May 31, 2008

What's it called?

Ever wonder what the actual style of facial hair is on someone? Ever wonder what exactly is meant when someone was described as wearing an "old dutch" beard? Well now over at Dyers.Org he has a quest going, A Quest For Every Beard Type.

There's only one beard type missing, The Harvey. The man has the most well groomed beard I've ever seen.

Posted by Contagion at 12:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Novelty gun.

I don't know what practical use this knife-gun would have, heck I'm not ever sure how accurate or effective it would be. It can't be over a .22 caliber. Anyway, it is still kind of neat to see someone spent some time making a concealed weapon that looks like a weapon.

Posted by Contagion at 11:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gas Pains.

I know a lot of people are complaining about the price of gas. It's common anymore. Hell, I've even stopped driving my truck. That's right, I'm carpooling as much as possible now. The last time I filled the tank on the truck it cost me $120.00 And that was when gas was $3.69 a gallon. It's now $4.15 a gallon here.

Well some people have really had enough with gas prices. Over at Miss Celania (Get it Miscellanea? Pretty Funny) she has a whole category up over the problems with gasoline. There is a lot of funny, and informative information over there. You should go check it out.

Posted by Contagion at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pimp my Mixer!

I know there is a fascination for everything. People focus on and obsess about just everything. I just didn't realize that people would be obsessed with mixers, especially ones that are "pimped" out.

Bomber Mixer.jpg

Head over to and you can start the process to pimp out your Kitchen Aid mixer. And it's not just flames, like the above fighter style, there are many more. Check out their picture page.

Posted by Contagion at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Need to kill some time? Or just give up the last couple hours of your life? I found this game at 8:30 this morning and just got pulled away due to a phone call. Yea, that's quality time with the family I'll never get back.

If you need to do the same, try robokill.

Posted by Contagion at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2008

No wonder they think I'm a math god.

I can't seem to get my peers and upper management at my company to understand basic math. I have 5 people that are trained on a product, only five. It takes about 4.25 people a day to get all the work done for that product. I end up loaning one of my people out to help with other products at least once or twice a week.

Well, I had one of my five get promoted. That left me with four. I have a second one that is being sent to another office to help train new employees there, that leaves me with three. I have one off each week on vacation for the next month that leaves me with two. Two people to do the job of 4.25 people.

Today one of my peers comes to me and says that one of her people is off on medical leave for the next couple of weeks and I have to give up one of my people for the next month to cover it. This was a surprise meeting with upper management and all. I explained the hardship that giving up one more person is going to put my one last remaining employee into. That didn't matter, they felt the one last remaining employee can hold the department together for at least a month.

Of course I'm going to hire a new employee to replace the one promoting, but that could take at least a week or two. Plus when they start they need to be trained and brought up to speed.

I can't wait until the end of June when I have to send my last remaining employee into a class for support... because they HAVE to be there. In fact they even tried to force me to give up two. I'm not kidding, I litteraly sat there with counters and did basic math with them to show them I didn't have anyone else. One of the upper management said, "It doesn't matter, they have to be in there." So at this point I asked who they wanted me to send. They gave me a name... Nope, she promoted. They gave me another name... Nope she is in a class out of state. They gave me a third name... Nope she's already in the class. They gave me a fourth name... Nope, she's on Vacation. They gave me the fifth name... Nope, they are taking the place of my peer's missing employee. That's when I got, "Well who's left?" and I kid you not people, my answer was rather calm and collected.

I responded back with, "Why there is no one left. That is what I'm trying to tell you. The only person that I'll have at that time is possibly a new trainee, for which I won't have anyone to train. And I can't put a trainee in a class to train other trainees."

... and they still said I had to get someone. So I asked them which project is least important and I'll pull that employee off of it and reassign them to the training room. To which my manager responded that I couldn't pull any of them. At the end of the meeting, they still couldn't grasp basic math and I still had to give up an employee I don't have at the end of the month. Plus I have to keep my regular work running smoothly and evenly.

So you'll have to excuse me while I wait for the three Advil to kick in so I can figure out a way to bend the space/time continuum.

Posted by Contagion at 04:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 28, 2008

Headless Man Amber Alt

Since the left over Beer Tasting beers are taking up space in the fridge, Ktreva gave me an option. Either skip the beers I have waiting and start doing reviews on thoseÖ or sheís going to give them away. (She knows better than to dump it out, it was part of our wedding vows). To decide which one to review, I just opened the door and grabbed one. The winner was Headless Man Amber Alt by Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, Wi. This beer was provided by Harvey of Bad Example, which gives him enabler status.

Headless man amber alt 002.jpg

The beer came from a squat 12 fl oz. brown bottle. There is a maroon label. With the name of the brewing company on top and the city/state on the bottom. In the middle appears to be some kind of prehistoric design with the name of the beer center left.

There is a nice golden amber color to the beer. The body itself is clear and light passes through it easily. It formed a quarter inch head made of tiny bubbles that fades to a film on the top of the beer. There is no lacing on the glass at all.

The smell is a combination of malts and a hint of caramel. There is also a slight biscuit scent to it. You can also get a slight hint of hops. The taste is a mix of caramel malts and a slight burnt bread taste. A hint of grassy hops is also noticeable. The body is bitter and lives the same lingering bitter aftertaste after youíve finished.

This is a medium to light bodied beer. There is a good level of carbonation that gives a little bite to the tongue.

At the beer tasting this was one of the worst beers reviewed. This gives credit to a point I tried to make a couple of times during the tasting; tastings and reviews are not the same thing. Reviews you drink one beer and review it. Tastings you sample many beers and pick your favorite. At the tasting I gave this beer a 3, this was the sixth beer overall. With a clean pallet and actually drinking all 12 ounces, this beer isnít as bad. Realistically Iíd rate it a 4. Itís drinkable, just not great

Posted by Contagion at 06:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2008

Beer Tasting successfull.

This last weekend I hosted my first ever Beer Tasting. Iíve attended Beer Tastings, but Iíve never hosted one. The ones I attended were always a formal event. An attendant or host would serve 4-6 fluid ounces of beer in a sampler glass and weíd all sit at a table and discuss what we liked and didnít like about the beer. Each person would have a scorecard and we would discuss the beer to death. I liked these tastings because I was able to sample beers I had never had before, but to be honest I really didnít like the atmosphere. So for my tasting I decided to go with something a whole lot less formal.

We were all in my back yard. Most of the time we sat around a portable fire pit Ktreva and I had as we reviewed the beer. I had grilled up burgers, brats, hot dogs and Chicken Asiago Cheese Bratwursts. We had potato salad, barbeque baked beans, chips and other food. Of course there were saltines and pretzels to clean the pallet before the tasting. So as people arrived, everyone could eat and make sure they werenít drinking on an empty stomach.

I did print out some interesting beer facts I had found online and gave each participant a copy, which I was made fun of for doing. Honestly, I really didnít care. I think two or three people actually liked the information in there and took the packet home. Others burned them or threw them away. Either way I was okay with it.

During one of the breaks in the tasting we did some brief tomahawk throwing. Apparently my hawk block had seen too many days outside and one too many tomahawks. It started cracking and coming apart until finally it shattered when Wes of Bodhran Roll, Please sunk a hawk into it at 7 paces. Thus ending the Ďhawk games.

Overall the ďskilledĒ group of tasters was Shadoglare, Labgirl (Shadoglareís new GF), Wes, Harvey, Ktreva, Noah, Bruce, Wil, Tina and myself. Graumagus showed up right at the end with two more beers and only really was able to review 2 beersÖ the two he brought.

Now you have to keep in mind, this was not a beer review. It was a beer tasting. Basically itís to decide whether or not you like a beer. We did rate the beer, but that was more for fun than anything else. Plus by the time we hit the 10th beer, our taste buds were pretty much broken, even after cleansing the pallet. Below is a list of beers I order tasted along with the average rating, including highest and lowest scores.

Dragonís Milk: Average: 8.5. Highest: 9.5(twice) Lowest: 7.5
Dirty Helen: Average: 3.5 Highest: 5 Lowest: 0 (Yes, someone gave it a zero)
Dragonís Gold: Average: 4 Highest: 7.5 Lowest: 2
Badger Porter: Average: 5 Highest: 8 Lowest: 2
1554 Brussels style Black Ale: Average: 6 Highest: 8 Lowest: 4
Headless Man Amber Ale: Average: 1.5 Highest: 3 Lowest 0 (Twice)
Mocha Porter (Rogue): Average: 4 Highest: 7 Lowest .5
Bully Porter: Average: 4.5 Highest: 6.5 (Twice) Lowest:0
Black River Red (Pioneer) Average: 5 Highest: 7 Lowest: 4
SummerShandy: Average: 3.5 Highest: 7.5 Lowest 0
Oscars Stout: Average: 7 Highest: 8 Lowest: 6
Celis Grand Cru Average: 1.5 Highest: 2 Lowest: 1

The best beer of the weekend was Dragonís Milk provided by myself with an average rating of 8.5. The lowest is actually a toss up between Headless Man provided by Harvey and Celis Grand Cru provided by Graumagus. Honestly if you want to be fair, Celis Grand Cru was the worst of the two. If you subtract the highest and the lowest rating Celis scores a 1.5; Headless Man scores a 2.

Now we did rinse and dry the glassware between beers, but by the end of the night the rinse water and the standard American Lager we drank the rest of the night looked the same. Can you guess which one is the beer?

beer tasting 08 021 (2).jpg
sorry about the crappy quality of the pic, but you get the idea.

Sunday was more of the same for those that wanted to come back. We really didn't drink different kinds of beers, but we did drink a lot of beer. approximately 4 cases to be exact.

Overall it was a good time. The feedback I received was very positive, including multiple recommendations that I do this every year. Which, Ktreva and I discussed it and decided that we are going to host a Beer Tasting every year. It is going to be an annual event every Memorial Day weekend. Including possibly a second one in the fall, possibly coinciding the Blogcrawl.

So if you are interested in getting on the invite list, let me know.

Posted by Contagion at 07:26 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 23, 2008


I was running around on lunch today picking up supplies, aka beer, for the Beer Tasting Iím 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 Ktrevaís 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 wasnít 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 vehicleÖ 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 Touretteís or I was a ďSpecial edĒ 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 TiresÖ on the rim of the spare. Hey, itís 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, ďNothing, itís free.Ē Excuse me? Did you say Free? You mean there is no charge? Why is there no charge? ďI donít know, the work order says ďfree repairĒ. I even verified with the first guy I spoke with. He said there is no charge.

HuhÖ no charge. You donít 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 didnít cost me a thing. The next time I need tires, Iím 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 22, 2008


Just when I thought the hellish nightmare of single parenthood was going to kill me, in sweeps Ktreva like a Navy SEAL to rescue me! She got done early and drove straight home as fast as she could. Sensing her getting closer, Clone and Boopie even behaved. When she arrived, she kicked in the front door, took the boys out with a rapid fire hug and kiss and saved me!

My Hero!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take her upstairs and give her the reword reward she rightfully deserves! Well, okay, I'm just going to do that thing that I like to do that makes me happy and doesn't really do much for her, but I don't care because I got mine.

Update: Okay, it did do something for her... twice. :)

Yes, I know I'm going to pay for this post.

Posted by Contagion at 05:29 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

Clone strikes back, Day 3

Since I last left you, let me give you an update on what has happened. Clone reminded me last night at least 50 times that his graduation from Pre-school was today. In fact it started around 7:00 PM and kept on until well into the evening. In fact it kept on even after he went to bed. I kid you not he woke me up at 10:45 PM to say, ďDad, time to get up, I need to graduate!Ē Of course I sent him back to bed.

Then he woke me up at around midnight to tell me he was thirsty. Then he woke me up around 1:15AM to tell me it was time to get up to graduate. The next wake up was at 2:30 AM, but this time it was ďDad, I had an accident.Ē YeaÖ no more drinks after bedtime. He woke me up again at 4:00 AM saying it was time to graduate. Finally he woke me up at 4:45 AM again for graduation.

When the alarm finally went off at 5:45 AM, I felt like I had barely slept. Then to make matters worse, when I went to wake him upÖ he gave me attitude saying HE was tired. Yes, heís still alive. No I did not throw him out of the window. Yes, I thought about it. Finally, we get on our way. His graduation wasnít until 11:00AM, so he had to go to Grandmaís first while I worked for a while. Of course he pitched a fit because, ďDad, youíre not listening to me. Teacher said graduation is now! We have to go now.Ē Yea, no such luck buddy, Daddyís gotta go to hell and earn a paycheck.

When I picked him up at 10:45 to head to the park where the party was at, it was like grandma had fed him a diet of Jolt, Energy Drinks, sugar and crystal meth. He was bouncing all over the place. Now this graduation is a potluck picnic with a small ceremony where they release some butterflies at the end. At least he got to work off some of that energy playing.

Iíve known for a while that most of the momís of the kids at this pre-school are stay at home mothers. I have nothing against that. A lot of them are friends and set up play dates for their kids. They are also those prissy Real Housewives of Orange County wannabe women. They dress in their latest California fashions and try to emulate the stars. I was one of three guys there. One of the otherís was a grandfather and retired, the other looks like he was on lunch from a construction site. Especially since every time I see the guy he is wearing a different T-shirt for the same local contractor. Needless to say most of the food other people brought were homemadeÖ either by the moms or by their housekeeper.

Me, I just ran through the grocery store and bought a pre-made fruit tray. According to the list I was supposed to bring a fruit, vegetable or chip item. I thought the fruit tray fit nicely into that. The really stuck up moms looked down their noses at me. Then again I just kind of let it roll off, I was the only one there wearing a suit. I left work to go to this, and had to return. One of the busybody wives struck up a conversation with me and asked about my wife. I explained that she was in Chicago on a business trip. She gave me a snide little, ďOhĒ. To which I responded, ďShe has a pretty good career going and I supported her decision to keep it after Clone was born. Sheís one of those women that doesnít want to be judged by how good their cheesy potato recipe is.Ē Yea, I wasnít making friends.

I guess their must be some competition between them over who has the best cheesy potato recipe because that is what most of them brought was some combination of potatoes and cheese. They were good, but honestly I could have gone for some variety.

As soon as the ceremony was over I took Clone back to Grandmaís and I returned to work. Clone was now upset that he only got to play at the park for two hours and tried to get me to agree to let him play a couple hours more. Yea, that wasnít happening.

At least now itís over.

Right now Iím waiting on Bruce to call me so we can go pick up some firewood for this weekend. BTW, no beer review this week. With me being home alone with both boys and trying to get some housework done, there just isnít time.

Posted by Contagion at 04:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 20, 2008

Contagion under siege, day 2.

Okay, last night went smoothly, relatively. Other than one meltdown where the boys were fighting, not much else happened. Clone decided he couldnít figure out how to put on his Pajamas. Heís only been doing it himself for at least 2 years. Boopie was actually well behaved.

This morning is a completely different story. We start with Clone not wanting to get out of bed. Then it turned into we couldnít find his shoes. He had them yesterday, but today we canít find them. When I asked him where he took them off at, he pointed to a spot on the floor and said right there. Yea, like he knows the exact spot where he took of his shoes. After 30 minutes of tearing through the house trying to find his shoes, I wake Boopie up to see if he just happens to know where they are. Sure enough he doesÖ They are under Boopieís bed. Donít ask me why, but that is where they were.

Clone was particularly whiney. He complained about what side of the vehicle he was getting into on to what route I took to Grandmaís. When we arrived he then became clingy because ďhe was sad.Ē He wanted to get out on the other side of the vehicle. Thank jeebus I was dropping him off.

WorkÖ uh went.

I pick up Clone to find out today while playing with the other kids he made a sign and glued it to the side of the house. It was a sign to tell the other kids where they could find him once he left, it had a map and everything. Needless to say my mother was not amused when I started laughing and said, ďWho in the world would leave a five year old unattended with a glue stick?Ē

I get home and jump onto the computer to see if any of my shipments arrived were they where supposed to. Spurs did receive his Dragonís Milk. (Score one Contagion!) As soon as I start up the browser I can see something is wrong. So I check a program I installed on the computer to monitor itís activity. Sure enough Boopie was on the computer this morning after I left the house. I donít know where he went because he deleted the history. When confronted he lied about it, the boy just isnít going to learn.

Now itís time for me to go start cleaning the kitchen. Iím sure many great stories will continue.

Posted by Contagion at 04:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Unpopular decisions.

Wes of Bodhran Roll, Please! has a post of were heís been and whatís been going on in his life. It ends with some comments about changes heís made regarding re-enacting. These include, unfortunately due to some research of my own, to him deciding not to bring his Bodrhan to the events anymore and to shave his facial hair. Of course good friend and blogspawn Petey is not pleased with this decision to stop bringing the bodrhan. (As well as our friend Wil, but he hasnít commented yet).

I know that when I shaved my facial hair and decided to get rid of some of the items in my camp that are not period correct, I took some, okay a LOT of ridicule. The thing is that I think some people are missing the point. Now, I can only really speak for me, but after conversations with Wes, I think heíll agree with me on this. I didnít make these changes because someone else forced me to or because I didnít want. I made these decisions because they are what I wanted.

When I was younger I was brought up that if you are going to do something, do it right and take pride in your work. History has been a passion of mine for years. When I was younger I loved going to museums and ready about history. I loved going on vacations and taking tours of various historical locations. When we went on these tours I was always the kid fighting his way to the front so I wouldnít miss anything the tour guide said.

In 1997 when I had an opportunity to start doing some re-enacting, I jumped on it. I joined Clan Chattan and we did more of the Scottish Highland Game/Ren Faire style re-enacting. We had two events that were early American events, and those quickly became my favorites. In fact after a couple of years I started hating the Ren Faire and Highland Games gigs. There wasnít much history to them and the people that attended really didnít want to know about history, unless I was talking about the history of the sword. Occasionally I would find someone that wanted to talk Scottish history with me, but mainly they just wanted to see the sharp shiny objects. After leaving Clan Chattan, I havenít worked a Ren Faire or Highland game.

Now Iím on my own doing what I want to do. Over the years Iíve been slowly weeding out what is wrong in my camp and gear. I was reading more books and brushing up on more history. Becoming more and more knowledgeable about the history of the period and location Iím portraying. I know what is wrong in my camp and what needs to be improved.

At the end of last season something finally snapped into place for me. I shook off the last of my Ren Faire mentality of ďif they had it, they would have used itĒ and ďIf it looks period correct, thatís all that matters.Ē Now, Iím striving to get as historically accurate of a camp that I can get and still have my family with. (There is absolutely NO chance of my having a White wife and kid with me in 1756 in Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin) So I make exceptions, because this is first and foremost a FAMILY hobby for us, and its damn well going to stay that way. Yet I am going to make the changes I need to make for me, and my costuming and my equipment. Not the familyís stuff, but mine. Ktreva is behind me on this.

Things really didnít hit the fan until last month when I made the decision to shave my facial hair off, replace me capote and update the camp chairs. All of a sudden everyone was going nuts about my decision. Hereís the thing. Iím not doing this because someone told me to. Its not because I feel I have to. It isnít even something I didnít want to do. This was a decision I made in order to get it right. I did it because I knew these things are wrong for my persona and my camp.

I did this because I want to do my best to do it right. I am taking pride in what Iím doing. This is something that I know is right and I want to do it. It doesnít bother me that people are making fun of my cleanly shaven face. When they laugh and tease me about my decisions, it rolls off of me. The fact is simple, it was a decision I made, it is something Iím standing by and none of them can tell me that Iím wrong.

Iím not mad, irritated or even annoyed at any of them. Because Iím doing what is right for me, and they are doing what is right for them. And that is what is most important.

That is what they donít understand.

Now of course if Wes wants to bring his Bodhran and play, I'd be all for that. The nights are going to get quiet.

Posted by Contagion at 06:47 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 19, 2008

Contagion under siege!

Day one. Ktreva has left this morning for a week long business trip in Chicago. I have been left to my own devices with Boopie and Clone.

This morning, after dropping Clone off, I had to take Ktreva to get a rental car and then go to work. Work sucked. 4 of my six peers are gone this week . The two that are remaining, one is useless and the other is struggling with her unit. That left me to run 4 units. Fortunately I was all caught up on Friday when I left. For now I am behind. I spent most of the day trying to handle the needs of 70+ employees by myself.

Rumor has it that I may have been slightly grouchy today.

I was late leaving work due to my situation and missed a political meeting that I really had wanted to attend. Needless to say, I was not amused.

After picking up the boys I took them to the grocery store. We were pretty much out of food. In hopes of encouraging the boys to behave, I told them they could each pick one meal they wanted me to make this week AND they could get anything they wanted for dinner tonight. This idea backfired as all I got were generalities. Boopie said he wanted Chicken. What kind of chicken? I don't know... just chicken, you decide.

It kind of defeated the purpose. When I asked what they wanted for dinner tonight Clone decided it should be peanuts and bananas. It wasn't until we were almost done and I had picked just about everything that they both started asking, "Can we get this?" or "Can we have that?" Yes, both boys are still alive... barely.

As I sit here and type this I hear crying coming from the other room. They are beating on each other.

Why can't they behave when momma is gone?

Posted by Contagion at 05:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 18, 2008

The Last Stand 2

Here's a fun little time waster, The Last Stand 2. The point of the game is to survive a zombie invasion by making it to a coastal town, Union City, with in 40 days. It's not as easy at it seams.

Posted by Contagion at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It could go either way.

Really, some of these I've heard of, others I just guessed.

Posted by Contagion at 11:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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

May 16, 2008

It's worse, much worse

Yesterday I told you about my personal hell, You know the dream where what started off as the perfect re-enacting job turned into a nightmare. After that dream I was sure that there is nothing, NOTHING that could be worse than that.


Today on lunch Ktreva made me take her shoe shopping. She needed new shoes for her new outfit she bought for a wedding we are going to tomorrow. She needed orange shoes. Yes, I said orange. We walked into the store and right off the bat I see a pair of orange shoes that *I* think would look good with her new outfit. She tells me they won't and goes about shopping. She finds a pair of shoes she likes and tries them on. Too small, so I end up Tetris with shoe boxes to help her find the right size.

After what seemed like 2348 boxes not only do I find the right size, but also the right color. Meanwhile the other women in the store are staring at me like I'm some kind of foot fetish prevert! One kept eyeballing me like she thought I was either going to sniff them or put them on Mr. Happy. It was rather disturbing.

Ktreva decides she likes them and she is going to buy them. Alright we're done!


Nope, it's buy one get one half off. DAMMIT!

The other shoe she decides she likes is not only orange... but is the original shoe I pointed out! Again with the shoe box tetris. Why? Because apparently shoe sizes on women's shoes is just a number they stamp on there as decoration. Actually this has to be some kind of cruel joke to keep guys like me busy why women shop. I mean I had to unstack and restack shoe boxes a couple of dozen times. Especially since most of the shoes where stacked on a shelf over my head.

So guys, learn a lesson for me. No matter how quickly she says it's going to be, never let a woman talk you into taking her shoe shopping with her. NEVER!

Posted by Contagion at 07:31 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 15, 2008

I found my hell.

I had a strange dream last night. It started off good and then went straight to hell. And not any hell, but I think this is my personal hell.

It started off as me getting a job as a professional re-enactor, and it paid really well! I even got to portray a Jacobite! All was perfect until my first day at work. Upon arrival at job it was a horrible mess. They had a timeline of 1558 to 1780. And everyone was just jumbled together. They had Elizabethan era people mixed with Revolutionary War solders.

Then to make matters worse, it was mostly people that I work with now. All the ones I'm having issues with. In fact the director of our office WAS Queen Elizabeth. They kept having me walk around with her to my protest. It didn't matter how much I pointed out that a 1746 Jacobite would NOT be with Queen Elizabeth. Much like real life, my opinion didn't matter even though I had facts that backed it up.

I kept getting excuses like, "But the public likes you two together. The way you act like you hate the English and her being all regal is funny." I think I almost had an aneurysm in my sleep. Then it was I couldn't carry my sword with me because It's not safe, they made me carry a Styrofoam one. It just kept getting worse and worse... THEY MADE ME WASH ME WAISTCOAT AND LEGGINGS!

When I tried to quit they brought out my contract and showed me that I couldn't quit unless I wanted to pay them 10 million dollars. That's when I woke up in a cold sweat screaming.

Posted by Contagion at 05:36 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 14, 2008


Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn was the sponsor for tonightís beer review. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Smithwickís by Diageo in Ireland. Diageo is the same brewers that make Guinness. This is one of the rare beers that I can remember the very first time I had one. I was sitting at Fadoís Irish Pub in Chicago and they had a beer rep there. I had ordered a Guinness and he came over and asked if I wanted to take a survey. He was with the brewing companyís marketing department and offered to buy me one. So much like tonightís beer, my first Smithwickís was free!


We have our standard 12 oz. brown bottle. There is a green front label with the picture of a golden castle towner on it. The name crosses the tower. At the top of the tower is the year 1710. At the bottom of the label it states ďFrom the Brewers of GuinnessĒ.

There is a nice dark brown color to it, much like a cola. Light passes through with some difficulty. If you hold a flashlight up to it you can see floating particles. An inch thick tan head formed when poured. It consisted of a mix of large and small bubbles. It faded slowly and by the time I was done with the beer there was still a good foam on the top of the beer. There was some lacing on the side of the glass as well.

The smell was mostly of sweet malts. There was a touch of a bread scent to it as well. Roasted malts makes up the majority of the taste, there is a hint of caramel to it and a slight bitter finish. The aftertaste is mild and unobtrusive.

This is a medium bodied beer. It is a little heavy on the carbonation for my tastes. Itís an easy to drink beer.

This is a good beer and I could drink one of these most of the time. I donít even need to be in the mood of it. It really does taste like a Guinness light. Itís got most of the flavor and none of the heaviness. I give this a 7 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 07:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 13, 2008

Chicago now trying to control the U.S.

Anyone that lives in Illinois knows that Chicago is the 300 pound gorilla that controls the state. It seems that what ever the politicians, AKA King Richard Daley and his cronies want, they try to stuff down the rest of the states throat. It makes living in this state dang near a headache. Heaven forbid you donít agree with something that Chicago wants. If you do than they feel you are an uneducated rube that needs them to take care of you for them. Chicago is the starting point for every anti-gun law, stupid tax and freedom ban in what used to be a free state.

Now it seems that Chicago wants to do a hostile takeover of the rest of the United States. They are no longer happy just controlling us lowly serfs here in the Socialist Republic of Illinois. Nope, the city council has decided that they are going to vote on a resolution to ban the war in Iran. Yes, I said Iran. Hereís the PDF version of the resolution from No War on Iran.

The last time I checked, the city council of Chicago, let alone any city, has the right to ban or stop the Federal government from doing anything. Okay, really the resolution is a message to the Illinois Congressional delegate and this may just be a symbol of how strong they feel about a war on Iran, but seriously donít the people in Chicago think that there are better things that their City Council could be handling? Letís face it, this is a waste of tax-payers time and money.

Posted by Contagion at 09:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 12, 2008

Delivery denied.

Back in March, Spurs of the apparently defunct Pull My Finger, was able to get me a copy of the Sports Illustrated limited edition Brett Favre memorial issue. They sold out around here in a matter of minutes when they hit the stands. When I had that highly coveted magazine in my hands, I promised I would send him a couple bottles of Dragon's Milk and a six pack of one of my higher rated beers in appreciation. Finally after months of waiting, my contact got me my case of Dragon's Milk and I picked up a six pack of the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.

Armed with an address, two bottles of Dragon's Milk and a six-pack of the porter, I hit a local shipping store. Where I am promptly told, "You can not legally ship beer." WHAT?!?!?!?! I can't ship beer? It seems that it's illegal to ship beer. Instead of driving all over town I called three other places and received the same information. GUH!!!! WHY?

I'm still working on it, I may have to get sneaky, sneaky, but dammit... I'm a man of my word and he's getting his well deserved beer!

Posted by Contagion at 05:58 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 10, 2008

That's a huge fish!

I stumbled across this little news story: Illinois Man Catches 92 pound fish with out a pole!

That's just a huge fish, I don't care how he caught it. Be it with a bow and arrow or a stick of dynomite. I didn't think fish got that big in Illinois.

Posted by Contagion at 09:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It sure the hell wouldn't have been PBR.

I received an E-mail earlier this week from CalTechGirl from Not Exactly Rocket Science titled "I thought this was you until I saw it was Pabst...". I open it up just to see a link to a fox news story, Illinois Man Orders Custom Beer-Can Coffin.

Pabst Coffin.jpg

SOUTH CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. ó Bill Bramanti will love Pabst Blue Ribbon eternally, and he's got the custom-made beer-can casket to prove it. "I actually fit, because I got in here," said Bramanti of South Chicago Heights.

The 67-year-old Glenwood village administrator doesn't plan on needing it anytime soon, though.

He threw a party Saturday for friends and filled his silver coffin ó designed in Pabst's colors of red, white and blue ó with ice and his favorite brew.

"Why put such a great novelty piece up on a shelf in storage when you could use it only the way Bill Bramanti would use it?" said Bramanti's daughter, Cathy Bramanti, 42.

Bramanti ordered the casket from Panozzo Bros. Funeral Home in Chicago Heights, and Scott Sign Co. of Chicago Heights designed the beer can.

Emphasis mine

Okay, that's a pretty good idea. I mean think about it. Unless you want to be cremated, you're going to spend a lot of money on a coffin only to have it stuck in the ground. Why not put it to extra use, and sure some people might be skeeved out by drinking beer out of it, but it wouldn't bother me. Hell, in college I used an old urn I bought at a second hand store thinking it was a broken trophy as a drinking vessel. I cleaned it first!

If I was going to do this, it would probably be a Miller Lite casket. I know, I know why not one of my real favorites. Well that would be because I drink more Miller Lite than any other beer.

Oh, and I'm kidding about the urn, but admit it, you started to believe it! Probably because it sounds like something I would do.

Posted by Contagion at 08:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Thats some bad beer.

Shadoglare of Refractional Darkness sent me a link to a St. Petersburg Time's article on The World's10 most disgusting beers. I've actually drank some of these. In fact just this last weeks review of Cave Creek Chili Beer is listed as number 7 on there list.

7. Cave Creek Chili Beer This is the perfect beer for people who hate themselves and desire punishment. This unholy union of a whole chili pepper and a fiendishly nasty pale lager will get medieval on your tongue.

I don't know if I'd go that far, but it isn't good. Again with all beer reviews there are beers on this list I wouldn't have put there as I've had worse. Yes, they have the Camo Genuine Ale, but really the Camo Ice Silver is even worse. In fact that is the beer that started the Beer Reviews on here as a warning to others not to drink it. Also I would have added Bud Light Chelada and Four.

Posted by Contagion at 06:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 08, 2008

He's daft.

Boopie has made me want to quote Sheriff Buford T. Justice, "There's no way, *no* way that you came from *my* loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I'm gonna do is punch yo mamma in da mouth!"

Okay, as I told you all two days ago, he turned fifteen and we gave him an I-Pod Nano. That night I told him no less than four times that he is NOT to bring it to school. We've been having problems with his grades and behavior in school. The last thing he needed was this distraction.

Yesterday on lunch I had to run home because I forgot my wallet. Since I was home I thought I'd check to see if he actually listened. I looked in his room and couldn't find the I-pod. It wasn't on the docking station, it wasn't on his desk, shelf or dresser. In the morning before I left for work it was on the docking station. I was annoyed, but I figured it was a new toy and he wanted to show his friends. So I decided that I was going to let him off with a warning.

Ktreva had to have a tooth pulled yesterday so she went home from work early. I had just gotten out of a meeting when she calls me and tells me that we got a letter from school that Boopie is FAILING 5 classes, including Gym. Now, if you recall, we have been having trouble with him all year. We have arranged tutoring for him, we have checked his homework, we have called the school. Hell, I sold all of his video games. Now I have him doing all kinds of menial labor around the house. You know like cutting up branches into exactly 12 inch lengths and stacking them neatly, digging holes and filling them back in, etc.

When I got home I asked Boopie were his I-pod was. Of course he told me it was on the docking station. I ask, "Did you take it to school?" and he starts to lie saying no, that it was on the docking station all day. I called him out on it. Needless to say I've confiscated the I-pod. He got to enjoy it for less then 12 hours. When I asked him why he took it to school he said he wanted to listen to it. I gave him the third degree regarding hearing me tell him not to take it to school, and he confirmed he did. He just couldn't tell me why he would do it. (Because he thought he wouldn't get caught.)

Then we talked about his grades. People I don't know what to do. The school won't hold him back. We spoke with them about it. The only option we have is to send him to another school next year. One designed for troubled kids.

I hate to say this, but I'm about to just turn him over to his father. We can't do anything about this if his father undermines and undoes all the work we've done. Both Ktreva and I are at our wits end about the boy.

Posted by Contagion at 05:42 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

May 07, 2008

Cave Creek Chili Beer

Bruce of Back to the Batcave supplied tonightís brew. He gave this to me a while back, but I was saving it for the Cinco De Mayo beer review. Why, because tonight Iím reviewing the original Cave Creek Chili Beer by the Black Mountain Brewing Company in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico.

Cave Creek Chili Beer 002.jpg

It comes in a clear 12 oz bottle, which means if it sits on the shelf too long or is exposed to light itís going to skunk up on you pretty darn fast. It has a gold label with a green Chili pepper on it outlined in a red dripping sauce. The words Chili Beer are in bright red underneath it.

There is actually a nice golden lager color to it. No head formed at all when it poured and it leaves no lacing or ring on the glass. The only remarkable thing about this beers appearance is the green chili pepper floating in it.

The smell is an over powering scent of pickled peppers. If you take a long hard smell to it, you can get a hint of beer in the background. The taste is pretty much nothing but peppers. If there is any malts or hops to the flavor, they canít penetrate the overpowering flavor of peppers. This reminds me of a prank that was played on me when I was in college. A friend of mine poured about a quarter of a bottle of Daveís Insanity sauce into a can of Keystone Light. The flavor is much like that, only not has hot. The aftertaste is that of a mild hot sauce.

This is a light bodied beer. Actually I didnít keep it in my mouth long enough to get a good feel for it.

First off, let me just say Bruce is a dick. This really is one of the more vile beers Iíve had the displeasure of drinking. If you have any type of stomach or gastro problems, Iíd avoid this beer like a snail avoids salt. If you ask, I did not eat the whole pepper, I did take a nibble, but that was just to see what it tasted like. The beer and the pepper werenít too hot; itís just not a good taste for beer. I give this beer One out of Ten.

I also give Bruce the finger.

Posted by Contagion at 05:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 06, 2008

Boopie's gonna need a new nickname

Today is Boopie's Birthday. He turned 15. That means he's one year away from driving. May the powers that be help us all when that happens. He really hates his nickname, especially when I'm in the school parking lot waiting to pick him up and I start screaming it at the top of my lungs and waving at him. Maybe I'll have to give him a new one.

We've taken him out to dinner, eaten some Strawberry Cheesequake cake from Dairy Queen he had to have. Now I have to turn the computer over to him because the big gift we got him was an I-pod Nano with a docking station. So he wants to go throw all these songs on there.

Even I'm not cruel enough to say no today.

Well, okay I am, but Ktreva promised to do that thing I really like that she hardly ever does if I let him load it up.

I'll see you all tomorrow!

Posted by Contagion at 05:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 05, 2008

Time to go in a different direction?

I had a blast last weekend, and yes I did get wet. Heck, I'm not sure I'd know what to do if I didn't get rained on. I've got a lot of stories, but I'm going to save those for now. I'm waiting for some incriminating evidence to show up in my inbox.

Returned to work today after the fun weekend. Like every day, it was full of meetings. I've decided I could be a very productive member of my company if it wasn't for all of the meetings. Today we had the grand daddy of the least productive meetings we've had. A meeting to determine how to schedule the late night shift.

In my department we have flexible hours. Meaning you can start anytime between 7:00 AM and 9:30 AM. You can leave after putting in your 8 hour day (plus 30 minute unpaid lunch). The last "shift" ends at 6:00 PM. We have to have a supervisor there until 6:00 PM every night. Most of us really don't want to work that late unless we really have to. In fact none of us want to do it. So we all take turns taking a couple of nights each month.

Now of course when ever the schedule comes out, someone complains about the nights they have or having to take time to pick nights, or just to complain. We've done this in many different ways and no-one is ever happy, except me because I don't care. Since enough people complained about it today we had this meeting. We were going to decide if an office assistant was going to do the schedule or if we were going to get together and work it out ourselves.

One supervisor in the meeting has a very domineering personality and always wants things her way, I'll call her "L". Another has a very domineer personality and wants to be in control, I'll call her "M". A third has control issues, Hence forth known as "H". Of course there is me. There were 12 people in this meeting. Yet most of the talking was done by L, M and H.

It started off with a vote, but everyone had to pontificate why they wanted to do it. As I was the second to last person to be asked and we'd been in the meeting for 25 minutes already I just said, "I don't care how you do it, someone's going to b&tch anyway." Some people were offended, some laughed, I just stewed at the stupidity of this figuring this meeting could have been over 5 minutes after it started.

Then H brought up that she hadn't been on the weekly schedule, just the weekend one, because her position dictates she has to get there early, like around 5:00 AM. She has to have the inventory and work set up for everyone by the time we start at 7:00 AM. This brought up a huge argument. L and M thought H should be on the nightly rotation anyway. H said she had no problem, but on the days she is on the schedule someone else would have to come in at 5:00 to do the inventory. L thought it wasn't fair and wanted to evaluate how H did her job. M agreed with H. They brought up the fairness of her staff and so on. This went back and forth. The whole time my anger just stewed.

Finally I blew up in a level of, well historic proportions. I've had an average of 9 late nights every three months. Normally I just pick up extras because I don't want to hear the bitching. L has picked up an average of 6 every 3 months. M and most of the other supervisors did an average of 7. If anyone had a right to be pissed off over the late night schedule, it should be me... and I wasn't.

I went on an angry tirade and ended up calling them all a bunch of whiny fifteen year old school girls. Which really pissed L and M off. Actually I shocked everyone in the room. It's been a while since I've gone that mental in a meeting and I don't think they expected it. A couple of the people thought I was okay and was sticking up for H, whom L and M were attacking. Some thought I was being rude and uncalled for. My response to that in the meeting was, "I don't F#CKING care!"

Three of my peers after the meeting ushered me out of the building and took me to a restaurant for lunch. They knew I was hot and was just a cross eyed look from erupting again.

Anyway, I think I may have gone over board this time and have crossed THE line. I probably won't find out until next week, but honestly if I did. Owell, it might be the best thing that's happened to me in a while.

Posted by Contagion at 05:55 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 02, 2008

When it rains...

Okay, last weekend we got rained on pretty hard. This weekend, well it looks like the skies are going to open up and drain on us! In fact they are calling for some very severe storms today. Fortunately for me Iím not out there yet, unfortunately for friends like Will and Petey they are already there. Iím going to be keeping my eye on the weather and hope that everything goes well for them. Unfortunately I couldnít get the time off of work to head out last night, or Iíd be out there with them. Damn real-life responsibilities!

So letís start the running cap this year on events that I get rain. Not counting the two winter camps and counting this weekend, that makes three events. Fort Des Chartres I donít recall any rain in the time we had canvas set up, so Iím calling that a dry camp. Gathering at Macktown, Thursday and Friday we had rain. This weekend is Bloody Lake, they are calling for rain. (This is as we watch the angry red finger of god on radar sweeping across Illinois poised to wipe canvas off the face of the earth). That makes me 1-2. Yea, thatís about par for the course. Itís not yet a valid sample size as usually itís 1 out of every four events I do is dry.

The funny thing is that I was talking to my mother on Monday about last weekend and she reminded me that my grandfather always said that whenever my father and I went camping, he knew the weather was going to bad. When I got hold enough to go camping without my father, Grandpa determined that the chance of bad weather on a weekend doubled. Grandpa was an avid camper too, although he did modern camping, or what I like to call portable civilization. You know, in trailers. One of these days Iím going to have to tell some of those stories.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack