Monday, January 30, 2006

Out on the Town

Went out taking pictures for a bit today. This really helped me avoid doing any work at the house.

This is the big city where we live. Downtown Liberty. Take a map so you don't get lost on Commerce St.

This is a column of an old church no longer in use. Located just outside of the big city of Liberty.

Friday, January 27, 2006

This is dangerous!

"You hike at your own risk.", was his first words to me. That always makes me feel a bit better about a new place to hike.

The trail to see Rainbow Falls is listed as a strenuous hike but I couldn't let that stop me. Strenuous is a matter of opinion. It's my opinion that most of the guys reviewing the hike are on crutches.

After I found the start of the trail on the side of the road and got myself pumped up to enter the forest I saw a sign. The sign said that this is a dangerous trail and that I must check in at the Main Office. The trail is located on the property of a YMCA camp. I considered ignoring that sign and moving on. I imagined myself laying at the bottom of some cliff for days. I decided to check in.

That's when I met the "at your own risk" guy. He told me that it was a strenuous hike. Not that far of a hike, but a major elevation change. This trail would have me hiking on the edge of cliffs with 75 ft drops he told me. He had me fill out a tag to hang in my car window. It had my name, the time I left, and two emergency numbers. "If your car is still there tonight, we'll know who to call.", he told me. I wonder how that call would go? "Yes mam, you can come get the car tomorrow."

The first ten minutes of hiking were into the woods. I crossed two small streams by walking on large stones in the water. The trail turned beside an open cave. I went and sat in it for minute. What an easy hike this was. Strenuous my butt.

Shortly after seeing the cave and hearing some noises in the woods, the hike became more of a climb. Sections of my trail went almost straight down. On top of that I really was on the very edge of falling 75 ft. My fear of tripping on a rock or tree root slowed me down. Walls of granite on one side, nothing but open air on the other.

Maybe it was my excitement of finding what's around the next corner, but this climb didn't seem to strenuous.

Then I came to the bottom. That's when I saw Rainbow falls for the first time. With a backdrop of gold and black granite, it was one of the best waterfalls I have seen to date. I sat on some rocks in front of it and drank my water.
After a few minutes I couldn't resist climbing closer to where the water crashed into the rocks. Then I learned why it is called Rainbow falls. A huge rainbow was formed in the splash and mist at the bottom. Absolutely beautiful.
When I was done taking my pictures and admiring the scene, I started my strenuous climb back up. That's right, I said strenuous. At one point I even had to sit and take a break. It was less than fifty degrees out, but I sweating. It was a great thing to see my car. It took a few minutes to get my breath back. This strenuous hike/climb was well worth it to have seen Rainbow Falls.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Censor this!

Free speech! Democracy! Freedom to not listen to those with free speech!
GOD bless America!!!

Now that I have said all that, I'm prepared to write horrible things about the evil nation of China. I can safely say anything, without fear of someone in China seeing this blog.

Google has now launched their search engine in China. To do so, they agreed with the Chinese government to censor search results. People in China going to google and search for Democracy will only see results approved by the government. If a Chinese person does a Google search for Taiwanese independence, they will only see what their government wants them to see.

Some wacko groups have complained that Google should not have done that. My complaint is not against Google. They are a business, they are FREE to run that business however they see fit. The problem is obviously with CHINA.

China is the Evil Empire. They are the head of the axis of evil (and a cheaply made one at that). We will have another cold war in the future. That war will be with the monster that is known as China. Population over one billion people and building their military might. They are the ones to watch.

They control everything. E*V*E*R*Y*T*H*I*N*G! The newspaper is government run. The television is government run.
If there was a case of bird flu in the country, they would not report it. They said it may cause a panic. Now they showed that they will have control over the internet. Do you think people in China can have a blog? Can they write whatever they want, like we do?

Go to Google and search for Tiananmen Square. See what you come up with. Nobody in China will ever see what you see. They have been blinded by the government.

At least in America, when our government is corrupt and doing bad things, we all know about it. In China, it goes on without anyone knowing the difference. I feel bad for the people of Hong Kong. They lived for so long as a British colony and had their freedoms. They had Democracy. It was sad when that lease ended and the EVIL Empire absorbed Hong Kong.

So don't be mad at Google for making a business decision. They are trying to get people all the information they can.

If you ignore everything I have written, I don't care. Just be sure you appreciate your freedom. Appreciate everyone who wears a uniform. . .for you.

Update tonight

New post tonight. If you want to study up then you should read this:

Google in China.

Monday, January 23, 2006

What would you do?

Raced at Bristol last night. I run online once a week with the same group of guys. We keep track of points and we have a great time. Until we got to Bristol. I love racing at this half mile track, I just don't love the other drivers. When I got up front I would gain a lead of several seconds. Then someone would crash and the caution would come out. I should have won this race but several frustrations stopped that from happening.

The first two frustrations I have illustrated with evidence 'A' and 'B'. Tires are important here and I pitted almost every caution. Sometimes this would restart me in the back of the group. Both of these first two pictures show a car that spun themselves out in front of me. Going into a corner at 100mph, it can be very difficult to not hit a car broadside in front of you.First spinner. I'm the yellow car. I didn't hit this guy until he turned sideways in front of me.
Here's the view I had of the second spinner. He tried hitting the brakes while turning in too fast. If you ever drive at Bristol, don't do that.

A little damage wouldn't slow me down much. It was just a little frustrating. After working my way back to second place I tried to be patient with the driver up front. He was slower, but I was waiting for my opportunity to pass him without causing him to wreck. That's when the jerk in third rear ended me and sent me spinning into the wall. Shown in this third picture.
After fixing damage and getting some more tires, I was almost half a lap down on the restart. I was now getting very frustrated. Pushing forward, I got within five seconds of the leader before another caution came out.
On the next restart, I was again in second place, behind a car that didn't pit and was slower than me. The jerk from earlier was again behind me. This is a guy I race with every week, and normally don't have any problems with. Just as before, I tried to find my place to pass without causing a wreck. If I wanted to, I could have lightly hit his back bumper and pushed him to the wall. That move would cause no damage to me and let me pass him. Before we got to that point, the jerk behind me went into the corner too fast and smashed into my back. Sending my car in circles until I came to a rest against the inside wall.
This is the second time this jerk decided to take me out.

I made a couple of not so nice comments to him over the mic and then left the race. As I tried to calm myself down a bit, I thought about how I should handle this. Yelling at him didn't seem like a great answer. It may help me feel better for that night, but would do no good. Not talking to him for a week and ignoring his e-mails was a possibility I thought of too. Seemed immature. I'll just take care of this the Nascar way. The next time he is in front of me, I guarantee he will be in the wall. I only hope he is leading when I destroy him. Of course, when that happens, it will be an "accident".
"Oh, I'm sorry.", I'll tell him.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Are You Nuts?

Is it a Pecan or a Pecon. The first is the proper spelling, but some say it like the second way. It doesn't matter today. What matters is how you eat them.

I came into possession of a bag full of Pecans. After I decided I would do more than just chuck them at people I had to decide how to eat them. I spent three hours unshelling these monsters. Then the washing process was a pain. Each nut had to be hand washed to scrape off the outer coating that adds bitterness to the taste.

Now what? I went to the internet and saw a simple recipe. I cooked them in the oven for about fifteen minutes. As soon as they came out, I poured melted butter and salt over the treat.

They are pretty good. Then I had a suggestion that I should have used brown sugar instead of salt.

Do you know any other great recipes for pecans? Please don't tell me to make a Pecan pie, because it ain't happenin'.

Oh, I also need another supply of free nuts to try your recipe ideas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


We all went hiking on Sunday afternoon. I had been to this spot one other time but I didn't remember the trail being so long. It's only a little more than two miles in the mountains and woods. That wasn't really a problem. Even the four year old did a great job hiking in.

We went to see some waterfalls and when we got to the platform, Randy put down his backpack to pull out his binoculars. When he did, Meredith's water bottle fell under the viewing platform and rolled down the steep hill a bit. We couldn't get it. Meredith started crying. I would even say she was wailing.
Another couple walked out on the platform while we were still there. Meredith was looking down at her bottle. She had just quieted down a bit. She looked up at this stranger and started to tell him that her brother dropped her water bottle and now she couldn't have it. Her voice trailed off as the tears and crying started back in. The hiker suggested we use a fishing pole to get the bottle.What a jerk. Why would we be hiking in the mountains with a fishing pole? Now the girl looks to me like she wanted me to do as the stranger suggested. When I told her I didn't have a fishing pole, she started crying again. That guy must not have any children.

It was late in the day and we still had a two mile hike back to the car. That is when it started getting tough on the four year old. I had to carry her part way. Cari tried to carry her some too. Meredith was just a bit slow and we had to get out before dark.
The boy did a great job hiking but he admitted it was not easy. Next time we'll leave a bit earlier. Next time we'll also tether the new water bottle to Meredith's arm.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Mask

Around Christmas time, we had attended a party. At the party we did a $10 gift exchange. The rules were, after drawing a number, on your turn you could either choose a gift or take one already selected by someone else. If you took one from someone, then they would choose another gift. None of the presents were unwrapped until everyone had something.

Cari and I had drawn a high number and were one of the last to select something. There was a LARGE gift bag that had still not been taken. It was the one I had my eye on since the beginning of the game. When it came my turn, I started to consider another, smaller, present. Normally, bigger is better. For some reason this smaller package had swapped hands about three times. It was clearly the most popular some unknown reason. For that reason, I left the largest present sitting on the floor and took the popular package from someone else.

When it came time to unwrap everything, I ended up with this mask:
This mask was hand carved in Guatemala. A wife of someone in our group was from there and had visited this past summer. She said some of the native people make these masks. I thought this was very cool. Much better than the beach towel hidden inside that LARGE gift bag.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I thought he had died

The past week, maybe even two, has been great weather. It's been in the mid sixties and sunny most days. This is not January weather. In fact, I really started believing that winter had left us. I started wearing some short sleeve shirts to work. Yesterday, I even wore a flowery summer shirt.


Put away your winter coat! Open the windows! Plant some flowers!


Last night, as I left work my attitude changed. I had been duped. Old man winter had not died, he was merely in a coma. The old man had awaken from that coma last night and he was upset. What a grumpy old man. The wind was blowing about thirty mph steadily and the temperature had dropped to the mid 40's. Everyone else at work walked to their cars wearing jackets. My jacket was at home packed in a box labeled winter. called for possible flurries this morning and strong winds continuing through the day. The flowers I had planted have froze to death, the windows have been shut, and I can't find my winter coat.

Winter is alive and well. Old man winter is angry and he has made a fool of me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Door

The door tried to kill me. It gave everything it had but I wouldn't let it take me. I knew I could win this battle.

I'm talking about the storm door I installed the other day. This is a job that should take between two and three hours. That's for a normal person. Took me a bit over eight hours.

Taking down the old door and throwing it in the yard took about fifteen minutes and required very little effort. In fact, I wouldn't mind un-installing storm doors full time. Just don't try and re-install a door that I have taken off of your house.

The new door whooped me. The biggest problem I had was lack of proper tools. Most of the install required a 1/8" drill bit for punching holes in METAL. I thought I could get by without that. For the most part, I did get by without that. I paid for that in blood, sweat, and yes, tears. Mostly I paid for it in time. At one point Cari, my fine assistant, offered to run and buy some proper drill bits. "Nah, I'm almost done.", I told her. Note that I said that at two pm.

The second biggest problem was that I purchased an open box item to get it REALLY cheap. It didn't have any of the hardware screws, so I stripped some from the old door. They seemed to be the right size. This required more time.

At about SIX pm I had the door in place. It was a beautiful piece of work. Now, to install the handle. Tool required: drill 3/4" holes in door. With instructions in hand, I went to Cari. "Please go to the store and pick up the drill bits and a hole saw.", I begged. She went happily, while I finished up some touches on the frame.

WOW! These holes and pre-drill areas were EASY with this drill bit for METAL! I wish I had all these tools at two pm!!!

Then I started crying. Not because I had been fighting with old screws that were stripping. Not because I couldn't pre-drill my holes with ease. Not because I smashed my finger in the hinge. I started crying because when I opened the box with the closers, I saw a HUGE bag of screws. The proper screws to install this already installed door.

I walked back and forth in front of the house picking up my various tools and left over parts. Yeah, I had left over parts. It was dark.

My final act was to walk over and look at my finished work.
"You didn't kill me.", I told the door.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Paleontologist

Around Christmas time we got a chunk of earth. This block of brown clay seemed to hold something special. I hired an upcoming paleontologist to come investigate. He got right to work. Something I thought would take an hour turned into a two day project.

He used his modified toothpick to scrape away the clay and uncover small dinosaur bones. This finding excited him and he continued his scraping and digging. Every once in a while he pulled out a small brush and brushed the dirt from the bones.

At one point I offered to turn the lights on, but he preferred working with a light strapped to his head.

After all the hard work we were left with a pile of clay on one side of the table, and a pile of dino bones on the other.

Now we are going to glue these bones together to identify this ancient creature.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

TAG, your it!

Tonight, I'm going to tell you a few things that maybe you didn't know about me and my blogging. This was prompted by Miranda who chose me to continue the trend of naming five things about me.

Not sure I'm going to make it to five, but here ya go.

1. I'm on my 15th month of writing Duck Notes! Can you believe I haven't run out of things to say yet?

2. I've been tempted to put a counter on here to track the number of visitors.
I decided against the counter because I don't want the number of readers to be MY focus. Too few may discourage me. Without the counter I can pretend hundreds read this blog.

3. Only one of my posts has been deleted by Cari in these fifteen months. Several of you had an opportunity to read it while it was up for about ten hours one night. I thought it was some of my better writing. Maybe too good.

4. When I first started writing this, spell check would take an additional fifteen minutes of my time, now it doesn't take more than two or three.

5. I'm not a fan of these "tagging" games. I'm excited that someone actually chose me to continue it, but I will never choose any more targets.

Be sure to check out Miranda's blog if you haven't already. She is one of the few I link to.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Monday, January 02, 2006

Where to roost?

As we watched a flock of red winged black birds attack our bird feeder this morning, Cari asked me a question.

"If you were a bird would you make your nest in the tree with the feeder?"

Before I answered her question, I had to ask myself some qualifying questions. What kind of bird would I be? An eagle or a sparrow? What kind of feeder hung on the tree? How often would it be filled?

We continued to watch these black birds devour the seed in that feeder and I decided I would rather build my nest in a tree next door. I could keep my nest secluded from visitors, but be close enough to the feeder to control what birds ate and what birds starved. Yeah, that's the kind of bird I would be.

I'd also be the bird trying to do the looping aerial acrobats.