cut it down and went with shorter, easier to style hair. Ive had short hair ever since. Usually never longer than two inches in length.

Since the end of March, Ive decided not to cut my hair. Im going to let it grow. Let it grow long and luxurious, as only a guy who doesnt care about his hair can. Those ladies out there that spend hundreds of dollars each month to make their hair perfect know exactly what Im talking about. I do nothing with my hair and it has all the body and slight wave they wish they had. Right now, its too short to tell what its going to look like, but its long enough to be annoying. Its about three inches long. Considering when I started letting it grow it was about a quarter inch long, not a bad growth rate.

Why am I growing it out? Well, this is why I told you the background of some of my goofier haircuts. Im trying to grow out a mullet. But not just any kind of mullet, Im growing a very specific style of mullet. I want a 1756s height of fashion mullet. Yea, thats right, my facial hair isnt the only thing that gets altered for my re-enacting lifestyle!

Im a long ways to go before it gets long enough, probably about another three inches or so at least. Until then, it just looks like Im rocking a 70s pr0n star part. And that I have grey wings on the side of my head. The grey hair really stands out around my temples. There is grey hair in other places, but its thickest there. So for all of you long haired hippies Ive made fun of over the years, the next time you see me remember. Im not a long haired hippie; Im a man of means from 1756!

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January 02, 2010

2009 just sucked.

2010, I dont know what Im expecting out of this year, but Im really truly hoping that its a hell of a lot better than 2009. Only a handful of people know the majority of the crap that Ive gone through in 2009, and its really a spider web of shite that is hard to explain. To finally put 2009 to rest, Im going to map out, vaguely, a lot of the problems that I experienced. Im not doing this chronologically, because honestly, its so intermixed that it would be hard to do so. If I went into a lot of detail Id have a post that could rival War and Peace in length.

Health Issues: Both Ktreva and I had some serious health issues. She had cancer and I had all my gastro/stomach issues. Part of which we are both still dealing with. Stress did not help my health issues at all, and usually aggravated it to a point that it caused complications. Because of these it had a negative impact and caused problems with: Finances, Work, Family and Friends.

Work Issues: There were a lot of issues that came around from work. At the beginning of 2009 I was still dealing with the backlash of Okla-farooking-homa. In fact I was still dealing with those issues in December. I had a real fear of going to jail over some practices my office was doing that had my name on it as in charge when really I had no say in the matter. It got so bad I was actually talking to the States Attorney and had a crap load of documentation backing up my innocence and ready to turn over for immunity, nothing ever happened with this because of my actions everything was corrected. We also had lay offs, inventory problems, Government intervention mandate issues, and other peoples mistakes I have to clean up. All of this over and beyond my normal workload. It had a negative impact and caused issues with: Family, Friends and Health Issues.

Family: Between struggles with Boopie and his grades. Clone and his behavior, dealing with the health issues, stress from work, arguing over finances, trying to help friends and some very extensive marital issues that are still unresolved, there was no comfort in family for me this last year. Especially the last half of the year. Due to a lot of this some friends were dragged into situations that they shouldnt have been and put them in a tough spot. This impacted work, friends, health issues and finances.

Finances: With as many health issues we had, we both missed a lot of work over the last year, much of it unpaid. Most of the time I was off was unpaid, same for Ktreva. Throw on top the cost of medical bills, even with insurance; there were months we had issues making ends meet. This impacted Family

Friends: We missed multiple re-enactments and friend outings due to health issues, family, finances and work. With a lot of the issues going on, some of my friends felt they were being alienated by me. It really wasnt the case as much as I didnt want to discuss my personal problems with them and that, even though they are some of my best friends, its still none of their business. Some people like to air all of their dirty laundry; Im not one of those types. If I need to talk I will, but Im not going to spread my business around just because. Most of them when I explained to them that it was a private issue and I just didnt want to involve them in it, they let it go and all was well. There was also a nasty rumor that was being spread about me that was completely untrue. Someone thought they new something with out any facts and started telling people their opinion but stating it as fact and the last I heard is still spreading it, even after being confronted. This impacted Health Issues, Family and work.

As I write this, I think about all the unresolved issues from 2009 that are at least going to bleed into 2010. Im just hoping that I will be able to get everything worked out. At the beginning of 2009 I had made a prediction that I thought it was going to be a really good year. How wrong was I?

Posted by Contagion at 01:26 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 18, 2009

Another Treatment

Since my surgery I have to go in about once every 6-8 weeks for follow up treatments. This consists of them giving me a local and then shoving the largest damn needle I've ever seen into my stomach. Where I get to sit for 10-20 minutes while a pocket of fluid is drained. Not by them pulling it out with the needle, but letting gravity do the work.

It's fun... in that I get to gross people out with pictures kind of way. Especially those that are afraid of needles that make coffee stir sticks seem tiny. Other ways its a royal pain in the... abdomen. So now I sit and am sore and very uncomfortable. I also am not allowed to eat anything for 24 hours, and I have to go in with an empty stomach. Fortunately the discomfort makes eating not that big of an issue.

On the flip side I also really can't drink anything more than water and some juices. Thus there will be no beer review again this week. I'm sorry. I know that makes two weeks in a row. I really need to make up for it. So I will do what I can.

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November 11, 2009

Ill

No beer review tonight my fine readers. Unfortunately I've been stricken with the flu and am just getting over it, I do not feel like tempting the fates tonight. I will either do it tomorrow or Friday.

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October 07, 2009

Updates

I've been back to work a week and a half, and boy am I tired. Things are going okay, but I never realized how tiring it is sit at a desk.

I had to return to the doctor today. She likes the way things are going and cleared me for the weekend to go to the Fort Obie re-enactment. I still have all kinds of physical restrictions, but she said as long as I don't do anything too physical, strain myself or over do it, I should be fine.

Of course, due to an injection given to me with a needle longer than my hand jabbed into my stomach. Yea, I have pictures if you want to see my pasty white belly with a really big needle sticking out of it! She wasn't too thrilled with me taking a picture while she was doing the procedure. But hey, those that know me, know that I don't care. Anyway because of that I had to be on fluids only for 24 hours. Which really sucks, because I was just starting to get used to things that didn't taste like fruit, chocolate or vanilla.

Either way, things will start getting back to normal hopefully in a couple of months.

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October 01, 2009

Hi-Ho Back to work.

Well, they wont let me have beer yet. It looks like Ill be able to move up sometime around the 10th or 11th. As much as I was looking forward to rekindling my love of beer this week, it looks like Im going to have to postpone for a while longer. Hey, its better to be safe than sorry. Ill be honest, its starting to get hard to resist though. I do love my beer.

I also returned to work this week. Wow, that was much more difficult than I anticipated. I figured I had been sitting around the house doing nothing but playing on a computer; I might as well go back to work and do it. So I returned a couple of weeks early with the doctors blessing. The first day wasnt so bad. I was tired and a little sore at the end of it, but I felt okay. Tuesday was a little harder. The fatigue and soreness presented itself much earlier in the day.

Yesterday was awful. I woke up sore and tired, the whole time I was at work I was sore and I even took some Tylenol while I was there to help reduce the discomfort. I generally do not like taking pain killers, even as weak as aspirin, but I needed something to help me to be more comfortable. Fortunately I was able to leave early so I could rest and take it easy.

This morning when I woke up, I felt fine. The soreness had gone away. I was still tired, even with going to bed early. This whole sleeping on my back thing is difficult. Ive always slept on my side or stomach, and I just cant do that right now. If it doesnt start hurting right away, it does after a while. Hence I end up lying on my back again.

Im really ready for all of this to go away so I can get back to feeling normal, but I have a feeling that there will be months of this left before I get back to that point in my life.

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September 24, 2009

Back to work on Monday.

Its been a while since Ive updated everyone, I thought I should take the time to let you all know what is going on. Things are progressing well. Im actually recovering ahead of schedule and the Doctor is going to let me return to work on Monday. This is a good and a bad thing. I really dont want to go to work, but I also am really starting to get bored off of my arse at home. There is only so many cheesy movies I can watch in a day. Ive see some movies that I havent seen in a long time.

If I could stand to be off of work longer, I would, but it will be nice to get back to some resemblance of normal. Im still going to have issues for a long time, but I wont be in as much pain and discomfort.

Speaking of pain and discomfort, I still have quite a bit of discomfort. The only time I have pain is when I do something stupid. Like say jumping out of bed in the middle of the night or because the Packers intercepted a ball. (yea, that one really hurt).

I have a re-enactment this weekend, but based on the Doctors and more importantly, Ktrevas orders I wont be attending. Thats another one thats gone bust. In two more weeks I have Fort Obie, hopefully by then Ill get he clearance to go.

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September 13, 2009

Pureed eating.

I was given the go to start eating pureed food today. YAY!!!!! For those of you that are not sure what pureed food is like, think baby food. yeah, I made the same face too.

On the list of acceptable pureed foods, was scrambled eggs (with out having to actually have to pureeing them in a blender). Thus I had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Man, did those taste good! Clone and I got into a little debate over how to eat eggs. See, I like my scrambled eggs with Ketchup on them, he thought that was disgusting and had no problem making a face demonstrating his oppinion. He then followed up with telling EXACTLY how he thought about it. Clone, "Dad, that's disgusting! Ketchup doesn't go on eggs, it goes on hot dogs!"

For lunch I tried something different. I pureed myself some tuna. Yea... pureed tuna salad. Commence to making icky faces now. To be honest, after four weeks of eating nothing but protein shakes, jello and broth... it was fantastic! A little bit of onion, tuna, fat free mayo... a ton of salt and pepper, pureed and strained... Fantastic. If only I could have had crackers, it would have made an excellent dip!

Tonight's dinner, pureed buffalo chicken! That's right... I'm pureeing Buffalo Chicken. Don't you judge me!!!!!

So with all this pureed food, I'm curious. What do you think of Ketchup on your eggs?

Posted by Contagion at 11:14 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 09, 2009

To Whom it May Concern

When Ktreva came home from work, she asked me who brought over the Green Bay Packer Metal Helmet decoration on the front porch. I had no idea what she was talking about. She went out and brought it back in, it's a very nice silhouette of a football helmet with the Green Bay Packer logo on it.

I'm at a complete loss. I had no idea anyone stopped by. I've been home all day. I can' drive, I didn't leave the house. So unless it was at a time that I went to the bathroom, I'm not sure who it would have been.

They didn't leave a card or a tag or anything identifying who it is.

So, to whomever... Thanks!

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September 05, 2009

The next big step.

Following the doctor's orders, I was able to remove the outer bandages from my incisions today. It looks like I was in a really bad knife fight... and lost. There are six separate incisions across my abdomen. Removing the outer bandages, I had to leave the steri-strips in place. That was easier said than done.

The other big step is that I can advance from clear liquids today. I get to go back to non-clear liquids like protein shakes! Wait, I've developed a hatred of protein shakes. That's okay, they aren't fruit flavored, thus they are better than juice and condensed rubber Jello that Ktreva made. (Thank god for premade jello cups!) Things should start getting a little better. I'll slowly start graduating into more and more solid food. I do believe the next big step in a week is baby food.

BLECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right now my abdomen itches like crazy. I just want to scratch at it, but I can't. So I'm going to sit here and try not to think of what feels like a dozen tiny ants crawling over my stomach.

Posted by Contagion at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 03, 2009

Chew... the jello.

Okay, let me preface this story by saying that I feel absolutely wonderful today. Still some discomfort and nothing solid coming out, but physically and mentally I feel FANTASTIC! My mood is at the highest it's been in months and I actually feel like going out and having some fun.

That, however, is not what this post is about. My wife is many things, but a wonderful cook is not one of them. Don't get me wrong, she has some items she makes that no one can compete with, Scotch Eggs, Biscuits and Gravy, Deer Pot Roast, Ballindalloch Chicken, and a few more. I generally do the majority of the cooking in the house. When she has to cook, most of the time it's boxed or ready made meals.

With me being down she has to do some cooking, and one of the items that I can eat is Sugar Free Jello. She picked up packages of it for me and made 4-5 different kinds on Monday. When I went to eat some.... it was tough. It didn't want to cut with the spoon.

Then when I finally was able to get a bite sized portion of it, it needed to be chewed. I'm not talking about the mashing it up with your tongue chewing, I mean I had to use my teeth to actually break it up. Normally with Jello I just mash it between my teeth with my tongue, but this stuff was resistant! My overly sharp molars were having trouble breaking this stuff up into smaller bits. It was like chewing steak fat, peach flavored steak fat! MMMmmmm, peachy steak fat!

I tried letting it set out so it can warm up and possibly soften, that failed. I tried mashing it up with a spoon before putting it in my mouth. That failed. Nothing seemed to work.

Ktreva is upset because it turned out bad. Yes, she knows I'm posting about it. She's urging me not to eat it until she can make more. I'm not actually sure what is going to be different the next time. Until then, I need to eat it as I really don't have anything else... and the fridge is filled with various flavors of Ktreva rubber Jello.

So if anyone stops by and see's me chewing on something. Trust me, it's just the hardest damn Jello this side of Atlantic.

Posted by Contagion at 11:34 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 02, 2009

I should join OPEC.

Day three has been interesting. There is pretty much no pain. However, I have a lot of discomfort, first and foremost is gas pains. I haven't had anything even remotely close to solid to eat. Not even a protein shake. I have, however, had juice to drink. Which can't be helping my digestive tract issues.

Well I can also feel gas moving through my colon. And that isn't pleasant. To make maters even more complicated. Every 8 seconds I feel like I need to pass gas, I really need to run to the bathroom, because if I don't, I'm just going to end up having liquid colon squeezings running down my leg. That means I have to hold a lot of this gas in until I can get to the bathroom. Yea, that's not comfortable at all.

On top of everything Ktreva and the Boys can hear the gas moving through me. It's rather loud!

Well, I guess this is better than pain.

Posted by Contagion at 06:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 01, 2009

Today's fun

Okay, I have to sleep sitting up, so I just decided to sleep in my big comfy recliner downstairs. I didn't sleep too well, thus I am sure I will be dozing on and off all day. I also had a new and interesting side effect last night.

They gave me anti-constipation medication just in case I don't have a bowel movement in 48 hours. I hadn't taken any, but at 4:30 this morning I the exact opposite problem of constipation. I woke up and felt gas moving through my colon. Then I blew arse. Okay, bowels are moving, that's a good sign. A couple seconds later I thought I was going to blow arse again, but instead it felt, uh... fuller. so I got up as fast as I could and made my way to the bathroom.

I had just made it to the toilet when the flood gates of hell opened up and I drained what seemed like a gallon of liquid sewage. It came out with enough force that I do believe that I was lifted off of the toilet by about an inch. I could have shite through a strainer and not hit the wire.

It's been a constant painful waddle to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so.

I think I'd prefer the constipation.

Posted by Contagion at 07:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 31, 2009

It's Over

at home, a lot of discomfort. I'm doing fine. More updates tomorrow, need to rest.

Posted by Contagion at 07:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 30, 2009

Time is almost here.

Well I've been on this all liquid died for 10 days now. I'm so tired of it, words can't describe. I'm about to drink my last fluids for a while. As tomorrow morning at 8 AM I am having my surgery.

I'm a bit anxious.

I've known this was coming for a while, but to be sitting here the night before, less than 10 hours away from the surgery itself is a little surreal. I've been preparing for this for just short of a year. I guess I just never thought the day would ever come. The mix of emotions right now is really strange.

I'm not going to say I'm not afraid, because that would be a lie, but I'm scared for multiple reasons, some that you may never guess. No, I'm not going into all of them. I'm also wondering what my quality of life will be like after this. How long will I be stuck on this all liquid diet? Will I ever be able to drink a beer again? What if I don't wake up?

I'm exhausted, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. but I guess I should go try.

I'll post an updated tomorrow evening. Or have Ktreva do it.

Posted by Contagion at 09:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 28, 2009

Corn, really????

So I've been on this liquid diet for 8 days now. Yes, I'm grumbly, shut the heck up! I understand how the human body works, especially the digestive tract, but I'm still confused on a couple of things.

Okay, I'm taking approx 700- 800 calories a day, yet I still shite the same amount... Go figure. I know that being on a liquid diet does not mean I'm not going to have proper colon function, but seriously the same quantity? That just doesn't seem right.

Secondly, where the hell did the corn come from???? I haven't eaten solid food for 8 days. I haven't had corn for a week before that. Where the hell did the corn in my excrement long ship come from? I'm not even talking one kernel. It looked like I ate an ear of corn!

And before any of you smart alecs make a comment, no I'm not trying to absorb nutrients anally, thus I am not using corn as a suppository!

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August 26, 2009

Venting time

Okay, the reason behind my hiatus is that I'm having a lot of health issues that have accumulated into me having to have surgery on Monday. To prep myself for the surgery on my digestive tract, I am on an all liquid diet. Basically all I can "eat" is: Protein shakes, water, tea, skim milk, tomato juice, jello, broth, kool aid and that about sums it up. No carbonation whatsoever! I'm also supposed to limit my alcohol, to basically none.

I've been on this since last Friday. Let me tell you something, This really farooking sucks! Let me tell you why.

A) I'm tired of drinking my meals. I mean, seriously, my teeth are aching to bite into something. Seriously, when they first told me I'd have to live like this for 1-2 months, I thought it wouldn't be that hard. Well, I'm about at the point of killing someone because of it. This is going to be hell.

2) I've never been a huge fan of sweets. I've never really gone goo goo for candy, sweets, deserts, etc. All the damn protein shakes I have to drink all come in only a handful of flavors Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry or some variation of those. I haven't found anything else. I would kill for a BBQ or cheeseburger protein shake right now. Before someone suggests I make my own, it's not an option. I have to stick to the pre-made or powdered mixes. Nothing additional. Oh, by the way for those of you that are drinking these things for what ever weight loss diet you might be doing, The Slim Fast Optima Cappuccino Delight is anything but a Delight. Seriously, I about spit it out on one of my employees after taking a drink

D) Everywhere I turn people are eating real food! I'm constantly hungry and even foods I hate are smelling good. Thus I'm starting to get real grouchy. I got mad at Ktreva last night because she was eating a Pork chop in front of me. I hate pork chops. Hell, they where even giving away free sandwiches from Jimmy John's at work today. I'm trying really hard to deal with it, but it's getting really, really hard to control myself.

I don't dare cheat, if I do it could cause complications during the surgery. After the surgery it could cause complications that could lead to death. I just need to buck down and follow the doctor's orders.

Because of all of this, I really am getting grouchy. I'm farooking sick and tired of people pointing out to me that I'm grouchy or asking me what's wrong or why I'm not talking. I'm trying not to take it out on the people around me, but when they continue to ask and/or point out that I'm grouchy, it's not helping. I know I'm grouchy, quit pointing it out. If you where in my place, you would be too. If you say you wouldn't, you are lying to me and yourself.

Today has been the worst of it so far. I'm hungry, what I can "eat", ie drink is stuff I don't want. So I'm just sitting back and trying to deal with everything.

It's going to be a long two months.

Posted by Contagion at 07:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 24, 2009

Even more of a hiatus.

Unfortunately my health issues have taken it's toll and I'm going to have to take an even larger hiatus. I will not be able to physically do a beer review for at least 2-3 months minimum. Sorry.

I will still be around, I will put up a post every now and then to update my status.

To my friends: Please check your e-mail. I sent many of you a message with some more details. If you didn't get it, check your spam filter. Apparently I get marked as spam a lot.

Posted by Contagion at 05:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 28, 2009

by a hair.

Anyone that has met me knows that I'm a rather hairy man. As I've aged, unlike most of my friends, I've gained more hair. I haven't lost any. Let's compound this with the fact that my hair tends to be course and wiry. I've worn out multiple trimmers, clippers and electric razors over the years. After I've trimmed my facial hair, I've run my hands through my goatee and come away with hair slivers.

To make matters worse, this hair is growing out of my nose this way. I used to joke that I didn't have a mustache, I just combed my nasal hair into one. Unfortunately I often did use my mustache to hide my nasal hair. I used to trim it, even when it would wear out my trimmer. Then a couple of months ago, my trimmer disappeared.

My nose hair started growing at an alarming rate. I had to do something about it when one day one of the hairs was so long, I could almost chew on it. So I did the only thing I could think of doing, I started plucking my nose hairs out.

Sure it hurt at first. After the first couple of weeks, I started getting used to it. Now it doesn't bother me at all. Well, okay, occasionally I grab one that is well rooted and it hurts, but most of the time it doesn't.

Ktreva is upset over this. She doesn't want me yanking my nose hairs out one or two at a time. She wants me to buy another trimmer that will wear out. I figure I can keep this up and it won't cost me a thing. What really bothers her is that I do it while riding in the van or while watching TV. So she watches me do it, and it causes her to squirm and hold her own nose and pain.

My thing is that it doesn't harm her any. I'm not yanking her nasal hairs out, just my own. She has asked me to stop, but honestly, I think it's easier.

What do you all think, should I stop or should I continue?

Posted by Contagion at 07:33 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

May 27, 2009

Unsatisfied.

As the rain slowly fell today, all I can think about is how I would rather be camping right now. Id rather be huddled under a rain fly and trying to keep a campfire burning than having spent my entire day at work.

Im grateful that I have a job right now, especially one that could be considered a steady position. Yet at the same time I keep thinking about just how much I get no satisfaction, joy or sense of being from it. Seriously, most of the time I view my duties as being boring, redundant and less than stimulating. Ive actually lost any amount of caring I had about the company that employees me. At one time, I actually cared and tried to do whats best for them, now I just dont care.

Id start an earnest attempt at procuring new avenues of employment, but thanks to the severely bad management of this country by its elected officials, government appointees, and the citizenry that failed to remove them from those positions, we have an economy that really is unfriendly toward the job seeker. The only joy I take in life right now is my family and friends, but I feel for my friends because so many (too many) of them are feeling the crunch of this insipid economy.

The few things I enjoy in life, I just couldnt make a living on, even if the economy was better. My hobbies are ones that in general cost money, not make it. Unfortunately I do not think they have a job for the drinking re-enactor that likes to barbeque while shooting, camping and watching movies. If they do, someone please point me in the right direction. I really need a change of scenery.

Posted by Contagion at 04:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 25, 2009

Another Beer Tasting in the books.

The second annual Miasmatic Review Beer tasting is in the books, and I feel it was a success. There were some good beers drank, and some beers that I think people are glad they got to try so they know not to buy them in the future. I didn't do scores like last year, because this is a beer tasting, not a review. My goal was to let people experience and taste new beers for themselves, inspire discussion about the beers and let them feel free to form their own opinions. Where as by having everyone score it, I think it may have put pressure on people last year.

The beers we tasted were:
Flight one: Czech Pilsners
Pilsner Urquell
Kursovice Imperial
Staropramen

Flight Two: Beers by Bell's Brewery
Lager of the Lakes (American Pale Lager)
Amber Ale (American Amber/Red Ale)
Oberon Ale (American Pale Wheat)

Flight Three: American Porters
Anchor Porter
Founders Porter
New World Porter

Bonus Flight: Mystery beer!
I did a blind tasting. Basically I obscured all information about the beer we were tasting and the point was to see if anyone could tell me what kind of beer it was. The person that got the closest to the Name of the Beer, type of beer and where it was brewed would win a prize. The beer for this was Xingu by Cervejaria Sul Brasileira in Brazil. It's a schwarzbier (Black Lager). The winner was Shadoglare who guessed Black Lager, he came the closest.

Just for the record, this is a very difficult task. Identifying a beer you may or may of had in the past just by taste is not something that most people could do. I've been put in this position before and failed miserably. The closest I've gotten was the type of beer.

So what did Shadoglare win? If you remember I had a surprise. I officially announced the soon arrival of the Miasmatic Review Enabler Glasses, Shadoglare won the first one. It's a 20 oz imperial pub pint with the logo shown, only in dark green, and with a 22k gold band around the rim. When a reader has donated a total of 12 beers that I review, I well show my appreciation by giving them one of these glasses. For being closest to what the beer was, Shadoglare has earned himself one of these glasses.

For those that were in attendance, I served them a Bacon Explosion and smoked Pork Chops for dinner. From the feedback I received, I think the Bacon Explosion was a big hit. I only made two, I may have wanted to make four. It was a huge success.

I'm planning right now on having the 3rd Annual Beer tasting in 2010 again on Memorial Day weekend. I hope to have more people in attendance next year. We had eleven people, including myself, that were actually participating in the tasting. There were others that were around just for the observation or to socialize. I would like to thank Harvey, Graumagus, Bruce, Shadoglare, Labgirl, Wes, Petey, Wil, Red and of course KTreva for participating in this years event. With out all of you, this would have been just me sitting in the backyard drinking beer by myself. An extra special thanks goes to Ktreva for all of her help, support and hard work in the last couple of months getting this all put together.

Hope to see you all there!


Posted by Contagion at 01:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 18, 2009

Stray thoughts.

A woman is driving down the street, alone in her car. I can see her crying as I pull along side her. Not the gentle tears of joy or a mild weeping, but the chest heaving crying of someone that is in true emotional pain. Her entire body convulsing with each sob, her makeup running with tears as it flows down the curvature of her cheeks like a hard rain over a statue.

At the stop light I try not to stare, but curiosity is a cruel mistress and I sit and wonder, What has happened to this woman to put her in such a fragile state of emotion? Why is she crying? The whole time I am glancing over occasionally and seeing her hug the steering while for comfort. Occasionally waves of anger come over her and I watch as she strikes the roof, door and dashboard with clenched fist.

Pain, sorrow, anger, fear.

At some time each of us has been in the same situation as the woman in the car. Whether we display it for the whole world to see, share it only with close friends or keep it bottled up inside, we have been there. An emotional torment that just has to be dealt with in our own personal way or it will wash over us like a tidal wave over a beach. Destroying whats in its path.

I can only imagine what situation or situations have occurred to bring this woman to this state. Ive never seen her before, and I doubt I will ever again. What I do know is that I felt for her. For anything that would drive her to such a state would have to have been truly horrible. I found myself hoping that she was heading to a friend or a loved ones house for at least a small sum of comfort, as opposed to the cold reality of a job.

Me, I finished my drive to work and thought not of her again until my drive home. On my way home I started looking at the lone drivers in the cars and trucks around me. Wondering to myself, What are they thinking? What emotional state are they in? Are they just a stray thought away from an emotional outburst or are they so devoid of emotion, so focused on the task at hand, that they wouldnt provide an emotional outburst no matter what happened? Most likely they were some place between the two emotional extremes.

I dont know why I wondered these things. Im not even sure why I was fascinated with the lady this morning. Why today did I decide to take a glimpse in the fish bowl that is life? Was there a deep seeded need for me to observe my fellow man that had to be satisfied? Did curiosity finally overwhelm me enough to start wanting to reconnect with a part of society I started to detach from about 16 years ago? Back when I dealt with some of the worst people humanity had to offer. When I witnessed just how cruel and unforgiving people can be to each other.

These are all questions that I may never find an answer.

Posted by Contagion at 05:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 12, 2009

It's a used canoe!!!!

In the state of Illinois you have to register your canoe before you can use it. Now if you ask the bureaucrats they will tell you that its for your own protection. That way people cant steal your canoe and sell it. Honestly, lets just be honest and admit it. The state wants to micromanage anything and everything its citizens do. They can also get more money out of us.

The problem is that if you buy a used canoe, you can have a ton of fun trying to get it registered. Especially if you have a canoe that is not currently registered with the state or comes from a state that doesnt register their canoes such as Wisconsin. That is where my canoe came from. So as I filled out the paper work, and I spoke with the DNR there was mention of a watercraft tax.

At the time you apply for an Illinois title or registration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a watercraft you purchased or leased, you are required to submit either payment of tax or proof that no tax is due before your watercraft can be titled or registered.

The Illinois Department of Revenue is responsible for administering the collection of tax and providing the necessary tax forms. You must make separate payments for tax due and title and/or registration fees. Make your tax payment payable to the Illinois Department of Revenue and your payment for title fees payable to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The Department of Natural Resources directed me to the Illinois Department of Revenue. While I was on hold with them I started doing some research and discovered the following on the back of the registration form:

Effective September 1, 2004 tax is owed when a watercraft (class 2, 3, 4 and personal watercraft [PWC], i.e. jet-skis) is acquired by gift, donation, transfer, or non-retail purchase if the watercraft will be used in Illinois.

Thus, I figured when I finally got through the person would tell me that I owed nothing because a canoe is a Class A watercraft Class A Canoe/Kayak/Paddleboat. Finally after ten minutes a guy with a thick Spanish accent is trying to help me. I could barely understand what he was saying to me. I explained why I was calling. He asked me how long was is the canoe. I advised 17 feet and he put me on hold to look something up. He came back on and said that I would indeed owe taxes on it.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!?!

He said that because the canoe is 17 feet, I owe taxes on it. If it had been 15 feet, I would have been okay. I clarified that the form says that a class 2 watercraft is 16 to 24 ft , but that a class A is a canoe/kayak/paddleboat. It doesnt say what size it has to be. He stated that there is nothing that claims that a canoe is exempt from the size categories. Even after I pointed out that doesnt make sense since they have a separate category just for Canoes/kayaks/paddleboats. The guy put me on hold again and said he was going to talk to his supervisor. I was on hold for another 5 minutes and he comes back on and claims that I spoke with my supervisor and they agree with me. I asked to speak with the supervisor and was transferred to a voice mail.

I left a message asking them to call me back. In the meantime I started doing more research and I found this on the Illinois Department of Revenues own website. First I have from their own section on definitions.

"Watercraft" means Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 watercraft, as defined in Section 3-2 of the Boat Registration and Safety Act [625 ILCS 45/3-2] and personal watercraft, as defined in Section 1-2 of the Boat Registration and Safety Act [625 ILCS 45/1-2]. [35 ILCS 158/15-5] Section 3-2 of the Boat Registration and Safety Act defines these terms asfollows:

"Class 2" watercraft means all watercraft 16 feet or more but less than 26 feet in length, except canoes and kayaks.

"Class 3" watercraft means all watercraft 26 feet or more but less than 40 feet in length.

"Class 4" watercraft means all watercraft 40 feet or more in length.

Next I found this on the FAQ for the RUT-75 form. The one that you have to fill out to pay for the tax.

Who must file Form RUT-75? If you acquire an aircraft or watercraft by gift, donation, transfer, or non-retail purchase, you must fi le Form RUT-75, Aircraft/Watercraft Use Tax Transaction Return.

Aircraft includes airplanes, helicopters, hot-air balloons, ultra lights,
gliders, blimps, dirigibles, seaplanes, and anything else defined as
aircraft in Section 3 of the Illinois Aeronautics Act.

Watercraft includes
Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 watercraft as defined in Section 3-2
of the Boat Registration and Safety Act; and
personal watercraft as defined in Section 1-2 of the Boat
Registration and Safety Act (jet skis, wave runners, etc.).

    Watercraft does not include canoes or kayaks.

Emphasis mine

Finally we have 625 ILCS 45/3-2

(625 ILCS 45/3 2) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 313 2)
Sec. 3 2. Identification number application. The owner of each watercraft requiring numbering by this State shall file an application for number with the Department on forms approved by it. The application shall be signed by the owner of the watercraft and shall be accompanied by a fee as follows:

A. Class A (all canoes, kayaks, and non motorized paddle boats). $6
B. Class 1 (all watercraft less
than 16 feet in length, except
canoes, kayaks, and non motorized paddle boats
).. $15
C. Class 2 (all watercraft 16
feet or more but less than 26 feet in length
except canoes, kayaks, and non motorized paddle boats). $45
D. Class 3 (all watercraft 26 feet or more
but less than 40 feet in length)............ $75
E. Class 4 (all watercraft 40 feet in length
or more)........................... $100

Upon receipt of the application in approved form, and when satisfied that no tax imposed pursuant to the "Municipal Use Tax Act" or the "County Use Tax Act" is owed, or that such tax has been paid, the Department shall enter the same upon the records of its office and issue to the applicant a certificate of number stating the number awarded to the watercraft and the name and address of the owner.
(Source: P.A. 93 32, eff. 7 1 03; 94 45, eff. 1 1 06.)

Emphasis mine

Pay no attention to the prices, those have gone up.

So Im waiting for this supervisor to call me back. Im fighting paying the taxes on this because according to all the laws, forms and documentation I can find, CANOES ARE EXEMPT!!!!! Im not paying any more money into this State hemorrhaging money due to bad money management. I wonder how badly the state is going to come down on me?

Posted by Contagion at 08:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 11, 2009

Boopie, Boats and Bacon

I finally get to step back for a brief breather! I really do mean a brief one too. Let me give you a cliff notes reference of everything that has been going on.

Last week Boopie had his 16th Birthday, for five years my plan was to buy him a car. Nothing too nice or fancy, but just a cheap $2,000 to $3,000 car. He even knew that was what the plan was. A couple of years ago I promised him I would match him dollar for dollar toward a car, up to $2,000.00 when he turned 16 as long as he had no Ds or Fs on his report card. I knew in October that I wasnt going to have to worry about it, because he was failing classes, and he just went down hill from there. So he turned 16 and didnt get his license.

The sad thing is that I get the impression that he blames Ktreva and me for him not getting his license.

Thursday night, I obtained my first degree as a Mason. Theyre a group Ive wanted to join for a while now, but I just never had the opportunity and time. I finally decided to get off my arse and make it happen. Ive got a lot of work ahead of me as I am but an apprentice, but Im up for the challenge. In fact I have a meeting tonight with them.

Friday night I had to get a car carrier for the canoe I purchased. It came with a foam pad system, but after doing some research, and talking to other canoe owners, I decided that if Im going to take that canoe on any distance, I want something a bit more stable than those foam blocks. We are planning our family vacation with our friends Wil and Red to The Lake in The Ozarks, and want to bring the canoe along. After doing the research and reading horror story after horror story about those foam pads either failing or scratching the hell out of the paint, I decided to get a real carrier. A local canoe shop had exactly what I wanted, and I ended up getting a Yakima rack system. The owner of the shop even helped me install it.

After the rack I took Ktreva and Clone to see the new Star Trek Movie. Okay, Im not going to give anything away, but honestly for those Star Trek purists out there, this movie is going to annoy you. The main plot device is was a crutch that bad writers use when they cant come up with an original idea. Heck, they might as well have done the entire movie based in a Halodeck. That is the only bigger crutch out there. As a movie on its own, it was pretty good. They did pay a lot of homage to the original series with the devices, sounds and catch phrases. I dont want to give anything away, so Im going to quit talking about it now.

Saturday morning we had to go to Madison, WI to get the Canoe. Its an older used canoe, but it looks great. There are some scrapes and dings on it from use, but all the seems are straight, the rivets are all original and its sturdy! We put her on the new rack system and left for home. I had originally planed on using some of the straps that came with the canoe, but the seller didnt have a lot of faith in them, so we temporarily tied it down with twine until I could get to a Menards and buy some ropes for it. We picked up some ratchet ropes and are probably the best thing for canoes Ive ever seen.

Saturday night I took Ktreva to the Raptors football game. Where, since the Metrocentre only sells Budweiser products that I wont drink, we had way too many Bloody Marys. I mean way too many! Ktreva made our quarterback cry. It was rather amusing, yet sad. Sad for the quarterback, as he really was not having a good night. I also spent a lot of time trying to educate Ktreva on the small nuances of football. I really should only do that when neither one of us has an alcohol soaked brain.

On Mothers day I gave Ktreva the gift of laziness. I let her do what ever she wanted, and I took care of all the work that needed to be done. Well not all of it, because I needed some help here or there. I did all the cooking. We had smoked pork chops, bratwurst and I made my first Bacon Explosion! It turned out really well. Im looking forward to making my next one for the Beer Tasting.

Speaking of which, the deadline for the Beer Tasting is rapidly approaching! Let me know, if you havent already, if you are coming!

Posted by Contagion at 03:31 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 05, 2009

We're canoeing!

Ive been trying to buy a canoe for months now. The problem is that I was very specific about the canoe I was after. I wanted a 17-18 Grumman Aluminum canoe. After doing some research I figured that was the best canoe for what I wanted to do with it. My father bought one for the family that was the same size when I was a kid. I remember spending hours in various lakes, rivers and ponds canoeing in it. Unfortunately Dads canoe had a run in with a falling tree and was totaled.

I picked mine up off of e-bay after losing a couple of others at the last minute. Todays bidding ended at 1:40 in the afternoon and I think that helped me. Especially since this canoe came with a car carrier, paddles, life vests and extra floatation cushions. I got it the whole thing for $532.00.

Grumman Canoe.JPG
My new canoe.

Now I just have to go pick it up. I can barely contain my excitement.

Posted by Contagion at 08:23 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 20, 2009

It's not roses...

I spent most of my day yesterday getting reading for my first family re-enactment of the season, the Gathering at Macktown. I needed to make some moccasins for Clone so he wouldnt have to wander around barefoot. Also there was a knife sheath I needed to make for a new belt knife I bought last month in Kalamazoo. I really like this new knife; Im going to be really upset when I lose it. (Ive lost 2 knives in the last two years.) I also had to sharpen the new knife.

The whole time I was working on this, I was drinking All Natural Cranberry juice. After I finished working on my projects, I continued to drink cranberry juice, but now I added vodka to it. When the evening was over, I ended up drinking over a gallon of Cranberry juice. Yep, a gallon. (Thank god it was sugar free).

This morning I have discovered that drinking that much Cranberry juice has a very interesting effect on the human digestive tract, the colon to be specific. I was at work, when my internal clock went off and told me Its time to let out the waste! Yes, Im so regular that I can almost set a clock by it. Every day at approximately 10:30 AM, this means that I am usually at work when my colon decides to purge itself.

Now, Im not going to go into a lot of details here. However, just keep in mind there is a lot of Fiber in cranberry juice. The consistency was, to be blunt, less than solid. I can understand that because of the fiber. What I dont understand is why it smelled like someone emptied a can of Cranberry scented air freshener into my colon.

Seriously, it smelled like someone had sprayed cranberry scented air freshener in the bathroom.

I mean, there was still the stink of the colon blow, but it was masked with a sweet and fruity scent. And I know no one sprayed the air freshener, because its vanilla scented in that bathroom. Im not saying it was pleasant, but it was definitely better than the scent of burnt motor oil.


Im going to have to try this the next time I drink a Carlyles Scottish Ale and eat Uncle Nicks see if it makes that gas smell better.

Posted by Contagion at 01:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 18, 2009

Ribs

For those that live in a five block radius of me, if you are wondering what that wonderful smell is, it's my ribs. Well not my ribs as in the ribs in my chest, but my ribs as those that I'm smoking right now.

Smoking Ribs.jpg

Yea, those are the ribs right after I put them on the smoker 2.5 hours ago. They have been cooking at 225 to 250 degrees the whole time. They have marinated in a special sauce and then I rubbed them down with my special seasoning combination.

Hungry yet?

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April 13, 2009

From the dawn of time it came...

At some time everyone has read something, gone someplace or done something that opens up a floodgate of memories of things from their past. This past weekend I had one of those experiences.

My re-enacting friend, Smokepoles, bought a ten manufacturing business and is working to get it up and running. With the purchase of the business came a computer that hasnt been made since around 1992. It was a Leading Edge WinPro 486sx/33. For those of you that are computer illiterate, a really old computer from a company that doesnt exist anymore. The kicker is that the CMOS battery was dead so if you had to reboot it, you had to setup all of the hardware each time. Fun, Fun! Now before I go any further, I knew the previous owner of the business, and he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He is an older gentlemen, and from looking at the computer program, the notes that went with it and the program he was using, not very computer savvy. I'm not speaking ill of him, just acknowledging he may not have known better.

Graumagus came with me to help Smokepoles get the essential data off of this computer. What we thought would be an easy transition turned into a hellacious headache. First off we had to crack the case open to get the info for the hard drive, because we didnt have the necessary information to set it up in CMOS. Then once we had it going it would auto start into what we dubbed Bobs program because it was nothing we had ever seen before and it looks like it was written specifically for the previous owner. In which we spent some time trying to figure out. It was running MS-DOS V6. (Pre-windows, and thank god all of our DOS jockey days came flooding back to our memories.) The file organization on this computer was horrible. It looked like the thought of using directories and sub-directories never crossed anyones mind as a lot of programs were loaded right into the main C:\ directory.

We opened up the Autoexec file to find the .BAT was being run so we could find Bobs Program. Which Grau found, but opening it up, it was about useless. It really didnt look like it was running anything. Finally we were able to find the name of file that starts Bobs Program, there were two of them. Main.exe and Menu.exe. Both of them started Bobs Program. Once we got in there, we tried to find the data files, but the programs just did not cooperate. We even tried to get the program to save files on a blank floppy so we could try to open it on another computer, but that wouldnt work. When we did find a text file associated with Bobs Program, we couldnt find ANYTHING on the modern computers that would even open it up. Even a generic wordpad opening just produced symbols and junk.

While Grau worked on trying to find the data, I worked on trying to get the program to run on Smokepoles' new computer with no luck. The new system, even in a dos shell, wouldnt let the older program run properly. Even when I finally had a break through and was able to get the program to open up, the program wouldnt open any of the data files. Which cause me to cheer out in joy when I finally got the program to run, and scream F#CK!!!!! when the files wouldnt open. That wouldnt be so funny, but Smokepoles in-laws were in town for the weekend for Easter. They dont like him too much. He had asked that we be on our best behavior while there, and I had warned Grau a couple of times about it. Of course right as I screamed my expletive, was when his father in law walked into the computer room. I didnt see the look on his in-laws face, but according to Smokepoles the look on his face was classic.

Over all we could not get the program to run on the new computer, we could not locate the files specifically needed off of the old computer to try to read them. So we ended up printing out the data so Smokepoles could manually enter it into the new computer. This of course required getting a 17 year old bubble jet printer to work. We didnt have the proper cables to hook up a modern printer to it. Luckily, the 17 year old printer not only worked, but there was some ink in the cartridge. When that cartridge died, the local Cartridge World actually had a replacement in stock!

The only problem with printing is that Bobs program either saved all the data together into one giant Word Processing style document or the previous owner never though of created separate ones for each template. The contact list was HUGE, every vendor had an entry, every person he ever sold to had an entry and organization he worked with had an entry and they were all mixed together. Needless to say Smokepoles was printing for over 3 hours.

Out of the hell of working on this computer, trying to reclaim much needed information, Grau and I kept joking around on how we felt like we were back in High School again. It was like back when I first started getting into computers. The old 2400 baud modems, and using dial-ups to get to a Bulletin Board System (BBS). How if you wanted to check your e-mail, you had to log onto the system it was sent on. Alternate means of getting data from California with out paying for it. Programs we used to use; games, word processing, file viewers, etc. Memories I had long forgotten, or suppressed in some cases, came flooding back.

Seriously, at one point I wanted to see if I could find an 83 Pontiac Phoenix to go cruising around in.

Posted by Contagion at 06:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 10, 2009

Why Mexico?

I havent talked much about my sister in the last four years of blogging. In fact most of you may not even know I have a sister. When I was younger I nick named her Girl Schmerlie dude, which she hated with a passion, so for the sake of this blog she will hence forth be dubbed GSD (because Im too lazy to type that out every time I refer to her.) GSD is four and a half years younger than me and we are NOTHING alike. Let me give you a breakdown:

She was a Cheerleader; I could care less about playing sports.
She was popular; People thought I was going to be the guy that pulled a Columbine
She was thin and considered attractive (I wouldnt know, shes my sister); I was a big, ugly bastard. (We look nothing alike)
She struggled getting a C average in school; I wouldnt try and made the honor roll.
She thought I was favored by our parents, I thought she was favored by our parents.
She loved shopping, fashion and talking on the phone; I still hate all of those things
She hates camping, hunting, shooting; I love all of those things.
She likes NASCAR, I like Football.
She is very active with her cult Church, I dont like organized religion.
She doesnt have the common sense god gave a lemming; some people say I have too much common sense.


You get the picture. We were always at odds, and never really got along. Yet she was my sister and I was very over protective of her. Ive made ex-boyfriends of hers wet their pants and break dates. Rumor has it one of them still cant look at a natural sponge with out getting a twitch. I was so over protective that even my father wouldnt tell me things because he was afraid Id do something stupid. Such as the time an ex-boyfriend hit her, I didnt find out until months later because my Father was sure I would have ended up in jail. Actually he was more worried I wouldnt end up in jail because my friends would have given me an air tight alibi.

She went to college down state and just never came back. She lives only about two hours away, but we see/talk to each other maybe 2-4 times a year tops. We just arent that close.

I received an e-mail from her that started with how lucky and fortunate she is to have found her place in her cult church. Right away I figured she was going to make another attempt to get me to join the local branch up here. After almost deleting it, I continued to read and found out that she is an advisor for her churchs youth group and that group is working to help underprivileged children. One of the activities they are doing this summer is going to Juarez, Mexico to build houses for the poor. Its part of a missions trip that her church is sponsoring.

She was looking to see if I would help sponsor her. Which of course I am going to do, because she is my sister and its important to her. Im actually kind of proud of her for doing this. When she was in High School she was very self-centered, its nice to see she changed. My only problem is that she is going to Juarez, Mexico. Couldnt they have found someplace her in the US to do this? I mean there are plenty of poor and needy here. Plus, it would be a bit safer here. There has been a lot of violence in that region. If anything happens to her...

I guess on the bright side, maybe more houses there will keep some from crossing illegally into the U.S.

Posted by Contagion at 07:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2009

More Drama, new actors

After work on Friday I went out with Bruce for some drinks. Last week was filled with so much trivial drama that it just pissed me off and I needed to work out some anger issues. What drama? Well I thought you would never ask!

First we have the on going issue with the Spoon and Blade review. Yea, it's still on going and some are now calling for me to be outed from the ONW. Which, honestly I don't know how the one involves the other since I never made mention of the ONW in the review. Also, it's not like I actually think anything will ever come from it.

Next, on the same day the above drama started I received a notice from the city of Rockford saying if I didn't take care of a brush pile behind my garage and move a trailer, I'd be fined up to $750.00. The funny thing about it is that the brush pile was there when I moved in, and the trailer too. Yes, I added to the brush pile, but I had been slowly burning it off. They listed four ordinances that I was in violation. I had to call on the fourth one, because I wasn't sure what it was about. Come to find out, it was because I had a big sign in my back yard. I called the number on the notice to get an explanation and see what they wanted me to do to rectify the situation.

After talking to the city, come to find out one of my neighbors complained. I asked why it was an issue now, especially since the trailer and brush pile had been there for 10 years. Even the lady that wrote the citation stated she wasn't sure why we were never contacted in the past. I wasn't mad at her, she was just doing her job. Since I was nice, polite and civil about the whole thing (Shocker I know), she extended the dead line to get it cleaned up by a week. Now I'm on the hunt for my narcing neighbor so I can return the favor. hehe.

At work there was so much Drama, I don't know where to begin. I had everything from my peers screwing over my people on the day I had to stay home to take care of Clone. To them talking about sending me back to Okla-farkooking-homa. Yea, that's right, they were talking about sending me back down there. Those talks were abruptly ended with me in a meeting making the following statement, "I will NOT be going back to Oklahoma for this company." There was all kinds of stuff between there, but I'm not going to bore you with all of those details.

Then of course there was Clone's Birthday and Birthday parties. Where, that wasn't really drama, but dealing with a 6 year old asking daily about his parties and presents gets really tiresome.

Yea, let's hope next week isn't as dramatic.

Posted by Contagion at 11:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 23, 2009

Changes

After spending four fun, and alcohol, filled days in northern Wisconsin with some good friends I returned to civilization and had to go back to work. That is where I discovered, like every other time I'm out of the office, drama ensues. I was getting ready to let it start to get to me when a feeling came washing over me, and a bit of news changed everything.

Change, it is a comin'

I really can't go into any details right now, because I don't have any... but there is some change coming. Enough change that it moved up doctor's appointments and clear out my calendar for the rest of the year.

I'm not talking small changes either, I'm talking really big, huge changes.

Posted by Contagion at 09:12 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 18, 2009

out of it

I pulled another short night last night. I didn't get much sleep. I'm sitting here trying not to pass out on the couch and I haven't even had a beer. Right now I'm trying to get ready for the ONW Wintercamp this weekend, but I'm having a hard time keeping my mind on the task.

I'd do my beer review, but I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open to do it. I don't think I could accurately review any beer, so instead of giving an inaccurate review, I'd rather go a second week with out one.

If you don't hear from me before I leave, I'll tell you more next week.

Posted by Contagion at 08:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 13, 2009

New Hobby

Since Christmas I've picked up a new hobby. Now this one is nothing like my other hobbies... re-enacting, shooting, blogging. No this hobby is a little more... genteel persuasion. It started around Christmas, I took pity on the poor birds in the cold outside.

Then I put up some bird feeders. Of course this attracted squirrels that annoyed me. So I went on the war path against squirrels.

That lead me to go to a local store that specializes in feeding wild birds. Where I bought a "squirrel resistant" feeder. Along with some special feed that is supposed to attract a wider variety of birds.

I haven't gotten to the point that I've started jotting down and identifying the different birds I get, but I'm sure that time is coming. Although I do know that I have a lot of cardinals.

So yeah... Ktreva is making fun of me for this.

At least this is a cheap hobby!

Posted by Contagion at 09:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 19, 2008

Oh snow!

Yea... well... okay so we got about 9 inches. That didn't stop me from going to work and having fun driving in it.


I love driving in snow!

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November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving... so far.

Okay, my in-laws come into town Wednesday night. For those of you that don't remember, my in-laws dislike me. I'm talking in the sitcom kind of dislike, not the everyday someone dislikes me kind of way. So I try to avoid anything that is going to set them off.

So Wednesday I spent the day with T1G and Graumagus. We started off at Hooters and then went to Fritz's that evening. It was good seeing T1G again, he even had the opportunity to try Glogg. Ktreva joined us for a while at Hooters prior to her mom and grandmother coming to town.

On Thanksgiving itself I took my Dad and Bruce down to Fritz's for Tom and Jerry's. When we arrived, T1G was sitting in the exact same spot that I left him the night before. Fritz's had raffles going on and we all bought tickets. I actually won something! A smoked sharp cheddar cheese spread. Dad and Bruce each won cookies and a pen. We were hopping for crackers so we could eat the cheese spread, but he we weren't complaining.

After Fritz's we headed to my dad's secretary's house where her husband makes his own Tom and Jerry's so he could try them. We weren't about to complain because hey, it's free booze. Now I had promised my mother and wife that we would be to my mom's house by noon. Everything was on schedule for that to happen until Dad realized he left his coat down at Fritz's. So we had to head back there to pick it up. Which ended up making us 15 minutes late!

Once at we arrived at my parent's house I encountered my in-laws for the first time. We spent most of the day there. Dad and I ended up spending most of our time in the basement watching two horrible football games. So boring.

This morning I had the privilege of taking them and the boys to Toys R Us for shopping. Yea, that was fun. I'm not ready to speak of the horrors that I experienced. Maybe after some counseling I can. Right now I have the boys and am at home just waiting for their call so we can get back together again.

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November 24, 2008

It's good!

Sorry, I know that I promised an update to how the Glogg was going, but I just didn't have a chance to do so. Not because I was preoccupied, I just wasn't physically able. After conducting the quality control on both batches, I lost control of my senses. I also lost a huge chunk of my memory. The stuff is potent, yet tastes really good.

So far most people that have had my Glogg have really liked it. In fact I have a little fan club that have been asking when I was going to start making it for months now. Of course I only do it right around Thanksgiving since it's a traditional winter Holiday drink.

Now for those of you that really want to try glogg, and just aren't sure where to get it, let me warn you of a couple of things. There are prebottled versions of glogg, but it doesn't taste the same. In fact I wouldn't recommend any of them. I tried many of them and, to be honest, prebottled or prepackaged glogg is like boxed food. Sure it's quicker and easier, but it just doesn't taste the same as a good home made meal.

Most of these mixes require Everclear to give it the "kick" it needs. Hence why Richmond is finding end caps filled with it at the local Wallmart. If this is all you can get your hands on is this style of glogg, then I guess it's better than nothing. However, I'm sure if you have any kind of Scandinavian population in your area, you should be able to find someone that makes glogg, real glogg.

And trust me, it's worth it.

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November 22, 2008

Glögg is in the air!

It's that time of year again, the time of year that I make Glogg. Now some of my readers have had glogg before, some of you have not. I've been working on it for a couple of hours now. I'm doing a double run at this point, and am planning on making another double run sometime in mid December.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go stir the glogg... and later do the field tasting.

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November 17, 2008

Kinda High

Okay, I started cleaning the firearms around 8:00 tonight. I just finished, it's 11:14 PM here. I thoroughly cleaned my .45, .357, M44 and AK. As well as Ktreva's Walther PPK .380. I never knew how stress relieving cleaning firearms can be.

Ktreva on the other hand was a little creeped out by how I treated the firearms. Such comments as:

"Oh, you're a dirty girl. Look at you, that's okay I'm gonna scrub you all over."

"You like it when I coat you in oil don't you, it just makes everything move around better."

"I'm just gonna slide this right inhere. (slight grunt) Yea, that's what she likes."

"I love the way you feel in my hands. Your slender form. The curve of your body, how firm and sleek you are."

And those where some of the tame ones.

Then again, spending three hours with some very strong chemicals has made me feel a little... different. If you'll excuse me, I have the munchies.

Posted by Contagion at 11:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Converted another

On Saturday Graumagus and I took my dad down to the range to go shooting. It's been 50 years since he's fired a gun and I felt he was long overdue for some range time. Long overdue. Plus I really could use some range therapy. We spent three hours on the range putting about 1,500 rounds through various firearms. Dad tried everything at least once, but he really liked the Colt 1991 .45 that I have.

I mean he REALLY liked it.

I swear he honestly thought of taking it home with him. In fact during shooting and then even after he kept making comments that he could really get into shooting and wanted to know how much the Colt costs. Graumagus even asked him, "So how mad do you think Contagion's mom is going to be when you come home with one?" Dad didn't answer at all, he was just... quiet.

Anyone that knows my dad knows that him being quiet speaks volumes.

After shooting we headed to Fritz's for an afternoon of beer, burgers and booze. We ended up spending three hours there... doing a different kind of shooting. Well, at least shooters. Bruce met us down there. He liked Fritz's just fine, but then again he is my father. In fact after draining my third beer in less then 20 minutes of being there, he asked me where I learned to drink like that. I couldn't help but yell out, "I learned it from you Dad! I learned it from you!" Which of course was received with much laughter from the 4 other people in the bar, only two of them customers that weren't with us. Bruce had to leave in order to get back to Batmite.

We all had a good time. Then again what could be better than a morning of shooting and an afternoon of drinking!

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November 13, 2008

Ripples

Weve all heard the saying about how tossing a pebble into a pond causes ripples on the surface. Those ripples may have an affect on a lot of things, including stuff on the other side of the pond. You didnt intend for those consequences to happen, yet they did.

Oklahoma was the pebble in my pond. Except I think in my case Oklahoma was the boulder in the pond that is my life. Before I left for Oklahoma everything was okay in my life. Im not saying it was perfect, but everything was pretty much normal.

When I returned from Oklahoma Ive discovered that in my absence my family life broke down because Ktreva and the boys couldnt handle the hardship of my being gone. Im not going into all the personal details, but there is such a strain in my relationship with Ktreva that we are having a hard time dealing with each other. Were able to keep up appearances in public, but there are some serious problems.

Boopie has slipped not only into old habits, but worse. A lot of that, in my opinion, is because of the sever lack of consistency in home life, especially while I was away. Even though Ive been back for two months, its hard to counteract that damage that was done. Ktreva convinced me not to kick him out of the house for now. I took him to his counselor last night. After speaking with him and explaining everything that is going on the counselor and I spoke for a good 20 minutes alone and he supported my theory on where most of Boopies issues stem from and what caused them to be worse.

Ive told close friends this next part, but Im just coming clean with the whole thing. Im having issues dealing with my experience in Oklahoma. It wasnt the state, Tulsa or the people that lived there. It was the people I had to work with and the details of the job. Ive been having nightmares; yes nightmares that Im still down there trying to get everything settled. Ive actually woken out of a dead sleep in a cold sweat in a combination of fear and rage. Out of all the things Ive seen and done in my previous career or just in my life in general, its a stupid trip to Oklahoma thats haunting me. I mean, Ive pulled bodies out of rivers, Ive assisted on autopsies of infants, Ive listened to people burn to death over a phone, Ive drawn down on people but no, transferring work to another state has my subconscious in a panic.

I now find work almost completely unbearable. I view it as a prison. Each morning I wake up to head into a place that I know has no appreciation for anything Ive done, the sacrifices Ive made or the efforts I put forth. My management and peers have taken to disregarding my input on anything. They make changes and decisions that affect my people with out even consulting me, or if they do its more of a were going to do this type of thing. When I head into meetings a sense of dread comes over me that can only be equated to the feeling you get before a colonoscopy. I try to stay at my desk or in my unit as much as possible. At least there I feel somewhat comfortable. Prior to Oklahoma, I had issues, but not like this.

Im waiting to see what happens with a job opportunity for Ktreva before I make any moves, but I cant leave my job until I find another. With the way todays economy and job market is, Im not holding my breath on finding anything in the near future. At least nothing that pays me anywhere near what I make now.

I really wish I had never gone to Oklahoma. Except for getting to meet Rave and her Husband and getting to visit Bloodspite, nothing good came out of it.

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November 03, 2008

Halloween and a Ball.

Halloween was a smash. We had a great time, I have some pictures, I just haven't downloaded them yet, so I'm not sure how they turned out. Hey taking pictures in the dark is difficult!

There was only two things I had issues with on Halloween. I'm not complaining the weather was bad, because it was beautiful. Temps in the 60s, no wind, it was great... if you weren't wearing 4 layers of clothes and a heavy mask with grease paint makeup and latex glue! It was pretty hot. In fact I was sweating so bad that I thought I was going to drown in it. The nice thing is that all the kids could wear their costumes with out bulky coats on. The children where actually able to show off their costumes.

Speaking of costumes that was the other problem I had. There were a lot of older kids Trick or Treating. I'm talking middle school to high school aged kids. Now, I don't mind as long as they are in costumes, and the vast majority of them did. However, the costumes some of the girls were wearing they really ought not to be wearing... anywhere. They are just too young for the "I can't believe it's not fetish wear" costumes. One girl was wearing a pirate costume that she needed to shave in order to wear, and I'm not talking her legs. She was all of about 16... if that. I'm so glad I have boys.

I did get some good scares. Some of them screamed so loudly that a neighbor of mine from a block and a half away came down because, "She thought someone was getting killed". Yea, good times. One group of kids got so scared they all ran in different directions, and I never saw any of them again, so I don't know where or when they ever met up again.

Saturday, Wil and Red picked up Ktreva and I and we all went up to the ONW Colonial Ball in Janesville, WI. Ktreva looked extremely beautiful in a French polonaise dress she borrowed from Red. Her stunning beauty made my frontier heathen dress look even shabbier. Hell, the only thing special I put on was my kilt.

Colonial Ball.jpg

Yea, I just drag her down, but she sure does make me look a hell of a lot better.

The ball is the only time of the year that Ktreva actually gets me to dance with her. Mainly because neither of us dance, and I really don't like to make a fool out of myself. That doesn't stop me, I just don't like it.

We both had a great time. How could we not? We spent 24 hours with some of the best people that have walked the earth.

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October 31, 2008

Halloween 08 so far.

Okay, this has been a busy day for me so far. First I went to work for four hours. I had to distribute a little goody bag to all of my employees. It wasn't much, just a bag with a Halloween themed pencil and pencil sharpner, a tombstone eraser, a Halloween pin and a little spring toy that jumps. They where just meant to be something fun for all of them to play with todya. I wanted to try to get them into the Halloween spirit.

I had to leave work early so that I could decorate the house. We don't do it the night before because of vandals. I put a lot of time and effort into this and I don't want stuff stolen or broken. I refuse to not do it, because I enjoy it. I snapped some pictures in the daylight just so you can see how things are going so far.

Here is the front yard from two different angles:

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The best Candy Bowl ever

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The upstairs bedroom ghost, which only really looks scary in the dark. I'll try to get pictures of that later as well so you can see.

I've got to go get my costume on now. I'll try to get a picture of that as well so you can see what I dress as.

Now of course before I did all the work I needed to get something to eat, so I stopped by Hooters for lunch. And you know what, bless the staff there for keeping the holiday spirit alive. Everyone was in costumes and it really helped get me in the mood.

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My waitress Tyler

She looked good, but not as good as Ktreva will later in her costume.

I love Halloween!

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October 21, 2008

I've been remiss

Man, I have been neglectful! Holy cow, it's been almost a week since my last post. Now I guess I could have rightfully claimed that it was because I was out at Trail of History for most of that time and away from a computer, and that I was just too damn tired last night to post. But I know how much all of you demand my attention and I really should have tried to post something last night... and I didn't.

October has been flying by so far. I can't believe it's almost over and I'm just now getting around to starting to put up Halloween decorations. I'm WAY behind this year.

I do have some stories from Trail to share with all of you, but they'll have to wait. I've gone and hurt my back and I took some pain killers to help take the edge off, it's making it so I can't think clearly. I'll wait until things get better.

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October 06, 2008

Research.

This last weekend I was having a conversation during football with some of my friends regarding what historical research I've done over the past couple of weeks.

When I uttered the statement, "Now that I can document zombies in in the 18th century, I can talk about them while at a re-enactment." Graumagus made the comment, "That statement is wrong on so many different levels of geekdom."

I think he might be right.

Posted by Contagion at 09:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 02, 2008

Well, that wasn't fun.

Today was a very interesting day for me. Around 11:30 this morning my health issues came rushing upon me with a vengeance. I've normally been eating good and taking care of myself. I've been taking my medication and trying to make sure I don't do things that aggravate my stomach too bad. Occasionally I have problems, but not very often. When I do have complications it's usually something mild and over with in ten minutes.

One of the complications I have is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When it flames up, one of the issues is chest and back pain. Normally when this happens to me it lasts about ten minutes until the medication kicks in. The pain has been likened to having a heart attack. In fact my father, who has had multiple heart attacks, has stated that when his GERD acts up, sometimes he can't tell the difference. In fact twice he went to the ER thinking he was having a heart attack when in reality it was a GERD flair up.

This morning my acted up that way, and it kept getting worse. Finally after about 45 minutes I contacted Ktreva and told her I needed to go to the hospital. I was sure it was my GERD, I just wanted to get the "Gastro milkshake" that makes all of the pain and acid reflux to go away. Unfortunately when management in my office heard the words "Pain" and "chest" they wigged out and called 911, against my will.

I didn't want the drama so I walked to the front of the building and then even walked to the ambulance. I kept telling them it was nothing, but they wouldn't listen to me. The whole time I was telling them what the issue was and that they were over reacting. When I was in the ambulance I apologized to them for making them work. Heck I apologized to the ER staff for making them work too.

To make a long story short after two IVs an EKG, some x-rays, blood tests and 3 hours of my life lost I was diagnosed with...

... GERD.

Yea, I went back to work for a couple of hours, much to the chagrin of the other management, especially after I explained that I was again, correct.

The funniest thing about all of this is that I was asked 4 times if there was any stress in my life. After explaining Oklahoma and some other situations I had one of the ER techs said, "I'm surprised you didn't have a heart attack!"

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September 07, 2008

Food and Firearms

On Friday I asked the class were the best Barbeque was in Tulsa. Of course I was given different opinions, but half the class agreed on one place. That was Knotty Pine . Now I was warned that it is a hole in the wall restaurant that looks run down and very mom and popish. Don't let the fancy looking website fool you. I'm talking paint pealing off the building and sign, circa 1950 diner furniture, things looking hard used. But when you walk in, you will get hit with a great scent of barbeque. The staff was really friendly and when I told them that I was from out of state, they went down the menu and explained everything. Then they made recommendations. I ended up getting the assorted meat plate.

It was fantastic. This was some of the best barbeque that I've had in a long, long time. As I said, this is not a fancy place, but it's damn good.

Then on Saturday I went to a chain restaurant called The Rib Crib. This place also came highly recommended. Now this is a much nicer looking restaurant. Everything is new and modern. Nothing is in a state of disrepair or needs replacing. The smell is of campfire and barbeque. Again the wait staff was nice and friendly and they recommended a four meat sampler. It was good, but I'll be honest the Knotty pine tasted better.

Other than that, over the weekend I went to the Bass Pro Shop. Which is huge. I spent a good 3 hours there walking around and looking at stuff. I even bought shirts for the family. They had an impressive selection of sporting goods. They also had a nice restaurant inside there, but I had eaten prior to arriving, so I didn't try it.

After leaving the Bass Pro Shop I drove around Tulsa. I had looked up gun shops and ranges in the area and had found a couple that had ranges and would let you rent firearms. Unfortunately the two places that I found both told me upon arriving that in order to rent a firearm you have to be a member. The cheapest membership was $75.00. I wasn't about to spend that, plus rental fees, plus ammo fees. Oh well. I did spend some time looking at their firearms and the costs. I ended up spending a couple of hours doing that.

The nice thing is that I've spent the whole weekend with out having to see Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs.

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September 01, 2008

I return home(?)

After spending the day drinking beer with Bloodspite yesterday, I finally headed off home this morning. Fortunately for me I was still tired so I could take a nap on the way home. Just kidding, I did not fall asleep driving the car.

In my travels of Oklahoma and Texas I did discover a couple of things. First off. Whomever keeps telling me that Oklahoma is flat and treeless is a damn liar! It's pretty hilly and there are a ton of trees. Now it's not mountainous, and even though they label it a mountain, Arbuckle Mountain is not a mountain. It's too damn small.

Secondly, I think I found all the Indian reservations that were kicked out of Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. I passed through the Kickapoo, Sac and Fox nations. It seems like every 20 miles I would pass a sign telling me what nation I was passing into. At one point I was starting to wonder if there were any Indians outside of Oklahoma. I mean, I know there are not, but I was surprised at the number of nations here. No wonder my Indian jokes flop!

Finally, HWY 75/69 from Dallas to Tulsa is a horrible road. Not because state of the road, but because it's not a limited access highway. There were stop lights, road side stands, oh and casinos what seems to be at least every 20 miles. Lets not forget the speed zones where the speeds dropped down to 35 mph. It made for an annoying trip.

Either way, I made it back to Tulsa. Back to my room, where the cleaning staff can't follow directions. I left a do not disturb sign on the door and they came in anyway. They threw away a couple of receipts and a piece of paper that had important information on it. They had been sitting on my desk. I complained to the front desk, they apologized but had no way to get the missing stuff back. I left explicit instructions that in the future when I want my room cleaned I will take the sign off of the door. I don't care if they see me leave with a suitcase, they don't need to clean my room.

Now I'm just kicking back and relaxing. Thinking of Ktreva and wishing she was here... cause I really could go for her doing that thing that she does really well, but she hardly ever does it, but she's really good at it.

Posted by Contagion at 06:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 31, 2008

Where in the U.S. is Contagion now? UPDATED!

I left Tulsa yesterday morning and drove to Oklahoma City to meet up with Rave and Mr. Rave. First we went to the Belle Isle Brewery. They had four beers that they made on tap. They weren't bad, but honestly not overly impressed with the beer. I was more impressed with the quality of company that I had. We talked, shared stories and then Rave told me we were going to go to another brewery they had in town.

We then headed to the Bricktown Brewery. We arrived there after a quick tour of the Bricktown area of OKC. The story was that we were looking for parking spaces, but honestly I think it was because Rave knew I was low on gas and was trying to drain my tank. hehehe, just kidding. She was looking for free parking. There was some kind of event going on so they were making people pay to park.

We went inside and drank some more beer and continued to chat. I really can't tell you much about the beer here. I had drank so many other beers at the first brewery that my taste buds had been tainted. But from what I tried they had a couple of really good ones. We continued to talk for a while and then They had to return home due to Little man's issues.

After leaving them I made my way to Irving, TX... yes Texas... to visit Bloodspite in prison. Okay, he's not really in prison, but it kind of seems that way. They are confined to this campus that looks like a bunch of apartments. They have no personal vehicles and are not allowed to use company vehicles for personal use. Their rooms don't have stoves, microwaves or anything to heat or cook food. If they want a hot meal they have to go to the cafeteria. Unfortunately the cafeteria isn't open on the weekend.

Then there are no restaurants for a mile. If they want to get to a restaurant or store they have to bribe an instructor to take them or pick stuff up for them during the week. On the weekends they can get a taxi voucher, but that's only on Saturday or Sunday. Friday night when the cafeteria closed early they where stranded with no food and no way to get anything.

Then to make things worse they live in a dry county, so they have to travel to get beer. Needless to say Bloodspite and his work companions were more than happy to have me show up with two cases of beer, which just barely fit into the fridge. Now today we plan on drinking beer, talking bullshite and probably drinking more beer.

Bloodspite got a picture of the fridge before we started doing damage to it. Click onto the extended entry if you are truly curious.

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Yep, the entire fridge is full, The door, the crisper, everywhere is filled with beer!

Posted by Contagion at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2008

What I learned at the Renn Faire

Did you know that the Elizabethan Era (1558-1603) was apparently overrun with Johnny Dep looking pirates (Golden Age of Piracy 1650s to 1720s), Gypsies and Victorian Era Scotsman? Well apparently it is! Months ago I started planning a little romantic getaway for Ktreva and myself. This was long before this whole Oklahoma project started. On Friday we left work early, made our way to a little romantic hotel getaway in Chicago and spent the days at the Bristol Renn Faire.

For those of you that dont know, Ktreva and I got our re-enacting start in the Renn Faire circuit. We havent been to the faire in years. So when I started planning the weekend, we decided that we were going to go back to our roots and visit the place that gave us our start. Even though we had long moved on, we still wanted to go. We thought it would be kind of fun revisiting a place that gave us the start in re-enacting, but also the first place we went on our first romantic holiday to.

Due to the number of pictures Im putting most of this post in the extended entry. Let me warn you know, some of the pictures from the Faire may not be NSFW but they may be hard to explain, and in a couple of cases just disturbing. Click at your own risk.

For those of you that have never been to a Renn Faire, dont knock them until you go. You dont have to dress; lord knows we dont (anymore). You just go to have fun. If you are looking for history and historical accuracy, it can be found. You just need to look for it. Honestly being a history buff that I am, there isnt as much history there as I had hoped, but there was some. Including an actually 1600s swivel gun off of a ship and the History encampments. However, the guy explaining the history of black powder firearms was stumped by some of my questions. I dont think he was used to someone that actually knows a thing or two about black powder shooting. Although those matchlocks were really cool anyway.

The one thing you will see at any renn faire is the fantasy crowd. The ones that dress up elves, dwarves, goofy barbarians, characters form Dungeons and Dragons, characters from movies and Sci-Fi. Even though there were no Klingons, there was a storm trooper. You will also see the people that think they are dressing historically accurate and they really were not. They have leather doublets with worked in Celtic knot work or fantasy designs. They think its accurate because they bought it at the Renn Faire. But the costuming is what makes the Renn Faire fun. You have the good, the bad and the laughable.

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The Good. An accurate Elizabethan gown.

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The bad. This group of fantasy dragon slayers.

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The laughable. Im not sure what this guy is supposed to be, but its not good.

Along with the costumes you have the gypsy crowd. It seems like one out of three women there thought they were a gypsy or a belly dancer. Most of them achieved this goal by wearing chainmail bikinis. Now Chainmail bikinis can be a wonderful thing, they can also be scary. This past weekend there werent any really horrible chainmail violations, but there were a couple that really stood out. Let me give you an example.

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What chainmail bikinis should look like.

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A Chainmail violation!

Then there were the performers, the people that put on shows to entertain the crowd. Some of them were funny, some of them were amazing and others were just entertaining. There were actors, musicians, street performers, swordsmen and jousters. I could do a whole post on the performers, but Im just going to touch on some of the favorites we had this weekend.

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The Fire Whip Show. This guy holds the world record for most whip cracks in a minute and cracking the longest whip. He was really amazing to watch. Hed swing the whips so fast you couldnt see them, but you could hear the cracks.

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MooNie the Magnificent. This guy does a hilarious juggling, rope walking, and comedy show. I hadnt laughed that hard in years.

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Various Street musicians. This lady is playing a spinet, a small harpsichord. There were many others, including a guy playing a hurdy gurdy and our friend Jesse Linda, AKA Jock Stewart roaming around playing at various stages.

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There was also the Fantastikals. A group that portrays mythical creatures such as trolls, fairies and other fae folk. Above is the Autumn Fairie.

There were also all kinds of services there. Such things as tarot reading, fortunes told, games, food, shops, face painting, henna tattoos and hair braiding. The second day of the show Ktreva decided to get her hair braided by the Twisted Sisters Hair Braiding.

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Ktrevas Braided Hair

We had a great time. Its hard to believe that we hadnt been there in so many years. When it was over Ktreva and I talked and tried to figure out why we quit going. It was because of the direction we went in our re-enacting. We focused so much on early American that we gave up on the Renn Faire. So weve decided that we are going to take the next couple of years off of early American and go back to Renn Faire re-enacting. Of course we are going to stick with the historical accurate part of it, but itll still be Renn Faire.

Just kidding, it was fun to visit and well probably start attending again as general public, but not as participants.

Posted by Contagion at 09:54 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 19, 2008

Making plans!

Alright I'm getting ready to head back to Okla-frackin-homa. This time I'm going to go down there better prepared. First off most of the problems that gave me issues at work I've already taken care of, they won't plague me again. Secondly, I'm going to make some plans to take care of number 1... me... while I'm away.

I'm going to be down there Labor Day weekend and the weekend after. So any of my readers and fellow bloggers that live with in two hours of Tulsa and want to get together, leave a comment. I've got a company car and I should be able to make my way to you.

If you live further out but want to meet half way, again let me know. I'm willing to drive. If you are a long hall driver and passing through the area... give me as much notice as possible and I'll free things up.

I figure I might as well get out and meet some of you good people out there instead of sitting in a hotel room sirfing the net for pr0n.

Posted by Contagion at 07:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 11, 2008

Back to the norm.

Things almost seem like normal. I'm back in Rockford, at least for the next two weeks. I'm trying to reacclimate to life here in Rockford. The high yesterday was lower then the low most of last week in Tulsa. That and trying to get used to doing things I didn't have to do while living out of a hotel. Simple things like picking up after myself, the cleaning staff took care of that. There was no cooking as we were eating out all the time. I didn't have to do things like grocery shop or just simple housework/maintenance. Now I do... and is it ever nice.

Clone has been attached to my hip since I've been back. Just about every night he doesn't want to go to bed. The last time I left for Tulsa, I had to leave the house at 4:30 AM. I had said goodbye to him the night before and told him that I wouldn't be there in the morning because I had to go to Tulsa. Now he's afraid I'm not going to be here in the morning when he wakes up. He's asked me 3 of the last four nights "Dad, are you going to be here tomorrow?" Poor guy.

Ktreva is having to get used to my snoring again. She says she can't sleep well when I'm not home, but then again she can't sleep at all when I am home. I think she's torn between having me home and getting some sleep. (grin)

I was able to get together with some friends Saturday. We sat around the backyard drinking beer, eating burgers and me telling them the stories of Oklahoma. It was good to be able to have male conversations with friends again. It was also good to sit down and drink a case of beer with friends.

Today I had to go to the office for the first time in three weeks. When I arrived this morning I was hit with all the bad news and little surprises they were keeping from me. Yea, that was pleasant. That's okay, I turned it around on them and told my peers and management that even though I'm in the office, they might as well pretend I'm not, since I'm leaving in two weeks. That went over not so well, but I wasn't caring very much.

All that aside, it's good to be home.

Now I'm getting busy preparing for the Galesburg Heritage festival. We're heading down Thursday night, I took Friday off. I figured work owed me.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 05, 2008

You want how much?

Tonight Employee-M told me that for dinner she wanted steak. Now you have to understand she is a health food nut. She doesnt eat red meat, or unhealthy food. In fact when we first came down here I told her one of my goals was to get her to eat a steak. I know you find this hard to believe, but I kept up at it long enough to start to annoy here. So when she said that I actually stopped the car dead in the middle of the street, blocking traffic, to ask her who the hell she was and if she was feeling okay.

She said she was fine, she just decided she wanted a steak, fillet mignon to be exact. So we find this local steak joint that was recommended for great steaks. When we arrived, the sign on the side of the building said Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. At first I thought, this is not the kind of place were looking for. Then I see a group of people walk in wearing shorts and T-shirts so I thought it couldnt be that bad.

We walk in and the first thing I know I hear the hostess say that there is a dress code to the group in front of us. GREAT! They didnt seem to have a problem with how we were dressed. We were seated; our waitress came up and showed us the menus. Yes, menus. One for wine and one for food. The one for the wine was three times as thick as the food menu. She took our drink order and left to fill it. We all took a look at the food menu and then looked at each other simultaneously. Emp-P and Employee-M have this wide eyed shocked look on their faces. The cheapest thing on the menu was a chicken breast, for $32.99. The average price on the menu was $49.00.

That didnt include sides!

The cheapest side dish was a baked potato for $9.50. For a baked potato! Im sitting there trying to figure out how Im going to justify this on my expense report. I figured that maybe my staff was really excited about eating a really nice restaurant. No, they were shocked at the price. They werent comfortable eating there, so I made the decision to leave. When our waitress came back with our drinks I apologized to her and explained we were on a corporate expense and that was not the kind of restaurant we thought it was going to be. We offered to pay for our drinks, but she told us it was fine. I left her a five dollar tip for being nice, but tore out of there.

We ended up going to a Lone Star for steaks, and laughed about the whole thing, but damn. Im just happy I didnt have to explain that one on an expense report!

Posted by Contagion at 08:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 03, 2008

A perfect way to sum up this trip.

On my way back to the hotel from the restaurant tonight, I saw a bunch of squad cars with their emergency lights on along the side of the highway. When I got near there was yellow tape on the hillside by the cars. As I looked over I could see a uniformed man taking pictures of a body laying on the ground.

Yea, that about sums up this trip... a dead body on the side of the road.

Posted by Contagion at 03:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How much more?

An empty beer glass sits on a table. There is a slight residue of the amber liquid it held just moments before in the bottom of it. I sit there staring into the bottom of the glass contemplating the events of the last two weeks. What protective shell Ive built up in preparation for this event quickly crumbles around me. Its time for me to leave the restaurant before I make a mistake.

Just this morning I was at my mother-in-laws house lying in a bed with my wife. It had been a rough night for me. I couldnt sleep, even though I was tired. I kept thinking of what has happened.

On Saturday the entire family went to Ktrevas grandfathers memorial. This was for a man that I liked and respected. He had promised to tell me more stories the next time we saw each other, that time never came. It was unavoidable. Distance, time and health prevented us from getting together again before his passing. Justifying it all I want doesnt make it feel any better. He enjoyed telling me those stories and I loved to listen to them. We bonded over those stories and I feel I robbed him of something there at the end. Truth or not be damned, thats how I felt.

Thursday I found out that I will be able to return home on August 8th for two weeks. When I return they will be buying me a one way ticket. Not because this is a permanent transfer, but because they arent sure how long they are going to need me and I really cant come home on the weekends, Id have to fly home on Saturday afternoon only to fly back Sunday Afternoon. Its just not feasible. Since we dont know what is going to happen we dont want to buy a round trip ticket only to cancel my coming home at the end of the week. The tickets are non-refundable. So if I am able to come home for a weekend, they will buy me a round trip ticket from Tulsa to Chicago. At the end of the project they will be me a one way ticket back to Chicago.

Monday night Clone lost his first tooth. I wasnt there for this first milestone in his life. No, I was working when I received the call. The closest I got was to talk to him on the phone and see a picture of a smiling five year old proud of his first lost tooth.

So as I lay in the bed last night, thinking of how my project isnt going well and everything that has happened and what Ive given up for this, the stress gnawed at me. My stomach problems flared up and I was coughing up and puking stomach acid all night. I wasnt even able to enjoy the simple pleasure of being able to sleep in a bed with my wife. Listening to her breath, feeling the warmth of her body laying next to mine, gazing upon her in all of her beauty and peace as she slept.

Then I left my family. They drove back to Rockford, while I returned to Tulsa. I followed behind them as long as our routes traveled the same path. Watching over them, escorting them, protecting them in what meager manner I was able. Waving at them goodbye knowing that I head back, alone, to someplace where I cant be with them. Returning to a city where I am by myself.

I sat alone in the hotel room alone for a while, smiling in remembrance of my family and what short time I had to spend with them, Less than 40 hours. After a few short minutes it dawns on me that I am, yet again completely alone. No family, no friends, nobody. So went someplace familiar in hopes of trying to take my mind off of things. I drive to Hooters. There I sat down and ordered beer and wings.

All seemed better for a few short minutes.

Something just didnt seem right. I was there alone. None of the people I usually go to Hooters with were there. No friends, no family, nobody. I sat there in a restaurant full of people, yet I was alone. Sure there were other people there, but they werent there with me. They were there with their friends and their families. As I finished that glass of beer it dawned on me. I had prepared for everything except this. I was bored. I was alone. Most importantly, I was depressed.

While Im down here I have no one. Ive been working from 6:00AM to as late as 11:30 at night. Yes, most of the time after 6:00PM Im in the hotel room, but thats all Ive been doing. I cant go out for stress release, because there is no one to go with. I cant go with the people that came down with me, for they are my employees. They directly report to me. I cant go out with the local staff because either Im training them or they are in positions below me. The company discourages fraternization outside of the workplace in this situation. Plus they are all female and Im not about to put myself into a situation that could kill my career.

So I sat there, looking into the empty beer glass, and all I could think of was, Whats next?

Posted by Contagion at 03:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 31, 2008

Good Eats.

I haven't eaten in restaurants this much in my life. I've been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at various places, some of them good. Some of them bad. I thought I would give you all a run down on the places I've eaten at.

1) Joe's Crab Shack. Pretty good seafood... for the middle of the plain states! We enjoyed it. Nice decor, the wait staff was nice. In fact our waitress was also from Illinois.

2)Mexicali Border Cafe. This place looks like a hole in the wall, but it has some great food! They are reasonably priced. The best part was the salsa. I'm not sure if they make their own or if they buy it, but they have some of the greatest salsa I've ever had.

3) The Hideaway. They have some great Pizza. I had one that was called "Big Country". It was topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, polish sausage (Kielbasa), hamburger, mozzarella and cheddar cheese! It was a damn good pizza.

4) Jason's Deli. This place is a bit of a conundrom. It's a sandwich and salad shop. They make some pretty good sandwiches and have a nice salad bar. But they have some of the rudest people working there. Think of the soup nazi from Seinfeld. They don't have a menu over the counter, so when I walked up they asked me for my order. I didn't know because I was trying to figure out what they had. Now I wasn't even at the counter, I was a couple of feet back. There was no one else waiting. They lady told me to stand back from the ordering area until I knew what I wanted. They are very strict in their ordering policies. I've eaten there a couple of times despite this. They make a good sandwich, they ARE fast and it's less than five minutes from work.

5)Kilkenny's Irish Pub. They have some great Irish food and a wonderful atmosphere. This is probably my favorite place I've eaten at down here so far. The best part is that it's very reasonably priced. Expect to pay much more if you get a beer or two.

6) The Elephant Bar Restaurant. It is an interesting themed restaurant. It has an African influence in the design and decor. Yet the food is mostly of a southeast Asian influence. They had a great crispy teriyaki chicken. The waitress we had did seem to ignore us, but the food was pretty good.

7)In The Raw. This is a sushi joint. When I asked where the best sushi in town was, this place was recommended by two different people. It's one of those trendy joints with the modern art deco designs and loud modern dance club music playing. The waitress we had was horrible. The hostess was rude as well as the manager. The wait staff ignored us, messed up our orders, it took forever to get the food. One of the Employee-M ordered a sprite and at one point the wait staff came around and topped her Sprite off with water. The sushi wasn't bad, but I've had much better. From the time we arrived until the time we left it was 2 hours.

All the other places we went to were fast food joints or major national chains. Now I'm going to have plenty of time to try other restaurants down here between now and October. So if you are familiar with any other restaurants down here and recommend some, please leave it in the comments.

Posted by Contagion at 07:21 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 29, 2008

It's like an Alfred Hitchcock movie!

I've been told that all of my posts regarding Oklahoma have been depressing and kind of a downer. So I'm changing my topic for tonight... oh it still involves Tulsa, but a different aspect of it.

Every night as the sun goes down a massive amount of birds comes out and swarms around downtown Tulsa. When I say there is a massive amount of birds, I mean they number in the thousands! It's kind of freaky. They fly around, swarming the buildings. The trees are loaded with them almost bending under the weight of the plague of birds. I'm not sure what kind of birds they are, but it's really disturbing. They are loud. The are everywhere. They crap on everything.

I tried to take a picture, but I only had my picture phone and it didn't turn out too well. So I tried to use the video feature on my phone. All I got was this not so great clip, but it gives you an idea.

It's actually really disturbing. I'm not sure why they are there, I don't know what they are up to, but I'm really glad there is a parking deck for me to park in and a covered walkway so that I don't have to run outside so I don't get covered in bird poop.

Sorry about the sound, I don't know what the hell was causing that.

Posted by Contagion at 08:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2008

Here I am, in Oklahoma!

I boarded the bus to leave Rockford at 1 PM today and was able to get into O'Hare by 2:40PM. I was able to get through security rather quickly. I did make one faux pass, I didn't take my lap top out of my case. I wasn't aware that I had to... now I know. I've never traveled with one before.

I have officially decided that O'Hare is the most jacked up airport I've ever flown out of. I want to know what mental midget came up with the layout for this freaking maze? It absolutely is staggering the way they have the gates and concourses laid out. Thank god for a mobile GPS system or I would have been completely lost. Oh, and I thought they had free WI-FI at O'Hare. Nope, they don't. You can get on to check the status of flights, but if you want to get to the internet you need to buy time. Yea, that wasn't about to happen. It's not that I'm cheap, even though I could squeeze a nickle until the buffalo farts, it's that I'm not paying $12.00 to use the internet for 30 minutes.

We got there in plenty of time for our flight, we should have only had to wait for about 20 minutes before boarding. Then they announced they we delaying our flight. Not for weather, not for mechanical problems, but because the First Officer on our flight was flying in a plane from Philadelphia and isn't due to arrive until 4:45PM. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 3:45 PM. United must have had a screw loose to make that kind of scheduling error. Apparently they realized their mistake and found another First Officer to take his place, so we only left 30 minutes behind schedule.

We arrive in Tulsa to a very vacant airport. It's nice, clean and was easy to maneuver through. There wasn't a huge crowd of people you had a fight past. My traveling companion, Employee-M, and I had to laugh when we got the rental car. Apparently my company thought I would love to drive this Kia Rondo. It's like a clown car that I barely fit in. Not because I'm of noble girth, it's because I'm about 2 inches too tall for it. Employee-M nicknamed it "The Clown Car". Because even she, who is inches shorter than I am thought it was awfully small.

When we get to the hotel, we checked in easily enough. I get to my floor and I instantly notice that it smells like mold and mildew. Now, I'm staying at the DoubleTree in Downtown Tulsa. This is supposed to be a really nice hotel. When I get to my room it also smells like mold and mildew. So I go back down to the desk and tell them that it stinks really bad, they where very quick to change rooms for me. They explained that there was some kind of leak on the roof that when it rains hard it leaks all the way down to the third floor... and only the third floor.

Since we hadn't eaten since before noon, both Employee-M and I were hungry. We headed into town to get something to eat... at 7:30PM. We ended up going to Joe's Crab Shack and had a great dinner. I also received all the voice mails and text messages from those of you that called and texted me when I turned my phone back on. Unfortunately it was late, and I didn't feel like responding tonight.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sleep.

Posted by Contagion at 09:33 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 15, 2008

The time is getting closer

Today has been filled with ups and downs. I learned more about my upcoming predicament, aka the Okla-homie trip coming up. It seems each day the news is worse and worse. I was pretty sure on Monday that I would be able to get everything done with in three weeks, but now I'm not so sure. We'll see what the rest of the week brings me.

After work tonight I went with Graumagus down to Tammi's place to grab some furniture she has decided to part with. Grau took much of it for his new bachelor pad and I took the golden throne and foot stool. I agreed to this before the whole Oklahoma trip came up. I still want it, now I'm just wondering if it's going to be making the move out of state anyway.

After grabbing the furniture from Tammi's we all headed to Fritz's so that Tammi and I could have one last beer together down there. It was nice talking to her, and I'm sure going to miss her. Either way yo0u look at it, she's leaving the state, I'm leaving the state... not really boding well for a reunion.

After a couple of quick beers, we returned and unloaded the furniture into the respective houses.

I think I'm going to go to sleep now.

Today really made me think about my situation and I'm not happy about it. I mean things could be much, much worse... but damn.

Posted by Contagion at 09:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 14, 2008

Life is going way too fast.

Well, first let me state that I'm writing this post from my new lap top. I went out and bought a lap top in preparation for my upcoming and unavoidable trip to Oklahoma. Ktreva and I discussed it and we decided that not only will this help me while I'm gone, but it will help reduce the tension and stress in the house fighting over who gets to use the computer next and when. With two we can both use one or the other at the same time. The lap top is primarily mine, but when she goes on trips to Chicago for work she can take it with her to use after hours.

This last weekend I spent with some good friends. I will have a full blown post about this past weekend sometime later this week. It was good seeing all of my friends again. It was nice being able to talk to them about the upcoming trip. Especially since this may be the last time I see many of them for a long time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go finish loading all of the software on here that I use on a regular basis.

Posted by Contagion at 07:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 24, 2008

Eating silage.

Okay, in an effort to help my gastro problems and just to be healthier Ive started eating Healthier breakfast cereal. Ive tried four different kinds so far and Im about to give up on it, especially this last one. Let me give you a run down on what Ive experienced so far.

A) Kashi Go Lean Crunch: Interesting flavor, I wouldnt say its bad, but Im not sure Id say I like it either. There is a very interesting texture to it. It gave me gas.

2) Kashi Go Lean Crunch with Honey Almond Flax: Again interesting flavor, I think this one tasted better than the regular, Im still not sure I like it. The texture was interesting. It gave me gas.

D) Life: Okay, this one may not be considered a Healthy cereal, but it had the green sensible solution box on it and comparing it to healthy cereals it matched up pretty good. I liked the flavor, I liked the texture. My family liked the break from the gas.

4) Grape Nuts: How this cereal stays on the market is beyond me. Seriously the smell kind of reminds me of silage. The flavor reminds me of the remnants of the mash they use to make beer. It doesnt taste like beer, it tastes like fermented grains that were boiled, dried and served with milk. I kid you not I think Id rather eat the box. I put four packets of sweetener into my cereal container just to choke it down this morning. Now Im sitting here feeling like there is a lump of soggy cardboard in my stomach. Except the soggy cardboard would probably have tasted better. To make matters worse not only did it give me gas, but it gave me unspeakably foul gas. I emptied a conference room with a tiny squeeker. Fortunately the cheek flapping, sphincter hurting colon bomb I let loose in the bathroom. When I regained consciousness and picked myself off of the floor, I helped the other victims evacuate the restroom.

I just want to know, is there a decent healthy cereal that A) Tastes good and most importantly 2) Doesnt give me gas.

Posted by Contagion at 05:58 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 23, 2008

Ktreva's eye for that Contagion Guy.

Today Ktreva decided that I need to get some new clothes. Apparently she decided that a major update to by wardrobe was past due. The last time I went clothes shopping for non-work related clothes was the summer of 2003 before Clone was born. These do not count novelty T-shirts I buy. I'm in my mid-thirties and no longer feel the need to actually dress "trendy". As long as the clothes aren't ragged and fit, I'm happy to wear them.

Since most of my "going out in public" clothes are hardly worn, they are all in good condition. Usually I spend the weekends wearing shirts that really were never meant for me to wear out in public for a social gathering. You know, they look fine, but the message on them is a little "disturbing". IE My zombie, blogger, fire arm t-shirts, etc. Usually on the weekends I wear those or if I'm going out with friends I'll still wear them as Ktreva is not coming with to be embarrassed by me.

Today, Ktreva had enough and decided it was make over time. I was going to get some new clothes that she won't be embarrassed to be seen in public with me wearing them. Ones that are fit for proper social occasions. Not only is she making me get new cloths, she's making me grow my facial hair back. And when I mean making, I really, truly mean making. She vowed never to do that thing she does that I like very much that she doesn't do very often, but she's really good at it until I grow my facial hair back. She also said if I shave it off again with out her permission she'll stop all together. It's amazing what the power of blackmail is.

We spent our entire lunch looking for new clothes for me. I had to try items on pick and choose things... it was hell. There was some negotiation, and I earned a couple of concessions. There was this nice embroidered Jack Daniels shirt I found that I wanted. She wasn't going to let me get it because she didn't want to be seen in public with me wearing it. But I agreed to get this orange plaid shirt she found if I can get the Jack Daniel's shirt. She agreed and I got the shirt I wanted!

I also found a t-shirt that said "Case Worker" on it and it had a picture of a case of beer. She found a green safari shirt she thinks would look good on me. We negotiated and I got the t-shirt and the safari shirt. All in all I picked up a week and a half's worth of new shirts. 7 of them "going in public" shirts. Even though I got some shirts I don't like that much, it's more important that I picked up a couple that I liked a lot. As for the orange shirt and the safari shirt... yea, between you and me, they're never leaving the closet.

Posted by Contagion at 04:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 21, 2008

Where in the heck has Contagion been?

Okay, I know I haven't posted in a couple of days. Sorry, about that. Let me fill you in on what happened.

First Friday at work we had a big meeting about the Hot Dog issue. First the other department had to be included, then they decided not to. Well long and short management said that they had to I got the the pleasure of cooking the hot dogs. We went over logistics and who is going to do what and when. It really was a colossal waist of time.

After work I went out with what was to be some of my peers for drinks and just kind of a"get to know you" think outside of work. It ended up just being me and one of my other co-workers as the rest all backed out. Fortunately Ktreva trusts me because me going out to a bar with another woman could seriously look like a date. However, since I'm completely devoted to Ktreva and not about to screw up the best thing in my life, I was just having drinks with a peer and talking shop. It was fun. My Peer had been going through a rough patch in her life and really needed to go out and get drunk. Fortunately for her, while many of you know me as Contagion... my secret identity... I'm also the heroic (Insert music) Drinkin' Buddy! (insert more music).

Yea, I learned two things about my peer that night. First is that she really has no self-esteem and she gets drunk on 6 drinks... in a 6 hour time span. At least she's not a crier.

Then today I had to go to work and cook the farooking Hot Dogs. I was borrowing a grill from Wes and I had meant to pick it up earlier this week. Unfortunately I had forgotten to, so at 7:30 AM I went to his house and picked it up on my way to work. I found out this evening when I dropped it off that while I thought I was being quiet, apparently I woke up his wife and a neighbor. OOPS!

Work was kind of a joke. I spent 7 hours there not actually working but being more of a morale coach. Of course I was wearing my "The floggings will continue until morale improves" t-shirt from the Bristol Ren-Faire. But I'm not going to go into that, lets just jump to the nitty gritty of it okay, the hot dogs. We had taken a roll call of how many people said they were going to work on Saturday and that wanted a hot dog. It came out to 40, I ended up getting enough food for 45 (feeding the 5 supervisors that were going to be there as well). At two hot dogs a piece, I bought a bulk amount of 90. The other department showed up with 3 packages of 80 hot dogs. So we had a total of 330 hot dogs.

Of course none of them helped me, and to be honest I told them they didn't need to help me cook, but I could use help in shuttling the finished hot dogs into the office. Well, I guess they took that as I didn't want their help at all. So I was cooking from 10:00AM until 1:00PM. It was a long hot day for me.

When all is said and done, at 3:00PM when the office closed, all of the other management but one of my peers from my department stuck around to help me clean up. There was about 100 hot dogs left over. I tried giving them away, I told the employees they could take some home. But no, nobody wanted them. I ended up taking home the left over hot dogs and buns. When I dropped the grill off to Wes, I showed him my gratitude for letting me use his grill by giving him 24 hot dogs and buns. It's not much, but hey I figured he could use them and they'd probably end up getting tossed.

All in all the day sucked. I hate my upper management and the peers from the other department, I'm annoyed at my peers from my department.

The only bright side is that I didn't get one complaint. Everyone like the hot dogs. For which I'm sure upper management will take credit for the idea.

Posted by Contagion at 03:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 08, 2008

It was relaxing.

My parents took Clone to the Rockford Airshow yesterday. They picked him up around 10 AM. They also kept him so that Ktreva and I could hit the Raptor's game together last night. Since they knew it was going to be a late night they offered to keep him until Sunday morning and they would drop him off after church. Basically we had 24 hours of no kids!

As two child free adults what do we do?

Go for a nice lunch in a sit down restaurant, go see a movie, meet up with two of my three blogspawn, Petey and Bruce at Carlyle's, hit the football game and end up having a camp fire in the backyard. And finally sleeping until a storm called us from bed.

Yea, I realize we were pretty lame.

Posted by Contagion at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2008

Whew, it's over.

Lets see... two days of non-stop interviewing and most of the candidates really just wasted my time. I mean seriously people my partner and I felt embarrassed for these people after the interviews. I finally finished it off. After interviewing 15 candidates I had only one that was passable to the second round. ONE!

If I wasn't interviewing I was in stupid meetings. It was either on topics that didn't involve me or were just so drawn out by the gaggle of women I work with each having to voice their exact same opinion as the person before them only using slightly different word combinations. I seriously started dozing off in one of the meetings. When someone asked me a question and pulled me awake, I just honestly said, "Sorry.... I was sleeping." After that I kept asking some of my peers that I liked if they wanted to go for a beer after work. Unfortunately no one could take me up on it.

Bruce then contacted me and asked if I wanted to go to Fritz's tonight. Hells yeah! So right now I'm waiting for him to get off of work so we can head down for some frosty beer goodness.

And since it's seriously warm in the house right now and humid as all hell. A good beer in a bar sounds mighty perfect.

Posted by Contagion at 04:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2008

Tires.

I was running around on lunch today picking up supplies, aka beer, for the Beer Tasting Im hosting this weekend. The shopping was taking long and Ktreva had a conference call so I volunteered to drop her off while I went and picked up lunch for us. I was just running to the Subway a couple of blocks from work. As I turned onto the side street to access the parking lot, I hear a slight grinding noise coming from the vehicle. At first I thought it was the brakes, but I noticed it kept going even after the brakes were released.

When I pulled into the stall I got out of the vehicle and walked to the passenger side. There I heard a sound that made me utter a curse under my breath. It was the slow HSSSSSSSssssssssssssssssssssssssss of air leaving a confined space. Just looking at Ktrevas van I could tell which tire it was. Her passenger front tire was slowly deflating.

Having been through this before, I started pulling out the jack and tools to get the spare tire out from underneath the van. As I twisted the crank to lower the spare tire, I noticed that the spare wasnt lowering. The cable was coming down just fine; the spare was still under the body. It seems the metal clasp that holds the tire up rusted to a part under the van.

There I was in the parking lot of Subway swearing, climbing under the van with a pry bar and trying to break the tire free. After about 15 minutes it finally popped off. Everything went smoothly after that. The nuts came off easily, the jack worked perfectly, no one tried to run me over. I put the spare on and lowered the vehicle and watched as the van went to the rim of the spare. It seems the spare was flat too.

Now folks, I would like to say that I was calm, cool and collected about this. But seriously I went on a cursing tirade that scared the living daylights out of people. A couple of employees that work at my company were coming out of the subway during my rant and heard me. They ran away pretty damn fast. A lot of people in the area were looking at me with an unsure look on their face. I figure they either thought I had Tourettes or I was a Special ed adult throwing a temper tantrum.

Figuring I that I was stuck and had nothing else I could do, I ran into Subway, picked up lunch and headed to the nearest tire place, Discount Tires on the rim of the spare. Hey, its cheaper to replace the spare!

I get to the tire place and they are PACKED! Packed I tell you! I asked how long it was going to be, and the guy told me it would be an hour to hour and a half. Fine, so I sat down, at my sandwich and then called a bunch of people to see if they were still coming this weekend. After about an hour they came and got me. The guy said there was no damage to the tire and he could fix it easily enough. They even fixed the spare.

When I asked how much, cringing waiting to hear him say some outlandish amount, he responded with, Nothing, its free. Excuse me? Did you say Free? You mean there is no charge? Why is there no charge? I dont know, the work order says free repair. I even verified with the first guy I spoke with. He said there is no charge.

Huh no charge. You dont get that very often anymore do you? That was about the only bright spot on the incident is that other than a loss of my time, it didnt cost me a thing. The next time I need tires, Im probably going to go back to this place and check them out. Thank you Discount Tires on Perryville in Rockford, Illinois.

Posted by Contagion at 06:15 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 18, 2008

A bride, Some swords and football.

Yesterday, my bog spawn, Virtue of the rarely updated The Rantings of an Indentured Servant was married. She married a guy that seems to be nice. He's a marine and has 9 months left to serve. Ktreva, Graumagus and myself all rode down together.

Virtue is a re-enacting friend of ours and she had a Scottish-style wedding. The guys were all in Kilts. Since she was one of our own getting married, we decided to do the right thing and have a Scottish Basket Hilted Claymore sword arch for them to walk into the reception under. Graumagus, our friend Maeldun, our friend Giles and myself were the sword bearers. Maeldun and Grau had the honor of smacking the bride and bride groom on the arse with swords. Hey, if he's going to wear a kilt and call it a skirt, he gets one too.

It was a nice outdoor ceremony, the weather was perfect. After the ceremony there was a reception. Since the wedding was at 10:00AM, the reception started at 1:00PM. We followed the directions on my GPS, but it took us to some backwood dead end part of Killem and Rapem hollow. Fortunately we also had directions from the wedding on how to get to the reception. Funnily enough the directions weren't 100% accurate either, but it was easy to find. Especially since we drove past the VFW were it was being held when following the GPS directions.

The reception was fun. We got to sit, visit and have a good time. Everything seemed to go really well. The food was good and there was of course dancing and what not. Mostly we just talked, told stories and caught up with some friends we hadn't seen in a while.

We left the reception around 4:45 PM to head home. We had to leave early because Grau, Ktreva and myself were going to the Raptor's game last night. Man was that a fun game. I really got our defense fired up. I had them out for blood. I had the defensive line right in front of my seats. So I would tell them I needed them to go out there and get the ball. We need a turn over! I ended up pulling a Jimmy McGinty from the Replacements. "Fox, I need you to get me the ball" Fox "You want me to get you the ball?" me, "I want you to force a turn over and bring it back here and show it to me!" Fox, "I'm bringing you the ball!!!!" Me, "Go get the ball!!!!" Fox, "I'm getting the ball! RAAAAHHHHRRR!!!!"

He then ran onto the field and seriously almost killed the quarterback. He then got one of the other Defensive linemen into it, "Sunshine" Matrenga. I don't think he likes the nickname, but it's in reference to the movie Remember The Titans. Ronnie Bass gets the nickname "Sunshine" because he's from California and has long flowing blond hair. Matrenga has long hair with blond highlights. It reminded me of Bass when I first saw it. Either way the both of them kept getting to the quarterback, sacks, forcing bad throws, etc. Neither of them forced a fumble though. Which is fine. They had the Flint Phantom's quarterback running for his life most of the night. I swear he wet himself a couple of times. The Raptors won by almost twice the points.

All in all it was a fun day.

Posted by Contagion at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 30, 2008

Quarantine!

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 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

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 Chicagos 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

April 16, 2008

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 wasnt feeling good, she was rather incoherent and wasnt completing sentences. Then we were disconnected. I jumped off of the couch, grabbed my keys to head to her house as fast as Ktrevas 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 wasnt 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 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

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

March 19, 2008

Some advice for my readers.

Do not eat the egg salad sandwich out of the vending machine. No matter how much you like egg salad and how good it looks, the side effects are not worth it.

Posted by Contagion at 04:06 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 18, 2008

Belated St. Patricks day.

Sorry, I had meant to make a Happy St. Pats day post yesterday, but I woke up really excited. It was kinda like this:


I had to go to work, but only for a couple of hours. Of course I went in style, I had on a green shirt and dress slacks as well as my family tartan tie. On my head I wore a big sparkling green derby and a ton of beads. After taking as much work as I could handle, I ran home to change into some party gear and headed down to Fritzs. Basically I just changed into jeans and a Packers jersey and wore even more beads.

I arrived to see Tammi waiting for me at the bar. At first she wasnt going to have a drink, but then she broke down and had not one, but two! Bruce and another friend of ours showed up and we started the festivities out with a couple of Irish Car Bombs. In which a great debate upon what exactly is an Irish car bomb ensued. I knew it wasnt just Guinness and Jamesons, but everyone told me I was wrong. Since I was there to have fun, and didnt want to start trouble I just went with it. But technically an Irish Car Bomb is:

1/2 pint Guinness 1 oz Jameson 1/2 oz Bailey's Irish cream

Pour Guinness into a pint glass. Float Baileys on top of Jamison in shot glass. Drop shot glass, carefully, into Guinness. Drink quickly before it curdles.

I know I started giving beads to anyone and everyone that didnt have a set. And I kept telling them that they were good Irish fun beads, not those naughty Mardi Gras beads. I didnt expect anyone to start flashing their chests at me. Especially since I was also giving them to minors. It starts to get a little foggy after Tammi left and we did another round of Irish Car Bombs. I know there were some phone calls, but Im not sure to whom. Allegedly I was swapping pictures with Bloodspite, but I have no recollection of that.

Ktreva and the boys showed up for some corned beef and cabbage. We ate a good meal down there; everyone seemed to really like the food. I must say that was some of the best corned beef Ive had in a long, long time. After they were done eating, Ktreva and the boys went home and I headed to Old Chicago to meet up with Bruce whom had left to meet some friends earlier. En route I called Wes and told him to get his sober Irish arse to the bar and Id buy him a pint. Of course the offer of free booze brought the Irishman running.

Overall it was a good day. A lot of toasts were made, some clean, some bawdy and some just downright raunchy. There were also a lot of jokes and humor at others expense to be had. Im afraid poor Bruce took a beating. Fortunately hes a good-natured fellow and took it for the friendly ribbing that it was meant to be. Oh, and I wasnt even the worst.

Posted by Contagion at 06:56 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 16, 2008

Guys and Leather.

No, not that kid of guys and leather. Seriously, is that all you think of?

Yesterday I spent most of the day working leather. I had to make myself a new pair of moccasins, this time I had a much better idea of what I was doing and this pair actually turned out looking decent. They aren't the prettiest damn things I've ever seen, but compared to my first pair, they are down right works of art.

While I was working on these Wes came over to try his hand at working leather. He needed to repair a saddle seat he has. I'm not sure what was more amusing to Ktreva, listening to Wes swear when he'd make a mistake or me when I would accidentally poke myself with a needle. Shadoglare came over to drink some beer and to converse. He had contacted me earlier in the day wanting to know if I wanted to go out, I told him that I really needed to get the leather work done. He also contacted Graumagus to see if he wanted to go out. He had to work.

Later in the evening Grau called and said he was heading to Carlyle's after work with some friends. He got off of work at 11:00. Since I started sewing at 1:00, when I finally got my mocs 2/3 of the way done, I decided to stop and go hang out there. Wes had to head home, four kids and all. Shadoglare and I went and hung out with Grau until 2:00 AM just getting caught up.

He's still alive right now. He's not sure when he's coming back. Mostly because he has some court time ahead of him and he's not sure how thats going to go. But that's all the detail you're going to get from me at this time.

Well if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to go make some leggings. Or as Ktreva wants to call them, 1750's arseless chaps.

Posted by Contagion at 03:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 15, 2008

Busy Weekend!

I'm getting ready to head out to the Kiwanis Pancake Day with the family. Besides doing my normal goofy Saturday posts, I've been busy this morning already. I've cut up a deer shoulder, sliced it and started a seasoning and curing process on it so that I can make jerky out of it tomorrow. This afternoon I'm going to be making a new set of Moccasins and leggings. This could be interesting, real interesting as I've never made leggings before.

Posted by Contagion at 09:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2008

New Glasses

I've been re-enacting for years. The one thing that has been seriously wrong with my gear has been my glasses. I wear them all the time and they weren't period at all. Most of the events turn a blind eye to this because they understand that people need glasses and as long as they looked close enough, that was fine.

For at least 4 years now you've been able to get period style glasses. One of my friends whom I've referred to as Wind In His Hair (WIHH), He plays a native and no that's not the name he goes by, gave me a pair that were once his father's. I had said something last October that I was going to purchase a set. He told me not to as I could have his father's old pair. They were the exact same ones I was planning on ordering. Yes, there is another pair that are actually for my time period, but the temple bars don't go over the ears. Everybody I've spoken to about them says the same thing, They fall off your head if you start to sweat.

Today I took them to Lens Crafters to have my prescription fitted in them. When the sales girl came to ask if she could help me, I produced the glasses and said I needed lenses fitted for these. The look on the girl's face when she looked at them was classic. She looked at the glasses, looked at me, looked back at the glasses and said, "I need to take these in the back to see if we can even fit them." She was gone 15-20 minutes talking to the technician that would make the lenses. Finally a lady comes out and says, "We can do it." My friend J-man was with me and we were joking they were arguing over who was going to come out and tell the burly guy with the funny glasses that they couldn't do it.

When the lady started taking measurements she asked me what kind of glasses they were. I explained they were replica 1785 glasses. She almost dropped them. In her concentration to enter the information into their computer she didn't hear the word "replica". After I explained they are $30.00 frames, she calmed down. Of course she added a caveat that if the frames were damaged they would not be responsible for them as they could not replace it. Fine, what ever.

I swung back there after work and picked them up. Now I'm not saying that I like these and the way that I think they are stylish. Nope, they are ugly as sin. Hell they look pretty stupid. They pinch and are uncomfortable. I asked if they could be adjusted and they tried a little, but were afraid to do more because the tech thought they would break. Since I've picked them up, I've been wearing them. I just want to make sure they got the prescription right, and it seems that they did. But boy do they give you tunnel vision and my peripheral vision is shot to hell.

Posted by Contagion at 04:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

My shame.

Last weekend after helping Bruce move his brand new bed, (Sorry Tammi, not your brand). We headed down to Fritz's for an afternoon of conversation and beer. We hadn't been down there long when I hear Bruce spout off a "Contagion, you want a nipple with that?"

I look and his beer is empty and mine is mostly full. DAMN!

Normally that's the question I end up asking anyone that drinks with me. It was so shocking to hear someone else say that to me. The Bartender D and Fritz both shockingly stated looked down the bar at us and commented on how that, "has NEVER happened before." DAMN!

Then to make matters worse, he did it to me four more times.

I was off of my game. I'd like to say it was because I was sick, but that never stopped me in the past. Maybe it was because I was talking, but I have mastered the drink and talk. I just don't know.

That makes my score 9,723,459,234,598,723,459,872,349,875 to 4

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

February 29, 2008

Home again.

Eh, home again today. Things are starting to get better. I won't go into the details since many of you complained yesterday, but I will tell you that my arse is no longer a fire hose, it's more like a watery play-do fun factory.

Anyways I need to run to the store to pick up some supplies to last the day. I've drank all the water already and I'm not about to dehydrate myself. Oh, and maybe I should get some beer. If I'm going to have beer sqats, I might as well drink the beer too!

Posted by Contagion at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 28, 2008

ut-oh!

I woke up this morning, put on one of my nice suits and was getting ready to hit the bathroom to do my hair. All of a sudden a siring pain shot across my abdomen and there was a very urgent pressure on my sphincter. Rapidly I waddled the five steps to the bathroom. I really did not want to redecorate the inside of my suit.

Ktreva is in the bathroom doing her hair. Grabbing my abdomen I urgently say, "I'm sorry, but I really need to use the bathroom." She gets out and I have enough time to get my pants down and start to squat over the thrown when the flood gates opened. A sound much like that of a fire hose spraying into a swimming pool is heard through out the house.

The whole time It felt like my body was trying to push my entire digestive tract out my arse. Severe cramping and pain continued for at least 20 minutes. Finally when everything settled down not only was I physically exhausted, but all that abdominal cramping gave me a nice set of six pack abs. Well, okay that may be a slight exaggeration but I do feel like I did 100 sit ups.

The decision was made that I shall not be going to work today. The last thing I need is a repeat performance of this in the middle of a meeting, which I had three today. Plus I don't think any amount of dry cleaning would remove the power self-enema spray from a suit. I'd have to throw it away and buy another.

Posted by Contagion at 08:01 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 17, 2008

TV time

Back in '97 I upgraded to what I thought was a huge TV. For years I had a 13 inch color TV, which Clone has now. When I finally graduated from college and was out of my parents house for a year, I bought myself a 27 inch TV. That is the largest TV I've ever owned. That TV died about four years ago and I ended up buying another 27 inch TV because it fit in the entertainment center that was had. I was fine with that TV all these years because it's all I needed.

That was until last year. I started hanging out with some friends from work to watch football on Sundays. It would rotate at who's house it was held. No matter how much I offered to host the "Football Sunday", they would always pass because I had a small TV and it wasn't in HD. Which in all honesty was fine by me. That way I didn't have to clean up before and after.

What changed was when the Packers started doing really well this year. I started saying, "If the Packers make it to the Super Bowl, I'm hosting the party." They are my team and unless another Packer fan wants to host it, I'm going to watch the game in the house of a Packer fan. I even talked Ktreva into letting me buy big screen TV if the Packers made it all the way.

So I've been watching and planning on how I'm going to do this when the opportunity fell into my lap. One of my peers at work bought a 50 inch HD TV a couple of years ago. It's too big for her room and her and her husband both decided to get a smaller TV. So they decided to sell the one they have. They wanted it out so they put a price on it of $600.00, which includes the entertainment center for it. Yea, I jumped on that. I didn't really ask Ktreva's permission, but the TV they have is a $1,600.00 TV normally. There is no way in hell I'm going to find a deal like that in the stores. All I have to do is go pick it up.

I called in a couple of favors from people I've helped move stuff in the past year and we are going to go pick it up on Saturday. The only problem is that now I have to get rid of the entertainment center we currently have. Fortunately it's falling apart and old, so I'm not worried about preserving it. I'm thinking firewood for over the summer.

Posted by Contagion at 07:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 03, 2008

New Years Eve.

Okay it's been a couple of days and I'm sure some of you... okay maybe one of you... is wondering what happened. Well it was fun, I think. Honestly I really don't remember. Hell, I don't remember who all was there.

I have a traditional of being a little socially lubricated, it helps me overcome my shyness. This year was no exception. The first guests showed up a little after 5:00. I remembered guests showing up regularly after that up until someone noticed a wooden box I had in my office. I explained it was Shut the Box, an old pub game. After a very quick explanation of the rules, as it is a simple game to play, they decided they wanted to play. After the first couple of rounds others joined in. The next thing I know some arsehole decided that just taking a drink of beer for the loser wasn't good enough, it had to be shots. After that everything went down hill.

I have no recollection of the rest of the night. Well except playing drunken Wii at 2:00 in the morning. Apparently I was calling people on the phone, texting people, talking to people that called me on the phone and much more. I don't recall any of it. Allegedly I was rather amusing.

So if you received a phone call from me, a Text message from me or I spoke to you on the phone that night. I apologize for anything I may have said or done that could be construed as offensive. If you just found me amusing, than I'm glad I could be of assistance!

Posted by Contagion at 07:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2007

Nintendo thumb no more...

...it's been replaced with Wii shoulder. So I bought the family a Wii. We spent a lot of time yesterday playing it. It was a lot of fun, but after bowling as much as I did and playing some of the other games, I noticed my shoulder was starting to ache. At first I thought it was just me, but no KTreva stated that her shoulder and wrists were starting to get sore as well.

When I was younger I remember playing the Nintendo for hours and getting what my friends and I called "Nintendo thumb" That dull ache and stiffness in the thumbs from holding the controller for hours and the pushing of the buttons. As I sat there yesterday I realized that my thumbs weren't sore at all. Nope, not one bit. Mainly because most of the action of the games revolves around the motion of the controller, not the pushing of buttons. After doing all the bowling, tennis, golf, shooting games, extra, my arms felt like I'd given them a steady workout.

On the upside, I did work off the Christmas dinner I made for the family.

Posted by Contagion at 09:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 06, 2007

Lutefisk is here again!

The annual Lutefisk dinner was tonight. For the first time Ktreva joined the boys and I there. In years past it was always men only, but they opened it up to women a couple of years ago and my Dad figured that if they are going to let other women be there, might as well let one he likes come along as well. Of course she tried the wonderful lutefisk. It was delicious! They did a wonderful job cooking it. The rest of the meal was wonderful too. Pickled herring, Korv (Swedish cooking sausage), Swedish meatballs, rice pudding, pickled beats, lingonberries, beans, red potatoes, ham, etc. It was just full of all kinds of Scandinavian cooking delights. There wasn't any lefse, but I can wait a couple of more days for that.

Overall it was a great time. It did make me miss my grandparents. When I was younger my grandfather would go with Dad and I to this every year. It was an annual tradition. When Ktreva and I got together I started bringing Boopie with and Clone came every year since he was one. It's because I remember attending this function since I was younger than Boopie, most of those years with my grandfather, and my grandmother just dying that made me think about him even more and how much I miss Grandpa and how much I'm going to miss Grandma.

Posted by Contagion at 09:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 01, 2007

Glögg update

The first batch of Glögg is done. Just a tip for future Glögg makers; you can use the fruit to make other things, I just don't recommend eating it straight. It tastes fine, but my nasal passage feels singed. Right now I'm sitting on about 2 gallons of glögg, and I have another 2 to two gallons making. It should be done in about 30 minutes. Then I figure an hour after that I won't be sober enough to update you anymore. Oh, and according to the hydrometer, I'm at about 75% alcohol.

Posted by Contagion at 04:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It's Glögg time!

My grandmother's funeral is visitation is tomorrow and I have nothing going on today, so I'm going to start marking my second annual Glögg for the holidays. Hey I figure what goes better with mourning than alcohol? Glögg will help numb... well everything. So if you don't hear from me in a while, it's because I'm in the kitchen with alcohol.

Posted by Contagion at 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 25, 2007

Football and Friends.

I spent the whole day yesterday down at Fritz's in Stillman Valley. Over the last week I told everyone I bumped into that I was going to be down there all day and that if they wanted they could come down for a drink or two and some conversation. Through out the day various friends stopped in, some ate, some just drank, but all had a good time. The staff was nice enough to fill me in on all the local gossip and inquired on missing individuals. They were even nice enough to turn the TVs the the Tennessee Vols' game for me. Which turned out to be a great game. A real nail biter, they won in 4th overtime!

Now today I'm heading over to my friend J-man's house to watch the afternoon games with some friends there. I was going to host it at my house, but J-man doesn't like my TV. Since it's only a 27 inch TV, he doesn't think it's big enough. Thus he begged, pleaded and groveled to his wife to let him have it at there house, and she said yes. It doesn't matter to me any. I wouldn't mind having the guys here, but on the same side I don't have to worry about Clone climbing all over everyone and I don't have to pick up after them.

The best part about today is that since the Packer's already played and won, I can enjoy all the other games with out wondering what's going on.

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November 23, 2007

Black Friday Tradition.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, went really well. There was no drama at all. Then again most of the day was spent with my father and I in the basement watching football. The Packer's won, after trying to give it up on Thanksgiving again, putting them at 10-1. Since both my father and I are Packer fans, we were damn delighted.

Of course today is Black Friday, that shopping day in which people become rude animals mugging each other to get some deal at what ever big box store. Seriously I've seen people get into fights at Wallyworld over TVs. Traffic is insane as people ignore the rules of the road to rush to the next store to buy items. It's just stupid. Until last year I avoided going out on Black Friday. That was when I found the good deal on ammo. Well they had the same deal this year. So off I went to try and get me a buy.

Black Friday Ammo 006.jpg

Dick's Sporting Goods had the sale of buy one box get a second 50% off. Unfortunately this year they had better trained staff and I didn't get 50% off all of my ammo. Also this year they jacked up the price of ammo right before the holiday, so I really didn't save that much. Even so I still ended up getting six boxes of .45 automatic. I went to Gander Mountain to try to get the deal there as well. My friend that worked there left a couple of months back to take a job elsewhere and they wouldn't honor the coupon from the competitor this year. I did end up picking up 10 boxes of 7.62X39mm and a Christmas present for Boopie. I didn't mean to do any Christmas shopping, but one of the few items he actually really wanted they had a Gander Mountain and it was a good price on it.

The nice thing is that neither store was busy at all. Heck I didn't get out of bed until 7:45 AM and when I arrived at both stores, they weren't overly busy at all. In fact I've seen them busier on normal weekends. Now of course the staff at both stores say they get busier in the afternoon after all the big electronic items are sold out at other stores. The only problem I had was the traffic. I really wish I had push bars on my truck. I also wish I had the right to pull people over and ticket them still. At one point traffic was grid locked because people were turning on red and the roads were backed up so they couldn't get out of the intersection. Cross traffic and on coming traffic had to stop because cars were blocking the intersection. I really just wanted to push the idiots off of the road so that traffic could get going again.

I didn't do it, but I really wanted to.

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November 17, 2007

Waxing nostalgia

It's almost time for Christmas, which means kids will be making lists about what they want. Now a days we have all these electronic and online wish lists, but when I was a kids it was the catalogs and wish books from various stores, I remember those fondly. I remember spending hours sitting in front of those books circling the items that I want. Over at X-Entertainment (I don't know why they named it that because there is nothing x-rated about it nor is that how I found it! It's all about toys and stuff.) they have an article regarding the 1985 JC Penny Wish Book.

I agree completely with the author regarding the USS Flagg. That was the only GI Joe toy that I wanted really bad that I never got. Sometimes, late at night when I can't sleep, I still think about it.

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November 16, 2007

New furniture.

I had to buy a new addition to the house yesterday. With a little toy I brought back from Georgia, my firearm collection leaped to the count of 18. That includes black powder in case you are wondering. Well Ktreva was starting to get nervous about it. I normally kept them secured in cases under the bed. The ammo was locked away in boxes with me having the only key.

So I went out and bought a gun safe. It's not a huge one, but big enough to hold all the ammo and firearms in it. The problem is that it's still pretty big and takes up a lot of room. I ended up having to put it in the hall way, which is the only place it would fit. I don't think Ktreva is too pleased with the location, but she's just happier now that we have a proper safe instead of series of locked cases.

What's the new toy I brought back from Georgia? I'm not telling. It's a surprise. Plus I just don't want documentation that I have it.

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Another 15 minutes of fame.

Tonight on my ride home I was listening to a local talk radio show. Admittedly it was a liberal radio show, but I like to listen to both sides of an argument before I form an opinion. The host, who usually states he doesn't want to own a gun, was talking about getting a gun and was asking for input from listeners. So of course I called, I had too.

The previous callers to me covered most of the points I was going to say, but I had some other points. He was looking for a firearm for home defense, I recommended a .38 revolver. It's big enough to stop someone, less maintenance, and it is compact enough for both him and his wife to use. He had also stated that he was going to buy it and would never use it. Thus I told him not to buy it. If he doesn't take it shooting at least once ever 3 months and clean it, he may end up having more problems. He agreed with that and said that he could do. He asked me how *I* would store a loaded firearm in my house. I told him I'd buy a good gun safe to keep next to the bed. One that him and his wife were the only ones that knew the combination too.

Then he inquired if I had kids and how do they react to firearms. I told him that I do have kids and that it's been my rule that every time that I bring a firearm home, I show it to the boys. That way they know it's in the house and I desensitize them to it. I told him that I teach them gun safety at a young age and that way they aren't inclined to play with them. It's how I grew up and I never touched the firearms with out my parents.

Overall I was on the radio for about 15 minutes talking the bonuses to owning a firearm, but I also told him that if he buys one and is going to be afraid of it, it's not worth buying.

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November 15, 2007

Intruded upon.

This morning when I went out to the truck I discovered that someone had ransacked it. The center consol was opened and everything on it was spread all over the seat, different compartments were open stuff was strewn about. Whoever did it didnt take anything, at least nothing I noticed. They left money, CDs, sunglasses, etc. I dont generally leave a lot of items of value in my vehicles. They did however search the ashtray.

To be honest it is almost like they where looking for something specific. They tossed the compartments, but didnt take anything and looked into compartments that normally you dont store stuff in like the ashtray next to the coin compartment. Places that are just big enough to say hold a cell phone.

Not that I have any proof. And I may be over thinking this, but allegedly the Ex told Boopie that if I don't return the phone by this Friday he's going to take me to court. Which would be a bad idea for him. At least I know it wasnt Boopie, he couldnt get out of the house in the middle of the night with out setting off the alarm.

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November 12, 2007

Tennessee the round up.

Im sorry I didnt post about Saturdays game, but we were celebrating pretty hard. Bloodspite and I got up early on Saturday so we could find a decent parking space at the game. Since all the close by parking is reserved for alumni or season ticket holders, we had about a quarter mile walk to the stadium. Bloodspite dropped the bomb on me Friday that the stadium was dry meaning no alcohol. So I figured the pre-game partying there would be beer available. Wrong! It was on campus so no beer. Oh well, we can live with out beer. Beer to football is like steak sauce to steak. The steak is great on its own, but the sauce just adds a little extra something to it. We did go to the Volunteer Village to hang out with all the co-eds, fans, co-eds, alumni, co-eds and cheerleaders. We also picked up some free swag they were giving out. Including pictures and autographs.

Two hours prior to the game the was the Vol-walk, a tradition where the players walk from the athletic center to the stadium so all the fans can shake their hands and cheer on the team. Now Im not a Tennessee fan, but I was rooting for them. Bloodspite, on the other hand, is a different story. Folks let me say he feels about Tennessee the same way I feel about the Packers. When the walk started and he realized we picked out front row seats he was ecstatic. When the team started coming down he was down right giddy. After shaking Eric Ainges hand I thought he was going to start jumping up and down, giggling like a little girl. Hell, he damn near bragged about it to his mother the whole day. Then again if it had been Brett Favre, I probably would have been the exact same way.

After the walk we went to the stadium to watch the game. This is a huge stadium. Officially Neyland Stadium seats 102,037 but I kid you not there were like 105,600 some people there. They actually sell standing room tickets I guess. Our seats were three rows from the top of the southwest end zone. The only complaints I had wasnt the location of the seats, we could see just fine and it was nice to see plays open up. My issues were that there is no legroom in this section; we were packed in tight. The reason there is no legroom is that this is a steep stadium. The people in front of me could use my knees as a headrest. If you have a fear of heights, do not get seats this high up. Hell it about caused vertigo in me.

The game was good, well good for us. Tennessee won 34-13 over the Arkansas Razorbacks. We were sitting in a sea of razorback fans. Fortunately their smack talk started dying shortly after the game started. After the game we headed back to the hotel and met up with Bloodspites cousin. We drank some beer, went to Wild Wings Caf for some hot wings, nachos and more beer. Someone stole a bucket that was used to deliver beer. Im not saying who it was but I had two accomplices. After dinner we went back to the hotel were we had beer left over from the previous nights beer search. About a case into the night T1G calls and proceeds to get upset with me over drunkenly questioning him about a new roommate. I just had to point out that it was his fault that he called me when I was drunk! Some people!

Sunday morning I headed out early. I wanted to get home in a decent hour and I had a ten-hour drive ahead of me. Everything started out great, there was almost no traffic and I was making good time. About an hour and fifteen minutes into the trip my phone rings. Its Bloodspite wanting to know if I had his car keys. I hadnt seen them when I was loading, but I told him I needed to top of the tank so I would stop and look. I checked the door, the floor, the glove compartment, under the seat, the center counsel, between the seats and there werent in there. So he went back to checking the room. I get gas, hit the bathroom, buy something to drink and get back on the road. He asks me if Im sure they arent in my car. I assure him they arent. He asks me to check again so I tell him at the next off ramp Ill pull over and research the vehicle. Now of course Im curious so while Im drinking up and down this curvy mountain highway Im reaching around. I look up just in time to see me careening toward a guardrail. I slam on the breaks and swerve. Then something hits the back of my foot There were his keys. In the wild driving the night before they must have slid under my seat. I didnt even think to look under my seat. Now I have to turn around and bring him his keys.

To make up for all the lost time Im driving a bit faster then before. I made the return trip in just under an hour. I did the same thing on the way home. I found a vehicle going faster then I was and pulled in behind them and kept this up all the way home. In fact on the stretch between Indianapolis and Chicago on I-65, I was doing in excess of 100 mph keeping up with the pack. What should have only taken me 10 hours took me 10.5 (with a 2.5 hour detour to return the keys). See I think this was Bloodspites way of balancing out the trip. He had a 14-hour drive and was trying to make me share his pain.

Overall I had a great time and to be honest I may have to look into heading back next year. It was just that much fun.

Posted by Contagion at 06:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 06, 2007

The room spins.

Last night was fun. Every time I laid down I would get nauseated. I had to try to sleep on my back with my head propped up to stop it. Unfortunately I can't sleep that way. It's very uncomfortable. I'm more of a sleep on their side/stomach kind of person. Thus I'm staying home again today. I really need to get over this. On Thursday I'm driving to Tennessee to hook up with Bloodspite for the Tennessee Vols vs Arkansas Razorback game. I've been planning this since September and if I have to drive there while horking, I will.

On the flip side, it's kind of nice to be able to spend the day home alone with Clone. We are going to watch some movies and play a couple of games together. I guess if I'm going to be sick, it's not a bad way to spend the day.

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November 05, 2007

I feel like (BLECH!)

I'm staying home from work today. I've felt off for the last couple of days. It started Friday night after an evening at Fritz's. I thought maybe the beer wasn't mixing with me too well. The middle of the night fun and all day nausea I attributed to a hang over... The first I've had in 2 years. Then Sunday evening while at the ball I still felt off, but thinking it was just a persistent hangover I kept trying to drink it out of my system. In hind sight, that might not have been a good idea.

Sunday morning I still felt off, was having more bodily function "fun", and just had a general icky-bad feeling. I went to football Sunday over at Bruce's. I forgot all my stats, my flags, my chair, my clip board and was just kind of out of it. I'm still thinking hangover, but I'm starting to question it. I was also gassier than any man has a right to be.

Last night when my stomach was dumping it's contents in the middle of the night I realized... hey, it's not a hang over, I'm sick! Thus I'm staying home today because at 8:35 CST this morning I've been in and out of the bathroom 5 times since midnight. I really didn't want to be at work like this.

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November 01, 2007

How my night went.

Im a little disappointed in last night. First off I didnt get the amount of trick or treaters that I thought I was going to get. Usually I get 200-300 kids, last night I got maybe 100-150. Trick or treating started at 5:30, but I didnt get my first kid until almost 5:45. At first I thought it was because it was still light out and that a lot of people were waiting until it got dark, but no that wasnt it. It did start picking up but it wasnt until Ktreva returned with Clone that I realized why it was down by so much. Remember the flooding we had back in August, well a lot of the houses that were hit really bad are still condemned and abandoned. There were a lot of kids in that area.

Getting back to the daylight, how annoying. Half of my display doesnt look scary in the daylight. In fact some of the scarier things you cant see until it gets dark, like the free-floating ghost that is in the upstairs front window. Yet I still had a lot of people taking pictures of the house and me in the daylight. I lost count of how many kids I had my picture taken with or the kids had their picture taken with my display. You have to remember I dress up in a costume to hand out candy. Here I am:

Halloween Demon.jpg

I will admit that I do intentionally try to scare kids, but I have a rule. If they look like they are under the age of 10, I play nice. If there are kids under the age of 10 around, I play nice. If a kid under the age of ten gets scared, I will take my mask off just so they can see Im not a real demon. I really do go out of my way not scare the younger kids, but sometimes bad things happen. There was on little boy, about two years old, that must have been in a panic before he got to my house. I could here him getting worked up as they approached. There were other kids there so I was handing out candy. My fog machine had been on and the wind had died down so there was thick fog bank on my obscuring my front porch from the sidewalk. As this kid in the stroller is pushed up to my steps a gust of wind clears the fog and he is looking directly at me. A shriek that only can be produced by a young child in fear for their life AND in pain was made. It was ear shattering! I ripped my mask off so fast I almost tore out my earrings. I said to the little boy, See, its just a costume. Just like you are Spiderman, Im a dark lord of the dead! Sadly that actually seemed to calm him down a lot. Yet I still think hes going to be in therapy until in his 50s before he gets over this one.

I did get one legit scare last night. Two girls, about twelve, came walking up to the porch. At first they were hesitant and a little scared, but after they got their candy and were walking away I heard one say, Hes not so scary. So I jumped down the porch, ran up behind them and made a guttural scream. Both girls screamed and took off in different directions. I dont know if they ever found each other because I didnt see either one of them the rest of the night. Maybe they went around the block to avoid my house.

What I dont get was the extremes in reaction I received for the first time last night. Remember I said I had people wanting their kids to have their picture taken with me. Well I kid you not, one kid turns to me and says something like, I want a pony, and a rocket ship, and a gun that shoots darts. WTF?!?!?! What am I? Some kind of Satan Clause? Kids asking me for toys and stuff. Thats just not right!

Then on the other hand I had a lady who chastised me for scaring little kids. She arrived at a busy time when I had a lot of kids on my porch. The kids with here were probably 8-10 years old. A family with a young kid came up and the kid, of course, got scared. Thus as I stated I do, I took my mask off and gave the girl a piece of candy. After they left the Lady says to me, You really should be ashamed of yourself for scaring little kids. I replied, Its Halloween, I decorate and dress spooky. I dont go out of my way to scare small children, but it does happen. That is why I took my mask off. This is for fun, if the parents want cute theyll take the kids to see Santa or the Easter Bunny. I mean cmon. My house has a life-like skeleton hanging from a pole axe, zombies rising out of graves, a coffin with death hanging in it, ghosts, a giant spider eating severed limbs, rats, shrunken heads, severed heads, multiple skulls and me walking around. I think my decorations themselves speak as a warning that my house is PG-13 on the Scare-o-meter.

Eh, maybe shes right and I shouldnt do all of this. Wait a second, I had one person complain and I had just about EVERY OTHER ADULT COMPLIMENT AND APPRECIATE WHAT I DID. I dont know why, but her comment really got under my skin. Im actually pretty annoyed by it. I dont know why, but I am. Usually I let stuff like that roll of my back, but this time its still stinging a little.

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October 31, 2007

Perfect decoration!

Ktreva found the perfect Halloween decoration for me. It combines two of my most favorite things in the world together. According to her she was just walking through the store when she found it. As soon as she laid eyes on it she said she thought of me, it was something "I had to have".

Want to know what it is?

See the extended entry!

Halloween Football.jpg

A Jack-0-football! Or is it a Football-o-lantern, Maybe a carved football? Anyways what ever it is, it's perfect. How can you go wrong with Football and Halloween?

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October 30, 2007

All Hallow's Eve Eve

It's almost here! Tomorrow is Halloween! Which for those of you that don't remember is one of my favorite holidays. It and the Fourth of July are are so close that I really can't decide between the two of them. Tonight we are preparing for the fright fest that is my front yard!

Every year I decorate the house with all kinds of ghouls, zombies, skeletons, ghosts and other scary things. Then I hand out a ton of good candy. No, we don't use the cheap stuff, I'm talking Kit Kats, Baby Ruth, Reese's, Snickers etc. I even dress up like a demon to hand it out to all the boils and ghouls that come to my door. Of corpse I always get a scare or two into some of the older ones. I have a rule that I don't scare the kids that appear to be under the age of 10.

This year the weather is supposed to be warm and nice and it would be an almost perfect Halloween... if the Government hadn't gone and screwed things up. Remember last spring when they changed daylight savings time? Well the clocks don't turn back until next weekend, so tomorrow night it'll still be light out when the kids come trick or treating. That is really going to screw up a lot of the decorations. Hell some of my effects only work in the dark. Since the official start time of 5:30 PM and ending at 7:30. That will give the kids about an hour of darkness to trick or treat in.

Owell, I'll just have to make the best of the situation.

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October 27, 2007

Drinking Stories.

Most people have one. Either it is one of their own or one that involves a friend. Some people have a lot of drinking stories, me personally I have a 39 volume encyclopedia of drinking stories. And there are two different types of drinking stories. You have the drank too much variety, which seems to be the most common.

For example: The summer before my junior year of college I worked as a welders assistant. The company I worked for let me keep some of the equipment including a really good pair of welding gloves. When I returned to college I brought them with me, I dont know why, but I did. Some friends of mine and I went to a big party bonfire party and for reasons beyond reasonable explanation I brought with the welders gloves. Hey, there was fire and the gloves may come in handy. Well they did, but not for reasons expected. There were about a hundred or so people at this party, we were all drinking very heavily. There were multiple kegs and bottles of hard liquor going around.

At some pint one of the other party goers brought out some bottle rockets and started setting them off. Now I was pretty drunk at that time and remembered I had my welders gloves with me. Putting them on I said You want to see fireworks, watch this and I grabbed a burning log out of the fire and started swinging it around. Of course the drunks all thought this was cool and funny. And then I did something that normally I wouldnt do, but I was young and drunk. I threw the burning log up in the air as hard as I could. Sparks flew everywhere. Then the log came back down to earth in the middle of a corn field. A very dry corn field in October at the end of a draught. The next thing I know flames started leaping up out of the corn field.

Party goers are running in every direction, in the end about a quarter acre of corn was destroyed by fire, I think about a half acre was destroyed in trying to contain and put out the fire. It made the local news and I lived in fear for months that someone was going to turn me in. Needless to say Ive never brought wielding gloves to a bonfire party again.

On the other hand you have the You didnt get drunk, but alcohol was involved variety. These tend to be more just on the quantity or quality of alcohol. A good example of that is many years ago we attended a re-enactment and I had brought two cases of beer, Bucktooth Billy brought a couple of cases of beer and Maelduin brought a couple of cases of beer. We arrived at the event on Thursday. Late Friday night we ran out of beer. Bucktooth Billy and Maelduin made a beer run on Saturday, while wearing kilts. Ktreva had asked them to pick her up a bottle of wine while they were there. Just after picking the wine from the shelf a female patron made a comment to Maelduin. He turns and filled with anger howls, ITS NOT A DRESS! The lady gets scarred and runs off. Bucktooth Billy comes over to Maelduin and says, She didnt say anything about your kilt, but commented on the choice of wine.

Now these arent my best drinking stories, but to hear those you need to buy me a drink or two. So why am I talking about drinking stories? Its because CNN did an article on Drinking Stories That Put Yours To Shame. Now Ive heard many of them before, and there are some really good ones in there. I dont know if they are the greatest, but damn! They really do have some that make you laugh or cringe.

So tell me, what one of your favorite drinking stories is. Let me know either in the comments or post on it and let me know.

Posted by Contagion at 07:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 03, 2007

Forks in the road.

Ive been in a funk for the last couple of days and I couldnt figure out why. Last weekend was great. I spent four days hanging out with a lot of good people, having a lot of fun and just having a good time overall. There was no reason for me to be in a funk over anything.

Then it dawned on me about ten minutes ago what a big part of my problem is, my job.

I dont fit in at my company. In my office I am one of two supervising management positions that are male. Im one of four overall male management. The office itself is 87% female. Not that being one of the few guys in the building is difficult, its that I think differently than my female counterparts. Thus in this office my opinion doesnt matter. Management in my office is a good ol girls club and I just dont belong.

I get the crap assignments and when things go wrong in my department, I catch the blame for it, even if it was another Supervisor and teams responsibility. Ive been singled out in meetings, Ive been harassed and when I try to voice my issues they sweep them under the rug. Ive even been retaliated against.

The only reason I havent left is because of the stability. Yet if certain politicians get their wishes, that stability will be gone. Eh, maybe things will get better.

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September 28, 2007

My fingers are numb.

For all of you beer fans and fans of the movie Beerfest, you'll appreciate this. Since I've been doing so good with my "diet", Ktreva took me to my favorite German restaurant for dinner and bought me a present

I have two words for you.

DAS BOOT!

Das Boot 1.jpg

two liters of beer. That's over 80 ounces of beer, 6.67 12 oz bottles.

AND IT"S ALL MINE!

Das Boot 2.jpg
Das Boot 3.jpg
Das Boot 4.jpg
Das Boot 5.jpg
Das Boot 6.jpg
Das Boot 7.jpg

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go sit. I'm out of beer drinking shape and it took me just over two minutes to do that.

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September 12, 2007

Definately not routine.

Well this day is not going as planned. First I got up late due to a miscommunication with Ktreva. I rushed to work, got some stuff done and then ran to the doctor for a standard appointment. This appointment didnt go anywhere what I thought it would. It started with a small appointment to check out some of my medical issues and turned into a small surgical procedure.

I couldnt believe how fast this went. The Doctors office called the insurance, faxed the information did the pre-cert and got benefits in less than 10 minutes. People, Ive never seen such a rapid response in my life. I went from the exam room to the procedure room in under 30 minutes, had the procedure and was sent home in less than two hours. Now Im at home taking it easy.

Unfortunately the stitches itch.

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September 04, 2007

How the weekend was spent.

What a fun weekend... for me. I spent most of the time over the weekend watching movies and working leather. This surprisingly enough was so much fun Im actually looking for some more leatherworking projects to get started on. I calculated the amount of time spent working leather and I figure I spent at least 35 hours at it.

When I wasn't working leather I helped Bruce move a couch from another friends house to his. Where he proceeded to drop the steel framed beast on me. I'm okay, just a slight twang in the arm. I also spent some time with Wes drinking some Jack Daniels on his front porch. Allegedly we got quite loud yelling at people as the passed by oh and started pissing in his front yard. I don't know how much truth is to that last part, but I do know that Ktreva came from three houses down to get me under the guise that she was worried I didnt have my keys to get back in the house. When in all actuality it was because we were being loud and I think I embarrassed her.

Over all it was a good weekend. We had a lot of fun and I got a lot of work done.

Posted by Contagion at 12:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 02, 2007

Labor day

I spent most of the day yesterday working leather for new moccasins and a reinforced leather sheath for my new knife. Today I'm helping Bruce move a couch and when I return it's back to working on the moccasins. Tomorrow I'm sure it's more leather work and doing some high intensity grilling.

I guess labor day is aptly named. Normally I don't do this much work on a weekend, let alone a holiday weekend.

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August 31, 2007

Done and Done!

Well I decided to go out and do it. With all the talk about wanting to get it done and actually having some time today, I had my upper ear pierced... twice.

contagion ear.jpg

Yea, my mother thinks I'm having a mid-life crisis.

What's funny is that apparently I'm a bleeder. It didn't hurt much more than giving blood... which is what I ended up doing. They used 16 gauge needles to get the size rings I wanted. When they pushed them through my ear I could feel something run down ear and drop onto my shirt. The girl that did the piercing was all nice and grabbed some paper towels to help stem the flow of blood. half an hour later the bleeding stopped and they where able to get the second one. That one didn't bleed anywhere near as much. As I told them, I guess you drained it all on the first try.

Right now it's a little sore, but overall it's not bad.

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Side Effects.

Well this restricted diet may actually be working. The stomach problems actually are starting to subside. It's been 4 days since I've had an episode, and that is a record over the last year. I'm down to taking my medication just at night which is good, because not being able to digest your food makes for some interesting situations in the bathroom.

Also, I lost 6 pounds in the last week. Which is truely amazing because the medications major side effect is that you gain weight. Oh, and I'm not even hungry, how cool is that?

Posted by Contagion at 07:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 28, 2007

One week in on a life sentance.

Its been a week now that Ive altered my eating habits per doctors orders. I havent had any red meat in that time period and I have discovered that Im quickly developing a strong hatred for poultry. Mainly because Im limited in what I can eat, ie I dont like pork (unless its smoked and covered in BBQ sauce) and I have a mild allergy to seafood. I can still eat it, but I get nauseous when I do. Not that my spontaneously vomiting is an issue to me since I do it anyway. I just dont like feeling sick. That really leaves me with Chicken and Turkey on a daily basis.

This brings up an interesting series of questions I have for all of you.

1)Have you noticed that low/no fat versions of some of your favorite foods are also low/no flavor or it tastes like crap?

2)Does anyone else find that alternative meat versions of certain products are just wrong? Ie Turkey breakfast sausage is wrong on so many levels.

3)What in the love of god is up with people actually buying low-fat chips that cause anal leakage? Why would you do this to yourself?

4)Does anyone actually like the mouth feel or texture of tofu? Seriously, it reminds me of curdled milk.

5)Since Im not allowed to drink beer, I wonder if its okay for me to have non-alcoholic beer. Just for the damn taste. (Grau, T1G and Bruce, please do not beat my arse for this question. I know its blasphemy)

Oh and to all of you that sent me various recipes, thank you very much. Ill be trying a couple of them this week and Ill let you know what I thought.

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

August 26, 2007

Strange

Last night I took KTreva out on a little date, just something simple; Dinner and movie. Now that may not sound like a great date, but when you have kids only a sitter for only 5 hours. You work with what you have. Plus since we hardly ever get out just the two of us, it was great.

I took her to a local Japanese restaurant that does the cooking at your table. We have two of these places in town and depending on the person you talk to depends on which one is better. To be honest I think they are about the same.

The best part of these places is the show you get with dinner. Now every time we've gone to anyplace like this, we've had an oriental guy that barely spoke English and it was hard to understand what he was saying. That is until last night. No, we had the only red neck oriental on the face of the earth. The guy had a slight southern accent and used the word "y'all" a lot.

I didn't have a problem with this, as he put on a great show and it was easy to understand him. It just through me off that he had a southern accent, especially since we live in the north.

Oh and if you are interested in the movie we saw, it was The Bourne Ultimatum. It was good, not as good as the first two, but definitely worth seeing.

Posted by Contagion at 11:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2007

SOMETHING TO DRINK!

I finally found something other than water that I can drink. A diet cranberry juice that is made with sucralose instead of aspertame. Normally I'd say it tastes like watered down cranberry juice. But since I've had only water to drink (besides the two beers from the beer review), it tastes GREAT!

Now if I could only get Ktreva to let me add Vodka to it.

Posted by Contagion at 06:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 21, 2007

Again into the Breech

I'm off to due battle with one of the most tyrannical powers in the world, the State of Illinois government. Folks, it is my sincere wish that I make it through these trials and tribulations with out harm to myself or others, and that I make it home safe and sound. Alas, I'm a feared that it is not going to happen that way.

From past experience I know that any dealing with Illinois Government for me usually ends up with at least a good shot to my groin.

Wish me luck.

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

August 17, 2007

The good times are over.

I just returned from the doctor's office following up on my condition that I have intentionally not posted about in almost a year. Yes, I'm still slowly dissolving from the inside out. Well, we have good news and we have bad news, and then we have the worse news.

We'll start with the good news. They have once again ruled out the funky growth as cancer. So after going back and forth between yes it is cancer and no it's not cancer... they have confirmed it is NOT cancer. So when they told me I had a malignant neoplasm last October, they were wrong. Now to defend them we'll go to the bad news.

They still have no frickin' clue as to what it is. No one does. They've sent the samples off and we are getting nowhere. Every doctor and specialist that has studied has give the same report, "Testing inconclusive". So they can rule out what it isn't, but can't confirm what it is. Since no one can figure it out, I'm going to cut them some slack for misdiagnoses.

Worse news: Folks, I know most of you are sitting already because you are at a desk reading this on a computer. However, if you aren't, you may want to have a seat now. Today they tell me the worse news they could have ever told me, and I'm not sure I can deal with it. I know that Ktreva and the boys will support me in this time, but I really don't want to burden them with my issues and my problems. My friends may or may not be supportive, it all depends on their moods.

The doctors have told me today that I MUST reduce my beer consumption. They have given me a grocery list of foods and beverages I am no longer allowed to eat or drink other than occasionally. It includes all things like fast food, junk food, pop, beer, etc. IT also has things like tomatoes and tomato based products listed. So all the food and beverages that I hold near and dear to my heart are no longer acceptable for me to eat or drink.

Of course I'll still do my weekly beer review, as I did talk to the doctor about it and he said a couple each week won't kill me, literally.

So there it is folks; I'm cutting beer from my life.

Well after this weekend of course, I have to drink those 5 growlers, and the left over six-packs. I mean, I can't just dump it down the drain now can I?

Posted by Contagion at 09:40 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

August 10, 2007

It's just a game, it's just a game...

Have you ever played a stupid, cheesy game and gotten hooked on it? To the point that you spend at least a part of every waking hour thinking about it. Im kind of stuck there right now.

And when I say stupid, cheesy game, Im not talking like some of those online games I post occasionally. Im talking about some of those stupid Yahoo games.

Why wont my villagers stop trying to push the rock?!?!?!

Posted by Contagion at 05:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 08, 2007

Flood pictures.

Yesterday while draining the basement I took a couple of breaks to get some pictures of what was going on in my neighborhood. When the pump was going, there really is nothing much else I can do. Well I guess I could try to splash water toward the pump.

I thought I would share with all of you just exactly how close this was to my house.

August 2007 flood 1.jpg

Okay, obviously I did NOT take the above picture, I found it online. But it shows what my neighborhood looked like. This picture is actually 3 blocks north of our house.

August 2007 flood.jpg

This is also not a picture I took, but I didn't get any good ones of the boats in the water. When I found the above picture I found this one as well. This was about four blocks directly north of me.

Flood 1.jpg

This was three blocks directly north of me after the water had subsided a lot already. I spoke with this gentleman and he was telling me his story. He stated that last year when it flooded he didn't have any structural damage, but he lost a lot of personal items and belongings. They were still trying to recover from having to buy new appliances, furniture, carpet, clothes, etc and paying to have it cleaned out. Now all the stuff that they had replaced is gone. He doesn't have the funds to be able to replace it this time.

flood 2.jpg

I'm sorry for the quality of this picture. The battery was dead on my good camera, so I had to use Ktreva's little point and click digital. It takes good close up pictures, but not at a distance. What I was trying to get was the water geysering up out of the water. This was taken hours after the city officials stated that the flood waters were subsiding, and gave a clear for people in the surrounding areas to return to their homes. Yet as you can see there was still enough pressure running through the storm drains to cause water spouts in 2-3 feet of water.

flood 3.jpg

This picture was taken after the flood waters had subsided a lot. This is a garage door that is almost exactly 500 feet from my property. You can see how high the water reached. It was about a 15 inches deep there. If you look out of my back yard toward this garage there doesn't appear to be much, if any incline at all, but obviously there is as the flood waters did not make it to my property. Yes, I had about 11 inches of water in my basement, but nothing that bad... thankfully.

I honestly feel that the majority of this could have been prevented. Maybe not completely, but at least reduce the amount of damage. The city has known for a while that Keith Creek needed work, but all they have done is sat in committee and made plans. They've stated there is no money. Yet they can find money to buy a Hockey team, redo the Metrecentre, build a riverwalk, have a study for a white water rafting park, etc. But they can't even fork out the money to clean out the creek bed of debris and sediment.

Our city administrator Jim "I got a DUI in a government vehicle and kept my job" Ryan stated they cleaned out parts of the creek. I'm not sure where, but nowhere near where I lived. Those creek beds where filled with plants and debris in my neighborhood. FYI the creek is housed in a man made cement drainage ditch. He also made the statement that cleaning them out wouldn't have prevented the flooding. He doesn't know that for sure, but using his same sense of omnipotence I can say that it sure would have lessened the overall impact.

Posted by Contagion at 08:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 07, 2007

Flooding Rockford. Update: 14:10

Just a quick update. We have no power at home, and we are flooded. There is about 8-12 inches of water in our basement. Apparently the city of Rockford and the incompetence of its elected officials did not learn a lesson from last years Labor Day flooding.

There is supposed to be more rain today so Im not sure if the water is going to be rising or not, but if it does we could be in a lot of trouble.

UPDATE 11:56: Power came back on about an hour and a half ago. I've spent the last hour draining the basement of about 4 inches of water. I rigged a pump to do the work for me. The problem is that I'm still getting some water rising up through the storm drain in the floor. Mental note: Cap and seal storm drain after this is over.

There are helicopters flying around surveying damage. The fire and rescue crews are on the scene pulling people out of the houses by boat. The have issued a warning in our area asking for a voluntary evacuation just in case the damn breaks. However the Army Corp of Engineers are saying it isn't that bad and as long as we don't get another down pour we should be fine.

Update 14:10: The basement is pretty much dry. All the water is gone, the humidifiers are doing their thing and I've bleached the area for all that it's worth for right now. I'll go back and do more disinfecting later once it's all dry.

Posted by Contagion at 05:57 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 06, 2007

It was better than work.

Yea, well Im back. After spending the week with my in-laws I was ready to get home. We really didnt do too much. We went to Wichita. While there we had the van break down and I got to spend a day waiting at the dealership. We went to an Indian museum were they had some neat artifacts, but they also had some crappy horribly inaccurate reproduction costuming that they where trying to pass as authentic dress. I know many a native re-enactor that would have flipped out seeing nylon ribbon dresses and shirts being passed off as authentic Plains Indian clothing. It seriously was circa 1970.

We went to the Sedgwick County Zoo, we were there a couple of years ago and it was pretty good. This time it was kind of crappy. Not only was it ungodly hot, but also by 4:00PM half the animals were put inside where you couldnt see them. Although watching Clone interact with a gorilla was amusing.

We did go to see Transformers the movie. The movie was enjoyable, but seriously lacked in many departments. Luckily it wasnt just the movie we went for. The theater it was showing at was a full functioning pub/theater. You would sit in your seats, push a button on the armrest and a waiter would come out and take your order. You could get Pasta, burgers, steaks, salads as well as junior mints and popcorn brought to your seat for no additional charge. Plus they served beer!

On the way home we missed being in a horrible accident by seconds. We were about 30 minutes out from our hotel when Boopie said he had to go to the bathroom. Since Im the type that wants to get to the destination ASAP I asked if he could hold it for 30 minutes and he said he could. Ktreva said she also had to use the bathroom but could hold it until we arrived. As we were driving down the highway I saw a rest stop coming up and decided we that Id just stop so the family could go to the bathroom. We all went and were back on the road in 5 to 10 minutes. We werent on the road for more then a minute when the vehicles ahead of us were slamming on the brakes and traffic was backed up. A Semi was flipped upside down alongside the road. There were no emergency vehicles on the road. Ktreva called 911 and they advised they were aware and had help in route.

From what we could see it looks like the semi was traveling westbound on 80. The tractor blew a tire, jumped across the median into oncoming traffic and flipped over into the cornfield. From the looks of the traffic and everything it looked like that if we hadnt stopped we very well could have been involved in the accident. It was kind of scary.

The boys fought and got on Ktrevas and my nerves for most of the week. I finally snapped 30 minutes from home. I told both of the boys that if they made one more sound I was going to make it so neither could sit for a week. It was the only time when they werent sleeping that they both were quit for more then 3 minutes.

I also felt like a bootlegger. Im not exactly what the law is about carrying alcohol across state lines, but Im sure I broke them. Between the cases of wine, multiple six packs and liters of beer, and bottles of whisky, I think I would have made some of my ancestors proud. Hell, once we got home Ktreva pointed out that I didnt buy anything on vacation that wasnt alcoholic for a souvenir.

Anyways, Im home. Oh, and BTW wheres the comment party? Jebus, I left black powder, firearms, artillery, whisky, beer, whiskey and the contents of the night stand out for you all to play with. Im disappointed.

Posted by Contagion at 07:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

My vehicles, my driveway.

Well the powers that be decided to tear up the street in front of my house. Now Im not talking about the severity of what they did to Richmonds old street, but pretty bad. Well her street was gone, but mine you cant pass through. Theyve closed the road due to the eight-foot deep in the middle of the road. Its L shaped starting in my neighbors yard going almost all the way across the street and then running down the middle of the road for about 20 feet. They started working on it last week, and it looks like they may finally be finishing it up.

In the meantime weve had all this construction equipment parked outside our house. Which anyone that knows me realizes how hard it was for me to not want to go joy riding on the Excavator Saturday night when I got home and was a little socially lubricated. They probably didnt leave the keys in it, but I know they left it unlocked. Mahn, I could have dug some big holes!

Weve also had a lot of vehicles parked in front of our house and big trucks coming and going hauling away debris and bringing in fresh materials. I understand they are just doing their job and there was something seriously wrong with the storm drains, so I didnt complain. It needed to be done, and is there really a good time for this?

I only had an issue once. I went to leave for work one morning and a tractor/trailer hauler was parked blocking my driveway. There was no way out either driving through my yard or the neighbors. Well not with out taking out some fences in the back yards. I walked up to the guy sitting in the cab and asked, Hey, could I get you to move the truck just for a moment? I need to go to work and I cant out.

The guy shot back with, Well you shouldnt be parked there.

Me, Well, yea I should its my driveway. Thats were I park.

Guy, You should be parking on the side street. The city sent notice telling you.

Me, (Starting to loose patience) No, no they didnt. The only reason we knew this was going to happen is we saw someone painting lines on the road. And no I shouldnt park on the street; its my driveway. I park in my driveway, not half a block away on another street.

At this point some foreman/supervisor/engineer/person in charge walked up and asked if there was a problem. I explained my situation and the supervisor guy asked if I could wait until they finished unloading. Which I said thats fine I didnt realize it was going to take them 25 minutes to finish, but as long as I got to work on time, I was okay.

Posted by Contagion at 07:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

It's all for me grog.

Since my last re-enactment Ive been some kind of Celtic Music listening fiend. Ive been listening to it at work, in the truck, and allegedly singing some bawdy Irish drinking songs at Carlyle brewery Saturday before the Raptor game and drunken Scottish fighting songs after the game. Also allegedly in a Scottish brogue. Anyone that has heard me sing knows that my singing is not a good thing, not a good thing at all.

Yea, apparently I was very entertaining to those around me between yelling at the Raptors for loosing and singing songs about houses of ill repute.

It's all for me grog, my jolly, jolly grog. It's all for me beer and tobacco for I spent all me loot in a house o' ill repute and I think I'll have to back there tomorrow.

Posted by Contagion at 05:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

It made sense when I said it.

Have you ever had the problem with finding the past tense of a word or phrase? If so, youll understand this post, if not owell the English language sometimes escapes me. Especially if Im drinking.

The other day I was talking to Ktreva when I explained to her a story about some escapades I had in the past. Thats when I uttered the phrase, We didnt know what to do, so we just wung it.

Ktreva, Wung it?

Contagion, Yea, Wung it. You know the past tense of wing it.

Apparently from the shade of red she turned and the barking laughter she did not think that was the proper form.

What do you think?

Posted by Contagion at 06:44 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

June 11, 2007

So good.

Its been a long time since Ive burdened my readers with a problem of mine, but folks I just need to talk about this. Im a pretty laid back kind of guy. I tend to go with the flow, instead of making waves. And I dont obsess over things.* However, of late, Ive found myself continually obsessing over something.

Bar-B-Que. Yes, I know I have it bad when I want to come home after a long days work and spend 4 hours slow cooking meat over a smoky fire in 87 degree heat. Ive been bar-b-queing chicken, pork, beef and other assorted meats. Today Ktreva told me she was going to hit the grocery store after work, she wanted to know if there was anything special I wanted her to pick up. Oh god yes, all I wanted was some kind of sausage link or ring. It needed to be slow smoked then slathered in the tangy sauce of the cooking gods. I told her anything other then Bratwursts and Ill be happy.

I come home and shes picked up some spicy stadium sausages. Well they were bratwursts, but its okay. Ill make do with what I had. After getting the fires stoked, I threw my secret smoking packs onto the heat and let them get nice and hot. A thick smoke covered the neighborhood. Neighbors were coming out of their houses to investigate what the tantalizing scent was then realized it was me, ran back inside and bolted their doors. Well, except the neighbor guy I actually like. He made a play for the contents of the packs again.

From 4 until 7:00PM I slow cooked those sausages and just when the smell was about to drive me mad. I gently coated each link with the sauce. For the last couple of minutes the sauce cooked on as a second skin sealing in the wonderful flavor. The sausages were pulled off the heat. Unbeknownst to me, Ktreva had gotten her hands on my mothers secret potato salad recipe. For those of you that have head it, its the original recipe, not the lower fat, calorie one. Ktreva, my darling temptress of the bar-b-que side dish had secretly made my favorite of all side dishes.

Folks, let me tell you. Right now Im in pure heaven. Unfortunately the sausages Ktreva bought were too spicy for her and the boy, but they were perfect for me. Great flavor and oh so delicious, just the way a good bar-b-que sausage should be. Mixed with the potato salad of the gods this was a meal to make any man happy.

And yet I sit here wanting. Not more food, cause Im like an over stuffed tick right now. No, Im wanting more meat to bar-b-que, to smoke, to grill. I cant get it out of my mind. The urge, the desire the NEED. Im already planning on slow cooking a beef brisket this Sunday. Im thinking of a special homemade rub that I make to pre-season it. Then as soon as its done, I know Ill be planning the next meat.

Im like a machine, I just cant stop. And a lot of this meat is going to waste. As we cant eat it all and Im continually making more. Its going to be a long bar-b-que filled summer. To make matters worse, were driving through Kansas City (Hell Hole of the US), one of the four bar-b-que capitols. I may just drown in sauce yet.

*(Scotch, Beer, the female form, re-enacting, Listerine Pocket Paks and zombies are excluded from this statement)

Posted by Contagion at 07:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 23, 2007

Protecting the family.

Fight or Flight response, the bodys primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to fight or flee from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival. When a situation arises that we view as harmful, it is this response that prepares us for our next action. Some people will flee, or avoid the situation in order to protect themselves or others from harm. Others will attack to protect themselves or others. They say its a hard wired reaction that only years of training can change exactly how you respond, but either way it will be in one of those two ways.

What they dont tell you is that this response can be particularly hazardous to you, your family and your property. You see a threat and you react with out thinking. By the time your brain catches up with your actions, you realize what you just did was incredibly stupid. At that point you just hope no one was around to see it and that you can repair everything so it wont be noticed.

Lets say you are sleeping. For some reason that you dont know you wake up. There at the foot of your bed someone is standing over you and your wife. Not a kid someone, but an adult someone. Some people might flick on a switch, others might grab a phone, and some may grab a weapon. Or they may just leap out of the bed with a spryness reserved for Hollywood Superheroes and tackle the invader, driving them to the ground and pummeling the ever loving snot out of them. When your wife flicks on the light switch to see what is happening, you notice that there is no one there. Youve succeeded in crushing and utterly destroying the oscillating fan that was at the foot of your bed. There is no sign of anybody else in the house that shouldnt be there, and all the kids are sleeping.

Folks, I swear by all that is dear to me I woke up and saw a man standing at the foot of my bed. It was as real as the monitor in front of your face. I mean Ive woken up and saw things but I realized it was just a visual memory from a dream I was having or a trick of the lighting. In this case before that could happen I took out the fan before everything became clear. I utterly destroyed it. Between the tackling and the dozen or so well placed punches, it didnt stand a chance. So today I get to go out and buy a new fan.

Im just glad I landed where I did. If I had traveled another foot further I would have gone through the window and landed in the front yard. Did I mention I sleep in the buff? Yea, that would have helped my neighbors image of me. A fat ugly naked guy beating the snot out of a fan in his front yard, that story would spread fast.

Posted by Contagion at 04:55 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

May 22, 2007

Simple Math

Chili + Strawberries + Undiagnosed Stomach Problem = One miserable Contagion with really nasty tasting burps.

Excuse me, Im going to go gargle with bile to get this taste out of my mouth.

Posted by Contagion at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2007

Childhood Flash Backs

I'm just curious if anyone besides me actually remembers this movie from the mid 80s? As I kid I remember watching this on HBO and thinking it was pretty cool. In fact a lot of friends of mine also liked this movie. One summer I think I watched it at least a dozen times. Now as an adult watching this trailer I wonder just how stupid I was as a kid.

Posted by Contagion at 10:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2007

Cheese of the Gods.

I think I may have found the perfect food substance. Last week my parents went to visit some relatives up by Menomonie, Wisconsin. While up there they stopped at what is, in my opinion, the best cheese factory in the country, Cady Cheese Factory.

I have an Aunt and Uncle that own a farm in nearby Spring Valley. When I was a kid my grandmother used to live on the farm with them. Every time we would go and visit her, we would stop at Cady Cheese and bring pounds of the glorious golden food home with us. It was Cady cheese that started me on my love of Salami Cheese. Up until now, I thought this was the perfect snack food combination. Its so wonderful that I think Ive turned half of my friends and both boys into Salami Cheese loving fools. I know you can get it down here, but it just doesnt taste the same.

Anyway, Im off topic. Since my parents were up that way, they knew I would want some cheese. They stopped in to pick some up for themselves and for me, er for my family. While looking through their gift shop my father pointed something out to mom and told her, Contagion must have that. So he bought me a very special chunk of cheese, this may even be the holy grail of cheese.

He bought me Cheddar with Guinness.

Thats right, Cheddar cheese with Guinness in it. It looks like a cheese with dark brown veins running through it. Ive had the cheese for three days and I havent cut into it yet. Why? Well Im waiting for a special occasion. See, I havent found cheddar with Guinness anywhere else. And at 12.99 a pound Im not sure I want to just eat it any old time. However, Im starting to get antsy just waiting. Im thinking it wont last through the weekend.

Posted by Contagion at 06:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 07, 2007

Contagion versus the Tree.

Its been four days since the chainsaw incident. Im done being mad about the whole thing, so now it is actually funny.

Over the last couple of years I had a couple of trees start to grow awfully close to my house and garage. At first I didnt do anything about them, but then I decided I had better get a start before they actually do some damage. Especially since one of the trees was right up next to the house and another was right next to the garage. They werent big trees. The one next to the house was 3-4 inches in diameter and the one next to the garage was about 7-8 inches wide. The one next to the house was only about 15 feet tall, but the one next to the garage was about 30 feet. The third tree was in the middle of the yard, but along a fence line I just didnt like it.

The tree next to the house came down easily enough. There were three separate trunks intertwined with some fence. It was a little tricky, but everything went smooth. The tree in the middle of the yard, again intertwined with fence came down easily enough with no damage to the fence or the chain. Then there was the tree by the garage.

First off, not only was this tree right next to the garage, but it was also intertwined with chain link fence. To make it even worse, it was between my garage and my neighbors garage. Our garages are so close I can stand and place my left hand on my garage and be able to touch theirs with my right. Oh, and to make it just a little bit more difficult there is a phone line that runs right next to it. Yea, this one was going to be tricky. Yet I just knew I could get this one down easy as can be. Ive precision dropped larger trees then this before.

I make a flat cut about halfway through the tree. Then I make an angle cut to take out a wedge to direct the tree to where I want it to fall. Im almost done with the angle cut when the tree shifts and pinches the chainsaw. WTF? Its a maple, it shouldnt be that flexible. I mean over half the trunk is still intact! Making sure there is no power to the chainsaw, I try to pull it out. That bad boy was S-T-U-C-K stuck. I figure if I just gently and lightly push on the trunk maybe, MAYBE I can pull out the chainsaw.

Now at this point someone is going to say I should have gotten help, tied a rope to the tree, or something else logical. Heres the problem. Everyone I asked was busy and couldnt come over. The only help I had was Boopie. If I had tied a rope to the tree and tried to have him pull anything, he would have just hurt himself. Anyone that has met him knows what Im talking about.

So I just very lightly and gently push on the tree to alleviate the pressure on the blade. Sure enough the trees grip on the chainsaw is loosened and it starts to come free. Just as Im about to let go of the tree it happens. Just like in some cartoon or stupid comedy movie the biggest fattest bird I have ever seen plops down onto the furthest sticking branch that will hold its weight over my neighbors garage.

The tree starts to creak as it begins its slow fall. I drop the chainsaw, (Thank all that is good for steel toe work boots) and grab the trunk with both hands pulling it in the opposite direction. My efforts are to no avail as the tree crashes on top of my neighbors garage and phone line. Im yelling and swearing at the top of my lungs. The boys are staring in wide eyed wonder at the events they just witnessed. To make matters worse, THE TREE STILL WAS ONLY CUT HALF WAY THROUGH! The notch was still in place! It didnt break, the damn thing bent with the weight.

At this point Ive lost all rational thought. With anger and frustration I grab the chainsaw, power it up and lift it over my head like a psycho path in some comedy-horror flick. In a stream of obscenities that would shock most people I attack, yes attack, the tree with the chainsaw. I finish cutting it all the way through. Then I grab the trunk and pull it off the roof and onto the ground. Boopie is screaming, DAD, DONT! STOP, PLEASE STOP! I am now giggling with a madness that only those that have been irrationally pissed at an inanimate object can understand.

Yes, I got the tree down. No, I did not damage the garage. No one was physically injured, however my kids may need more therapy now when they get older. As for the phone line uh, I dont know what youre talking about. Right now there are piles of limbs and trunk in my driveway waiting to be cut up and disposed off. I had too many plans over the weekend to finish it. That and in my exuberance to destroy the damnable plant I broke the chain on the chainsaw. I havent had a chance to get it fixed yet.

But tomorrow the sage continues.

Posted by Contagion at 06:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 03, 2007

Oops

Hmmm Me and a chainsaw. Maybe that wasnt such a good combination.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 01, 2007

Time to mow the lawn.

Well that annual war of the lawn started tonight. For the first time this year I mowed my lawn. Yea, I know its may already, but dammit! I hate mowing my lawn! I pressed Boopie into service this year. Since our grass was about a foot long, and Im not kidding, it was probably closer to 11 inches, but it was damn long, I couldnt use the bagging attachment. Well I guess I could have, but why when Id have to stop and empty it ever ten feet. Instead I converted it to the mulching mode and let Boopie rake up whatever I didnt mulch. That would be a lot if you really wanted to know.

I think it might be because its early in the season, but there were no wild animals waiting in ambush in the grass. But I did discover a couple of things. Like there is some kind of animal that has burrowed into my front yard. Im not sure what it is yet, but its not going to be around for long. Secondly, I found out that those plastic soft-air BBs from the guns I bought Boopie for Christmas hurt like the dickens when they fly out of a mower and hit you in the leg. I may have to re-think how I set up the shooting trap for that. Obviously they arent all staying inside the one I have now.

Hopefully the rain holds off so I dont have to mow again next week.

Posted by Contagion at 08:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 24, 2007

Seeing Red.

As I pull into my driveway after work tonight, I notice a bright red note on my front door. At first I thought it was just another advertisement some local small business. Then I wondered if it was another flier from the church up the street inviting me to some Saturday neighborhood bar-b-que and sermon session. They like to do that a lot. Either way I thought it was nothing important. I own my own property (In theory) so I know its not an eviction notice. Im not behind on any bills, so I know its not a foreclosure notice. I havent had any complaints from neighbors, my property is in order, and there was absolutely nothing that I could think of to make me consider it being anything more then a waste of paper.

Until I pulled it off of the door and read it:


    City of Rockford
    Water Division

Your water will be shut off in 5 days unless proper action is taken by you and then notify this office at ###-### accordingly due to:

No Access to Change Meter.

Previous attempts have been made to change your meter unsuccessfully

WHAT?!?!?!?!?! This is the first time Ive heard anything about this. There has been no previous notes, no calls, no letters, no anything! How the hell am I supposed to know they are coming if they dont tell me? Wait, maybe they figure that Im just another leech off of the government and sit around all day collecting funds and watching my stories.

I call the number on the warning. They advise me that they want to install a new water meter on my house. They asked if I would be home tomorrow between 12:30 and 4:00PM. Sure! I just didnt happen to be home today, or the other times they came, because I was out playing golf. Hell no, I have a job. You know, that thing that people do in order to pay their water bills. They wanted to know when in the next 5 days I would be home. Well that would be tomorrow night AFTER 4:30PM. Oh no, that wont work; its after their business hours.

They need to get in and get this done; its long over due they tell me. I explain to the City of Rockford Water Division girl, who although very nice and polite doesnt seem to have a full grasp that people beside her work between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00PM, that I work during the times they want, and I just cant magically take the day off tomorrow with out notice and Im going to be busy over the weekend. Oh no! We dont work on the weekend either, it has to be during the week.

Fortunately I had Monday off already as a recovery day, so I was able to get an appointment that day. I just wish they would tell me this stuff in advance instead of leaving a bright red scary notice on the door.

Posted by Contagion at 05:13 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 22, 2007

Midget Kickboxing Rocks!

Well the highlight of Friday night was definitely the Midget Kickboxing. Bruce, our friend J-man and I went to the Rockford Rumble Friday night. Normally I dont go to these types of things, but they were advertising a fight between Beetlejuice from the Howard Stern show and Big Poppa the Midwest Midget Kickboxing Champion. Folks I tried for hours to find a link to Big Poppa, but I couldnt find anything about him on the net.

Now I know these were amateur fighters, but they where pretty awful. They would charge into the ring with their arms wind milling as fast as they could. Youd see these guys get tired after 30 seconds and the force of their blows and the frequency of them started to decrease. Im not a trained fighter, but these fights looked horrible. Except for a couple of the heavy weights, most of these guys didnt look that tough. Most of the fights looked like kids fighting with the techniques. In fact at one point I swear that one of the fights was doing that girl paw fighting style. It was pretty lame.

The ring girls they had came from a local gentlemens club. There were five of them. 2 were pretty damn good, but the other three were kind of scary. One of the girls looked like an anorexic Paris Hilton. Yea, she was that skinny. She looked like a walking skeleton with no curves at all. But she thought she looked good. To be honest she made crack whores look meaty. At one point in the night as she walked by where we were sitting, she made eye contact with me. She smiled and gave me a wink. At that point I about threw up. My gag reflex kicked in. Not even with Bruces dick and J-man pushing would I jump into that cesspool of disease.

The only real highlight of the night was the Midget Kickboxing. It was the only fight that actually looked good. They landed hard punches, there was blocking and dodging. Folks, this was just the coolest thing. I had heard of it before, but never seen it. If you ever get the chance to watch midget kickboxing, DO IT! And it was just fun to watch. Beetlejuice won, but I think its only because his arms were twice as long as Big Poppas. Big Poppa had the better skill and technique. After the fight Big Poppa even came over to our seats and talked with us for a while. He seemed like a really cool guy. Unfortunately he didnt stay too long, because he had a chance to go sit on some pretty girls lap. Not that I blamed him. The fight only lasted for 3 one-minute rounds. It was way too short. They should have let them fight for a much longer time.

The only way Id go back to the Rockford Rumble is if I knew someone fighting or if they did the midget kickboxing again.

Posted by Contagion at 09:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2007

Tonight is the Night!

I have just two words for all of you: Midget Kickboxing.

In just over twelve hours I'm going to be watching Midget Kickboxing. I bet you wish you were as lucky as I am.

Posted by Contagion at 06:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 18, 2007

Hello?

After a nice long day at work, because they couldn't help but schedule non-stop meetings for me from 8:00 AM to 4:00PM with a 20 minute break and I had to stay until 7:00 tonight to make up for the lost time, I've finally arrived home in time to do my beer review. Folks, I'm so glad it's Wednesday. I always get a beer on Wednesday. But I have a question for everyone.

If you worked in an office where you have 6 peers that are supposed to share the duties and responsibilities for the entire department, but you find yourself carrying on more of the workload then the others because it's constantly assigned to you and not them, what would you do?

What if you where constantly singled out in meetings and memos regarding new duties and tasks?

Now what if the others all had something in common like race, religion or sexual orientation and you were in the minority?

Yea, I know I'm screwed.


But at least I got noticed today for not calling anyone in a meeting a Farking Idiot in almost a year!

Posted by Contagion at 08:05 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 16, 2007

Great Weekend

Saturday was probably one of the most fun days Ive had in a long, long time. First, I was able to satisfy my love of bad cheesy movies by watching Mulva, Zombie Ass Kicker and Filthy McNasty. Its actually two short movies, about 45 minutes each, on the same DVD. Low Budget Pictures, which folks is not a misnomer, made the movies. I swear to god it looks like these movies were made on a circa 1993 camcorder. The writing was horrible, the cinematography was craptacular and it was filled with so many inside jokes that only someone who was friends with the company could possibly get half of them. This of course means that I loved it and must get a copy of it, much to my wifes chagrin. I didnt force her to watch the movies, but she was listening to it while playing on the computer. She was sure I was not going to like this movie at all, she was wrong.

Not long after I finished watching the movie, Shadoglare came over. He was going with me to the Raptors game. Of course I made him come over at 3:30 so we could hit the local Brew Pub before hand. For those of you that are in the Rockford area, Carlisle has a couple of new beers on the menu, a couple of them are really good and a couple are horrible. Banana and Clover flavored beer shall never pass my lips knowingly again. We waited there for Bruce (Of the still missing sidebar) and some mutual friends. We like to get our drink on at Carlisle before the game. Better beer that is cheaper then at the official tailgate.

The game was great. We smacked the Evanston Blue Cats around 67-28. Two of the Blue Cats scores came from kick returns ala Hester from the Bears. I brought my camera with to the game and took some great pictures, well 326 to be exact. But now I can give you an idea of how good my seats are. Here is a picture from where I was sitting

Raptor Ball Girl.jpg

uh, oops, I meant this picture.

raptors vs blue cats 298 (2).jpg


After the game we went to Backyard Bar and Grill to meet up with the coaches and players. It was great. We sat down, had drinks and even bought Jeremiah Thompson a drink for his birthday. The coaches, GM and players actually pretended to listen to our opinions and input. I cant wait for May 5 game, its the next home game I can make it to. The one on April 28 falls on a re-enactment.

Posted by Contagion at 06:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 11, 2007

April snow showers, kill the flowers!

Holy cow, its like a dream come true!

Twas the week after Easter, and all through the state
the snow was falling, and I was thinking its great!

However, I appear to be the only one. There are people out there that think that we should not have snow this time of year. Im telling you we should have snow all year round. When they announced that we were going to get hit with snow, I was ecstatic! I love the snow, Im pissed we didnt get more this winter. I spent the last day and a half walking around hoping for feet of snow. Yes, not inches, but feet. I wanted to be able to measure the amount of snow we received by the foot.

Depending on which inaccurate weather report you watched they predicted everything from 2-4 to 6-12 inches of snow accumulation. They also said it was going to snow all day. Well the snow had pretty much stopped at noon, and at best we received an inch of accumulation. Here is a picture of my front porch of my neighborhood.

April snow 007.jpg

I was greatly disappointed.

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April 09, 2007

Eggs

For Easter most parents that observe the holiday, and even some that dont, abort chicken embryos by boiling them in water hard boil eggs. Then they dip the hardened remains into cups of dye. If you have a four year-old you also get to wipe spilled dye up off the floor and table a couple of times. When you are done you have a carton or twelve of multi-colored hard-boiled eggs. Now this is where parents differ.

Some hide the eggs while the kids are sleeping so they can find them on Easter. After the lost egg incident of 2000, I dont do that anymore. Sure we, and I mean me, hid the egg in an easy to find spot. It was so easy to find that when Boopie was done looking for the eggs, I counted one short. We searched and searched and were not able to find it. Finally I figured that I had miscounted how many eggs I had hid. Since I didnt hide all the eggs, and one or two were eaten already, I figured that I just counted wrong. The egg finally showed up some months later in August. There was a vile stench in the house and I couldnt quite place it. I searched and I searched and I searched. Finally after looking long and hard enough I found it.

It was in plain sight under the air hockey table but some moron put a dark blue egg up against a dark blue background, and after months of cooking in a house without AC, the egg wanted out and let off a stench so that everyone could find it. I no longer hide Easter eggs.

This year I made the largest batch of Egg Salad that I ever made. Weve been eating on it for two days for lunch and dinner. Hell I even had some for breakfast this morning. Theres probably still more then half left. Already I do not like the gaseous emanations that are wafting off of me. Yet, I just cant throw it out.

Maybe if I us beer to wash it down it wont stink so badly when I blow arse.

Posted by Contagion at 06:06 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 02, 2007

Anticipation.

Ahh yes, home for the day. Im not sick, Im not on administrative leave, and I didnt even take the day off because I wanted to do something. Today Im home because we are having new windows installed. They are supposed to be here between ten and noon. Well considering its 20 to noon, they better hurry up and get here.

Now, I have to ask you readers. Am I the only one that gets antsy when Im given a window for any contractor or serviceman to show up? Around nine this morning I was up and had everything out of the way for the new windows. By 10:30 AM I was wondering where the hell they were. Now Im starting to wonder if they are ever going to show up. Sure they arent late, but damn, Im starting to wonder if I have the wrong day. I dont want to call and seem like a fool, because they arent technically late but Im still wondering.

UPDATE: 12:26 PM: I called the contractor, today is the day they are supposed to be here, they don't know why they are running late. They are going to check and get back with me.


UPDATE: 1:58 PM: The contractor arrived! They were very sincere about being late. They explained that their last job they ran into a problem with one of the large windows they where installing on the second story of a house. Since this is the first time in 5 years I've had a problem with them, I am going to cut them some slack. Plus they are going to fix a problem I'm having with some molding for free.

Posted by Contagion at 10:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 01, 2007

New Camera

Ive been an amateur hobbyist photographer for years. I love to take pictures and to be a little bit on the artistic side at times. Ive used the same camera for almost 20 years now, a Pentax K1000. Im telling you folks, this is a great camera. It doesnt have all of the bells and whistles that most cameras had, everything had to be done manually, but it was nice. I loved it; it did everything I wanted it to. I used this camera for anything I wanted to take real pictures of. The great photos from last years vacation all came off of this camera.

But then it broke. It wouldnt function properly and the picture quality started to suffer. I took it to a local camera place to see if it could be repaired, and they told me that what was broken on it, could not be fixed. They dont make the parts anymore. So I asked them what they had in the line of replacement cameras. They started off showing me all of these digital cameras, that were nice but they are digital. Im not a fan of digital cameras. Ive always been able to tell the difference between a digital and a film photo.
When I asked to see the film cameras, I found out they have completely stopped making them. If I wanted a camera that still used film, I would have to find a place that sold used cameras.

The guy behind the counter and I had an argument over the quality of digital cameras. The quick version goes like this:

Me: Digital photos suck, I can always tell the difference.

Salesman: With the new cameras you cant tell the difference.

Me: I saw pictures just last week taken on a new camera, and I could tell they where digital.

Salesman: Then the place that printed them out didnt know what they where doing.

Me: Well my father had them put onto paper here.

Salesman: uh It must have been set on a lower quality.

Me: My father is technologically stupid; its on the factory basic settings that always put it at the highest possible quality. He doesnt know how to change it, and wouldnt in fear that the camera would break by him doing something to it.

Salesman:

Me: So there are no film cameras here at all?

Salesman: Only point and clicks.

Me: Sorry to have wasted your time.

That was 6 months ago. After doing a lot of research I verified everything the guy had said. They dont make anything short of point and clicks anymore that still take film. Which is a shame. Finally I got around to coming with the terms that if I wanted a new camera, it was going to have to be digital.

Finally on Tuesday I went out and bought me a new camera. I stuck with Pentax because their last camera was a great camera, and served me well. I ended up getting a Pentax K10D. To be honest it has a ton more features then not only am I not used to, but I probably wont use. Since then Ive been taking pictures of everything, just trying to get use to the way it handles. Which is the nice thing about digital, it doesnt cost you an arm and a leg in film to do that and you can instantly see what you did wrong. On the other hand it also has a fast drive motor on it, so you can take a rapid series of pictures. Ive always wanted a camera that could do that.

So Ive been following Ktreva and the boys around the house taking their pictures over and over. Its starting to drive them nuts. I think they are getting the feeling for what its like to be followed by the paparazzi. So expect to see a lot more photos of the family and stuff over the next couple of months while I break it in.

Posted by Contagion at 08:16 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

New Neighbors

Well it looks like Im going to be getting yet another set of new neighbors. As many of you may remember, I actually try to keep my neighbors at a certain fear level of me. Its healthy for me. Ive been known to do things that actually scare them. Some of my antics Ive posted, others I have not.

Like an incident when I was checking to make sure the .45 wasnt loaded while standing in the driveway. I pull back the slide and let it go just as the neighbor lady walks out the front door, at which point she abruptly turns around and goes back inside quickly. Apparently having a guy with a firearm in front of her house made her nervous. Well theres been many of other things Ive done, but Ive never actually done anything to hurt my neighbors.

Now today I come home from work and see the house next door is up for sale. Apparently my newest neighbors dont want to live next to me any more. I tried talking with them, but of course they just pretended not to see me and ran into the house. Maybe I shouldnt have been wearing the sleeveless T-shirt with skulls on it.

So there you have it, another set of neighbors Im going to have to break in.

Posted by Contagion at 06:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 26, 2007

Dreams

Im a bit on the melancholy side this evening, and not even the thought of Grau cat-fisting brings a smile to my face. No, I did NOT type that wrong.

Have you ever had a dream that while not impossible, it would be really difficult for it to come true? But if it were to happen you would be a fool to pass it up. Like say, since you where 12 you set your heart on one day owning an original 1954 Oldsmobile F-88, one of the rarest cars on the planet. You talked about it, and dreamt about one day actually owning this vehicle. All your friends and family know this what you have been dreaming about.

Then it happens. The planets align just right and through a series of unlikely events not only does the opportunity to buy this car come up, but also you can actually afford it barely. This is the chance that will probably never happen again. Your family knows about it and wants it to happen for you. As you contemplate the purchase of this vehicle you look at what its actually going to cost you. Not just the immediate cost of the vehicle, but the maintenance, the storage and the non-financial costs. Purchasing this vehicle you discover will stress your relationship with your family and friends.

These burdens, both financial and emotional, will last at least for five years. After doing the math, youre pretty sure you can handle the financial burden barely and if no new or unexpected costs come about, but youre not sure about the emotional. You spend weeks or even months contemplating is it worth it. Will you finally be able to fulfill your dream? If you do fulfill your dream will you end up possibly bringing yourself to ruin? Passing on it, however, will disappoint a close family member greatly as they share a similar dream. Its a weighty decision that one does not make lightly.

I was put into this situation a couple of weeks ago. Something I wanted, but thought I would never be able to get landed at my feet. I know that the chances of this happening again are pretty much nil. And after weighing the benefits and the consequences, I came to a decision.

Sometimes, dreams just arent meant to come true.

And now I feel like a part of me has died. There is an emptiness in me that Im not sure will ever be filled again. Sorry for being so morose, but its what is on my mind.

Posted by Contagion at 05:53 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 21, 2007

Where's the beer?

Im sorry but tonights beer review is being postponed. Not because I dont have any beer, quite to the contrary I definitely I have a beer to review. Its the fact that I have a tremendous head cold. Mixing Nyquil and beer doesnt bother me, hell my home remedy for a head cold is 1 part Jack Daniels, one part Nyquil and a Tavist-D. Its a time tested concoction that makes the pressure in your head disappear.

So why am I not doing a beer review? Simply it is because of snot. Thats right snot. The review would be:

Aroma: This beer has the strong heady scent of snot with a mix of hops, barley malts and boogers.

Taste: The absolutely wonderful scent is only enhanced by the flavor of snot with a nice roasted malt background. Unfortunately the taste of snot over runs everything else.

Mouth feel: Tonights beer is a medium bodied lager that drinks easily. It leaves an interesting coating in the mouth and throat that is very mucus like. This helps the snot aftertaste linger.

Sadly enough, I actually drank one of the beers in order to try to review it. The above is pretty much what I got out of it. Since Im pretty sure that the beer does NOT have a snot like taste of scent, Im going to wait until this head cold clears up before doing this weeks review.

Now if youll excuse me Im going to go get a Snot-Coke to help wash the Snot-beer taste out of my mouth.

Posted by Contagion at 07:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 19, 2007

A fool and their money...

Damn, I hate when I do something stupid, especially when it involves money. I was raised with the financial belief, Do NOT spend money you dont have. Sometimes its necessary, such as in an emergency or if you are buy a house. Heck, Ill even allow cars. Not everyone can pay for a new $18,000.00 car out of pocket. Other then a handful of situations, you just dont spend money you dont have.

Many of my employees at work have already spent their tax returns, and they havent even filed yet. They figure they are going to get a large return so they went out and bought new TVs, computers and other items on credit planning on paying it off when they get their tax refunds. The problem is that a couple of them are going to be paying on these for a while because unless they are getting $10,000 back from the Feds, they arent going to cover what theyve already spent. ($6,000 TV, $1,300 Computer, $1000,00 Home Theater plus the other little things they are putting on their credit cards saying, Ill pay it off when my refund comes in) And yes there are at least three people that work for my company that is in this situation.

Me, I dont do that. I try not using my credit cards to pay for anything unless I pay it off by the end of the month. If I dont have the money, Ill wait to have to pay for something. That is until last summer. We had just gotten new windows put in the house and I was going to install a window air conditioner that didnt fit. We ended up looking at getting Central Air put into the house. You may recall the escapade regarding the electricity and contractors.

I was able to get the electrical done in the house, and paid for it out right. However the Central Air I thought was going to have to wait until this year. That was until I found a place that would finance, one year no interest, same as cash. I was still hesitant, but as much as I like to see Ktreva all hot and sweaty, she doesnt like to be that way. So I caved in and financed the damn AC with the intent to pay it off before the year was up. When we get our tax return.

All was well. I kept saying, when we get our tax return, wed pay off the loan. No finance charge, no hidden fees, nothing! Were good to go! Had our taxes done, found out we were going to be getting a bit more back then anticipated. NICE! Thatll help cover the cost for the Packer tickets and then some if I make it. We got the money and all of a sudden its like I didnt remember my own philosophy. I got spend happy. New cell phone, new clothes, new shoes, buying trinkets and eating out then I sat down to pay off the lawn and realized I had over spent, by a lot. Not horribly, but enough to put a crimp in my plans. Yes, Im still getting the loan paid off, but now Ive got to scrape up the difference for the Packer tickets. I had the money easily, I just couldnt control myself. It really pisses me off.

I just cant believe I did that.

Posted by Contagion at 08:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

Informed

People change over time. Sometimes it is small things and sometimes it is something big. Up until about a year ago I had no interest in politics what so ever. I really could care less what was going on because I honestly felt that it didnt matter what I did or said; it would never change anything. Sure I voted, and kept up with current topics, but I never really got involved. It all seemed like a complete waste of time. If there was something I actually felt strongly opposed to, I figured someone else would speak out against it.

I didnt even want to talk about politics because I felt it was a boring and depressing topic. Many of my friends have heard me say, Enough with the talk about politics. Sure many things going on angered me, but what good did it do? Nothing I said or did would ever change anything. Thats pretty much how I handled politics for the last 15 years.

As new laws were passed that upset me, and new taxes put in placed that drained my income, I just became more convinced that nothing would ever change. I grew more and more bitter. Neither political party appealed to me. Both sides had issues I agreed with and both sides had politicians that scared me that they were in office. On the other hand both sides had stances I disagreed with. I just couldnt relate to either. I remained independent.

Things started changing with me in November of 2005. Politicians in the city of Rockford decided that they wanted Home Rule. This pissed me off; it was too much power to the local politicians. I actually got out and spread the word about Home Rule and why I didnt want it. I even used this blog to help spread the word and did a radio interview. To this day, we still dont have Home Rule, thankfully.

The drive for this must have disturbed a sleeping monster inside me. I started following more and more the local politics; I started listening to talk radio (Much to Ktrevas chagrin and embarrassment). Then something happened that kicked that monster awake. I received word about the new gun bans here in Illinois. That brought forth an interest in politics I never thought I would possess. I started writing letters to my state senator and representative, I started making phone calls and trying to rally others to the cause. I drove to the state capital to lobby. My political activity was getting me noticed. In doing so I inadvertently did something else.

I got my name on some lists.

Not necessarily bad lists, but those lists of local political interests. I received information from various politicians offices and even an invite to an invitation only meeting, which I attended. This morning I went to a breakfast meeting that had my state Senator, Representative, other state reps, the Mayor of my city and other elected officials. We discussed the Governors new budget and how it was going to affect the citizens of Illinois.

I found myself really getting involved. I also found myself getting a lot of attention. Most of the people in the room all seemed to know each other, even across party lines. None of them knew who I was. I was a nobody. I could almost hear their thoughts, Who is that, and why is he here? It was intimidating. Elected officials where coming up and introducing themselves to me. Other behind the scenes players where probing me for my opinion on topics, just to see where I stood on the politics at hand. Then I realized; they didnt see me as a nobody. I was a somebody. I was a citizen that was taking time to exert my opinion and influence on the political process. Maybe I wasnt a VIP, but I wasnt a nobody. I was someone who could make a difference. Someone that could support or oppose there cause and bring others to share my views. I was keeping myself informed. The most dangerous thing in politics is an informed citizenry.

Now Im looking forward to my next meeting and the next forum.

It amazes me how much Ive changed.

Posted by Contagion at 07:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

How to keep your neighbors in fear.

When your oldest son is in the back yard shooting his softair guns, make sure you yell loudly and angrily at him, God dammit, use a proper stance. There is no way youre going to be able to shoot accurately if you cant hold the firearm properly.

Then follow that statement with, Once you get better, Im going to get you some human targets. That way you get accustomed to shooting at the human form.

Yea, the neighbors didnt come out to talk to me tonight either. They all just watched through windows.

Posted by Contagion at 05:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

At least I won't have Malaria

November, 2005 I came clean about an addiction I had. Its been over a year and Im still hooked, just not as bad. Ive gone a whole day with out a Listerine Breath Strip. But there was another unhealthy obsession that I should have come clean with you all about years ago.

Folks, I have an obsession with energy drinks. For about two years now when ever I find an energy drink that Ive never had before, I cant help but to buy one to try. Of course I only get the sugar free ones I dont want to get too hyper on the sugar. Hey, dont look at me like that. It makes sense in my world.

Anyway I was at the gas station yesterday. I refuse to pay at the pump, that way I can go inside and see if they have any energy drinks Ive never had. There in a display was an energy drink I had never seen before, Howling Monkey Energizing Elixir. I quickly bought a can and went to work. As I sat at my desk I read the label a little more carefully. Below the name it said Multi-vitamins, pure caffeine and Quinine.

As I sat at my desk I started thinking, Quinine, that is awfully familiar. How do I know Quinine. Why is there something about it that is sending off little warnings in my head. Then I opened the can and took a drink of one of the most vile concoctions on the face of the earth. This elixir wasnt fit for, well monkeys. In fact I now know why they where howling. If I had to drink enough of this, Id howl too.

As I was choking down swallowing the first swig of this swill it struck me; Quinine was used to treat Malaria and muscle cramps. Its also very, very bitter. Which, helps explain the god awful taste. I spent most of the morning pondering why in the hell anyone would add Quinine to an energy drink. I mean, Malaria isnt really a problem in the US anymore then again I dont think that drinking it in an energy drink would cure me if I did have it. Next, the muscle cramps There are many better things one can get for muscle cramps. Trust me on this one folks. And the stuff is so bitter I cant imagine anyone using it in a drink for the sole purpose of flavoring.

The can doesnt say how much Quinine is in this drink, but Im assuming its a safe level. I dont think they would risk a bunch of people overdosing on their energy drinks. I will say though that I did have some interesting side effects yesterday.

Do you think I have anything to worry about if I try their cola version?

Posted by Contagion at 05:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Choices

Im struggling right now in a decision. I really want to get a new camera. Im not talking about any old point and click, but a nice camera. Photography has always been a love of mine, and I take a lot of pictures, I just dont share them with people. There is something personal about them to me. So Ive been looking and to get the camera I want along with the new lenses Im looking at about $1,500.00.

Then there is the fact that I really could use a lap top computer. Im looking at one that has all the stuff the features I want so I can do everything on it. I want to be able to take it on trips and be able to keep up with blogging, get work done, play games and just be able to have a second computer in the house so that Ktreva and I both can be online at the same time. Pricing the computer with all the features I want, its about $1,500.00

Ive wanted to get a Thompson sub-machine gun for years. No, its not the most powerful, the most accurate or the fastest out there, but I like them. There is something about them and the history behind it that really attracts me to it. To get the one that I want before the assault weapon ban gets re-instated, its going to cost me about $1,500.00.

With my annual bonus at work, I could, in theory, afford to pick up one of these (Id also have to talk Ktreva into it.) The problem is that its only one, and I really want all three and I really want all three NOW.

GAH! I hate decisions like this.

Posted by Contagion at 06:33 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Kids and their jokes.

When I was a near perfect child. Rarely did I ever do anything wrong. Occasionally I would misbehave a little, but nothing that would embarrass my parents. Unfortunately I had a warped sense of humor. At times I would come up with something that was humorous to me, but would end up backfiring on me.

When I was in High School I bought a set of three six-sided loaded dice that would roll sixes almost every time. Unless my buddy Moritz rolled them, then he would get ones. The reason behind these dice was so that when rolling up a Dungeons and Dragons character, you would get a score of 18, the highest possible roll for each attribute. Yea, I know, Ive come to terms with my geekyness. Of course any time I tried to use them in a game someone would notice and they where banned from play. Thus I ended up keeping them separate from the rest of my dice.

My parents, mainly my mother, are very religious. They are die-hard Lutherans and dont take to joking about god, religion or anything related. One does not challenge my parents values and morals in their homes, many of my friends will attest to this. My parents are practical in their views however. They did not view Dungeons and Dragons as satanic or the devils work. They saw it to be just the game that it is. There were no issues with me playing D&D or buying the books or other tools of the game. I was even allowed to host gaming sessions at the house. (YEAH YEAH YEAH, Geek, Ive got it!).

However, if you mix the facts above into one incident, you have a bad situation in the making. Oh, I need to add one more fact to the mix. My mother has run a daycare out of the house since before I was born. She still does.

It was over the summer and the day care kids would roam all over the house. Occasionally one of the older kids (between 6-12) would wander into my room when I was there. Depending on my mood I would sometimes I would talk with them or let them play with some of my stuff. One day I was feeling a little mischievous when one of the older kids walked into my room. I had been putting away my D&D stuff. He picked up my dice and started playing with them. It didnt take him long to notice that three of them rolled sixes all the time.

This 10-year-old boy was fascinated and wanted to know how they did that. Looking at them, I picked up the three dice and rolled them over and over, always rolling 18. After a couple of rolls I explained to him, These are my satanic dice. You can tell because they always roll 6-6-6. At that point my mother flies into my room and screams Contagion D Smartarse give me those dice right now! DO NOT TELL THE KIDS STUFF LIKE THAT! These dice are now mine and you are NEVER getting them back. Lil' traumatized Tommy (He was brought up die-hard Catholic), dont listen to Contagion. He is being mean and telling stories.

I ended up getting those dice back about two weeks later. I found where she put them and reacquired them. They are still in my possession, and I know exactly where they are.

I hadnt thought about this story for years. But something happened today to remind me. One of the ladies I work with was telling a story of something her son had done the previous day in school, Catholic School. He had found a sticker at the mall that was a pentagram. He thought it would be funny to place it on a bible and take it to school and try to convince the other kids it was a Satanic Bible.

Hey, at least I didnt get suspended well at least not for that stunt.

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February 28, 2007

Pain...

...it reminds you that you're alive.

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February 27, 2007

I'm heading to Springfield.

Ive told a lot of people about this Illinois gun ban that I spoke about below. Some of the people are just blowing it off as, Same shite, different year. Sure, the anti-gun politicians try to ban firearms every year. This year has a different ring to it though, there has been quite a change up in the politicians in office and the bills they are trying to pass may actually make some headway. Im worried that this time the bills have more then a snowballs chance in hell of passing.

After talking it over with Ktreva, Ive taken two days off and I am going to head down to the Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day to show my opposition to anti-gun bills. I wrote a letter to Dave Syverson (My state Senator) and Chuck Jefferson (My state Representative) voicing my opinion. This time, I just dont feel its enough. It is important for me to take the time and go to Springfield to be counted.

If there is anyone else that is planning on going or is interested in heading that way, let me know. I would love the company.

Posted by Contagion at 08:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

Weekend Weirdness.

What a weird and interesting weekend. First Ktreva brings me a bottle of Jack Daniels. Only two weeks AFTER I voluntarily cut back my drinking because she was concerned about it. She said I was doing good and deserved a reward. That was on Friday night.

Saturday I went shooting with a work friend of mine Bob. We went to a local gun shop that has an indoor range. He just wanted to get some practice in with his 9 and didnt want to shoot alone. Hell, I wasnt about to pass up a chance to get some quality time in with my .45. The range is okay, its indoor and a little cramped, but its better then nothing, and it is with in 15 minutes of my house.

After shooting we went to Old Chicago where I ended up getting in a debate with the bartender and some of the patrons over the quality of, or lack there of, Winters Bourbon Cask Ale. They thought it was good, I thought they were idiots. In the end I had them convinced that most things made by Anheuser-Busch is crap.

I was home at a decent time and was watching some TV when my buddy Wes of Bodhran Roll Please came over and kidnapped me. Allegedly he was in dire need of a night out on the town and I was to go with. First we hit Hooters for some much needed Hot Wings and Beer. Afterwards we hit a local exotic dancer bar. I refuse to call it a strip club, because there is no nudity nor striping. We did get to school a girl who was on her first week of dancing. Trust me, you could tell she had no enthusiasm for it.

Sunday I went over to my friend J-mans house to watch the Daytona 500 while Ktreva was at a Baby Shower from Hell. Okay, I dont like Nascar. Im not fond of watching races. Why did I go? For the best of all reasons, he really gets into it. And its fun to watch his reactions. That and we grilled steaks. Grilled meat in February will get me to brave even Nascar. Since I didnt really know any of the drivers and I dont follow it, J-man told me I had to root for the number 07 car, because it was sponsored by Jack Daniels. He is a Dale Jr. fan. I refuse to root for him just because it seems everyone else in the world does and he seems to crash a lot. Sure hes consistent, but so is him needing a new car. Before the race I made multiple comments about Dale crashing.

When it got down to the last 4 laps and Dale hadnt crashed yet, I made the comment, Well it looks like Dale isnt going to BAM! A Huge crash that takes out a chunk of the racers, including Dale. Im not exactly sure what J-man was yelling at me because I was too busy laughing. I do know he blamed me for the wreck, something about me being a Jinx and using the Bears for a reference.

The coolest thing was that on the very last lap there was one more crash, and the Jack Daniels car slid across the finish line on its roof and on fire. Seriously, I think he should have gotten extra points in the Nascar standings for that finish. After the race, I just came home.

Its strange; I had originally planned on a plain uneventful weekend and actually ended up having a lot of fun. I wonder if the same will happen next weekend. All Im planning on doing is going to a gun show.

Posted by Contagion at 06:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 20, 2007

It's been a week.

I think its time for me to retire from the game. I finally broke my previous high score of 36,001. Now I reached 147,933 points.

High.JPG

High Score 2.JPG

If I spend anymore time obsessing over this stupid game, I think my wife might leave me.


UPDATE: Okay, I lied and tried it one more time. This is an actual screen shot, the numbers on it were not altered.

Highest score.bmp

Now of course there was a little matter of a small bug in the game that I took advantage of, so it's not a legitimate high score.

Posted by Contagion at 02:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Snow balls.

I had to go to work this morning. A couple of my peers are leaving and Im picking up the slack so that things run smoothly. In doing so I fell behind in some of my work. We also had mandatory OT for our people today due to the high volumes of inventory we have that needs to get out. Since my people were working and I was going in, I decided to follow a long-standing tradition.

I wear a kilt to work on Mandatory Saturdays.

Folks, this seemed like a good idea yesterday, but this morning I kind of regretted making it. First off, scraping the windows of my truck wearing a kilt in negative 2 degree weather is NOT fun in any shape or form. It gets hard breathing around my daddy berries. The cold hit the good time boys and they just retracted all the way up to my throat. Secondly, climbing in to my truck while wearing a kilt and not exposing yourself to the world takes some skill. When its cold like this, it takes even more. Finally, climbing out of the truck is pretty easy, but that snowy blast on Mr. Happy was enough to make tears well up in my eyes.

Next time Im going to think this through a little better.

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January 15, 2007

Bad Ammo.

Yesterday Ktreva, Graumagus, my friend Bob and I went shooting. It was time to get some range time in. We had a great time and all had fun. Yet, to put a blemish on the day, we did have an incident early on.

I was at my station waiting for the next shooting break to put up a clean target. We had just arrived and the target on the stand down range was left over from a previous shooter. I figured this was a good time to get rid of some older ammo I didnt like. In my ammo locker was a box of American Eagle .357 rounds. I had picked two boxes of this up about 6 months ago. The last time I went shooting I used the first box and I didnt like the way it shot. It was dirty and the fouling kept gumming up the revolver.

I brought this box along just to burn it off, so I started shooting it. About twenty rounds into the box, the range officer comes over to me and asks what I was shooting. Of course I started with, its a Taurus .357 Tracker. He clarified he meant the ammo. To which I responded with, American Eagle .357. He then stated, So youre not using reloads? No, these were factory loads. At that point, I asked him why. He told me that there was an incident and the guy next to me stated he got hit in the face with something from my revolver. Okay, its a revolver. Anyone that has ever shot a revolver knows that there is side discharge from the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. I apologized, and stated that the .357 does spray a lot.

The range officer said the kid stated something came off my revolver and hit the kid in the face cutting him. I allowed him to expect my pistol and everything looked fine. There was no damage to my revolver and nothing looked out of sorts. When the kid came back to get his stuff, he had a small cut on his right cheek. After asking if he was okay, I rechecked my revolver and the ammo. It all looked okay. I continued shooting, with the every couple of rounds having to wipe the fouling off the gun, the cylinder would start to not rotate. I also started paying more attention to the spray. Grau, who moved into the station the kid just left stated there was a lot of spray coming off the revolver. At one point I caught a burning ember on my hand while shooting.

Then on my second to last shot my revolver jammed. The cylinder would not rotate or open. Finally after some manipulation it opened and out fell a chunk of the copper jacketing from the bullet. It was a pretty good-sized chunk too, About 2 millimeter wide and 4 millimeters long. About this time, I started wondering if there was something wrong with my revolver. After wiping it down, I inspected it and everything looked good. The chambers and the barrel lined up properly; there was no play on the cylinder, any burrs or blemishes.

I figured I should try a couple of .38 loads from Aguila and see if I have any problems with it. If I do, I know then that I need to take the revolver to a gunsmith. I put 25 rounds through with out one problem. Next I tried some Remington .357 rounds to see what would happen. 50 rounds went through with out a problem. No fouling, reduced spray, no sluggishness on the cylinder. I was unable to duplicate any of the problems I was having with the American Eagle ammunition. We ended up putting over 300 rounds through it yesterday and only had a problem with the American Eagle.

I ended up having to fill out an incident report, apparently the kids father (Who was with him) complained, after they left the range. Poor Grau, Ktreva and Bob ended up having to sign as witnesses. Unfortunately, they didnt see anything. Hell I didnt see anything. I didnt know there was a problem until the range officer came over and started talking to me. Now, Im just waiting to see what this is going to turn into.

But I will tell you this; Im never buying the American Eagle ammunition by Federal ever again. It was dirty, it fouled up my revolver and now with this Im just going to assume its unsafe. Sure, I have no way to prove that what the kid said is actually what happened or that what hit him in the face even came from my revolver, but with the rest of the facts Im going to assume it did.

So shooters, heed this warning, stay away from the American Eagle Ammunition.

Posted by Contagion at 11:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 08, 2007

It's a beautiful thing.

This weekend, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, Im taking Ktreva, some friends from work, and the zombie Graumagus shooting. What? Its a national holiday. Just because he was shot doesnt mean shooting is not a good way to honor this completely useless day off of work. What the hell else are we going to do in the middle of January? Sit around and contemplate racial harmony? Nah, were going to go hone our marksmanship.

Now as some of you may remember that I bought a crap load of ammo on Black Friday. That was 600 rounds. I already had 700 rounds in the house, bringing me up to 1,300 rounds. Which really should be more then enough for me to go shooting with this weekend and have a little extra just in case. (Read into that statement what you want, at this time I can neither confirm nor deny anything). I figured that Ktreva was not about to let me sink any more money on Ammo until I burned off some of what I have.

Then today on lunch we hit Gander Mountain to say hello to my buddy and pick up some targets and a cleaning kit for a rifle. My old one needed replacing. After so much use they do tend to wear out. While we where there my buddy tried to get me to buy an AR-15. The glare Ktreva gave him for asking, and me for thinking about it, was enough to make other shoppers wince back in fear. Figuring I was done, I was getting ready to check out. That was when my beautiful and wonderful wife said 6 little words that made my heart skip a beat.

Why dont you buy some ammo?

Sure, since we are shooting we could use more ammo. I started with two boxes of .38, then two boxes .380, then two boxes .45. I looked at Ktreva to see if Im pushing the limit but she was more interested in a pink shotgun they had. So I added one more box of each caliber. Then two boxes of .357. Still there was no reaction from Ktreva. Okay, give me 4 boxes of .22LR. (Yea, I know its cheap, but its fun.) Finally, she looked over at the stack of ammo and asked, Do you think you need anymore? At that point I decided I was starting to push my luck and told her that should be enough for along with what we have at home to last the weekend.

Just to recap, 150 .38 rounds, 150 .380 rounds, 150 .45 rounds, 100 .357 rounds and finally 200 .22LR rounds for a total of 750 more rounds. That should be enough ammo to keep us entertained for at least two hours.

But to me, the beauty of this story is not the ammo. Its the fact that my wife loves me enough to support my hobby. What more could you want from a woman? Beautiful, sexy, looks good in tight jeans and lets me buy obnoxious amounts of ammo.

Posted by Contagion at 06:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 05, 2007

Toe Jam.

I took last Thursday off from work. I figured I had some more vacation time coming to me and I needed to use it. Plus it gave me time to help prepare for the party. Since I had taken the time off, I also figured it would allow me to get some extra sleep. Yea, that didnt work.

Thursday morning Clone comes and wakes me up, saying hes hungry. Letting Ktreva sleep, cause she had the whole week off and was just plum exhausted not getting her 10 hours of sleep, I went to feed the boy. After I put him in his chair and got him his breakfast, it dawned on me that the whole house humidifier we have wasnt running. Sure enough, it was out of water. I pulled out the two 2.5 gallon tanks and filled them up. While walking back to the humidifier with the tank, it started to slip out of my hands. I moved really quickly to catch it, and at the same time driving my left foot right into Clones chair.

There was a pop and pain coming from my middle toe on my left foot. I looked at it, and it seemed okay. I went, finished getting dressed, including putting on socks and shoes and started about my day. The day was filled with shopping, that meant a lot of walking. By the time we got home that night my foot was throbbing and really aching. I told Ktreva I thought I broke my toe, and explained what happened. She told me to take off my sock and shoe so she could take a look at it.

As soon as I had the sock off she winced. My toe was black and purple. It had swollen up and looked like an over stuffed blood sausage. But most noticeably was the way it bent at a 30-degree angle to the left over the toe next to it. Yea, that didnt look right. She told me to go to the hospital. Why? Why would I go to the hospital? All they are going to do is take some x-rays, say there is nothing they can do and tape it up after straightening it out. Well except take my $50.00 ER copay. I had a broken toe some ten years ago and thats all they did then.

Ktreva ran and got the bandage tape we have while I straightened my toe. It only hurt for about 20 seconds when I pulled on it. It was the popping, crunching sound it made and the feel of it going back in place that really made the whole experience interesting. I taped it up and off I went. Of course I made sure I had my steel toed boots on at all times, no need for someone to needlessly step on it since it happened. Everything seems to be okay.

Sure its still a little swollen, and there is a good discoloration to it, but its feeling much better.

Posted by Contagion at 06:01 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 23, 2006

Catching up with friends.

Yesterday I left work at 11:00 AM to go meet up with T1G. This caused some stir in my employees because I had numerous ones ask if they could leave early and I had to say no. I had too many people off already. Then I leave early. Yea that was great.

T1G and I drove up to meet Harvey and Richmond at a Hooters in Wisconsin. I hadnt seen Harvey since Wolf Fest, and Richmond since Fritzfest. It was nice to be able to talk with the both of them again. Richmond, due to parental responsibilities, was running late. T1G, Harvey and myself kept trying to tell the wait staff there was going to be a fourth person there, but we dont think they believed another person would want to be seen with us. Then of course they kept insinuating that that fourth person was a male. I guess they didnt believe a female would want anything to do with rabble like us.

While we were there Harvey labeled me an Alcowhoric Scrinch. It had something to do with my willingness to do just about anything for alcohol and the fact that I'm not into Christmas. I've got a bad feeling that label is going to stick around for a long time.

After Harvey and Richmond had to leave, T1G went over to his brothers place o employment. People, T1Gs younger brother really looks nothing like T1G, based only on appearance you would never tell the two of them were related. However, they sound exactly alike. They have the same voice and speech patterns. If the two of them where having a conversation and you couldnt see who was talking, youd swear someone is talking to themselves. Im willing to bet they have to announce who they are when they call their mother. Hey Mom, its me, T1G.

Afterwards we headed down to Fritzs to drink there. T1G took some ribbing because hed been gone for so long that Fritz could no longer afford to send his daughter to college. It had something to do with profits dropping by about 50% since last June. Then I caught some flack for not going down there to pick up the slack of T1G leaving. I told Fritz and the regulars that I was instructed Im not allowed to go there while T1G is out of town, something about invading his turf. What was really cool was I hadnt been to Fritzs in about 8 months and they all remembered who I was and my name.

It was a good time. It was nice to see T1G before he makes his permanent move to Florida.

Posted by Contagion at 01:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Long day.

Its been one of those days. Ktreva woke up this morning and her voice is pretty much back. Its a little froggy, but she can definitely say in a loud and clear voice, I hope you like the couch. So tonight I camp in the living room again. Im not even sure what I did wrong. If I was doing something she didnt like, all she had to do was speak up and say so. I told her that a good dozen times. Yet, she didnt make a peep once.

Then I get to work and I start the day off thinking that its Friday and I get to leave at 11:00 to meet up with some people. Im rushing through my work to make sure everything is done, assigning projects for the days, sending out all of my Friday e-mails. To make matters worse, since I was sending out my Friday e-mails, my employees started thinking it was Friday. That was until one of my people responded to an e-mail, Did I miss a day, or isnt today Thursday? After a quick check of the calendar and a very audible, Doh, I quickly sent out all the updated e-mails. Of course by this time all of my employees where begging me to bend the space-time continuum and make it Friday.

Now, since Ive lost a day, the whole day went by at a snails pace. I mean everything seemed to take forever, even lunch. I ran some errands on lunch, finished some shopping and bought lunch. I thought I was running late, that I had been gone for over an hour. When I got back to my desk, I had only been gone for 35 minutes. It was at this point I vocally asked, Why? Why is this day going so slow? Lo and behold an ethereal voice responded with, Because you dont want to be here, you should take the rest of the day off. This suggestion sounded good until And give your employees the day off too. Then I realized one of my people heard my plea and was hiding behind the wall talking to me.

Which is actually good, because I was starting to doubt my sanity. Either that or I had proof that god exists, is female, and Im surely in big trouble. Instead I decided this employee needed some additional work, and gave it to them. Never let a good joke go unpunished people, but only if you are the target of it. It makes them think twice about playing a prank on you again.

Finally the end of the day came along, and I head home. Thanks to the traffic the trip took FOR-EV-ER. I really hate the fact that the only way from work to my house either takes me past the Mall or down some of the busiest streets in the city. Finally I get home, and I thought Id make a quick dinner so I could get into some Glogg to make the memory of the day go away. Well I started cooking it about an hour ago, apparently I cant bend the space-time continuum to change what day of the week it is, but I can to make Korv cook and potatoes boil. Now if youll excuse me, Im going to go see if I can make some beer disappear quickly.

Posted by Contagion at 05:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

It's lutefisk time!

In just a few minutes here Im going to be heading out with the boys for our annual Lutefisk dinner. Were all excited. Its been one day short of a year since the last time we were able to feast on the joyous delight that is lutefisk. If your not sure what lutefisk is, see this post from last year.

As part of the dinner tonight we will also have real Swedish meatballs and Korv (Swedish Christmas Sausage). There will also be rice pudding, new potatoes, fresh lingonberries, lefse, pickled beets and real rye bread. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Growing up in a Norwegian/Scottish household has exposed me to various different ethnic foods, and trust me I love every one of them.

For those of you that want to know what it looks like, here is some uncooked lutefisk.

Lutefisk.jpg


Doesn't that just look delicious?

Youll have to excuse me; Ive got to get ready to go now.

Posted by Contagion at 05:34 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 04, 2006

When I least expected it.

Just my luck. During all the snow fall and the resulting clean up on Friday, I didnt get hurt. Sure there was some muscle soreness, but nothing that wouldnt go away. This morning as Im walking out of the house I slip on an icy step. When I fell I drove my right knee into the ground. This is the knee I had surgery on 3 years ago.

I just got back from the doctor. Hes pretty sure Ill be okay, but Im supposed to take it easy on it for the next couple of days. Well see how that floats with the rest of the family. Now excuse me, Im going to go take some painkillers and watch a movie.

Posted by Contagion at 12:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

over.

Its over folks. Thanksgiving 2006 has finally come to an end. My in-laws are on their way back to Kansas. My parents and sister are off doing their own thing with a resounding, I have plans today and tomorrow. I tried my damnedest to be civil the whole time; unfortunately Ktreva did bear some of the frustration last night after everyone had gone back to their hotels.

I opted to not take the Jack Daniels route as I thought that with everything else going on, it might just cause me to explode in an angry fit of honesty. Where that would have been much blog fodder, it also probably would have caused much strife in the Contagion household. At one point yesterday I was ready to take some of that new ammo and redecorate the interior of my living room brain matter grey and not necessarily my in-laws. It was just a passing thought with no seriousness to it, but still.

This morning before everyone went their separate ways we all had breakfast, that was fun. Especially since overnight Ktreva came down with the flu and I had to deal with all the boys, my parents, my sister, and my in-laws all by myself with no support. I think at this time I really should explain something to everyone. When I have family functions, I tend to not stay for more then 2-3 hours before leaving. Especially if there is extended family involved. I really hate some of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Many of my readers may not understand that, as I know you are close with your families. Im not. Ive always been the black sheep, the different one, and the one that doesnt think, act or behave like everyone else. After three hours of dealing with these people, Im ready to get the fark out of Dodge. On Thursday I spent 9.5 hours with them, yesterday I spent 8.5 hours with them, and this morning I spent 2 hours with them. Ive spent more time with my family and in-laws in the last three days then I have in the last 12 months.

But at least there was some humor out of the whole situation. This morning on the TV I saw a commercial for Lowes. They where talking about some sale, I wasnt paying attention, but I did catch one piece from it. That way you can have you house all finished before your in-laws say, this room will look nice once you finish it. That spoke volumes to me. Ktreva has been working on the woodwork in our living room for 7 years. She is nowhere done with it. She was the one that wanted to do it, and took the job on; she doesnt want me touching it. Yesterday her grandmother said to me, This room will look nice once you finish the woodwork you started 7 years ago. When she is speaking about Ktreva and I, its yall so she meant me.

The kicker is that this morning at breakfast my mother, Ktreva's mom, and Ktreva's Grandmother decided this is going to be an annual tradition. They are going to do this every Thanksgiving. I think next year I'm going to find a part time job working security at the mall.

Ahh such is life. Anyway, youll have to excuse me; I need to go check to see if Ktrevas chunder bucket needs emptying.

Posted by Contagion at 10:49 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 24, 2006

I went shopping on Black Friday?

Its black Friday, and as Ive stated in the past there is nothing that would make me want to go out shopping today. Well that was until yesterday. Between the Thanksgiving feedings the lady folks got together to look at adds for today. Ktreva found an add from Dicks Sporting goods that stated ammo was 50% off today only from 5:30 AM to 2:00 PM, maximum 6 boxes. This morning I woke up around 6:30 AM and headed into the madness that is Black Friday. I didnt think ammo was that big of a Christmas commodity, so I didnt wake up too early.

Dicks wasnt that busy when I arrived, and they did have their ammo on sale. I picked up 4 boxes of .357 and 2 boxes of .45 ACP. After I made my purchases, I called my friends J-man and Graumagus to advise them to get off their butts and head down there while the sale is still going on. Then I had a moment of genius. I have a friend that works at Gander Mountain and is working today. Maybe I could get Gander Mountain to honor the competitors sale, thus getting another 6 boxes of ammo at 50% off.

Gander Mountain was also not busy upon arrival. I was able to find my friend and I asked if they would honor their competitors sale. He advised me that normally they dont, especially on Black Friday, just because of the nature of the sales. Then he added that since I had the ad with me AND because Ive purchased a lot from them over the last year they would match the deal. Unfortunately their ammo selection had been picked over. They had the same Remington .357, but they didnt have the .45 ACP. But they did have it in the Blazer Brass. I decided I needed another 100 rounds of .45, and picked up the Blazer Brass.

Then my friend looked at the coupon, much closer then I did. The actual sale is buy one, get one at 50% off. Dicks (Whom the ad is for) gave me all the ammo at 50% off. Heck, the guy working the counter even told me that all the ammo was 50% off. I may not have gotten as good of a deal from Gander Mountain, but it was still good enough. Between the two sporting good stores, I ended up with 600 rounds of Ammo for just over $110.00.
One cant argue with that. I normally spend that amount buying half of what I bought.

Ammo 002.jpg

Isnt that a pretty sight?

Posted by Contagion at 06:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 23, 2006

Big Holiday Fun.

Happy Thanksgiving. Its that time of year when all Americans get together to give thanks for everything theyve received over the last year. As some of you may recall I had a horrible experience with my family at Thanksgiving last year and vowed that I was going to do my own thing this year. Around September my in-laws advise my wife they want to come to town to spend Thanksgiving with us. We, meaning me as I do 95% of the cooking for special occasions, are not prepared to cook for that many people. Fortunately my mother says she wants us to come over to her house, none of my aunts, uncles or cousins are coming. We told my mother that Ktrevas Mom and Grandparents are coming to town, so my mother told us we could all go over to her house.

This sounds like its a good deal right? Nope, my in-laws dont like me. Comments that have been made to me are along the lines of Im controlling Ktreva, holding her back, keeping her from seeing her family, not providing well for the family, etc. My favorite was five years ago when one of them told me, We just dont like you. Ktreva doesnt believe any of this, because they are all nice to me when shes with in earshot, but not when shes not around. They also make comments to her that leads her to believe that they like me.

So far this Thanksgiving is going to be dealing with my Mother, who thinks shes the boys mother and that Im still 16. My sister who thinks Im too hard on the boys. My in-laws that hate me and my father, who will be my only ally that may help me out.

So this Thanksgiving Im thankful for Jack Daniels. It calms my stomach, my nerves and in the right moderation will keep my brain just soaked enough to not care.

On a lighter note, I have Thanksgiving presents for every one in the extended entry.


Thanksgiving.jpg
For the Gals

Sexy Thanksgiving.jpg
For the Guys


Posted by Contagion at 08:58 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

My dreams are dashed.

Im still alive. Yesterday did not go as planned. After grabbing all the gear I loaded up the family into the truck and headed to the MetroCentre. Ktreva kept telling me the whole time that I was being foolish and I was going to get hurt. Finally as I approached the sign-in table she stepped in front of me, crossed her arms, hitched her hips and stuck out a leg. She said, and I quote, If you sign that piece of paper to try out, you are going to be in more trouble then you can imagine. Trust me, you dont want that kind of trouble. Oh, and you know that thing I occasionally do that you really like, that you say I'm really good at and want me to do more of keep it up and never again.

Thus I ended up watching the tryouts from the sidelines. There were some guys down on the field that made me look svelte and others that made me look like I was a professional athlete. I dont know how many of them actually made the team. After a couple of hours I left and met up with Graumagus at Hooters for beer, hot wings and the afternoon game. Yea, it tore up my stomach, but it tasted real good.

So my dreams of being a UIF football player have been dashed. On a lighter note, when we left the building I realized that I had forgotten Clones backpack at our seats. While running in to get it, I stepped wrong and gave myself a leg cramp. Maybe it was a good idea that I didnt try out.

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November 19, 2006

Time to bulk up.

Right now Ktreva isnt speaking to me. Shes very upset at a decision Ive made. Today the Rock River Raptors are having open try-outs, and after much deliberation Ive decided to try out. For those of you that dont remember, the Raptors are the local United Indoor Football league team that I support.

Every time I watch a football game I see guys on the field and I think to myself, I can block better then that. Now I know the NFL players would kill me, but this is the UIF. These are the guys that werent good enough to make the NFL, CFL or even the AFL. I actually stand a chance against these guys. So Im going to try to get a position on the line, offensive or defensive.

Sure I havent played football in 17 years, Im out of shape and have some medical problems, but next year I will be too old to try out. If Im going to do it, this is the year. In about two hours Im going to head down to the MetroCentre and try to walk onto the team. Right now Ktreva is giving me a laundry list of reasons for why I shouldnt do it. Mainly because Im out of shape, have some medical problems, will probably create some new medical problems and Im just too old for this type of nonsense. She mentioned how I cant bounce back from injuries like I used to do. Bah! What does she know anyway?

On a slightly related note, Ive heard from numerous people that the Raptors have a commercial with me in it. From what Ive been told they focus on me at one point when Im cheering the team during a game. I have yet to see this commercial, so Im not sure how big of a dork I actually look like.

Well, Im going to go get ready and argue with Ktreva some more. Wish me luck! And I promise to give you an update later on how I did.

Posted by Contagion at 10:12 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 07, 2006

Contagion for Governor

Tonight after work I went out and did my civic duty and voted. Of course we had a dogs dinner choice for some of the positions. Now I know many people scoff at me for this, but being an Independent, I didnt feel the need to vote for either party in certain races. Thus I did the only other thing I could, I wrote in people I felt would do a better job.

For Governor of Illinois: Myself. Hell, whats the worst I could do? Looking at the choices, I figured I couldnt screw things up much worse then either of them can or have.

For Congress: I wrote in General John Borling. I dont agree with all of his platforms, but I agree with him on more then the other two. Plus I agree with his stance that both the Republicans and Democrats are out for themselves. In this race Id just love to see him actually place high enough to send a loud message to both parties in this state. According to a radio interview I heard a Republican or Democrat needs 600 signatures to get on the ballot, other parties need 900, however an Independent needs 16,000. Instead of wasting money and time he decided to run a write in-campaign. I may be off on the number of votes as it was two weeks ago I heard the interview, but it was some ridiculous larger number of signatures he would need.

For Illinois General Assembly: I wrote in Ktreva. The incumbent, Chuck Jefferson, ran unopposed and I dont agree with the man on nearly every point of his politics. Thus it was either write someone in or dont vote for that race at all.

For the School Superintendent: I wrote in my buddy Wes. Id like to see him in charge of the schools. It could get interesting. Again there was only one name on the ballot, and I didnt like the choice.

So there you have it people. If you dont like the candidates you can write people in. Is it throwing your vote away? Yea, it probably is. However, if enough people do it, maybe it will send up a red warning flag that we want real candidates and not the idiots that are being put forth in their place.

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October 31, 2006

Scaring up some fun.

Halloween is here. Im just taking a break from getting the house ready for the kids. Every year I decorate the house and entertain the local kids with a haunted house. The yard is done up as a graveyard, there are smoke machines, and numerous static displays. We actually have people that drive into the neighborhood just to see what we do each year. Every year I try to take pictures at night, unfortunately they never turn out very well. This year I took pictures during the day just so you can get an idea of some of the stuff we do.


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Bob is hanging around the yard to welcome the youngsters as they approach.

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A specter is active in his coffin. (Gentle movement and a strobe light)

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Even the upstairs ghost came out to take a peak. (When it gets dark, she moves violently and glows.)


I hope everyone has a Happy and Safe Halloween. Oh, and before I forget. If you scare anyone, I want stories.

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October 24, 2006

I can see again.

Im sorry its taken me so long to update, Ive had an interesting time over the last couple of days. Right now Im not going to go into detail about the re-enactment, but I will regale with a tale that started out at the event. Saturday night while trying to avoid hypothermia from the bone chilling cold rain and wind my eyeglasses broke. That wasnt that big of a deal as Im far-sighted and only really need the glasses to see anything closer than arms length to my face. In other words with out my glasses if I cant old the print out far enough, then I just cant read it.

This only presented a problem when trying to do things like read the gages on my truck, or anything on a computer. My old glasses wouldnt even hold a lens and stay on my face come Monday morning. Fortunately I had Monday off. I took Boopie to school, hit the bank to make a deposit. As a side note I think the tellers had a lot of fun watching me try to fill out a deposit slip. With out my glasses Im writing it at arms-length. Ever try to fill out a deposit slip at arms length? Fortunately the teller took pity on my and offered to do it for me. Which I was grateful for and annoyed about at the same time, I hate it when I cant do things for myself. Since I had given myself a headache trying to fill it out, I let myself be dotted on like a senile old man.

After the bank I went to the mall. It had the only Lens Crafters near me that could do glasses in an hour. I couldnt go a week with out my glasses. When I get to the mall, I realize Im about 40 minutes early. All the stores are closed and the only people there are mall walkers, you know the people that do laps around the mall for exercise. Not wanting to sit around like some kind of store stalker, I decided to be the youngest old person there. I started doing laps around the mall. Hell, I was partially blind anyway.

When the store opened, they wouldnt just get me new glasses. Since its been three years since my last eye exam, they wanted to do a new one to make sure nothing had changed. Eh, it needed to be done anyway. They did a quick repair of my old glasses just so I could take the tests. This is what we learned during the exam. A) Im still partially colorblind. 2) I have 60/20 vision at distances. I can see at 60 feet what most normal people can see at 20. C) Im damn near legally blind at less then 2.5 feet from my face. I completely failed the up close reading test. I only got the first line right, E, and thats because I guessed. It was blurry and could have been an E, 8, H, 6, 9, 5, 2, or R. But since most eye charts start with an E, thats what I said. Then I admitted I could just barely make it out.

Then to make things worse they had to check the inside of my eye, so they gave me these drops that made my eyes dilate. That was fun; they warned me my vision was going to be blurry for a while after. While the drops took affect, they sent me out to pick out frames. As my vision quickly deteriorated I had to pick out frames. Do you know how hard it is to pick out frames when you cant see? Fortunately they have a 30-day money back guarantee, because I think I picked out frames I like, but I really couldnt see to tell you the truth.

With frames picked out they told me that since I wanted the UV protection, glare resistant lenses it would take a week to get them. Apparently the glasses in an hour thing only apply if you get cheap frames and the minimalist of lenses. Again I explained I couldnt wait a week for my new glasses, as I needed them right away. The girl helping me said she would have my old frames repaired for free as a temporary fix. She told me that if they didnt last until I received my new glasses, they would even set me up with a temporary pair using my old lenses.

The whole time Im going through this, my eyesight is worsening. Finally they call me back in for the final part of the exam. Alls well, my prescription hasnt changed that much and other than my myopia, my eyes are fine. Then I ask how long before my vision comes back. The doctor tells me three hours. WHAT?!?!?!?! I drove myself here; I cant wait around the mall for three hours until my vision returns to normal. Ill go insane! The doctor offers to give me some drops that will help restore the vision quicker, but she warns me that it stings pretty badly. Hey, I dont care. Ill take the physical pain over the mental pain of being in the Mall longer than I need to be.

Well the doctor wasnt laying the restoration drops stung worse than campfire smoke in the eyes, but it was worth it. I only had to wait around the mall for an additional 30 minutes. By the time I returned home, I had a headache that wouldnt go away. By the time everything returned to normal and the headache went completely away it was late in the day.

Anyway, thats why I havent posted until now.

Posted by Contagion at 06:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 18, 2006

End of days?

Tonight I get a call from an automated message service from my doctors office. The results of my biopsy are in. I needed to call the message service and find out the results. When the procedure was done, they told me this is how they get the information to the patients faster. They gave me my unique identification number and had me set up a PIN.

I called the service and this is the message I received, The results of your biopsy are inconsistent with your condition. You need to contact your doctor during the next business day. SON OF A BEAOTCH! Yea, that was helpful. Know what that tells me? NOTHING! It actually has me worried that they found something horrible and the doctor has to break the news to me personally. All I can think right now is that I have some kind of horrible disease that is killing me slowly.

The kicker of this whole thing is that Im getting ready to leave town for the weekend, and the next day Im going to be able to call the doctor when he has office hours is Monday. That means all weekend Im going to be sitting around wondering if Im slowly dying. Which, I know Im not, if that was the case the doctors office would have called right away, but my mind cant get off the worse case scenario.

I think Ive finally hit the stage where Im honestly worried. Up to now I figured it was nothing, wed treat it and all would be right in the world again. Now Im thinking that maybe this is something serious and maybe Im looking at the beginning of a long down fall.

Now excuse me while I go have a long conversation with my therapist, Jack Daniels.

Posted by Contagion at 05:45 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 12, 2006

It was delightful.

Theyve been calling for it all week long. Many people didnt think it would happen, but it did. Today, we had snow. Not just a flurry, but actually accumulation. Of course not long after it stopped snowing it started to melt right away, but it was there. On the rooftops and in some yards there is still about an eighth inch of snow.

At one point it looked like a full-blown blizzard. I looked out the windows at work, and you couldnt see across the parking lot. I half expected there to be news reports of school closings. My employees where lamenting the snow. Of course following all first snows of the year, there were plenty of accidents. It seems like it takes a couple of good snows before the majority of idiots remember how to drive in the white stuff.

And while some people were lamenting the snow, I was rejoicing in it. Snow is fun; it means its cold, but not too cold. Its a nice comfortable feeling that allows you to wear the flannels with out sweating your nards off. In celebration of the glorious weather, I was singing Let it Snow all day at work.

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October 04, 2006

The good, the bad and my stomach.

I actually had my procedure today. Things went much better then last time. IE, they did NOT try to stick a camera up my butt! The procedure wasn’t too bad and even though I’m still feeling the side effects, I’m doing well.

Good: They actually found something.

Bad: They have no clue as to what the hell it is. They did a biopsy to see if they could get more information.

Bad: My esophageal ring is damaged and weakened. IE it doesn’t close all the way and any stomach irritation could cause it to open and release the contents of my stomach into my esophagus. IE the vomiting. They can’t fix this… but it could heal on its own in time.

Bad: I have an extremely nasty case of GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease). I swear the doctor said that if it keeps up like this I’m going to be able to spit stomach acid like a spitting cobra shoots venom. The only thing to do with this is treat it with medication.

Bad: My stomach is producing ungodly amounts of stomach acid for no reason what so ever. After not eating for 12 hours or drinking anything for 6, my stomach should have been relatively calm. From the photo’s I saw it looked like some violent tumultuous pool of acid seen only in Super Hero comic books and Movies. Again, this is treatable with medication… a lot of it.

At least I know what’s going in, if not the “why” behind it.

Oh, and during the procedure they made a mistake and were able to see my black shriveled heart. I’m kidding; we all know I have no heart.

Posted by Contagion at 04:19 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

September 21, 2006

Yea, I'm still around.

Okay, so technically I could have posted an update yesterday, but I damn well didn’t feel like it. Yesterday was about as productive as a blind man sorting crayons by color. Everything started off all right. I get to the doctor’s office, did the check in thing, answered their questions and went to wait. I figured I’d have to wait a good hour before getting in, that’s how it usually works, doesn’t it? Not here, I was in talking to the nurse 20 minutes ahead of my scheduled time. That, however, is where my day starts to break down.

The nurse is asking me more questions. Well, actually she is getting clarification of my answer on the background form. This actually led to some mirth for me. The nurse says, “On the form it says you drink alcohol 2-3 times a week, how much do you drink?” Being as honest as possible I answer with, “I’ve been known to drink a case or two.” Nurse, “Over the weekend?” Me, “To be honest I’ve been known to do that in one night. Of late I’ve been drinking about a bottle of Jack Daniels over a two day span.” The nurse looked at me like I had issues.

Then she asks me if I have any medication allergies. I’m not aware of any, so I told her I didn’t. She then asked me if I was allergic to Novocain. I started off telling her no, but then I remembered an incident that happened 3 years ago at the dentist. He was doing some work on my teeth and gave me some Novocain. My bottom lip swelled up to three times its normal size. After four hours it returned to normal. It was a one time thing and I don’t know if it is an allergy or not, so I told her that. This is when I received the shock of the day. She says to me, “Do you want me to mark that as an allergy? Because we can use something else when we do the procedure or we can attempt it again if you prefer.” Me, “Why would I need Novocain?” Nurse,” They numb your sphincter before inserting the camera in your rectum.” Me, “WHAT?!?!?!?!?! I’m here for stomach problems. I know of a much shorter route to get a camera into my stomach that up my butt!” As I’m saying it I’m making a hand gesture of a camera going through my colon. (Think of someone tracing the entire large and small colon with their hand.) If I did have a Novocain allergy, I would hate to have my sphincter swell up to three times it’s normal size. I’m not thinking that would be pleasant.

The nurse looks at the file she has, “Mr., Contagion, what’s your date of birth.” I give it to her and at that point the nurse has a small chuckle and says she grabbed the file for another patient of theirs that has the same name as me but is having problems in the opposite end of the digestive tract then I do. Unfortunately this is not the first time this has happened to me in Rockford, so I get how the mistake happens. I’m just glad it’s not me that’s going to have a camera going where no man has gone, nor wants to, before. I do feel sorry for that other poor bastard.

We get that all straightened out, she gets the new file comes in and takes my blood pressure. She tells me it’s up from when I saw my doctor last a couple of weeks ago. I tell her of course it is, I’m in a gastroenterologists office and you just told me you wanted to stick a camera up my butt. That’s not a soothing situation.

The doctor comes in and asks more questions, does a physical, but not a COMPLETE physical. I even made sure to remind him, stomach problems, not colon problems. Then they end up just having me do the barium test. They didn’t even do the complete procedure; they just did a bunch of pre-procedure procedures to make sure they know what they are looking for. Now I have to go back in two weeks to finish.
Thus I was off my meds for 3 days, my stomach was a wreck, I feel like I swallowed a chunk of granite and I still have to go through all really rough stuff in 2 weeks. Two more weeks of wondering and speculation at what is wrong. How annoying.

At least they aren’t going to stick a camera up my arse!

Posted by Contagion at 03:03 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

September 18, 2006

My private orchestra.

Last Saturday Tammi of Tammi’s world asked the question. “What’s your favorite thing about rain?” In the comments I made the statement of how relaxing a good cool fall rain is. There was nothing more relaxing than that. Then Saturday night after midnight I was out on the front porch smoking a cigarette. Ktreva had gone to bed already, and the boys were sleeping. There I stood, leaning against the railing enjoying the quiet evening air. And it was quiet. Quiet for living in the middle of a city of 150,000 people. No sirens, no planes, no yelling and even the motor vehicle traffic was almost non-existent.

The only sounds were the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees and crickets. The gentle breeze would pull the smoke off the end of the cigarette and make it dance. The thin wisps of smoke licking up into the air, twisting and twirling, dissipating until the human eye could no longer see it. The crickets played a gentle symphony to which the smoke danced. They drew their legs across each other like bows across a violin. The percussion of the leaves in the breeze complimented the crickets. Like natures orchestra, they played a haunting song. A song that cut to the heart of one’s soul and touches a person in ways they don’t expect.

Their tune brought back memories. Of good times long gone and friends lost. My mind filled with images that had been forgotten. Faces and places that I hadn’t thought of in at least 10 years. Times that when I reminisce with my friends, we have forgotten. All good memories that made me smile.

…And I was relaxed. Calmness spread over me that many people spend years and thousands of dollars trying to achieve. All my concerns and worries had vanished from me. The muscles in my neck and back had loosened from the tension that was in them earlier in the day. Clarity came to me and everything fell into place. I was relaxed more then any other time in my life.

All due to crickets.

Posted by Contagion at 06:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This is helping

My damn nerves are finally kicking in. This Wednesday I’m supposed to have my little exploratory procedure done. I’m not nervous about the procedure itself, I’ve been though worse, it’s what they might find out that has me bothered. I’ve had blood work and bunch of other tests done and so far all I’m getting is, “We’d rather not speculate until we get confirmation.” Even after a thorough arse chewing they still felt, “It would be a mistake to discuss possibilities until we know more.” Gar!!!! Bastards!

I don’t know what’s worse not knowing, suspecting the doctors know something and my speculating as to what it is or actually knowing.

Posted by Contagion at 05:32 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 05, 2006

Come Hell or High Water.

Yesterday after the grilling fun we had an interesting development. Ktreva needed to take Boopie to the store to buy some new school clothes. She wasn’t gone 5 minutes when she called the house to say that the intersection of Charles and 20th (In Rockford) was underwater. There was a car stalled out in the middle of the intersection the water was running so high. It looked like a river flowing over the road, it was pushing stalled around. Cars in parking lots were being pushed into the street. Here’s a photo from her camera phone.

Flood 2006.jpg
Charles St and 20th.
Click to enlarge.

We then found out that all the major roads around us where flooded and we couldn’t go anywhere. She came home as to not risk getting caught in one of the flash floods. We noticed a huge increase of traffic on our street. We figured people were using our street as a throughway to get past all the flooded main roads. Then one after another rescue vehicles with lights and sirens kept passing the house. At first we thought there was a house fire or they where going to the hospital. One of the hospitals is on Charles Street.

Ktreva went out onto the front porch and saw that one of the trucks was just half a block away. I went running down to see what was going on. When I came to the corner I saw that they where just there doing traffic control for a bigger emergency 2 blocks north. I headed down to see what was happening. That was when I received a shock. The Fire Department Emergency Rescue Squad was unloading a boat in the street. The water had rose enough that people where trapped inside houses. It was chest deep on the firefighters. They where evacuating the neighborhood just north of my house.

To make matters worse, the water was still rising. Trying not to stay out of the way, I asked one of the firefighters in a truck if I needed to evacuate my family. He told me that the water would have to rise 5 more feet before it even got to my house, let alone blocked us in. Just to be safe I ran, literally, home and told Ktreva, “This is NOT a panic situation, this is just being prepared. I want you to go pack some clothes for yourself and the boys. There’s flooding two blocks north of us and they are evacuating that part of the neighborhood. We are currently safe, and they officials do not feel we are in any immediate threat.” Next I called Wes of Bodhran (Drum) roll, please who lives two houses down from me. I spoke with his lovely wife and advised her of the situations. Again, I told her this is not a panic situation, just be prepared.

Grabbing a camera I went to check out the street on the other side of our house. The water here was only about a block away. I quickly snapped a picture, then the camera died. Unfortunately the picture didn’t turn out to well, but here is what the view was just a block from my house. If you look closely you can see cars floating. (Yes, they where floating).

Flood 2006 002.jpg
Click to Enlarge

I offered my assistance to the firefighters, but the declined my help. I guess I can understand, it’s been ten years since I was certified last in water rescue. Not that they knew that, I think they where more concerned about me getting in their way. The water never did reach us, in fact it wasn't long after the above picture was taken that the rain stopped and the flood starting subsiding.

I will say one thing about Mayor Morrissey, The Rockford Fire Department, The Rockford Police Department, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and all the surrounding agencies (We saw a Loves Park water rescue vehicle in the neighbor hood as well). They did an excellent job responding. They had the situation well in hand and even though numerous families where rendered homeless, they had emergency shelters set up and ready for them.

Depending on what report you hear, some areas received between 5-12 inches of rain in under 4 hours. Of course the weathermen and newscasters played this up as “Katrina style rains” (roll eyes), but it was nasty. The officials had no forewarning the weather would be like this, or that anything of this magnitude was going to happen. And since they want to compare this gully washer to Katrina, we had better emergency response then New Orleans.

Posted by Contagion at 06:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 04, 2006

This boy ain't right.

Okay, maybe I have issues. Heavy rain, still grilling. Hail, still grilling. Severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for my area; I’m still outside grilling.
Then the sirens and the TV is interrupted. “The national weather service has issued a tornado warning for your area. Law Enforcement officials have spotted a tornado and radar has confirmed rotation. What do I do? Do I head to the basement? No. Do I watch the radar to see where it’s going? No. Maybe I sat out on the front porch to see if I could spot the tornado, not this guy. No, I head out the backdoor to the grill to pull the brisket off.

I spent 6 hours cooking that chunk of meat; I am NOT letting the storm get it.

BTW, it was delicious.

Posted by Contagion at 04:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 31, 2006

Tempting the fates.

Just a little update for anyone who is curious about my medical conditions. My medication is starting to fail at exponential rates, foods have gotten more and more difficult to handle. Water has caused such a flair up yesterday that I was contemplating giving up any liquid intake all together. My next appointment is in a couple of weeks.

I actually took enough prescription and over the counter medication to stop all digestive movement in my bowels for two days. IE I wasn’t hungry because nothing was digesting, which left another unpleasant feeling of a giant gut bomb. The only thing that seems to keep my stomach under control is Jack Daniel’s. Right now you are probably shaking your head in disbelief much like Ktreva and two doctors I’m seeing. Look, I can’t explain it. I don’t know why, I don’t know how but if my stomach is acting up and I drink about three fingers of Jack, it calms down and all is well with the world. The problem is that I’m not allowed to drink at work.

My employees have actually started to notice something is up and have asked some questions with out breaching company policy. It’s nice to know that they are either concerned or are faking it in a misguided belief that it’s protecting their jobs. Either way it makes me feel like I’m doing some good there.

But now we get to the point of the title. Tonight at the store I ran through the liquor department to pick up some “medicine” (Aka Jack Daniel’s). While I was passing the refrigerator case I notice a six pack of Bass Ale sitting there calling my name. Other then my weekly beer review, I haven’t had much beer. I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t help myself. I bought the six-pack and have been drinking on it for about 2 hours now.

Sure, this might be a bad idea, but I don’t care. I like my beer!

Posted by Contagion at 08:06 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Into the unknown.

All right, there are just enough people out there that know about a secret I’ve been keeping that I feel I might as well just talk about it. Ever since I was in College I’ve had persistent ulcers. Treated with medication it was under control. There were still certain things I couldn’t eat because it would cause a flair up, but nothing serious. In June I started having more persistent problems as well as acid reflux. I would vomit for no good reason and occasionally there was blood in it.

Being the stubborn arse that I am, I just put it off to ulcers. That was until after vacation when the constant heart burn, acid reflux and vomiting went of for weeks. I finally went to the doctor to have it checked out. Not being one that likes to be kept in the dark, I asked my doctor what it was and of course his answer was that it was too soon to tell. I figured that much out, but I needed to know best and worst case. He told me that the best case is that I have a really bad ulcer that is going to need immediate attention. The worst case was a malignant neoplasm of the stomach. I had all the symptoms and side effects. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s the big “C”, Cancer.

Just this week I went in for another follow up. I was told that he had good news and bad news. (Of course… there’s always good and bad news isn’t there?). Bad news, it’s definitely not ulcers. The good news is that there is a 99% chance it’s not cancer. Then he hit me with, “But we still don’t know what is causing the problem.” I’ve been put on a very restrictive diet for almost a month now, and I’m still having problems. I’m scheduled to have an exploratory procedure done in September so they can get a better look at my innards.

The occasional beer is okay, but if I drink more then a couple I know I’m in for a night of pain and vomiting. However, my wife and my doctor find it strange that when I drink Jack Daniel’s I have no pain, no discomfort and no side effects. Thus I’m sticking to my guns by saying that Jack Daniels to me, is like Spinach to Popeye.

Now I could lie and say that I’m not scared. Frankly folks, I’m still worried. I have a family that I have to take care of and I want to see the boys grow up and actually be able to meet my grandkids. Death doesn’t scare me, but no one looking out for my family does.

I’m not looking for sympathy, and frankly I really don’t want any. I figure this is the karmic wheel paying me back for some of the shit I pulled in my younger days. I just needed to get if off my chest. I needed to write it down, just to get it off my chest.

Posted by Contagion at 07:15 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

August 20, 2006

Another perfect weekend

Sorry, We just got back from the Galesburg Heritage festival. I’ll fill you all in later, right now I’m tired. But I will share some tidbits with you, tomorrow when I post on it, you’ll hear about Contagion the model, Threatening to shoot the public, the tallest submariner in the world, goats (Goats?!), and a lot of fun.

Posted by Contagion at 08:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 09, 2006

Free makes it good.

It’s nice making friends with people that work the gun counters in sporting goods stores. Besides the obvious reasons of discounts and inside tracks on firearms and ammo, you get the benefit of being the test subject for new products.

I had been visiting a local sporting goods store for a while now perusing their shooting supplies, buying ammo and just generally talking to the counter guys about various things… like, “How come you’re so much cheaper then that other big name sporting good store in town?� Today I go in and the guy working the counter sees me and waves me over. He pulls out a box of .38 ammo and says, “My supplier is trying to get us to start carrying this ammo. I don’t have any experience with it. I’ll give you a box if you test it and tell me what you think.�

Well hell yeah! I’m gonna take a free 50 rounds of .38 special full metal jacketed ammunition. He goes back to the stock room and brings out this box. I look at it, and start to have second thoughts. Why? 90% of the writing on the box is in Spanish! Aguila Ammunition. .38 especial. Cartuchos de fuego centrat. Detonador Non-Corr/Non-Corr Priming Mantengase fuera del alcance de los ninos! But the price was right and I couldn’t pass it up.

So if any of you out there know anything about Aguila Ammunition, let me know. Other ways I’m going to find out first hand this weekend.

Posted by Contagion at 04:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 04, 2006

Shots and friends.

All right, it’s Friday night, I’m home, and I have this brand new Jack Daniels dispenser I’ve been aching to try out. So we all know what that means. Yes, Mr. Contagion has been drinking. Before I go into too much detail, I’ve had a couple of people ask me exactly what it is that I bought.

Duh, it’s a Jack Daniel’s dispenser! Think beer taper, except it’s for hard liquor. You place a bottle in it and when you open the valve it pours you a perfectly measured drink. Well, at least that was what I was told. Anyone that has seen me drink Jack knows that what is perfectly measured for me, and what is perfectly measured for everyone else is two different things.

Now of course I could have gotten one of the many new fangled pre-measure pour spouts… but what fun is that?!?! This is pretty much the same thing, except that the holder is made from a barrel they actually used to make Jack Daniel’s. Thus this is better, the fact that it’s signed by the Jimmy Bedford, head distiller of Jack Daniel’s, makes it a shrine in this house.

Well after reading about Bloodspite trying to base jump with out a chute and Quality Weenie being down on her luck, I figured it was time to break her in and have a drink or twelve for them. Hey it’s my liver and I’ll do what I want! Plus I've had the pleasure, nay the honor of meeting both of them, I feel it's my civic duty! Crap, glass is empty… I’ll be right back. Okay back… sorry. Anyway, so I popped the ol’ bottle in and decided I needed to figure out how much it pours when the valve is opened.

The answer is about 1.2 ounces or 35 Ml. Now, whoever made this contraption is a little off. Depending on where you go, a standard shot is 1 to 1.5 ounces. It’s usually closer to 1 ounce. Where the hell did they come up with 1.2 ounces? Eh, who cares, It’s not like I drink it by the shot anyway. I’ll just hit the valve three times and be happy.

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July 17, 2006

That's what I call hot.

I’ll write about my weekend later, but first I thought you might enjoys some eye witness first-hand photos of an incident that happened on Interstate-39 just south of Interstate-80 at mile marker 58.

My wife and I were heading back from our re-enactment. Clone didn’t come with to this event; instead he stayed with my sister. She lives in Bloomington and we met halfway between Rockford and Bloomington at a town called Oglesby, we were picking up Clone there. We had just turned off of 80 heading south on 39 when we ran into a traffic jam. GREAT! I love traffic on major highways. It was moving slowly, so at least it wasn’t a stand still. There was a squad car blocking the road directing people to the right line. Then there was another directing people off the road completely, not onto the shoulder, but into the grassy ditch alongside the road. More emergency vehicles where arriving as we waited to get through.

I couldn’t see what had happened at this point. I made the comment that I was glad we were in my truck, because it was better suited for off-roading then Ktreva’s mini-van is. Okay, my truck was built for off-roading. It wasn’t until we got close did I see what happened. Fortunately, the Digital Camera was in the cab of the truck. Ktreva snapped these pictures.

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My first thought was, “Holy crap, the concrete buckled from the heat.” Today I called the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and spoke with a person there regarding the incident. She advised me that the concrete had not buckled, but had exploded from the heat. She explained that buckling takes time to happen. On really hot days, the roadway can expand fast with no release, that when the pressure builds up enough it will literally explode. That is what happened here on 39. She said it happened twice yesterday, once around 1:00 PM and again around 5:00 PM (which is when we drove by).

Based on the time of the incident, we had to have arrived on the seen with in minutes of it happening. That makes me real happy that we didn’t get out of there any sooner. Once we got past the bad pavement there was a line of vehicles from full ton pick up trucks pulling a trailer to Dodge Neons on the shoulder with everything from flat tires to what appeared to be broken axels and radiators. If you look at the pictures you can see it was about a 1 and a half-foot high ridge in the road.

After picking up Clone we had to head back that way. We had stopped to get gas and eat, so it was about an hour later when we drove back. They had road crews there working on it; unfortunately the traffic was still backed up. They were now directing them through the ditch in the median around the bad section of road.

Posted by Contagion at 12:48 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

The sitter is on the way.

For the first time in 18 months I’m taking my wife on an official date. We have a sitter, I’m taking her to a nice restaurant and then I’m taking her to see a movie that she wants to see. It’s been so long since the last time just the two of us went out, it’s almost like it’s a first date.

The best thing is, I’m pretty sure I’m going to score tonight.

Posted by Contagion at 03:55 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

Surprise fireworks!

Normally on the Fourth of July we have a big party at our house and invite a bunch of friends over to eat and socialize. This year due to sinking a ton of money into the house in June, we decided to save money and not have the party. In fact we decided not to do much of anything other then have me due some grilling. I picked up a couple of thick pork chops and slowly bar-b-qued them for over an hour. At this point I want to warn all of my southern readers, I did use a bottled bar-b-que sauce. I don’t have the time, patience nor desire to make my own sauce. However, I am always on the lookout for a good bottled one. If you know of any, I’d be more then willing to give them a try.

While the meat was cooking, we set of some totally legal in Illinois fireworks; smoke bombs. Clone had packages and packages of Pop-itz. (The small teardrop shaped pieces of paper that pop when you throw them on the ground). He didn’t quite get the concept at first that they had to hit a hard object to pop, so he was throwing them in the grass and everywhere. After a while he caught on and was having fun making all kinds of noise by throwing the pop-itz around.

Today I discovered that pop-itz and a lawn mower make for an interesting combination. Of course it’s been a couple of weeks since I mowed last. (Yes, I know, don’t even say anything. You’ll only encourage Ktreva.) That means that all kinds of things where hidden in the grass. Like say 5,243,845 pop-itz. With roughly only about three quarters of them popped. I was pushing the mower through the lawn when I heard what sounded like someone running across bubble wrap. It went on for about 20 seconds and then stopped. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first. Then I noticed all the little white pieces of paper mixed in the cuttings. For the next 3 passes of the mower I would get the same effect. Clone must have dumped 10 boxes of the damn things into the grass.

Posted by Contagion at 05:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

I am the hammer god!

YAR!!!!!!!!! All the cement blocks are completely broken up now. My muscles are sore, my joints ache and my back is stiff. Ktreva is making fun of me because my right arm is looking all well defined and muscular, but my left looks the same as before. I told her I’m going to have to do more bar curls (Aka go to the bar and repeatedly lift drink to lips until consumed, order another and start again) to even it out, anyone volunteering to be a spotting partner?

Our electrician arrived to work on the wiring in the house. He was supposed to have come last Saturday, but he couldn’t make it. He’s doing this on the side and his employer had an emergency job to do. Tonight was the first night he was able to get over to start. He’s not finished, he has a lot of work to do, but he did get a good chunk out of the way. BTW, may the powers that be shine down on him. He started tearing into the electrical and noticed that the external wiring all the way through the meter was already gauged correctly. He checked with the city inspector, and now doesn’t have to move the meter. Our meter is in the basement, not on the outside of the house like most new ones. That means he is saving me even more money, and cutting a good 5 hours of work out of the job.

He did take a break tonight to admire my truck, which Ktreva found amusing. He has an old 70’s Chevy and was digging on Janine. We talked specs and checked out the features. For the rest of the night he kept saying, “God, that’s a nice truck.” I do believe he has truck envy.

Friday the heating and cooling company is coming to install the air conditioner. That means no more hot sweaty nights and weekends in the house. Maybe people will actually come over during the summer now since they won’t have the meat baked off of their bones. In order for this to be installed, I have to take the whole day off. However, they tell me that if they get here at 8:00 AM and there are no problems they should be done by 10 at the latest. That means that if anyone wants to help spot me doing bar curls Friday afternoon, say at a local wing joint, let me know! (hint hint hint)

Posted by Contagion at 06:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2006

Trying not to blow a circuit.

It has been an interesting day for me. We’ve lived with out central air for years. We’ve had a couple of window units we would use just for the comfort of sleeping, but that’s all. We just had brand new windows installed in the house, and I was going to pick up a couple of bigger window units that would cool down more of the house. Long story short, I shot that idea down when A) I dropped one of these 200 pound monsters on my bad knee trying to get it out of the vehicle in the rain. B) I found out that in order to properly install the buggers you have to drill holes into the frame/sash. Since we have the high efficiency windows, that would mean releasing the gas in the windows and voiding the warranty. Sure I could work away around it, but I didn’t want to.

I started calling Heating/Cooling companies to get quotes on what it would cost to get a central air unit put in. The first guy comes out and says the furnace and ducting is fine, however the electrical won’t handle it. We have a house built in 1912. The electricity was an afterthought (as well as plumbing); we still have all the original boxes. Maybe you’ll remember this story from last year. We also only have 60-amp service. Since we have an electric range, dryer and dishwasher if we put one more heavy electrical appliance in the house it would constantly blow the main. Thus I need to upgrade to 100-amp service.

I’ve had numerous electricians come out and give me quotes, ranging from $2,400 to $3,000 to do the work. I know there are many people that will laugh at the sum and ask what the big deal is. Well, I can’t just pull $3,000.00 out of my arse! That’s just a tad too expensive for me out of pocket right now, and electricians don’t finance. I was telling my employees at work about my situation, and one of them tells me she has a relative that is an electrician that does work on the side. She got me in contact with him and after doing some checking he told me he’d do it for $1,400.00. That I can stomach.

Also I finally had enough with my Internet provider’s service that I switched service. I moved to a cable modem much, much faster. My pr0n loads much quicker now. I took the day off of work so that I could be here for the cable company to come install the lines. I also had two more estimates from other heating/cooling companies. It looks like AC may still be possible. Although watching the interaction between the cable company guy and the heating/cooling guy was mildly amusing. I got the distinct impression that when the heating/cooling guy arrived he thought the cable guy was a competitor. Once he figured out it wasn’t, his attitude toward the guy was much friendlier.

Posted by Contagion at 06:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

Bloody rumors.

Last night the leader from my old re-enactment group, Giles, stopped by the house. He had tried calling earlier while I was waging war with the lawn. When I tried to call him back he was in the basement waging war with his �toys�. He had heard a rumor regarding a friend of ours upcoming wedding. Someone had said we weren’t going because he was going. He wanted to come over to make sure that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t the case at all.

Our friend, Chastity, was originally supposed to get married on May 6th, Boopie's birthday. I was planning on going to the ceremony and cutting out early from the reception with Boopie for his own celebration. A relative of the brides was killed and the wedding was postponed due to the funeral. We were then notified it was going to be this weekend, Memorial Day weekend. We have a re-enactment this weekend that we really enjoy doing, Boopie will get to live fire his rifle here, and we get to see some friend’s we only see at one or two events a year.

Now, that being said, I would blow that all off for a friend’s wedding. Even if the friend is a re-enactor and should have known better than scheduling a wedding on a re-enactment weekend. Just kidding! She sometimes reads this blog… had to get the dig in. The real reason we are still going is that at our last re-enactment we ordered a bunch of stuff from a merchant that is retiring from re-enacting. This is the last event that we will both do together. I told them that I would be there to pick up and pay for the items. They didn’t charge me up front because they’ve known us since we started re-enacting. In fact we’ve bought a lot of supplies from them. These arrangements were made PRIOR to finding out the new date of the wedding. Actually they were made prior to finding out the original date was postponed.

It had absolutely nothing to do with any bad blood between Giles and me. We talked for two hours and straightened out any perceived problems there may have been. This, like most things is just a serious of bad information and misunderstandings. Although while speaking with him, I did feel myself getting hot under the collar. Not at him, but at the bullshite that was going on. It was this precise line of rumor, innuendo and malicious behavior that started issues I had last November. It seems that there are people in the world that live off of others strife. If they aren’t getting what they want, they manufacture their own. That may not be the case here, it may just be a misunderstanding, but you never know.

As far as I’m concerned, Giles and I are good. No issues, no problems. He’s welcome in my home and camp. Now if Chastity can only learn to schedule things on non re-enactment weekends. (The first date fell on another re-enactment. Bloody Lake.) Women!


I'll bet there are not too many people hooked on crack that can play the bagpipes.

Posted by Contagion at 05:39 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

Where did he go?!?!

I am not dead. Maybe MIA, definitely neglectful, but I am NOT dead.

I’d love to tell you some grand story of where I’ve been, but there’s nothing to it. Sunday was mother’s day. The boys bought Ktreva a computer game she wanted, so I relinquished the computer to her for the day. Hey, it’s her day. The least I could do is let her play her new game. That and I forcibly had to make sure she didn’t do anything that came close to what might be considered work. IE no laundry or anything. I made her take the day off and relax. I handled the childerbeasts.

As you may recall we were in a drought. I say were, because we are no longer in one. In fact we are now in the surplus of rain. It seems my re-enacting luck jump-started the rain here in Northern Illinois. The down side is that it has rained every day for the last week and a half. Hell, if I didn’t know better I’d say I was at a re-enactment last weekend. In fact it is raining right now. This has caused me two issues. A) My lawn is growing at an alarming rate and I’m not able to get out and mow it. 2) I can’t get outside to do any of the exterior housework that needs to be done.

Hopefully all the rain comes and is gone for Memorial Day weekend. I have a re-enactment that weekend that I enjoy, and the boys are both looking forward to going to this one. However, for the last three years we have been rained on at this event.

The van is back in the shop for warranty work. Once that is finished I’ll give you an update on that. Yes, I took it back to the same dealership that caused me all the trouble the last time. It’s warranty work and I’m limited on where I can take it.

In the meantime Ktreva has yet another rental car. She has driven five different vehicles in the last month. Fortunately she only damaged two of them. >ducks under the swing of a cast iron frying pan<

However, I think the biggest news in my life right now is that Ktreva and I are thinking of changing the era we re-enact. We think we might leap forward to the 1830’s and do the Black hawk War. It’s local history, it was the last major Indian war in the Midwest, and it would make it historically accurate for me to have a wife and kids with me at the events. Right now, some of the re-enactors that know me may be dropping their jaws in disbelief. I was one of the people that really wanted to get into the French and Indian war era re-enacting. As part of a group it was easier to get away with huge discrepancies in my presentation. Now that we are on our own, it is much more difficult. Sure there is going to need to be some costuming changes, but that isn’t much. I need to do more research into what I need costuming ways, but the rest of my equipment will be just fine. In fact my Wall tent will be more accurate as they where actually starting to use them around that time.

Posted by Contagion at 04:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 24, 2006

Lessons learned.

When my I get to half a tank of gas in my truck, I like to top it off. That way it doesn’t seem like I’m spending as much money. Logically I know that is not the case; I just have to stop more often to fill up. A couple of weeks ago the gas price jumped over night by 14 cents to $2.75 the morning I was going to fill up. Figuring that the price would drop off, I decided that I was going to gamble and wait to see if it drops.

It didn’t drop; the price went up by another 20 cents. Finally the day came that my fuel dummy light came on, and I knew it was time to fill up. When that light comes on, that means I only have a couple of gallons left, and at 10-14 miles to the gallon I didn’t feel like gambling anymore. I pull into the next gas station, they where charging $2.95 a gallon for regular. Knowing this was going to hurt the bank account, I started filling up. $20… $30… $40… $50… $60… $70… And then the pump started to slow down to a crawl, a slow crawl. What the hell?!?!?

Did I drain the tank? Was there a problem with the pump? What is going on here?!?! I’m playing with the handle trying to get it to pump faster. Then it stopped pumping all together. No more gas for me. I couldn’t figure out what the hell happened. That is when I noticed that I had reached $75.00. Walking into the store, I ask the clerk what’s going on. That is when I’m told, “There is a dollar cap on the pumps. The pumps will only dispense $75.00 worth of gas at a time. Most of the gas stations in the area have that on the pumps. It helps prevent loss to drive aways.” I look the guy in the eye and explain; well it doesn’t help me at all. I paid at the pump and I’m only slightly over ¾ of a tank full.

So a valuable lesson was learned: I should never gamble, it never works out for me.

Posted by Contagion at 05:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

Rub my nuts.

A couple of weeks ago my parents asked a favor of me. My aunt had a freezer that is about 5 years old she didn’t want anymore. They wanted me to move it from my aunt’s garage to their garage. No steps, no long hauls, just a simple move from one garage to another. Since it was only 5 years old and about the size of an apartment fridge, I knew it wouldn’t be too heavy and said it wasn’t a problem. For the last two weeks they kept telling me it was just moving this freezer from one garage to another.

They asked me if I wanted their old freezer, which is 35 years old and in their basement. I have a small chest freezer that I barely use and had no need for a big one like that. There really is no place in our house to put it and it’s 35 years old. It’s not like it’s very energy efficient. On Monday they asked me for the umpteenth time if I wanted the stupid, aging, decrepit freezer. Again I gave them a resounding “Hell, no!” After confirming I didn’t want it, they said there is a friend of theirs that does want it, and they are going to give it to him. The catch being that HE has to move it out of the basement. They wouldn’t charge him for it if he moves. Okay, that’s not a bad deal.

All of a sudden the deal sweetens for the guy taking the 70’s super freezer of death. This morning my parents tell me that they don’t want the guy moving it out of the basement, they are afraid he might damage the walls, doors, floors and furniture moving it. They want my cousin and me to move it out of the basement for them. BASTICHES! All day at work I had horrible images of being crushed under the 70’s food cryoton 5000. I knew this little favor was going to turn into a big favor, I knew it!

I get to my aunts, and my father is there with an appliance dolly. I look at the freezer there, tip it to the side to check the weight, the thing couldn’t have weighed more then 200 pounds, and was probably closer to 100. (I’m not a good judge of weight when I’m lifting stuff, but I know that my cousin and I had no problem lifting and moving it). We get it into the back of the truck and head off to my parents.

When we get there, we easily unload the freezer and get it into place in minutes. Then we went to move the old 70s freezatronic 5000. This thing is much larger then the new freezer, except on the inside it is about the same size. No good comes from this. Performing the same tilt test I discover that this is much heaver, MUCH HEAVIER. And that is with out the door. My parents had removed it so it would fit easier through the doorways and up the stairs. We strap the Frostinator 5000 to the dolly and start pulling it up the stairs. I am on the top and my cousin pushing from the bottom. People, this thing weighed 2.5 tons! The 5000 was the poundage of the beast, not the model number! All was going okay until the very top step. As I pulled the Frostbiter 5000 up the last step I feel something give in the most sensitive of male regions. I think my balls tried to jump into my lungs. Pain seers in the groinal region as we finally get it in place. The Herniator 5000 is finally at the top of the stairs. My cousin then graciously does the rest of the heaving lifting to get it down three steps into the garage. (Graciously because he didn’t have to suffer breathing around his nuts!).

Now of course I could go to the hospital, but why do that. I have a reputation to protect. Nope, I’m sitting here anesthetizing myself. My drip bag (AKA beer bottle) is being refilled by my private nurse (Ktreva), I have take a crap load of ibuprofen and later I’m going to have my private nurse rub down the area with some Neosporin with pain reliever. Neosporin has fixed just about everything else in my life; it won’t fail me now! Sure some of you might think the whole rubbing of genital regions with Neosporin is for pleasure, but if your crotch felt like mine right now, you’d know that there is no pleasure to it!

Now excuse me, I have to cough, and I don’t like typing with tears in my eyes.

Posted by Contagion at 06:11 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

March 07, 2006

Of Ice and Language.

This morning I left the house to go to work. Ktreva had to drive down state, so it was just the boys and I. Not having driven my truck in the last 3 days there was quite a bit of snow on my windshield. At least I thought it was snow. When I went to brush it off it didn’t move. There was no snow there, just a three inch thick chunk of ice that covered my entire windshield.

The truck was running, so the defrost could help me clear the windshield. Both boys where secured in their seats watching in fascination as Dad started an educational journey of new vocabulary and dress shoes on ice. For twenty minutes I battled the ice. It would not give way to the scraper. The height of my truck didn’t help either. I’m not a tall man. With great difficulty could I effectively reach the center of my windshield to scrape off the ice.

Meanwhile my boys are sitting inside of the now warm cab laughing and snickering at me. Clone learned a new word (I guess my voice carries over the sound of the engine and through closed doors). Since I am in polite company I will not repeat such vulgarities. Unfortunately, I forgot that courtesy when the children were present. Needless to say on the way to the sitters I was regaled with a chorus of chanted vulgarities that is only mildly amusing when coming from the mouth of a soon to be three year old. No matter how many times I told me not to say, “Those naughty words” he would just keep chanting them.

Of course Boopie was of no help. He was too busy laughing at me. Where Clone missed what happened to bring on such colorful language, Boopie was able to see the performance. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me just say now that I have lived in Northern Illinois for the vast majority of my life. I know how to handle the snow and icy conditions. Unfortunately, in my anger frustration, I forgot that leather soled dress shoes do not provide for the best of winter weather traction. While throwing my entire body into cleaning the windshield, my feet slipped on the ice. What must have appeared to be something out of a movie, I flew into the air landing on my back in the ice encrusted snow along the driveway. From there it must have looked like a business man in an overcoat was trying to make snow angels.

No worries, I’m not injured. Other then a slight bruising of my pride, all is well. It’s just not how I wanted to start a day.

Posted by Contagion at 04:02 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 02, 2006

They aren't the same.

Over at Basil’s Blog, he has a post up about how he saved money when he was in the military by using the same brand of deodorant and razor as his wife at the time. I can’t say I’ve used either Secret deodorant or a Lady Bic disposable razor. Thanks to his post, he did bring back a painful memory for me.

When I first started growing facial hair I only had to shave about once a week before it was noticeable. I would just use my father’s electric razor and everything was okay. Occasionally I would use his razor and shaving cream to trim up around the side burns where the hair was the thickest. Even as time went on and I had to shave more often, I’d just use my father’s electric or manual razor. Not once did I think to ask to borrow my father’s shaving supplies, thus my parents had no idea that I had started shaving, until one painful weekend.

My parents went away for the weekend leaving me at home alone. Having decided that I needed to shave, I headed off to my parents bathroom. Much to my chagrin I discovered that my father had taken both his electric shaver and manual razor with him. I was looking kind of scruffy. Well to be honest I was as scruffy as a teenage high school boy can get. Looking in the mirror, I’m scruffier now and I shaved this morning. My facial hair seems to grow at an alarming rate.

Anyway, I felt for sure that my father had to have something for me to shave with hidden away in his bathroom, an emergency back up razor, some sample packs of a disposable or anything. Not one shaving item was found. In frustration I started going through my mother’s stuff looking for a razor. Still I was unable to find one. Then I ran across something she had bought to shave her legs, and epilady epilator. I see this and think to myself, “If it will remove the hair from legs, it will remove hair from my face.”

Well, I wasn’t far from wrong. It removed the hair… and the skin… and some underlying muscle. For those of you not familiar with what an epilady was at that time, it’s like a coil of metal that comes out from a handle. The coil rotates, yanking hair and anything else it grabs onto off of the body. When I found that, I didn’t realize that was how it worked.

After plugging in the hair removal device, I slide it down the side of my face like it was an electric razor. Every hair that it grabbed onto was yanked violently from my teenage face. Tears started forming in my eyes and tiny drops of blood started form on my cheek. Little squares of toilet paper were not going to cover this bloody mess. I grabbed a whole sheet of toilet paper and stuck it to my face, the blood instantly causing it to adhere in place. For three hours I walked around with a sheet of toilet paper soaked in my own blood stuck to my face. I was afraid if I peeled it off, I’d start bleeding again.

When my parents returned home, the injury was very noticeable. They found out I had started shaving when I told them the story. My mother, who didn’t laugh, proceeded to explain that was why she used it once and never again.

To this day I’m real hesitant to use any product designed for a female, I’m afraid of what it could do to me.

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March 01, 2006

See, I am charming.

Today I received word that I am being passed on for a second interview. My charm and credentials outweighed the fact this is a lateral transfer and that I have a penis. (Remember, they tend to not like lateral transfers or promoting males here.) I am one of two finalists for the position.

The second interview is later this week, and I should know for sure by the end of next week. I’m not sure how my friend did, I haven’t asked her and I don’t want to just in case she was rejected.

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February 24, 2006

Perfect Angel

Last weekend I had a chance to meet the incredibly entertaining Oddybobo. Today I read long list of places she’s been kicked out of. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing the two are the same person. Then again, people do mature as they get older and lose their wild ways.

I would take some time to share stories with all of you, but I was the perfect child growing up. Not once did I get in trouble. Never did I get into a fight. I was never suspended from school, kicked off the bus or even sent to detention. My parents could trust me alone and not worry about anything bad happening. My only run-ins with the law, other then traffic violations, happened while I was in college and I was a victim of circumstances.

Well, there was that one thing when I was younger. I’ve never admitted this before, but I feel now is the time to share. When I was 12 I once drank milk directly from the carton. There, I admitted it. I’m so ashamed of myself. You can see why I never told anyone.

I’m sorry, I have to go call my parents and admit to what I did. Hopefully they will forgive me.

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February 13, 2006

Making meat sticks.

Over the weekend I ended up making two batches of jerky. The first was just your regular style of jerky, which turned out decently. I’ve had better, but it’s not bad. For the second batch, it was time to change things up a little. I decided to make pepperoni sticks. I figured it couldn’t be that much different from making regular jerky. For once I was right.

The hardest part was controlling the gun. After loading the jerky gun with the cured ground meat, I started making the sticks. I had a strong grip on the shaft as I squeezed the handle. All of a sudden, the meat was squirting everywhere. Apparently, I pulled harder then I thought. After wiping down the tray, I reloaded the gun for another round. The second time is the charm, right?

This time I was very gentle, and was able to lay long lines of the meat. After 20 minutes, I had all the trays fully loaded with the soon to be dried pepperoni snacks. Just like the last time it took about 6 hours for the soon to be snacks to finish. Again, I had to pat down the meat to get the excess grease off. This was using the leanest ground beef I could find, I’d hate to see what it would be like with a fattier meat.

After the drying process, I put the pepperoni snacks on paper towels to dry for a couple of hours. Again, I wanted to remove the excess grease from the sticks. When they where finished “drying” I decided to sample one to see how it was. To be honest with you, these turned out pretty damn good. They actually taste like pepperoni flavored snack sticks. (This is not the same as actual pepperoni.) Since I made these after the “contagious” period, I let my wife and boys try some.

Clone, who is an avid pepperoni fan, couldn’t get enough of them. If I had left the bag where he could reach them, he would have eaten all of them by himself. When Ktreva slipped one of my meat sticks into her mouth, the look of surprise on her face told me all I needed to know. The moaning and MMmmmmMMMmmming told me she liked it. She kept trying to gobble up my meat the entire weekend.

I will have to say that my first experiments with making jerky and jerky like products have resulted in a success. Now I need to start pricing meat so that I can find the best deal for low-fat meats to make jerky.

I thinking of making a second batch to take with to the Wolf park. For the us, not the wolves.

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February 10, 2006

Eye can do it!

I know that all of you are itching to hear about the status of my eye. So, lets get today’s update out of the way.

The pain hasn’t increased any; it’s about the same as yesterday. There has been a shift in it, now it feels as if someone is pushing their finger in my eye along the corner next to the nose. It’s an uncomfortable pressure, and is rather quite distracting.

The swelling and puffiness is about the same. Nothing of any real consequence to cause any noticeable difference. My eye doesn’t want to stay open, but I don’t know if that has anything to do with the swelling or if it’s because it is more comfortable when it is closed.

I am still producing some mighty eye boogers. Just before I started typing this, I wiped one away that was crunchy and gooey at the same time. The coloring is still yellowish; I think that is a good sign.

There is no discoloration or sign of pox again this morning. Since I’m going on five days of this, I think I’m going to rock the boat and declare I do NOT have shingles. I’m pretty sure that by now it should have started manifesting itself. What ever I have must be something else. Which can be good or bad.

I was going to post some pretty nasty pictures of what shingles of the face/eye looks like, but I decided not to. Some of you might be curious, but I think the rest would prefer not to see it.

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February 09, 2006

Aye Booger.

I have just enough time to give you an update on the ol’ eye. I’m supposed to keep track of these things, per the doctor, and I thought, hey I can use my blog to do that!

First let me note that the pain/discomfort has increased. It mildly hurts when I blink now, and if I keep my eye closed it just is downright painful. This has caused for an interesting twitching sensation in my right eye, which by the way annoys me. When I get annoyed, my eye twitches. It’s a vicious cycle, so now I need to calm down to get the twitching to stop. The twitching is very uncomfortable.

There is still only a slight swelling/puffiness to the eye. Which is good, because I’d rather it not look like my wife was beating me. What would I tell the guys at the range? “No really Jimmy John, I have an eye infection. My old lady did not haul off an’ backslap me because I came home 2 hours late smelling of whisky and strippers.”

Other then a slight blurring, my vision seems to be fine. This is a good thing as that means that the eyeball itself is A-ok. If it gets worse, then what ever it is may have spread to my eyeball and that would be bad.

At this time there is a slight discoloration to the skin under the eye. Is it the pox? I don’t know yet. Only time will tell. There is no itching. The only drainage I’m getting is a slight watering of the eyes. There is no puss. However, this morning when I woke up the eye booger that I had was massive and has reformed twice.

Since Machelle brought it up, I will address the issue of my going to the Blogmeet next weekend. If I have something contagious I will NOT be going. Ktreva may go by herself, but I won’t be coming with. I’m sure none of you want this and I don’t know if the wolves would be susceptible to it, but I’m sure Laughing Wolf doesn’t want to find out. Before someone smarts off, I know, you're all praying for something contagious!

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February 08, 2006

A pox I tell you!

I just got home from the doctor. He tells me that my eyeball itself is okay. However, the facial nerves that control the eyelid appear to be infected. He’s not exactly sure what it is, but one of his theories is that I have… Are you ready? Do you really want to know? Maybe I shouldn’t say. Ah, what the heck.

He thinks I may have Shingles. It’s a variation of the Chickenpox virus. Either that or I have some infection that is focusing on that area. Either way I’m not too thrilled with it. I’m supposed to watch it for the next week and if it spreads, I develop some kind of rash or if it persists, I’m to call him back.

The funny thing is that he came to that conclusion AFTER turning my eye orange checking to make sure it wasn’t damaged. Luckily the color should fade in 2-3 hours. Personally, I think it would be kind of cool to walk around with one eye normal and the conjunctiva of the other eye orange.

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February 07, 2006

Aye, my eye!

As you may know, I hate doctors. Yet, I’m thinking I might need to make an appointment to see one. This morning I woke up with my right eye kind of sore. It felt like I had a black eye. I figured I slept funny on it, nothing to worry about. As the day has progressed it has gotten worse. It now hurts when I blink. Not a painful hurt, more like an annoying hurt. I guess that’s called sore.

I just went into the bathroom to take a look at it, and sure enough it’s starting to get puffy and swollen. There’s no bruising, but I don’t bruise easily. Normally I would just blow it off and not think twice about it, but after reading Tammi’s story here, I’m thinking a three-day vacation might be nice.

Then again I may go to the doctor and just discover that I’m a battered spouse. I always thought Ktreva beat me in my sleep!

Posted by Contagion at 06:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Memories of the Past.

When I was growing up, my parents used to take the family to a local campground, The Oaks in Clinton, WI. My grandparents had a permanent sight and we’d pull in with the old 1977 Mobile Traveler RV my parents owned. Sometimes I’d just go to the campground with my grandparents and spend the weekend there. When I was older, I’d go alone and tent camp.

This was not like most of the campgrounds you see today. No, there was no running water at the sites, no electricity and no pavement. A main shelter house had plumbing and electric. Unless you had a site near the Shelter House (as it was called) you had to use the out houses that where all over. These where the old-fashioned outhouses, a big hole in the ground covered by a wooden box you’d go in to do your business. If they filled up, they would just fill it in, dig a new hole and move the box. Later on, about the time I was High School, they started running electric to the various sites, and when I was in college, they ran water. However, you still had to use the out houses or the Shelter House to go to the bathroom. They never ran plumbing to each site.

There was no concession stand or video games originally. Nope, if you didn’t have anything you had to run into town. You amused yourself the old-fashioned way, hiking, swimming, and fishing. It was probably around 1983 when the first pop machine arrived. This was a big deal. Kids would bug their parents for money to buy a pop out of the machine. Even if the parents had the exact same pop in a cooler, all the kids wanted it out of the machine; it just tasted better. When I was in High School they brought out video games, other vending machines and in college, they built a small office convenience store.

The campground had a small man made lake, which was fed by two small creeks. By the shelter house, they had a beach for swimming and a raft for diving off. When I say raft, think of The Raft from Creepshow 2, it looked just like that. The lake was filled with bullheads, bluegill and some bass. Occasionally someone would pull a carp out of there. The other aquatic creature they had where snapping turtles. As a kid, I loved catching snapping turtles. I probably caught a good couple dozen over the years. My grandmother would clean and cook them up for my friends and me.

I’d spend hours in the woods making forts, or exploring. I’d play in the creeks, damming them up so the water would back up making a small pond. That’s how I caught my first snapping turtle. As I got older, I would take my younger cousins out with me and show them all the things I had found, like the hollow tree you could hide in and the secret place that had the wild black berry bushes.

I would always invite friends to come with when I went. While my parents would sleep in the RV, we would be in a tent. Sometimes even on our own site. My parents finally bought a permanent spot and replaced the RV with a good-sized camper. My friends and I would spend entire weekends up there horsing around, fishing, drinking (in the later years) and building fires that would rival the sun.

The first crush I ever had was for a girl whose parents camped there. I still remember watching her swimming and marveling at the female form in a bikini. My first sexual experience was also at this campground; unfortunately, it didn’t involve my crush. It wasn’t anything scandalous, just your normal pre-teen kid stuff.

Over the years we camped there, it went through six different owners. For two of the owners my grandparents managed the campground on the weekends. About 4 years ago, the campground closed. The last owner had some big plan in mind. The rumor was that he was going to turn it into a KOA style campground to help cater to the Casino that was supposed to come to Beloit, Wisconsin. I don’t know if that is true or not, because that casino never came. I helped my parents clean up their site, take apart all the decking they had built and remove the shed. That last day still lingers clear in my memory.

Some of you may be wondering why I’m telling you this. Over the weekend, I heard from my blogless buddy Jay that what remained of the campground had been tore down. Some developer had bought the property. When he told me that, a flood of memories came back to me. My entire childhood and part of my adulthood was intertwined with that campground. I even took Ktreva and Boopie camping there. Clone wasn’t born by the time they closed it or he would have gone too.

Part of me always hoped someone would buy it and reopen it. I guess that is never going to happen. For some reason I feel much older today.

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February 06, 2006

All dogs go to heaven?

I wasn’t going to post this, but I figure by now there is not much more psychological damage I could do to my readers. The people that I’ve told this to react in different ways. What story is it? It’s the end result of the dog dilemma.

If you are an animal lover, especially dogs, you may not want to read any further. In fact, just skip this post and never, ever, ever click on a link to it. If you want to see how badly something simple can go wrong, the post is in the extended entry

Over the weekend, I went to my Minion’s house to do the deed. I decided that I was going to use the .357, as I know how it shoots, and I haven’t had a chance to fire the .30-30 yet. People suggested many different techniques, including the use of a hammer. I didn’t know if I had it in me to beat the dog to death with a hammer, so I opted for the handgun. Plus I really didn’t want to get that close it.

Just to remind all of you, this was a full sized Bull Mastiff. Not as big as the English Mastiff, but this was one large dog. I really didn’t want to get up close and personal with it.

I arrive at the house and they led out back to the kennel area. Most of the kennels are empty; apparently, they are failing at their business. They take me to Rocky’s cage. At first, I thought it was empty; nope he’s lying in the far corner. My minion tells me that he’s barely moved for the last couple of weekends. She tried calling him, but he wouldn’t come over. He’d look at her and then lay back down.

Looking at the lay out of this kennel, the only way for me to get to the dog was to walk into the cage. Now this is a huge kennel, it’s an indoor/outdoor kennel and Rocky’s cage is in the corner of two buildings. The outside area is about 60 ft wide and 80 ft long.

My minion says she can’t watch and is already in tears. She and her husband go in the house leaving me outside with Rocky and four other dogs. Taking a deep breath, I load my revolver. As I’m loading, I’m noticing that I grabbed the hollow point rounds. Steadying myself I walk into the cage and start heading towards Rocky. Then all hell broke loose!

I’m about ten feet across the cage when Rocky jumps up and starts running toward me barking. All I see is the snarling mouth of beast that was more dog then man…. Well because it’s a dog, I guess there was no man to it… Did I mention he was one huge dog? Well this mouth looks like it could take my head off with I kid you not two inch long teeth is charging at me.

Now, I could lie and say that I remained calm and collected. No, that was not me. My fight or flight response kicked in and with a scream, yes I screamed (You would too with a lion dog charging you!), I bring the revolver up and I start firing. That’s right firing, as in multiple shots. This giant elephant/dog was easy enough to hit at the distance I was shooting. And I’ll be honest, the first shot probably would have killed him, by the third shot, I’m pretty sure there was no chance he was going to live, but I used all seven. That’s right, I admit it I emptied all seven chambers into the thing.

The whole thing rather reminded me of a scene in Dances with Wolves. In the scene I’m referring to a buffalo is charging down on an Indian boy. Lt. Dunbar (Kevin Costner) shoots the buffalo and the body crashes to the ground sliding to a stop just in front of the boy. Well my last shot went into Rocky about two feet in front of me. Yea, that’s right the Tyrannosaurus dog was still in forward motion for the first six shots.

There was supposed to be only one shot. After hearing seven rapid shots, my minion and her husband come running out of the house. As soon as my minion sees the pile of ground Rocky lying in the cage, she breaks out into tears. Her husband asks me what happened. I tell him that their “sick and barely moving dog” attacked me. The husband then tells me that Rocky has had a dislike of strangers. THANKS FOR TELLING ME NOW! He explained he thought Rocky was too sick to do anything that’s why he didn’t say anything. Well guess who was wrong?

The husband goes to calm my minion down and I head back into the cage. I hit 5 out of 7 times, Rocky’s head looked like, well it looked like someone shot it at point blank with a .357 magnum. I helped bury the carcass. Part of me wanted to ask if I could keep the skin to make a hat out of for re-enacting, but I thought better of it. Too many holes, I never would have been able to repair them.

Afterwards I left and went about my day. The only thing I can say about this incident is, “That’s what I get for trying to do something nice, and help someone out.”

Oh, and to those of you that warned me, “Don’t look it in the eye it’ll make it worse.” Well, I looked ol’ Rocky in the eye as came charging down upon me. I still had no qualms about introducing Rocky to god.

Now in two weeks I'm going to the Wolf Park. If Carson Daily and Earl are correct, I'm in for one hell of a Karmic beyotch slap.

Posted by Contagion at 06:18 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

It's in my face, but I can't grab it.

For a long time now I’ve wanted to get a trailer for all of my re-enacting gear in. It would mean that we could go to an event in one vehicle instead of two, have plenty of room for ALL of our crap AND we could store our equipment in there between events. This is all very pleasing to us.

Today on lunch I decided to go check out a local RV center to see if they had any cargo trailers and to price them. We were greeted and introduced to a salesman that explained they don’t normally deal in cargo trailers, but they do occasionally get some used ones in on trade. The only trailer they had on the lot was one they just recently received on a trade in. It was a 22ft long by 8.6ft long by 8.6 ft high vehicle hauler.

This was much larger then I needed. Just for giggles I thought I would ask the guy how much he wanted for it. When he said $6,000.00 my jaw about bounced off the blacktop. This was a 2005 heavy-duty car hauler; it was in excellent condition except some logos on it. I know someone that bought a trailer very similar to this one new for around $12,000.00. I was sure I was mistaken; when I asked for clarification he told me the same number.

My head screamed at me, “BUY THIS NOW!!!!” Then logic set in. It was much larger then I needed. The thing was huge. It could fit all of my gear and Ktreva’s van in the back end! The salesman was good; he knew he had someone interested. He did his best hard sell. Almost biting on the bait we went back to the office. He even offered to knock an additional $500.00 off of the price.

Logic stepped in at this time, the logical part of my brain helped me to realize why this is NOT a good idea. First it’s more then I wanted to spend, yes it is a good deal, but I don’t really have the money for it. The salesman brought up financing. Second. Storage, I have no place at my house to store it. The Salesman offered up storage for a year. If I stored it someplace else it would defeat half the purpose of having a trailer. I wanted something that I could keep all my re-enacting stuff and work out of between events. I couldn’t do that if it was parked at a storage lot. I’d have to go get it, and bring it home every time I wanted to work on my gear. I’m not doing a good job of explaining this part, and I can’t think of a better way unless you are familiar with re-enacting. There is a lot of gear that takes maintenance, cleaning and repairing. Then I thought about my house. There is no way I would be able to back that thing into my driveway.

I have a narrow one-vehicle driveway. At the end of the driveway are a telephone pole on one side and a bush on the other. Then I live on a narrow city street. When people park on the street (which is all the time), two cars can’t pass. My neighbors park their cars on the street. They seem to think my driveway is a good central point to do this. I have problems pulling my truck out on some days because of how narrow the street is and how close to my driveway they park. Put an extra 22 feet of trailer onto that and it would take forever to get out. It was too big to park in the street.

All this weighed in and I opted to not purchase the trailer. I may regret it later, but for now I think it was the right decision. What really gets me is that after work the family and I went to a place that sells new cargo trailers and found out they want almost $3,000.00 for a brand new 12 ft long, 7ft wide and 6.5 tall trailer. Which is the size I ideally want.

I’m hoping to find a good used one that fits more of what I want. So far I’m not finding anything. From what I’ve discovered it seems that most of the good used trailers sell quickly.

Posted by Contagion at 06:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

Will no one take care of this problem?

The pack of free roaming Chihuahuas is back. This time they came up to my family and I as we were getting out of our vehicle and heading into the house. After the incident with the officer last week, I was taking no chance. These could be bloodthirsty man-eaters that would attack my family.

Deciding action was needed; I contacted Animal Control (AC) and had this conversation:

AC: Animal Control, how can I help you?

Me: I need to report a pack of Chihuahuas roaming through my neighborhood. I live at (address and street intersection given).

AC: Have they done anything to you?

Me: Well, they barked at my family and came into my yard. This isn’t my first run in with them, I believe these are the same ones that attacked me 3 months ago. After last week when that police office was attacked, I don’t want to take the risk. These may be vicious man-killers.

AC: …(silence)

Me: I have a two year old! The three of them, using the pack mentality, may entrap him and try to eat him while he’s outside.

AC: (long pause) Sir, are you joking?

Me: NO! There are three Chihuahuas right now standing in my front yard looking at me as I am speaking to you. My boys want to go outside and play, but I can’t. The last thing I need is for them to be attacked by these brutes.

AC: You did say “Chihuahuas” right? You’re talking about the tiny dogs that people carry around in their purses?

Me: EXACTLY! They carry them around as a weapon. All they have to do is throw the blood crazed little boogers at someone and they’ll rip out the victims jugular.

AC: (long pause) Sir, okay I have you’re information, I’ll send an officer as soon as possible.

Me: Please hurry, they are still sitting outside and I need to go someplace tonight. The last thing I need is for one of those little bastiches attacking me.

AC: Yes sir, right away. Is there anything else?

Me: No, I just want those things locked up. They are a menace to society, and a threat to the safety of the people in this neighborhood.
AC: Thank you for calling Animal Control.

(End of Call)

It’s been 20 minutes and that officer hasn’t shown up yet. I’m thinking I might have to go vigilante and take matters into my own hands. I wonder what a .347 magnum will do to a Chihuahua?

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December 09, 2005

Sometimes I'm just stupid.

Oh people what have I done? I took the day off of work… Can’t have me working 5 days in a row now can we? Since I was alone, I thought it was time to hit the stores and do that Christmas shopping that I got sidetracked from doing last Friday. After finishing, I decided that I was going to treat myself to some lunch. Looking in my pocket, I discovered I only had $5.00 and some change to my name. That severely limits the places one can go to get food or at least a food like substance.

Like a herd of stampeding cattle, an idea slammed into my head. I know where I can get real food, at little to no cost! El Burrito Loco! Yes, that is the name of a real restaurant; it’s kind of like a fast food joint, only with real food, and not so fast. They don’t start cooking until you place the order. Off to El Burrito Loco I went!

Walking in I’m greeted by this short Hispanic girl. By short I’m talking she couldn’t have been over four foot 10. She has the stereotypical Hispanic/valley girl accent. You know, the one where no matter what they say, it sounds like they are asking you a question. “Welcome to El Burrito loco? My name is Lupey? Can I help you?” Maybe I should lie and say I’m surprised by that, but I’m not. I’m also not surprised everyone there was Hispanic and that when Lupey called back the order she did it in Spanish. I guess that makes me some kind of racist. It doesn’t help that I don’t like Mexican culture… but I sure love Mexican food!

Looking at their menu my eyes lock on to what I want. GIANT BURRITO (your choice of meat): $4.25. When they say your choice of meat they mean it. They have beef, chicken, pork, tripe, brains, tongue, egg, etc. Yes they really have tripe, brains and tongue on the menu. Me, I’m not feeling adventurous today, I order a beef burrito. $4.54… SWEET! A giant burrito AND change. Lupey yells back “El gringo estúpido para arriba aquí pidió un burrito gigante con carne de vaca!” I smile and go wait with the others. .

Now I’m waiting with a couple of other customers for our orders to come up. Looking around, I notice a plate on the counter that has some of the sickest looking pickles on it. All wrinkly and nasty looking, like they’ve been set out way too long. One of the other customers asks Lupey if they are fried. Sure as hell they are! The customer then asks if they are hot. Lupey responds with, “a little.” The other customer leaves, I walk up to the plate pick one up and pop it in my mouth. Guess what folks, that wasn’t a pickle! That was a deep fried jalapeno. Damn that was good. Lupey looks at me and scrunches her face up like I did something really gross. I think she was upset I didn’t do the stupid gringo “it’s hot” dance. I love hot and spicy food; the deep fried jalapeno was nothing. Lupey yells out, “¡El blanco loco comió el jalepano frito y no hizo la danza!”

A couple of minutes later she hands me a bag and I’m on my way. When I get home I unpack all the gifts I bought and then sat down to eat my burrito and read my e-mail. When I opened the bag this tinfoil ball the size of my head was in there. Grabbing a plate I open it up. People, I kid you not, this thing was the size of my head. It was the largest damn burrito I’ve ever scene. I knew their burritos where big, I’d eaten there before, but this was bigger then normal. I think I got crazy white boy respect from the burrito place. After eating the fried jalapeno with out flinching, the super-sized my giant burrito.
It’s not every day you get that kind of respect from the vatos in the barrio, homes. Therefore, I did what was right by them. I sat down and ate the entire head sized burrito in one sitting. In fact I’m sitting here now with a case of hard belly wishing I was dead. I’m so uncomfortably full that burping is painful.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m going to go pass into a coma now, or vomit.

Posted by Contagion at 02:43 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 03, 2005

Kids and hangovers.

When drinking since one in the afternoon, and not finishing until around 1 in the morning, getting up at 6 AM with Clone is not fun. There is a severe case of “morning after” going on in my head right now. Well worth it though, a good time was had.

Oh, and to the deer that decided to jump out at me last night on my way home. You’re damn lucky my truck handles snow really well (It was snowing at the time). If it didn’t you would have been a big red splat on the pavement.

I’m going to go soak my head in a bucket of water now.

Posted by Contagion at 09:28 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 01, 2005

Now it's time for change.

Well people, it looks like there is a major life altering change coming my way, and not in the good way. How major? Let’s just say the only thing I can think of that is more major would be imminent death. Others may argue there are things much worse then this, but they aren’t me.

I won’t know for sure until all the parties involved have a chance to cool off, mainly me. On a scale from one to ten on the anger scale, I surpassed a star going supernova. Things were said, actions done. Some may be repairable, most likely not. Whether or not the other parties involved care even to attempt to make amends, if I decided that’s what I want to do, is unknown.

Right now, I think the other parties see greener pastures and would rather be there. I’m still fuming as I type this. In fact, this is my fourth draft as I scrapped the others due to my anger getting control of what I was typing. I’ve hit the calm stage, where I’m smiling and quiet. Nothing more then short one-syllable words are coming out of my mouth, and only when I’m directly asked a question that demands a verbal answer.

Maybe things can be worked out, maybe they can’t. Then again, maybe I’ll be given a million dollars tomorrow. Either way something is going to happen, and soon. I’ve decided I’m skipping November and December next year, this year it’s bringing me way too much grief.

Posted by Contagion at 04:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

Set the house to blinding!

It’s Christmas time again. Everyone is starting the annual tradition of putting up Christmas decorations. Ogre is proud of his display. Tammi, whom promised herself she wouldn’t, put some up. Boudicca talks about her obsessive-compulsive disorder regarding Christmas decorating. These three are amateurs, combined they have nothing on the Christmas hell that I grew up in.

Let me establish the fact that Christmas has to be one of my LEAST favorite holidays. The only thing in recent years that has made it at all enjoyable for me is watching the boy’s excitement at it. Personally, I could live with out another Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, winter solstice celebration or whatever people celebrate this time of year. I’d say I’m the mix between Scrooge and the Grinch… but that is still too much of a Christmas reference for me. I guess that is why my childhood home at Christmas really grated on my nerves.

My mother had a huge selection of Christmas decorations. Our house had no less then two full sized trees and a third 2-3 footer. Every room had multiple decorations, (except my room, I’d put them away or sneak them into other rooms if they invaded into my territory.) Our main bathroom had a Santa shower curtain, Christmas toilet seat, various Christmas towels, washcloths, soaps, mirror decorations, even window dressings and rugs. A friend of mine, I believe LittleJoe, once described it as a “gay snowman threw up in the bathroom.” From Christmas china, silverware, serving ware, glassware and table dressings to comforters, sheets and even bathrobes the interior of our house was a Christmas nightmare. Red, green, gold and white was the theme from Black Friday to the 2nd of January. My mother had a very strict schedule on when decorations went up and came down. My mother would spend a week baking Christmas cookies. She would make at least 35 different types of Christmas cookies and candies and at least six dozen of each type. That wasn’t even near the worst part of it. Nope, that would be my Father.

Everyone jokes about how their house looks like the Griswold’s from Christmas Vacation. I hate to break this to you, but my house was the model for that! My father had in excess of 30 figurines, including a full manger scene complete with angels and animals. He built a five-foot tall steel star and hung it on the top of our flagpole, then ran lights down to the manger to show it shining light on it. There were two, yes two, Santas. One climbing down the chimney and one in a sleigh with his 12 reindeer. A four-foot snow man, a choir, 6 toy soldiers, 6 candy canes and two candles finished off his figurine display. Every bush and tree was covered in lights. That was 5 trees and 26 bushes. Each tree/bush had at least one string of 50 lights on it, the trees got up to five strings of 100 lights. The house was covered in lights. Around every window and along every edge, the house was completely lined in lights. Even our mailbox on the street had lights on it.

They were all multi-color lights as my father hated plain white bulbs, the thought they were too bland. He felt color was more eye catching. More eye catching. Just how eye catching did he want? At night, the neighbors with in three houses of us didn’t need to turn on yard lights as our spot-house would day glow the neighborhood. Whenever giving directions to my house I would just tell people head to this major intersection and head for the glowing house. They would laugh until they arrived, and then I would get. “You’re not kidding.”

My father would start the Friday after Thanksgiving putting up the outside decorations. If the weather cooperated, he would finish in 9 days. He would spend all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving from 7 AM to 10 PM just putting up lights and decorations. During the week he would rush home after work and continue putting up decorations until well after 10:00 PM. The following Saturday and Sunday, he would finish up. Of course, When I was around eight I had to start helping him put up the decorations. For those of you that have met me in person, this is where I learned my colorful vocabulary. As things would go wrong, my father’s language would get harsher. The older I got, the harsher it would get. When I was 17, I had this conversation with my father:

Dad: “The G*D DAMN lights aren’t working. What the Fvck is going on. Hand me the damn pliers”

Me: “Which pliers?”

Dad: “The pliers right there in front of yo… SHITE!”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “That whole string went out. I hate these types of lights, one bulb goes out, the whole damn line goes out. I don’t have time for this shite! Go check all the bulbs on this string.”

Me: “Son of a beotch…”

Dad: “Hey, don’t let your mother hear you use language like that!”

My father just loved most of the attention that he received after the lights where up. He made it in the news all the time and even once won an award for best decorated house in North America… or something like that. He was in newspapers and even a local magazine once. What he didn’t like was the miscreant attention he would get. Inevitably, with in a week of getting any type of media attention some numb nut would vandalize the house. They would steal or break figurines. Once time they took wire cutters to some of the strings of lights and cut them up… which caused a fuse to blow. Every time this would happen, my father would replace the missing or damaged decorations. I always felt bad for him when this would happen as I could see the hurt in his eyes. He spent all that time and energy just to “brighten up” the holidays and some jerk would ruin his display.

However, there were some other funny parts. My father installed timers and a separate circuit box just for the lights. He had to set the timers so that the lights would come on in three phases over 15 minutes. If he didn’t do this, it would actually brown out part of the neighborhood or trip a circuit breaker. Our neighbors joked they could tell when it was dark out from the way the lights would flicker in their house between 4:30 and 5:00 every evening. Commonwealth Edison, the electric company, loved my parents. We used to get a Christmas card from them every year. Now before you say they send one to everybody… no, they don’t. Our neighbors never received one and to this day, I’ve never received one from them. Friends of mine didn’t believe me about this, until the came over and I would show it to them, hanging on a door with all the other Christmas cards my parents received.

About 6 years ago, my father stopped putting up as many lights as he had been. He suffered his first heart attack and one of the things he had to cut out was the strenuous activities. His cardiologist advised that he could not spend the amount of time out in the cold putting up lights like he used to. My father got rid of all the figurines, and at least 80% of the lights. He also got rid of the star, the one that he spent a Saturday making himself, out of metal. The one he was so proud of because no one else had one like it. It was one of the few times I saw my father upset over any material possession.

Thinking back to all those Christmases, I remember the star. I took the star. I don’t have a flagpole, or any place really to hang it. So it sits along the wall on my back porch lighting it up. It’s mine now, and some day it’ll be Clone’s. That makes my father happy.

Posted by Contagion at 01:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

The rest of the weekend.

After the fiasco that was Thanksgiving, we had to go have family pictures taken on Black Friday. My parents wanted a whole family portrait with them, my sister and my family. I agreed to this a couple of months ago. Then my mother hits me a couple of weeks back that we are scheduled to do it on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. There are two things in this world that makes me painfully uncomfortable; the mall during Christmas season is one of them. But I said I would do it, so I’m not backing out now.

We get to the mall about 9:00 AM; I drop the family off at the door and spend the next 20 minutes searching for a parking space. I got lucky and found someone who was leaving, so I parking lot sharked them. The photos were relatively painless. We did two outfits, the boys in blue and the girls in pink (My wife’s and sister’s idea*GAG*.) The other was everyone wearing Green Bay Packer gear with various props. My dad originally wanted this years ago, before Clone was born. Now that we have Clone I decided we needed to do an updated version with him in it. That’s right people, cheese wedges and all!

The pictures would be ready in an hour, so instead of leaving we decided to hang out in the mall. OH YAY! JOY O’ JOYS! What are we going to do for an hour? Me, “Since we are here, we can take Clone to see Santa and get the damn thing over with.” My mother, “Don’t be that way about Santa!” Contagion the Scrooge, “Why? Clone didn’t hear me, he’s riding up and down the escalator with grandpa, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been on Santa’s Naughty list since a certain incident in ‘88, if not there was that one in ‘97 that pretty much sealed it.”

We get Clones picture with Santa. For some reason he just will not smile with Santa. But at least this year he wasn’t screaming. While waiting in line Boopie comes up to me, “Dad, I found the perfect Christmas gift for mom!” My wife, his mother, is standing right next to me. After the photo, I go look at what he found. I will give the boy credit; it is a gift from the heart. He did his beast to get something he knew his mother likes. Since he was dead set on getting this, I bought and we took it to get wrapped. What made me most proud was when the lady rang it up and told us the price; he looked at me and said, “Dad, I forgot my money at home. I’ll pay you back.” The little goofball was going to buy his mother’s Christmas gift with his saved up money. Nah, not that day, I paid for it and told him he didn’t have to pay me back. My boy is growing up.

After we picked up the photos we went out to lunch with my parents and sister and then went and did some Christmas shopping at a local Irish store we hit every year on Black Friday. It’s our tradition. What was funny is that Phyllis, the owner, said as soon as we walked in, “It’s now officially Christmas, (Contagion) and (Ktreva) are here.” We picked up an item for those hard to buy relatives and headed home.

Saturday Ktreva started putting up the inside Christmas decorations. I’m waiting to do the outside until we get a tree. That way I only have to go through the lights once. It keeps me from going mad. (Post for tomorrow) Around 4:30 I decide to call my good buddy Graumagus whom seems to have forgotten to check his e-mail in the last week. He’ll tell you he’s busy working 9-10 hours a day, dealing with the kids, rubbing skin off the top of his feet. The Frizzen Spouse ™ answers the phone and tells me he’s working. For some reason I got it in my head it was a holiday weekend and except restaurants and retail, businesses shut down. BAH! Foiled again. I was trying to see if Grau was going to accompany me to Anger Management class and if he needed more anti-depressants (Blatantly and boldly stolen from Graumagus.) AKA going to the shooting range and does he need ammo.

Well I figured maybe he’d check his email when he got home for work, so I shot him off a third e-mail this week about going shooting. By 11:00AM Sunday and no response I figured he was NOT going to respond anytime in the near future. Then I thought to myself, do I dare call and possibly wake him up? I mean he is sleep deprived and all, and maybe he was actually sleeping. Then I remembered he’d kick me in the dick if I went shooting and didn’t at least ask him. So I called… woke his ass up, and after what sounded like some mumbled mushh about driving an Allen wrench through someone’s head, he advised me he couldn’t go. And since no one else had answered my e-mails about going, I decided to head off on my own with my new gun.

It took me an hour and a half to get to the range. Where I spend the next 40 (including a 10 minute shooting break) minutes burning through 200 rounds of ammo. That’s right. 200 rounds in 40 minutes, any one that says you can’t hand speed load a revolver is lying to you. In my shooting I discovered a couple of things about my new handgun. A) The sites are off, it’s shooting low. 2) The grip on it rocks D) I am much more accurate with the .357 round then the .38 special load. 4) I bought the right hand gun. I loved shooting it. It fit my hand perfectly, I loved the feel of it, and I had a good clustering, about 2 inches below the bull’s-eye at 25 yards.

I did scare the piss out of some kids at the range with it however. They where there shooting .22’s, air rifles, and .40 semi-auto. Even the .40 was relatively quite compared to when I was pushing .357s through my pistol. I was also showering the stations around me with powder as the revolver kicked out sparks along the cylinder. The kids ( I say kids, but I swear they were all 18 to 25 years of age) where awestruck by my revolver. During the shooting break one of them was asking me questions about it and I was answering him. Then he made the comment, “I just don’t like revolver’s because you only get six shots.” I point to the cylinder on mine (It was resting on the table in the “Secured” zone during a cease-fire. You can’t touch a firearm during that time.) and tell him, “Mines a seven shot.” He looks at it and counts all seven chambers, then tells his friends, “This dude has a 7 shot .357 revolver.” I felt like a weapons stud… but I know I’m not… but it still felt good.

After shooting I head back home, and decide to get a sixer and stop in and see ol’ Grau since I was in his neck of the woods, which is back water northern Illinois. We talk about shooting and I show him my pistol. He hadn’t had a chance to see it since I picked it up. He also asked me if it was normal for a callous to scratch his foot, I thought he just meant like to use it to scratch an itch. Nope, he showed me the top of his foot where it looked like someone use a wood rasp on it. It was much nastier up close then what he has shown in the picture. Then we watched the Packer’s lose to the Eagles. He also asked me if it was normal for a callous to scratch his foot, I thought he just meant like to use it to scratch an itch. Nope, he showed me the top of his foot where it looked like someone use a wood rasp on it. It was much nastier up close then what he has shown in the picture. It’s such a glorious year for my team.

That is how my weekend went.

Posted by Contagion at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

The dark side of my mind.

Dreams. Some people say dreams speak of a person’s inner desire. Their subconscious creates fantasies of a person’s desires and hopes. Those dreams can be fun, they can be exciting, or they could be erotic. When fear overcomes you subconscious, you could even have nightmares, dreams so bad you wake up in a cold sweat. Occasionally a person’s dreams turn dark, not with fear but with anger and hatred. Some may call this a nightmare or a bad dream, but what if you enjoyed this dark dream? What would you call it then?

Let’s take a look at an example from last night. All names have been changed to protect me.

I’m sitting at Brian’s watching football with our buddies John, Jerry and Chuck. We are having a good time as the game involves teams none of us has a vested interest. There is a knock at the door. Brian answers it and it’s my “friend” Michael. Michael enters and starts talking bullshite about other people, about stuff I like and about anything. Brian, John, Jerry and Chuck are all going along, laughing, and playing it off. Even in my sleep, I can feel/hear my heartbeat accelerate. I’ve had enough of it, I yell at him, “Why don’t you shut the F*ck up? You’re nothing but an ignorant arsehole that only cares about what others can do for you.”

At this point, I stand up. Michael takes a swing at me connecting with my jaw. The blow was hard enough to sit me back down. From a sitting position in the chair, I lunge forward tackling Michael. We wrestle on the floor. We both are landing an equal number of punches. Remembering that I have my Boy Scout knife in my pocket, I try to get it. Dropping my protection, I reach into my pocket, pull it out and open it up with one hand. The whole time Michael is punching away at me. With the blade open, I slice Michael just below his belly button. With knife in hand, I cut into his abdomen. Blood is flowing everywhere, Michael is screaming in pain. The familiar stench of human bowel wafts up from the wound and I work my way up to his rib cage. Slicing through muscle, organ and tissue, I come to my prize. With my arm in his body almost to the shoulder, I can feel his heart beating. Finally letting go of the knife, I grab onto his beating heart and squeeze. With strength that can only come from a deep felt anger and hatred, I grip his heart in my hand.

Michael lets out a gasp and dies. Brian, John, Jerry and Chuck look on stunned. Too shocked to move, to scared to speak. I let go of Michael’s heart, grab my knife and start to pull out my hand. Just then, my “friend” Sara comes through the door. She starts spouting out mean and spiteful statements towards me. As my arm is pulling out, I grab one of Michael’s ribs and break it off. Standing, with Michaels broken rib in my hand, I walk toward Sara. In one fluid motion, like an eagle diving for a kill, I ram the rib into Sara’s left eye, through the bone and into her brain. She dies instantly. Standing there I laugh, I laugh at what I have done. My mirth is bolstered by the stunned looks on Brian, John, Jerry and Chuck’s faces.

Then I wake up, smiling. I think to myself, “That was great.” I realize it was only a dream. It didn’t actually happen. The anger and hatred flood back into me like magma through lava tube. Lying my head down I go back to sleep and have two more similar dreams; one involving the dealership and my truck, the other involving other associates of mine.

In the morning, I contemplate my mental health status. Is this normal to find that much pleasure and comfort in a situation like that? I know I wouldn’t actually do anything like that, but still. The pleasure and satisfaction was overwhelming.

…and no, I did not feel guilty at all.

Posted by Contagion at 12:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

Venting 101

I've got a lot of crap going on right now. Some annoying, some life changing. I think I'm hitting my overload stage. I've been mad, righteously pissed if you will, for going on 3 days straight now. From the time I wake up until... well even my dreams are filled with anger.

Each day brings something new, something else that just makes my anger spill over onto those around me. I'm trying so hard to control my temper, but it's getting harder and harder. I'm affraid of what I might do or whom I might hurt with my actions. I would never physically harm someone, but I might mentally or emotionally. Some people deserve it, it's the ones that don't that I'm more worried about. What is more pathetic is that the ones that do deserve it probably think they don't.

That is the way with the world today isn't it? Nobody deserves what happens to them. Me, I believe that everything bad that happens to me, I deserve. Everything good that happend to me was due to luck. Well, I think my luck has run out. I see dark days ahead.

As I sit here, I can feel escape. I can sense it just down the street. The smokey taste of a good scotch. The charcol bitterness of Jack Daniels. The fiery burn of Jose Cuervo and Tobasco. My nostrils are filled with the familiar scent of old friends coming to carry away the problems. My fingers are shaking as I type this. Shaking from anger, shaking from sorrow, shaking from desire. Desire to drown my problems again like I used to so many years ago.

But I can't. I have to think of my boys. My boys don't need to see their daddy like that. They don't need to know daddy used to live out of the bottle. They don't need to see me doing it again. Don't get me wrong, I still drink. I just don't drink anywhere near as much as I used to drink.

My boys are the foundation for any control I have left, which to be honest with you isn't much.

Posted by Contagion at 07:43 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

I had a blast, literally.

Graumagus has been whining and complaining about not being able to go shooting for a while now. Just to shut him up our blogless buddy Jay and myself told him we’d go shooting. His crying was really starting to get on my nerves. The man can be such a woman at times. It had nothing to do with the fact that both Jay and I wanted to slay paper targets, really. We hate shooting. We didn’t want to go at all. We went just because we were his friends, and to here him giggle in glee when we said yes was well worth it. Really, would I lie to you? Don’t answer that.


Due to the length of this post, I put the rest in the extended entry.

First Grau tells me to meet him at his father’s house between 9 and 10 in the morning. When I pick up Jay, he tells me that Grau told him not to get there before 10. See, just like a woman, he couldn’t make up his mind. Since I picked Jay up at the crack of 9:00 AM, we had some time to kill. Yea, I wasn’t itching to go shooting. Deciding that we were hungry, we stopped at a restaurant to get breakfast. After we had sat down Jay points out how “redneck” we look. Now I’ll take Jay’s word on this, he is from Missouri (pronounced Miz-zur-a). Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I had to ask him how he came to that conclusion. At which point he points out that we both are wearing flannels, dirty jeans, boots, dirty baseball caps, grimy coats and pulled into the restaurant in a big truck filled with firearms.

You cannot argue that logic.

After breakfast, we meet Grau at his dad’s house. Before we go any further in this tale of humiliation, let me explain that I dig Grau’s dad with big shovels. I’m glad he’s not my father, but for the humor factor, he is a great man. The man believed that I worked for the FBI for years; in fact, he may still believe that. That is why I found it so humorous that he was worried that all the guns were going to be taken by the feds because they were unregistered. You don’t need to register your firearms; Illinois isn’t that strict… yet. Grau and I, in a futile effort, tried to convince him that they didn’t need to be. He was still worried about it, so this is where I pulled my trump card. I told him, “Don’t worry, I have friends in the government still.” I don’t know if he knew I was joking with him or if he believed me, but that was the last we heard about it. When asked what we were going to do with “all these guns”. Grau said we were just doing some target practice. At which point Jay smarts off, “Wait, I thought we were going to annex Canada into Wisconsin!”

As soon as we left, Grau tells me he needs to hit a bank and we needed to get more ammo. Can you really have too much ammo? Don’t answer that, the answer will come to you later in this story. We stop by the local Farm and Fleet. (Yea I know… flannels, firearms, truck and at the fleet.) I tried to convince Grau and Jay we needed more ammo for their guns, but NOOOooooo, we had more then enough. Grau only picked up a box of 25 .44s and a box of 20 .30-30’s. Jay said he had 50 rounds for his .380 and that was enough. Me? I bought an extra 200 rounds of .22. Jay also decided that he didn’t need the big earmuff hearing protection, he would just use the foam inserts. This is a decision that I am sure still haunts him today. While there Grau decided that he needed to get a hat to fit in. What does he decide to buy? A tree camo John Deer hat. Our transformation to the red side is almost complete.

Upon checking out, some older anti-gun hippy chic was working the check out. She wanted to know what we were doing with all the gun “paraphernalia” (They’re bullets lady…). She then told us not to shoot anyone. What the hell?!?!?! I couldn’t help myself when I smarted off, “That takes all the fun out of it.” After we left, Grau told me I should have said, “But they make better responsive targets!”

Next, we had to head to Grau’s bank. He told me that it was on 173. Since Grau lives out in “middle of nowhere” Illinois, I figured that he meant it was off 173 out in his neck of the woods. Thus, I started to head that way. After I’ve already gone the wrong direction he spouts off, “Wait, my bank is the other way.” Did I mention he could be such a girl at times? His waiting until after you are heading the wrong way to tell you such. Apparently, I need to read his mind as well, like a woman. So after going 12 miles out of my way, that’s a whole gallon of gas in my truck, we get to his bank. Now he can’t go through the ATM… no, he has to go in. Flash forward 30 minutes, he finally comes walking out of the bank. Now he tells me I need to take him to Steak and Shake because he’s hungry. At least he can make up his mind when we get there as to what he wants. I was worried that he’d again be a woman and spend 20 minutes deciding whether or not he wanted ketchup on his burger.

Finally, we are on our way. Grau asks if our weapon’s are in cases. I confirm that mine is, Jay pulls out a Crown Royal bag and says, “Yep!” I laughed so hard I almost crashed the truck. There is just something inherently redneck about using a Crown Royal bag as a gun case, leave it to the guy from Missouri to do that.

Upon getting to the range, we hopped out, signed in, and found three spots to shoot. Man did we have fun. The range was nice too. What really impressed me was that the gun club let a local Boy Scout troop set up and sell things like chips, hot dogs, chili, etc. My being a sucker for helping Boy Scouts, I ended up buying a chilidog. It was a nice facility; it even had all weather sections to shoot. We then spent the next 2 hours shooting the following firearms.

Grau’s .44 magnum. This is a big, loud handgun. It kicks, as Grau's said, “Like a rodeo bull with a hornets nest up its arse.” The first ten rounds I put through it, I hated the thing. The second time I tried it, I put 15 rounds through it and it wasn’t as bad. It’s fun to fire, but I doubt I’d ever buy one. Shooting this isn’t as bad as standing next to someone shooting it. Today it looks like I’m freckled really badly on the left side of my face from the powder burns. Grau was to my left and every time he would pull the trigger on that beast, I’d be showered with sparks and burning powder. In addition, it is loud. Jay and some of the other guys that didn’t have good hearing protection are probably still deaf today. The whole way home Jay kept yelling at us when he was talking, he couldn’t tell how loud he was being.

Grau’s .45 Colt 1991. I loved this handgun. Great action, balance, accuracy, it was just a pleasure to shoot. It didn’t kick very hard. I put probably a good 70 of the 150 .45 rounds we brought with down range. We tried to buy some more, but the range was out. That may have been a good thing because I may have bought 200 rounds and made them stay to watch me shoot it. I don’t think Grau realizes how close he came to “losing” that handgun in my truck. There is a good chance I may be adding one of these to my collection in the future.

Grau’s .30-30. This was a nice rifle. The more I shot it, the more I liked it. It wasn’t an instant love affair like the .45 was, but I wouldn’t mind owning one. I think he screwed up the sites on it though; it seemed to be aiming high.

Jay’s .380. I really thought I would hate this thing. It looked like a toy pistol and I haven’t heard a lot of good things about .380s. To my surprise, I actually thought this was a nice little pistol. It didn’t kick; it was light and easy to shoot. I’m thinking that it may be the type of handgun I buy Ktreva when I get her to start shooting.

My .22 Long Rifle. I have a .22 pump action Winchester model 62A in good condition. It was made in 1951 and my father bought it from a farmer in a bar for $20.00 back in the 50’s. It was a fun rifle to shoot. I shot a good cluster with it. The sites must be off, as it seems to aim a little high as well. The funny thing about shooting this gun was the reaction Grau, Jay and I all had when we first fired it. Every one of us thought to ourselves, “Did it shoot?” No kick, no sound, no smoke, we all thought our first couple of rounds were duds. Nope… it’s just a .22LR.

The funniest thing that happened at the range was when I caught some hot brass in the collar of my coat. I had been firing the .45 and they called a cease-fire. One of the shells must have landed on top of my hat, because when I pulled my hearing protection off the casing fell down the back of my coat. Of course, Grau and Jay laughed their arses off as I did the, “GOD THAT’S HOT” dance.

We ended up leaving because we RAN OUT OF AMMO! Well not all of us, I still have 150 rounds of .22 left. I told them they should buy more ammo, I told them. But does anyone listen to me? No! So to answer my earlier question; No, you can never have too much ammo!

After shooting, we stopped at this local bar called Vaj’s Garage. We thought the food was a little pricey… until they delivered it. Good mother of jebus, they don’t use plates, they use platters! The Chili fries were excellent. And for you counting, yes that is the second time that day I had Chili. WHEN we go back, this will be a definite stop afterwards at “The Vaj”. Good food, atmosphere and beer. If they only had nekked Swedish serving girls.

On the way back, it’s about an hour and 15 minute trip, we stopped to get something to drink and use the restroom.. Damn beer. About 15 minutes later, we had this conversation.

Grau, “Hey, stop at the mobile up the street. I’m sorry”

Contagion, “Why?” (Smell hits me) “Good lord! You Mother Farker! *Gag*” (rolls down windows)

Grau, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Contagion, “We are only 6 blocks from your dad’s, you can hold it.”

Grau, “No I can’t, either stop or you’ll need to have your seats re upholstered.”

Contagion, “Are you telling me you went from not having to shit, to near uncontrollable bowels in less then 15 minutes?!?!?”

Grau, “Yes.”

We pull into the gas station and Grau waddles into the bathroom. Jay and I wait in the truck for no less then 10 minutes, but I think it was closer to 20. Remember Grau can be such a girl. The next thing Jay and I know people are running out of the gas station. One poor individual runs to a pump and starts to hose themselves with Gas. Jay figures the smell was so bad that they would do anything to get it out of their noses. Seeing this, I have the truck started and ready to roll when Grau comes out. He has a smile you only see on a guys face after a good hour of… well you know… ecstasy. We tore out of the gas station before it exploded.

We all had a great time and are already talking about going back in a couple of weeks. Maybe a little “Christmas/Thanksgiving” shoot or something. Next time I’ll have my .357, as I picked it up today.

Go see Grau's version here.

Posted by Contagion at 01:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Sharing the blood.

Today was the bi-monthly blood drive at work. YEE-HA! (Seriously, I’m not a redneck… I just hang out with a bunch of them.) I love giving blood, almost to a point that it is creepy. Oh, who am I kidding… it’s just down right creepy. I get giddy and happy. I start singing stupid songs from the Monkeys and the Bee Gees. My minions at work start to get worried. To quote one, “Isn’t this a sign of the apocalypse?” What a way to start the day, all the minions are in extra paranoid mode because I’m smiling, singing happy songs and have a little skip to my step. (See I’m not a redneck!)

Then the time came to give blood. I’m sitting in the booth while they ask me questions, check my blood pressure, and make sure my blood is good. When the nurse went to stick my finger, she asked me if I had a finger I preferred. She turned her back to get something, when she turned around, I’m holding out all ten fingers. With a smirk I respond, “One of these please.” She just laughed it off and grabbed the closest finger to prick. One of the questions they ask is, “Have you ever paid or received money for sex?” Being in such a good mood my tact switch was stuck in off and I just blurted out, “No, but if you’re offering….” She almost fell out of the chair laughing. I was her first customer of the day and she told me it’s always nice to start with someone that has a sense of humor.

When she was finished with me, and I collected my $20.00, she passed me off to the next nurse. This one was going to actually take my blood. She seemed to be in bad mood… until I came along. Everyone loves Contagion! (When it’s not work related) First question she asks me is, “Any allergies to latex?” You know where this is going, if you don’t then you must be new to this blog. “Nope, I love latex… do you have preformed or the paintable kind?” The nurse looked and gave me one of those knowing/naughty smirks. Ahhh… hit the nail on the head.

I’ve always had problems when I give blood, well not me as much as the nurses do. No, it has nothing to do with my incessant harassment! It has to do with the fact I have deep rubbery veins. They have a hard time getting them the first try. I warn the nurse about this, just as a precaution. She assures me she won’t have any problems. She grabs a needle, and is getting ready to insert it. I ask her, “Do you have a bigger needle?” She looks at me with concerns and asks if I’m nervous. With my biggest mischievous grin, I respond, “No, I just always thought bigger was better.” She started laughing… which in hind site may not be a good thing as she was about to jab a needle in my arm.

She tells me it’s okay to look away. “Nope, I like to watch.” I say dripping with double entendre. I think she almost slipped while inserting the needle when I said that. One would think that I would learn my lesson… but I don’t. The needle went in on the first try. When I remarked on how well she did, she responded with, “All you have to do is hold it gently, yet pull firmly until it straightens. Once I have you where I want you, I just slide it in.” Grinning like a schoolboy, “You have a very lucky boyfriend.” She turned a very interesting shade of red while she was laughing.

We get talking and joking about some of their worst patients. Then the machine tells her I’m done, I’ve given my pint. I try to get her to take a second pint. Telling her, “Look, I’m a big guy. I have extra blood! Hell, I’ve lost more then two pints from a minor head wound and was okay… minus the concussion.” By this time all the nurses on the bus where laughing and joking with me.

As I’m getting ready to leave, they remind me to eat something and “… drink a lot all day.” Whipping around I look at them and smart off, “Oh don’t think I won’t! Especially since you gave me permission to. Might not make my manager or wife happy, but I’m just following the nurses orders. It’s easier to get drunk after giving blood!” The nurses are rolling their eyes and giggling. Apparently, I haven’t lost that old college charm… yet.

Getting back into the office, I’m still smiles and laughs. I’m joking with people and just having a good time. Two of my minions speculate that the reason I’m happier and nicer after I give blood is that they drain away the evil.

I just like giving blood; I like the idea that with one pint I could save up to three lives. The feeling that I did something good and helped others is satisfying. Then again, maybe it’s the fact that I know my blood may be out there slowly converting others into minions of mine. Seriously though, if you haven’t given blood or don’t, you should look into it. It takes no more then maybe an hour out of your day, it doesn’t cost you anything and you are saving lives. Plus the free cookies aren’t bad.

Posted by Contagion at 12:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

Motoring

Eric of Straight White Guy is talking about cars he’s owned over the span of his life. This had me thinking back to the various vehicles I’ve owned in my 16 years as a driver. Originally, I was going to put a comment on his regarding them, but it was going to be so long I felt a post would be better.

1) An 83 Pontiac Phoenix, AKA The Phoeni AKA Death Trap. This was the first vehicle I owned for more then 7 days. (I had a cheap Buick I was given that had an 8 cylinder engine, but I swear only 3 worked) I owned this vehicle from September of 89 through December of 94. I put over 100,000 miles on it in that time. When I was in high school, my friends and I would hop in it and drive everywhere. It went all over Illinois and Wisconsin. It also once made a trip to Washington DC. It had its issues, hell I could dedicate a blog to stories involving this car. It was this vehicle that convinced me that Pontiac is French for “That damn ticking noise”. For some reason the vehicle always made a ticking noise… even when it wasn’t running. Every other Pontiac I’ve been around does something very similar.

One time I was driving it down a busy four-lane street when I see a tire rolling along side the road, part of the wheel assembly and all. Right as I thought to myself, “Where did that come from?” The Phoenix tips forward and I start a spin. Jumping the median, I miss an oncoming Semi by inches. After pealing my fingers off the steering wheel, I realize that was my wheel, part of axel and all. I took it to the local dealership because the service manager is a friend of my fathers. They have a mechanic fix it. When I go to pick it up the guy asks me how much I’m going to be asking for it. I had no plans on selling it; I couldn’t afford another car. When I told him that the mechanic looks at me and incredulously says, “You’re going to drive this thing?!?!?! It’s a death trap!” Hence the nick name. BTW, this happened in 1991.

Other mechanical anomalies with her include a Teflon steering gear was worn down and sometimes you could turn the wheel and the vehicle would not turn. When you straightened the wheel sometimes, it would catch and then the vehicle would turn. (This is real fun when it happens on a curvy road alongside a river such as Illinois 2) At the end of its life, it ran better with NO coolant or oil in it. If you put some in, it would sputter, loose power or stall out until it burned it all off. If you’ve seen the movie Uncle Buck, his car had nothing on the smoke the Phoeni would produce when it was burning off oil/coolant.

It was dubbed the Phoeni by a friend of mine one year when he noticed that while backing into the garage I had scraped the car on the garage door breaking off the X on Phoenix. That left the marking as “Phoeni”.

I finally got rid of the vehicle when it committed suicide. On the way to an interview, it had finally decided it had led enough of a life and threw its timing chain onto the road. It was now more expensive to repair the vehicle then to replace it.

2) 1983 Ford Fairmont. This vehicle was the only one I could afford. I owned it from June of 95 until December of 96. This was the first Ford I owned and I hated it. It was a POS. The Heating/Cooling system had three settings; Off, Deep Freeze and Blast Furnace. When the AC was on, unless you kept your foot on the gas, if the vehicle was stopped it would stall out. I was watching Boopie for my wife (before we were married), and I took him through a car wash. It was the summer and very hot. While in the car wash, I turned on the AC so we wouldn’t bake. At one point, I turned to check on Boopie in the back seat. He was sitting there, teeth chattering and blue lipped fascinated by the car wash. The AC was set on low.

One time Grau and I went to Menards to buy something for a project we were working on at his place. As we were driving back, the Check Engine light came on. We were out in the country and there was a gas station a couple of miles up the road. I was wondering if we could make it to the gas station, when I started to ask Grau “Do you think we could….” (BOOM!) The engine explodes… well not really, a hose on it exploded. Between the light going on until explosion, the amount of time to say, “Do you think we could…” The thermostat on it was stuck open causing the engine to over heat (There where no temp gages, just dummy lights). The pressure built so much that by the time the light came on, it caused the hose to explode.

This vehicle also committed suicide on me on the way to work in December. Again, the thermostat stuck open and caused the engine to overheat. This time however, there was no dummy light to come on, the engine just seized. There I was in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, a coworker came by and gave me a ride to and from work. The vehicle was beyond repair.

3) 1996 Ford Ranger (December 96 until April 2005) AKA Lucille. I loved this little truck. It was my first Brand New vehicle. If I were going to buy another compact truck, I would get a Ranger. In the 9 years I owned her, I never had a mechanical problem with it.

4) 1995 Ford Contour SE (April 99 to August 2003, Wife’s car). This is the last Ford car I will own. Ford engineering on their cars suck and this one was supposed to be one of there best ones. On our vacation from hell, this car broke down in Merrillville, Indiana. Apparently, Ford thought a plastic fan on the water pump was a good idea. I however disagree, because when the fan breaks sending plastic chunks through the engine costing me a lot of trouble and money to get fixed, plus a stay in the ever so lovely (note sarcasm) Merrillville.

5) 1998 Chevy Venture (August 2003 to present, Wife’s Vehicle). This is a rugged minivan. My wife walked away from a head on collision with out a mark on her. We’ve had no complaints about the van itself… just the dealership that can’t seem to fix it properly after the accident.

6) 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4 (April 2005 to present) AKA Janine. Even though my Ranger was in perfect working order, I needed a second vehicle that could carry the kids. With re-enacting, I also needed a bigger vehicle to carry the equipment. This truck fits both bills. I have the club cab so the kids can ride, as well as the extended bed for extra cargo space. I love this truck. At this point, I’ve had no problems with her and she’s worked better then I anticipated for our needs.

That is it, every vehicle I’ve owned.

Posted by Contagion at 12:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 05, 2005

Hey, do you have a smoke I can bum?

Here is a little something to ponder on a Saturday. Everyone knows at least one smoker. They are either a friend, co-worker, relative or an acquaintance. What you might not know is what kind of smoker they are or how they started smoking. Do they casually smoke; only smoke at work or are they a two pack a day chimney?

Over at College Humor they have a breakdown of the different kind of smokers. Now this is far from being a complete list, but for the four categories they have, it’s pretty close to accurate. I know myself I have bounced back and forth between the Conditional Smoker and the Unconditional Smoker… Except I buy my own packs of cigarettes… now. Currently I’m a slightly more involved Unconditional Smoker… A pack will last me 3-4 days. Unless I’m drinking, then a pack might last 6 hours.

I’ve been known to go weeks with out smoking, only to bum one off of a friend or to buy a pack because I know I’m going to end up smoking and don’t want to be a mooch.

Some of you are probably thinking, “He should just quit.” All I have to say to that is: No one likes a quitter!

Posted by Contagion at 11:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 01, 2005

Halloween Questions.

I saw this over at Absinth & Cookies and decided to do it, a day late.

What’s the first Halloween Costume you remember wearing?
I was a fireman, it was a cheap costume, but I was like two or three.

What was your favorite treat in your goodie bag?
I always loved Kit Kats and Peanut Butter Cups.

What’s your best Halloween Memory?
Running through the neighborhood when I was kid to see how much candy I could get. One year I filled a pillowcase to near over flowing.

What’s your worst?
One year it rained so hard that none of the parents in my neighborhood would let kids go trick or treating. So I stayed home watching TV with my friends.

Have you ever bobbed for apples?
Yes, and anything else I say about this I’m sure someone will turn into something sexual and wrong.

Have you ever been to a grown up Halloween Party?
Sure have, it’s more fun as an adult.

If you were going to such a party, and money was no question, what would your ideal costume be?
I so would have Tom Savini come and do my make up as a zombie from Land of the Dead.

Ever been to sea, Billy? Oops, wrong quiz!
I’m not Billy… but no.

Ever had a paranormal experience? If yes, tell us all about it.
Yes, Yes I have. Multiple ones, but that is a post for another time, if ever.

What’s your favorite Scary Movie?
So hard to answer, the movies that scare me aren’t considered “scary movies”. So my favorite horror movie is Night of the Living Dead.

Have you ever played a Halloween “trick” on anyone?
Multiple times, the best was a couple of years ago when I made a high school kid piss himself.

Did you carve a pumpkin this year?
I helped Clone carve his.

Do you think we had more fun at Halloween then kids do today?
Definitely, the kids today have too many restrictions. Also not as many houses hand out candy/decorate as they did when I was a kid.

What candy are you giving out tonight?
Are you ready? Here we go: Snickers, Kit Kats, Reese’s, Butter Fingers, M&Ms, Crunch w/Caramel, Mr. Goodbars and Baby Ruths.

Will you be in costume?
HELL YEA! I’ve got a sub professional grade mask of a demon, along with the gloves/hands and feet covers, flowing black robes, “satanic” medallions and a skull trident that is mounted on a hoe handle. Did I mention I like to scare people? Now I have a rule, if they look like they are under 10, I will NOT scare them. In fact, I take my mask off if they do get scared.

Decorated at all?
Are you ready? One free flowing ghost in the upper window, death moving around the back porch, hologram in the front window, cemetery in the front yard. Life sized realistic looking mummy, talking skulls, another animatronics ghost on the front porch, fog machine, realistic skeleton hanging from a real pole arm. Giant spider web across front of house. Multiple skulls, lights, bats and severed body parts strewn all over the front porch yard. A zombie rising from the ground… and normally an animatronics tree, but they where calling for rain and I didn’t put it out.

Posted by Contagion at 06:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Tequilla good?

Ktreva and I went out to dinner with some friends of ours Saturday night. Afterwards we headed to a local bar, Hard Times, to see a band play. We work with the lead singer and thought it would be nice to go check out the band. There were other friends of ours that were supposed to meet us there as well.

When I was younger I used to frequent Hard Times a lot, it was one of the few bars that actually played metal in Rockford. Until Saturday, I had not stepped foot in there for 8 years. That place has changed a lot over the last 8 years. It is still a metal bar, but the lay out of the place is completely different. Plus it wasn’t as busy at it used to be, all night it never got crowded.

At this point, I would love to give you a review of the bands, but to be fair I cannot. It has nothing to do with how much I had been drinking; it has everything to do with the craptacular company the bar brought in to run the sound. The bands were supposed to start playing at 9:00 PM; however, they couldn’t get the sound system to work properly until 10:45 PM. Even after the sound was working, they had the volumes on the channels messed up. The Bass guitar and drums completely drowned out the lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals and in one bad the keyboard. (BTW, just a hint to people that plays in metal/rock bands. KEYBOARDS DO NOT BELONG IN METAL/ROCK!)

Then they had the sound cranked so loud that you couldn’t even yell at the person next to you to convey your displeasure at the ineptitude of the sound crew. Imagine if you will, people in this small bar trying to listen to a band, consisting only of drums and a bass guitar being played deafeningly loud. I know the saying, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”. Nah, when it’s so loud you are getting feedback echo, turn down the volume! When someone said something to the sound crew regarding the issues, they were promptly blown off with a, “We are being paid to do this, we know what we are doing!”

Before the bands started playing, I shot some pool with one of the guys, “C”. While growing up, I always had a pool table in our house, so you would think I’d be decent at it. Well I’m not! I don’t really like shooting pool, so I don’t play very often. “C” used to be in a pool league. I still won 4 out of 6 games. Three of those wins had nothing to do with skill, he scratched three times on the eight ball. In C’s defense, it wasn’t exactly him either. The table was warped and it leaned towards one of the corners. If you gently hit one of the balls, you could see the ball’s path curve with the table. Once we figured that out, we did make some beautiful shots that neither one of us normally would be able to make.

We all had a really good time, excluding the crappy sound and including me drunkenly rubbing my nipples and screaming, “Davey! We love you!” to make fun of some of the girls dancing at the foot of the stage. Any night that I end up buying myself Prairie Fire shots (Half Tequila and Half Tabasco) is a good night. The pickling of my brain made the Packers loss to the Vikings on Sunday a lot less painful.

Posted by Contagion at 07:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

I can't drive 55.

Have you ever done something stupid while driving and gotten busted for it? I’m not talking about singing in the car or picking your nose, I’m talking stupid traffic violation and cops. That was me this morning. I have a lot of things on my mind and I was deep in thought pondering those while energetically singing along to the new Foo Fighters album on my way to work this morning. My attention, stupidly, was not on my speedometer and I didn’t set my cruise control, as I’m wont to do. Throw in the fact that my truck is so big that it feels like you are moving along at a slower rate of speed then you actually are and you have a recipe for tickets.

As soon as I saw the red and blue lights behind me, I looked down at my speedometer and knew I was busted. Fifty-six in a thirty-five. SHITE! My luck with talking my way out of tickets is legendary amongst people that know me. I’ve been pulled over 29 times in the last 8 years and only received speeding tickets 3 of those times. There was no way my luck was going to work with this, 21 over in a residential is a big ticket. Thinking to myself, “eh, what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. What’s the worst that’s going to happen; I get the ticket?” And this is how it went:

(Officer walks up to the truck, window rolled down prior to cop stepping out of his vehicle.)

Me: “Good morning, Officer. I’m sorry; I’m still getting used to driving this big truck and wasn’t paying attention. This is one ticket you won’t have to worry about showing up in court for.” (Hands firmly holding the steering wheel at the ten and two position the whole time I’m talking)

Officer, “You where going pretty fast. Can I see your license and proof on insurance?”

(License and insurance sitting on dashboard prior to officer leaving his vehicle)

Me: (Handing information to the officer and using my Law Enforcement Voice) “Sure, its clear valid, class D-David original, No restrictions, no stops, 1 conviction. It has not been run in Illinois in the last 12 months.”

(Cop and I look at each other; a look of recognition comes across both of our faces. This is not necessarily a good thing when dealing with the police. In this case it was a good thing.)

Officer: (looks at license) “Didn’t you used to work for the state?”

Me: “Yea, about 7 years ago.”

Officer: (Laughing) “I thought you looked familiar, we used to work together I’m (Name excluded for privacy)”

Me: (Laughing) “Holy shite! I didn’t recognize you. It’s been a long time. When did you transfer to the Rockford PD?”

Officer: “Three years ago. Are you still working as a citizen?”
(We spend 5 minutes catching up)

Officer: “You know I have to give you a ticket.”

Me: “I know you can use your discretion and not give me a ticket. If you feel that I made a mistake and will not repeat it, you can let me go.”

Officer: “Yea, we used to race each other on the way to work.”(Sarcastically)”Sure, you’ll never speed again.” (We lived in the same city and would travel the same route on our 45-minute commute to work)

Me: “Hey! I remember someone else starting those little races.”

Officer: (Laughing,) “All right, don’t let me catch you doing it again.”

Me: “I’ll be more careful, BTW I’ll race you to the next light!”

Officer: “I could just see the trouble I would get in if someone reported that to my supervisor.”

We bid each other farewell and I pulled out nice and carefully. I guess I just shouldn’t underestimate my luck. Oh, and before you go trying this the next time you are pulled over remember two things. First, you have to have the right voice and tone inflections when giving your driving status and know what exactly is on there. If you are off just a little, it will NOT work. Secondly and more importantly, the only reason this worked was because I knew the cop. In all rights, I should have been slammed with a very large speeding ticket.

Oh, and yes everyone I’ve told this to today is irritated that I was able to get out of this ticket.

Posted by Contagion at 12:54 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005

Legends come alive.

We’ve all heard of those stories that are just too strange to be true, or urban legends that always start with I know a guy that knows a guy whose cousin was… (Insert stupid story here). I however have the pleasure(?) not only of being able to spread a story like this, but it is in first person, as it happened to me.

The other morning I left my house to head for work. My wife had left with the boys already, so I was by myself. As I approached my truck, I heard a growl from behind me. Then two more distinctly different growls joined in. There was something different about the growl, it was higher pitched then I am accustomed to. Quickly I turned to face my attackers. In the past, I have had to fight a dog before, it’s painful and messy, but can be done easily enough.

Then I saw my attackers.

Three dogs, but not just any dogs, these where Chihuahuas. A pack of free roaming Chihuahuas straight from legend has invaded my neighborhood. All three of them were shaking like a crack fiend jonesing for their next fix. This time they picked the wrong prey. Looking down upon the obvious ringleader, the largest of the three dogs, I chuckle. These three must have had a serious Napoleon complex.

I turn to get into my truck when the three advance on me. WTF???? I have feet bigger then they are; are they hoping I’m going to have a heart attack? Taking a few quick steps forward all three run in different directions. I just couldn’t believe what was going on. Turning around to get into my truck, there is the leader and one of this cronies standing there. I can hear the other coming up behind me.

My amusement at the situation has waned. In my authoritative “I’m not happy” voice, I tell them, “I’ve eaten things bigger then you.” Still barking and growling, they move closer! Now my irritation at the situation has sparked an anger response in me. I try to kick one of these ankle biters. Missing as they all break and flee, I decide just to leave. Climbing into my truck, I can see they are still hanging around.

While I was backing out of the driveway, I’ll admit that I tried to run them over… and missed. Since my wife was already at work, and I wasn’t heading to the office, I called her to tell her the story. I also asked her to inform Animal Control that I was “Viciously attacked” by three Chihuahuas. I swear she fell out of her chair laughing! That’s love for you, I’m viciously attacked and she just laughs at me!

While driving a stray thought came to me, is this a new trend? Will packs of wild Chihuahuas start roaming the countryside in look of prey and to harass people? I sure hope so, free range Chihuahuas taste better then house kept ones.

Posted by Contagion at 12:52 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

It's just how I am.

Some of you may have noticed various posts wishing me a Happy Birthday a couple of days back, and my caustic comments to it. My Birthday is something I try to keep quiet, but we all know how it goes… Telephone, television, Tell-a-blogger. One person finds something out and then it spreads across the internet like an STD at a Caribbean orgy.

I don’t celebrate my birthday. If someone gives me a gift, I tend to politely decline it and advise I don’t celebrate my birthday. Crude comments and gestures were made to people that did wish me a happy birthday, especially friends that should know better. For years I’ve hated my birthday, for the days leading up to it my stomach churns with dark bile of despair knowing that someone is going to try to do something. Then when the day comes, it generally is one of the worst days of the year. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s like a bad day from hell, every year. I can count on it and it will happen.

People have told me it was my attitude, that I create this day of hell. Thinking maybe they where correct, I tried changing my attitude to see what happens. That failed miserably, that was one of the worse Birthday’s I’ve had in years.

Before any of you old folks out there start trying to make this a denial of age thing, it’s not. The last time I celebrated my birthday was when I was 21, and only because I wanted to go out and get drunk… legally. Even before then I didn’t celebrate my 20th B-day.

I used to look forward to my birthday, the fun and special treatment for the day. Then one year, when I turned 18, everyone forgot. EVERYONE, not one “Happy Birthday”, not a card, gift or anything. It took two weeks before anyone ever realized what happened, and that was my mother. Through all the excuses and apologies, she said it wouldn’t happen again. Flash forward one year, I’m a freshman in college. I’m turning 19; my birthday comes and goes with the same lack of recognition. I was sure people would remember this year, because they forgot the year before. Nope. This time however, it only took about a week before someone remembered; this time it was my sister.

On both days I had various things happen that were just miserable. The kind of things that in the grand scheme of life aren’t horrible, but are enough to ruin a day. Some of my favorite examples are: Plumbing explosion, being assigned menial tasks at work, car breaking down in the middle of nowhere w/no phone, etc.

Since then I decided that I was not going to recognize or celebrate my birthday. It makes life easy on my wife because she doesn’t have to worry about shopping or buying me anything. She doesn’t have to plan anything or do something special. We just go about our day as if it’s any other day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish sending some “Frag off” e-mails.

Posted by Contagion at 12:59 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

September 21, 2005

Why you don't take sick kids to the fair.

T1G put up a story about his run in with Carnies. While reading it, it reminded me of something that happened to me when I was younger.

My grandparents on my mother’s side lived in small towns in northern Illinois when I was growing up. At first, it was on a farm they owned and ran just outside of Kirkland, IL. Then when my grandfather wasn’t able to run the farm anymore, they sold it and moved into a neighboring town where he got a job. Every summer on the Fourth of July there would be a family reunion and we would all get together at my Grandparents and drive to Kirkland for their festival. They would have a pork chop dinner, flea market and the usual rides, games and carnival food. During the day, the local sport leagues would get together and play baseball. There was a big parade. In one area, they had truck and tractor pulls and at night, there were fireworks. I remember this fair fondly. We stopped going when I was around 14 and would go camping instead.

It was during one of the last years we went that my incident happens. When I was 12 or 13, we decided to make an entire weekend of it. My parents drove the small RV they owned to my grandparents house so we could sleep in that instead of them having to drive home late at night with my 8 year old sister and myself just to get up and come back early the next day. This year the worst thing that could happen to a kid on the Fourth of July, happened to me. I got sick; I came down with the flu. No one believed me when I was telling them I wasn’t feeling good all day, they didn’t want to miss the fun. I don’t blame them either, I still wanted to go and I felt pretty bad.

Upon arriving, I took off with some money to join up with cousins of mine that lived there. We purchased tickets and got in line for this ride called The Salt and Pepper Shakers. It was basically two cars that spun in an opposite directions in a vertical circle. As we stood in line, this big nasty looking Carnie kept harassing the girls in line, especially the pretty ones, about them getting sick on the ride. Some of the girls got so nervous they actually stepped out of line. I’m not sure if it was what he was saying or if it was the way he smelled. It was one of the most horrid things I had smelt at that time in my life. I have since smelt much worse. It’s one of those smells that get stuck in your memory and you just can’t let it go. Back then I didn’t know what the smell was, today I can. He smelt like stale beer, cigarettes, sweat, urine, feces and sex.

Have you ever had a smell so bad that it is stuck in your nose for hours and no matter what you do, you can’t make it go away? Well, that was what happened to me. When it was my turn to get on the ride I was feeling worse then normal, but I didn’t want to ruin my fun. We were strapped in and the ride started. I was in the rear-facing car, luckily, when all hell broke loose. In the middle of the third loop, it hit me. I’m not sure if it was because of the flu, motion sickness, the smell of the guy stuck in my nose, the half pound of parade candy I had eaten, the guy talking about kids getting sick or all of the above.

From my mouth with enough force to spray through the protective cage came up everything I had eaten in the last 2 years of my life. Well it seemed like it was that much. Apparently, I had timed it just right too, when it flew out of the cage it showered the carnie in all of its foul gastric juice nastiness. Of course, there where other people hit, but the majority of it hit the carnie.

The ride was quickly stopped and we where taken off. The other people in line groaned, as they had to shut it down to clean it off. The carnie was swearing up and down at his much-needed shower. I swear it made him smell better! The most amusing part of it was that surprisingly little of my own vomit was on me. It spewed fourth so hard and with the motion of the car, only a little actually landed on my shoes.

My grandfather quickly took me home. I kept apologizing the whole way for my ruining the day. Grandpa was a great man and told me that it was okay, he was ready to go home for a nap anyways. I knew it wasn’t true, but it made me feel better. He would have spent the whole day watching the truck and tractor pulls.

The next day I didn’t go back to the carnival at all, I was bed ridden and didn’t feel up to it. When the next year came and we went back to the fair, my illogical kid mind was in fear that the same smelly carnie would be back and looking for me to get revenge. Even back then, I had heard stories of carnies. If he was there I never saw him, or I didn’t recognize him.

It was the worse Fourth of July I had ever had.

Posted by Contagion at 12:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack