Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Captain Obvious

In our local edition of the Greenville News paper today there was a story about the city of Easley hosting a New Year's Eve party.

The organizer of events for the city, Scott Buckhiester (VP of operations for DunBurks Premier Events), is quoted in the story as saying, 

"This is the last event for 2008"

No crap dude.

Mobility Upgrade

Over the past two weeks she has been able to walk more and more without falling. Initially, crawling was still faster and was the preferred method when trying obtaining stuff to shove into her mouth. Especially when "stuff" was not food. Over the past few days, walking has been gaining ground on crawling.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The things you can do when mom leaves for a few hours...
Don't worry, we got it cleaned up before she got back.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do you want to play a game?

Cari and I have started finding and playing board games over the past few years. I'm not talking about Monopoly or Risk. I'm talking about real board games.

It started with the Settlers of Catan. Next we purchased the card game, San Juan. For Christmas Cari picked up another game. We now have Carcassonne in our collection.

I'm not going to take the space here to teach you the game. If you want to know more here's a link.
The game can be played with up to six people, but works very well for just two. Cari and I played for several hours on Christmas while the kids were playing with their toys. The first few games we figured out how the game plays and started working out strategy. We would help each other out during those first few games. If I started to miss something good, Cari would stop me and point it out.

We're past that now. Now when I miss an opportunity in the game Cari jumps out of her chair after I make my mistake, she points her finger, and shouts, "HA!" It's all about the competition now.

We are on the look out for more players, but haven't found many yet. The last time we had some friends over to play a game things got very competitive and someone (not Cari) said I was the devil. You know you have found some friends with a competitive spirit if they call you the devil.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Goodnight. . .Merry Christmas

It's 1am. Santa is going to bed. The children will be up in a few hours. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Textile Mills

Remember me? The textile industry.

I didn't get a bail out.

In fact, it was the action of the US government that helped kill me.

From 2001 through 2003 over 320,000 textile jobs were eliminated in the United States. More than 20,000 of those jobs were from the state of South Carolina alone.

Still no bail out.

What makes one manufacturing industry more valuble than another?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to Eat This Thing

I mentioned that Cari picked up a pomegranate fruit for me the other day. When I held it I just turned it over in my hands a few times. Then, while still examining the fruit, I asked, "What do you do with this thing?"

I carried it into my office and started setting up for a photo shoot with the pomegranate. Amanda laughed and reminded me that I should be eating it.
But how?

I did a Google search on how to open and eat one of these reddish fruits. One of the top results linked to a great little video on Youtube.

After the photo shoot and studying was complete, I carried it back to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. First I cut the top off. I didn't just straight chop it off, I cut it like taking the top off a pumpkin. When I lifted the top off, it revealed the first look of the red, juicy parts. The seeds (what you eat) were packed in there.

I next made a few cuts starting at the top and moving down the sides. Those cuts didn't go all the way through the skin, but allowed me to pull the fruit open.
It is a really unusual fruit to examine. The seeds are packed into separate chambers that reminded me of a honey comb. A white membrane creates the separation.
I plucked a few of the red pieces out and put one in my mouth. To me, it has the texture of a grape skin. I broke it in my mouth and tasted a bit of the juice. The juice is strong, but eating one seed doesn't provide that much. It must take a ton of these to make one bottle of juice. That might be why it costs a fortune compared to other juices. I would describe the taste as a more bitter and stronger grape juice. Not sure if that makes sense, but that is what it reminds me of.

Inside each red piece is a white seed. Initially, I was sucking the juice out and spitting the seed onto a plate. I later learned that it is perfectly ok to chew the seed up and swallow it. It was much easier to eat a pomegranate after learning that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Birthday #33

Thanks for all the comments wishing me a happy birthday!

My birthday was a great day. Here's a few things that made it great:

  • I turned on Wii fit for the first time in two weeks. I had lost four pounds. I thought for sure it would be the opposite of that, then I quickly turned it off before I was prompted to do any sort of exercise.

  • I had a request for a print from a wedding I did last year. I made the edits she requested on the print and then told her I would get it to her at no charge. She was very happy and it made me happy that I was able to do something for her.
  • Cari and Amanda made me a German chocolate birthday cake. The cake was great but it turned out we didn't have any candles, so we substituted matches.

  • Cari came home from the store with a present for me. A pomegranate. I became interested in the fruit last year after finding a flower from a pomegranate tree. I like drinking pomegranate juice once in a while, but have never eaten the fruit. (more on that coming soon).

On top of all that I didn't feel any older. Not until Meredith got home from school and said, "You look old."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As Promised

We headed out to Atlanta to pick up Amanda on Monday, as promised.  After we parked and started in to the terminal I realized that I hadn't seen Amanda for about five months.  What if she didn't recognize us?  

I grabbed a piece of cardboard off of someones shelter and made a professional looking sign.   I went and stood in the proper location for guys holding signs and waited. . .

Cari quickly pointed out that I was holding the sign upside down.   (Everyone that was just about to write a comment alerting me to my error - Cari just saved you that step!).   I argued that if she thought she could do it better, then she should hold the sign.

Not only did she hold the sign right side up, but she made friends in the chauffeur waiting area. . .

Initially, he tried to shove her out of his box like a basketball player setting up for a rebound.  He was quick to point to the sign as she moved behind the ropes, but she ignored him and got into position.  Maybe he didn't see the professional looking sign Cari was holding at first.  The bright white copy paper he used for his sign reflected a lot of light and might have obstructed his vision.  Either way, when she challenged his authority he quickly gave in and smiled for the picture.

Amanda eventually did get off the plane and found us quickly, thanks to my sign.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Almost Time

On Monday we will be going to pick up my sister-in-law so that she can stay with us for the next several weeks.  As soon as I get some embarrassing stories about her, I'll let you know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

An Excited Co-Worker

As the salespeople came in and sat down at my sales meeting on Wednesday I was feeling pretty pumped.  There were about three already seated when Mike came in.  "Mike, it's going to be a great meeting today, are you excited?", I asked him.  

He very plainly looked up at me and said, "no." as he sat down.  
More people came in and sat down and after a minute Mike looked at me from his chair and asked, "When you said excited, did you mean aroused or enthusiastic?"

I answered quickly, "enthusiastic."

"In that case, yes, I'm excited."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It started raining today and it still hasn't finished.  
I guess that's what prompted my co-worker to ask about Noah and the Ark.  
"How long did it rain when Noah built his boat?"

I told her the water covered the Earth.  I didn't think the three inches of rain today was going to do it.  

She asked me how long it took Noah to build his boat and I told her I wasn't sure.  Then she asked, "more than a week?"

I really don't know what she was trying to get at, I just answered, "Are you planning on building one?"  She walked away without answering me.  If she starts to build one, I'm going to get some pictures.  

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Bailout

I'm on my way to Washington to apply for my bailout.  I'm only asking for five million dollars, just the table scraps the other guys didn't pick up.  I don't really see how they can turn me down.

I'll be riding my bike there.  I don't want to come across like some high and mighty driving my big ol' non-hybrid car.  

Getting my bailout will be a huge boost to the economy (local) and create jobs (especially since I'll quit mine).  It'll also help small businesses (China Buffet) and contractors as we build the third and forth stories on our home with a swimming pool on the roof (next to the helipad).  

There you have it; I have a plan, I have humility, and I have no money currently.  Those seem to be the only requirements to collect a government bailout. 

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The (non)Hunter

Previous to using Duck Hunter online, I used King David as an alias.  That was a long long time ago.  Maybe in the times of using dial up BBS's.  I wonder how many people remember those.  Anyway, I didn't use King David for very long before I switched over to Duck Hunter.

I have been asked several times about why I chose the name Duck Hunter and if I really hunt.

First of all, I am not a hunter.  I have never hunted.  

The name originates from playing a video game online with some coworkers almost fifteen years ago.   The game: Warcraft.

We would arrange a time to meet online and battle it out in the game after work.  There were a few times at our scheduled match that one of us didn't show up.  After one time of me missing, he said I was ducking him because I was scared to lose.  

The next time he missed a match, I told him he was ducking me.  I told him I was determined to beat him in our next match and if he tried ducking me I would hunt him down.  

Duck Hunter.

Friday, December 05, 2008


We all played in the leaves on Thanksgiving day. Here's a few shots.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The legend of Manse Jolly

There is a road in Anderson, SC that I pass each time I go to work and again when I return home. This got me started thinking about roads named for people and what that person meant to the community for a road to be named for them. This road, Manse Jolly Rd, was named for a Confederate soldier from Anderson.

Manse was known to be a brave soldier and he survived until the end of the war. What got him into legendary status was his actions after the war when he returned to Anderson. At the end of the war, the Union set up a garrison in Anderson. Manse was upset about losing his five brothers during the war and seeing these soldiers occupy his town irritated him further.

Manse made it his mission to take the life of five Union soldiers for each of his brothers lives.
The stories I have read say that his legend has grown over time. He isn't viewed as a criminal or murderer. He is sometimes described as a Robin Hood for the way he defended all the local people against the soldiers. One story describes him killing two Union soldiers that were guarding some stolen cotton and then Manse returned the cotton to the owner. The soldiers of the garrison were known to loot and pillage the area and Jolly went after each one.

The story says that the soldiers became terrified of Manse Jolly and back up was brought into the area. Knowing that he was a wanted man, Manse fled to Texas, taking more Union lives as he left. On his way out of Anderson, he rode his horse straight through the Union camp firing his rifle into the air and making a bunch of noise. The troops became so scared they scattered and ran as if they were attacked by an army.

I can't find an exact number of people he killed, but all accounts say that he revenged his brothers deaths times five (25) and then some before leaving.

His life ended a few years later in Texas. He was crossing a flooded river on horse back and one story said that his horse became tangled in some vines, killing horse and rider.

There is a lot of information on this local hero if you are interested to read more.
THIS is about his last ride through town.
THIS is a summary of information available on Manse Jolly.

While I was reading about Manse, I came across this song written by Jeff Rose of the Cane Creek Bluegrass band.

Now when I cross Manse Jolly Rd each day I am reminded of this important legend of local history.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Brave Pastor

Yesterday at church, the pastor called all the kids to the front as usual. The kids all ran up and sat in a circle around him quietly.
It must take a brave pastor to do these lessons with the children in front of the congregation because they can never predict what will be said.
Then the pastor asked them, "What is a prophet?"
Randy looked up at him and proudly said, "It's an amount of money."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

How did a coconut end up on the bottom of lake Hartwell? I scanned the shore and didn't see any coconut trees. The first thing that came to mind is that perhaps it was carried here by a migratory bird. I think it could be done - they could grip it by the husk. Maybe not a small bird. Something a bit bigger. That is unless you feel like two small birds could carry it together by having it on a line? Well, why not?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We picked a game for the Wii called Animal Crossing. The game is pretty basic. You walk around an animated town trying to collect furniture, flooring, wallpaper, and clothes. You can fish, collect bugs, and write letters to other characters. No, its not an exciting game. Not unless you play at our house.

Each of us have our own character and our own house in the town that we all share. Meredith and Cari play the game as you would expect. They collect items and send each other presents. Randy's style is more about torture. He loves to rip your flowers from the ground and heaven forbid if you leave any of your items lying about. He will quickly snatch them up and bury them somewhere in town. Good luck finding that rare totem pole!

Me? I like to fish for corpses floating down stream
and I like changing the town flag to declare myself KING of the town.
You should have seen their reaction the morning I printed that picture out and left it for them to find on the kitchen counter. Cari said there was a LOT of protesting. Randy couldn't wait to get home and tear up my flowers!
I would love to tell you more, but I need to go declare a $1,000 tax on my kingdom for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


On the border of South Carolina and Georgia, along hwy 123, is a historical marker for the old Cherokee town of Tugaloo.

The marker says that the area was settled around 500 A.D. and the Cherokee Indians occupied the town around 1450. The town was once described by Indian agent, Col. George Chicken in 1725 as ". . . the most ancient town in these parts." The town was destroyed during the Revolutionary War because the Cherokee were allies of the British.

The Tugaloo river flows near through this area and has been flooded to become part of lake Hartwell. Now that the lake is 18 ft low, this valley has been revealed. Grey tree stumps line each side of the river and the valley is brown with mud and dried grass.
I stopped and looked around for a bit as I thought about what the valley might have looked like when the Cherokee lived here.
When the lake is full you can't see the tree stumps and the lake hides the shape of the river. Now that the lake is empty, you can see it as the Cherokee might have seen it.
(In both of those photos, all the land up to the tree line is normally part of the lake.)

I imagine during their time the valley was green with vegetation and small boats would be floating down a twisting river.  The Tugaloo was shaded by tall trees along the banks.

Sometimes I wonder if damming the rivers was the right thing to do. It seems like so much history gets covered up and I wonder what we are losing when this happens.

It reminds me of the Three Gorges dam in China. This massive structure will bring a lot of benefits to China, but what about the history they are going to cover up as the lake forms behind the dam? Over 1,000 archaeological sites will be buried under water.

I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to see the Tugaloo river uncovered.  When lake Hartwell returns to this area, it will be harder to visualize the history that the water hides.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Found It!

Last week I got a phone call at work from a peer that works at a different location.  He started talking to me about GPS units and geocaching.  We have never talked before but a mutual friend tipped him off that I have done some geocaching.  I haven't done much geocaching in a long time and that phone call got me interested again.  

The next day I had an out of town meeting and when I got back to town I saw a guy standing near a hidden cache.  He was holding a GPS and looking stumped.  I parked my car and watched him for a minute.  I didn't want to walk up and tell him where it was until he was about to give up.  He looked down at his GPS, walked around a bit, and then looked at his car.  I walked up and asked him how many caches he has found.  He laughed and then said he had been to that spot three times with no success.   I gave him a hint and he found it while we talked.  He gave me a hint on a nearby one that I was unable to find in the past.

NOW my mind was set for geocaching.  I went home and did a search for anything new near home or work and found several.  I spent my lunch hour on Friday finding four caches including the one that stumped me in the past.  

This morning I got up and told my family to be prepared for some geocaching after church.  I can't explain the excitement (or lack of) in their expressions.  There are four to go get today and they are all within ten minutes of the house.   If nothing else, the forty degree temperature will get the kids motivated.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hand Cleaner

Last night the boy came running down the stairs holding the soap bottle from the bathroom. It had a hand written label on it that read, "Hand Cleaner". He thrust the bottle toward me and told me I should wash my hands.

I immediately stopped and evaluated the situation. A few items caught my attention and made me suspicious. The first clue was the hand written label. Whatever was now in the bottle has been labeled by the boy. Next I looked at his face. His smile was way too big. Whatever "cleaner" he put in the bottle made him very proud. Finally, I realized that this offer of hand washing was coming from an NINE YEAR OLD BOY! The only thing that would cause a nine year old boy to promote hand washing is a prank.

I looked at him and said, "No thanks."

He continued to pressure me to wash my hands and even stooped down to evaluate the current conditions of my hands. In his expert opinion, my hands were filthy! I declined him again and asked what was in the bottle. His answer was to point at the label.

He gave up and took the bottle upstairs before I could pressure him much more. He put the bottle back in the bathroom and waited for his sister to get home. Maybe her hands would be dirty.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Be Entertained

I have found a few things to entertain me lately and I thought I would share them here.  Some of this won't be new to you because I seem to be slow on what is cool online.  

1.  World of Goo.  I fun game that is not intense.  I just relax and build goo towers.  You can get the demo for free and that should be enough to entertain you.

2. Hulu.   I never heard of it until just a few days ago.  Watch clips of television shows, or watch the whole episode.  It looks like they have a deal with some networks and it is all legal.  It works great and I can watch episodes of The Office full screen with no problems.   

I've never taken the time to watch The Office previously and I am really enjoying it.

3.  Only because a list must be a minimum of three items to be a list.  Someone posted a comment here not long ago that showed me the way to the site.  I have had several nights of laughter thanks to it.  

Leave a comment if you know some more.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wii Vote

If you have a Wii and you have it connected online then I hope you have tried Wii Vote.   
For those of you that don't have a Wii or it is not online, I'll explain.  

There are approximately three nation wide questions posted on Wii Vote at any time, plus one world wide poll.  The questions are pretty basic and give you a choice of two answers.  It only takes a minute to choose and submit your answer and then guess what will be the most popular answer.  When you log onto Wii Vote a few days later you can see the results on a map.  

A question might be "Have you eaten at a restaurant in the past week.", or "Can you speak more than two languages?"  That last question was a world wide poll.   It is interesting to see how the different countries rank in their answers.  On the national polls, you can see a map where each state is colored for how they voted.  I'm never surprised when California doesn't match most of the other states.  You can also see results based on male / female responses and what percentage of people guessed the popular answer correctly.  

Also on Wii Vote you can submit questions for them to use.  Randy suggested the following question, 
"Do you have a Wii?"  - Yes or No .      I started to type it in and then realized I got caught in one of his jokes.  I looked back at him and he was trying to hold back his laughter.  Then I playfully shouted back, "Of course they have a Wii!  It's the only way they can take the poll!"

Sunday, November 16, 2008


A couple of weeks ago we took off and went to Charleston.  It was our first trip to this historic city.  

Sunday morning we got up and started walking the town.  The streets were quiet at 8am.  As the hours went by and we admired the historic homes and churches, people started to fill the streets.  After we visited the battery, we started toward the center part of town on foot.  The churches were open for services and at each doorway stood a man in a church robe welcoming people.  For almost an hour we heard church bells echoing across the city.  One church tower would play a few hymns and before it went quiet, another church would start playing their hymns.  Listening to the bells as we walked the streets helped me imagine what it might have been like to live there in the 1800's.  

We ended up at the market just before lunch.  The vendors had filled the buildings waiting for the tourists to come in.  This is also where slaves were traded before the war of Northern aggression.  Meredith asked if we could buy a slave to take home and clean the house and I quickly quieted her, telling her we couldn't afford one.  Then Cari quickly quieted me, telling me not to influence the kids that way.   

After lunch we took a boat out to the island fort of fort Sumter.  The island is a few miles away from the shore.   I'm not going to repeat the entire history that we heard a minimum of three times here, you know how to Google it.  I will tell you that fort Sumter was a fortress when it was built.  A brick structure that was several stories tall and flanked on all sides with cannons.  During the war, the fort was pounded for over 500 days and reduced to a heap of rubble by Union forces.  It was interesting to walk through this historic spot. 

On the way back to land, I took too many pictures of the Arthur Revenel Jr Bridge.  So many pictures, that I heard Randy whisper to his mom that I am in love with the bridge.  

Randy was interested at the fort, but of course, neither child was excited about the historic homes.  It was a full day of walking and they did a great job.  The next morning we woke up to rain and I think the kids were happy that we packed up and decided to head back home. 

I put together a short slide show with a number of photos and no music.  I learned this from Rake and I don't like having to upload more than three photos to blogger at a time.  It is slow and awkward.  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Product Review!

I do a lot of shopping on the internets.  Amazon is one of my favorite stores because of the product reviews attached to most products.  Especially when I am looking at something new to me, I like to read the reviews and see what other people think about a product.  It definitely affects my purchase decision.  

Then I started to think about who writes these reviews.  There is no incentive to write a review.  If I buy something, get it, and like it.  I have no reason to take my time running back to Amazon to tell everyone about it.  I'd be too busy playing with my new toy!  Now, if I get my product and do NOT like it, there may be some incentive to get back on Amazon and write a negative review.  I would be the first one to tell everyone that, "the lights aren't bright enough, the buttons not click-y enough, and the vibrating parts aren't vibrate-y enough!"   Writing a negative review gives you some power over getting ripped off.  Your intent is to kill the sales of that product.  Besides, if your new toy sucks that much, you aren't doing anything else, so you might as well get back on Amazon and find something else.  

The way to get more people to participate would be a system that reminds me of Ebay.  A week after you get your product, Amazon sends you an email asking for feedback on the item.  You should be able to reply to that email, without going to the website, and as you send your comments, theyare added to the product review.  

I have never written a review and I'm curious how many of you have.  That's why I created a poll at the top of the blog.  Take a second to click a few more times before you move on today.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sick and tired

I went to work at six on Monday morning and by eight I determined that I was sick enough to go home. I have suffered through work much sicker than I was feeling, but for several reasons I chose to use some sick time and go home.

When I got home, I found that Cari was feeling about as sick as I was. Randy was coughing a lot last week, and now it seems the entire house was becoming infected. Cari and I caught up on some Tivo for most of the day while the baby played at our feet.

We watched several episodes of Survivor and we started thinking about people we know that would be fun to watch on there. On the current series, we both decided we like Sugar, but it probably isn't for the same reasons.

On Tuesday I woke up feeling about as sick as Monday, but I decided to go to work. I certainly had things that needed to be done and there wasn't much left on Tivo anyway. By Tuesday night, I didn't feel that bad. I give a lot of credit to my quick recovery or lack of worsening condition to orange juice. Anytime I start feeling sick I go get a gallon of orange juice - like I did on Monday - and drink as much as I can. It might all be in my head, but I swear the vitamin C cures my symptoms within a day almost every time.

I don't get sick often and by the end of the week I expect to be doing cartwheels in the front yard.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I arrived at the camp Saturday morning and we immediately headed off for a hike around the Tallulah Gorge. After our hike, we headed into the visitor's center to get our permits to enter the gorge floor. Hiking down into the gorge seems very controlled. There are a lot of signs up warning you not to go until you have a permit. Getting a permit just required some info like who to contact if they find your dead body the next morning, etc. . . You also had to listen to a ranger read the rules to you before they handed over the slip of paper. The three of us got our permits and immediately headed out . . . to lunch.

We left the park and went up to Dillard, Ga to visit the Dillard House. Wow! This is the only restaurant I have visited with no menu. We got seated at this busy restaurant within five minutes. Within the five minutes after getting seated, they started bringing out the food. Plate after plate was sat onto our table until not another one would fit. Some of the items they brought to our table were fried chicken, ribs, beans, fried okra, country fried steak, and potatoes. Oh! I can't forget the plate of collard greens. I have never had any before and they didn't look that good. Greens always look like steamed lettuce to me, so I passed it over to Rake who loaded some onto his own plate. After a few minutes of urging me, I finally agreed to try a piece. I scraped out the smallest piece and cut it in half. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was much sweeter than I would have ever thought. They were good, and a few minutes later I went after some more.

While we were eating, we all observed how efficient the dining area was run. We timed one table as the customers got up and left. Two minutes later the table had been cleared, set with clean plates, and then seated with more customers. People were walking in every direction. As an observer, it looked like chaos. Chaos or not, every request we made to the waitress was answered quickly and with a smile. After we gorged ourselves on the great meal, we had dessert, and then dragged ourselves back to the car.

We briefly visited the Goats on the Roof store that actually had goats on their roof before getting back to the park.
As we started our way into the gorge, the park had filled up to the point that people were parking along the side of the road.

Approximately 600 stair steps after we had started, we reached the floor. Hurricane falls was to our left and the river continued to our right. The only way across the river was a random series of rocks and boulders that required you to jump, crawl, or get wet as you went. There were a lot of people crossing both directions when we arrived so Roadrunner and I perched on a ledge out of the way and watched. Rake went into the middle and was helping people cross. A few made it with dry feet, but almost everyone we watched fell into the water. The water was cold and moving fast. I decided I didn't trust my ability to jump rock to rock, so I removed my socks and shoes. I waded across the largest gap, standing on partial submerged stones. Roadrunner followed me. At this moment I can't remember how Rake made it. I looked up and he was at the other side.

The trail along the river was an awesome adventure. We climbed and jumped our way down stream until we reached Bridal Veil falls. After Rake was done photographing a group of college girls, we challenged him to go down sliding rock and into the water. It was a cold day and he didn't look real excited about the idea. A few minutes later a naked man showed up and sat at the top of sliding rock. He wasn't REALLY naked, but that's what we called him for the duration of our trip. Naked man slid down and splashed into the pool. Better him then me!
On our way out, Roadrunner got trapped on the top side of a very steep slope. He yelled down to us, "How did I get myself up here?" and Rake responded, "Poor choices!"

At the river crossing, I looked up at the observation platform and noticed a group of people doing nothing but taking pictures of the people falling into the water. As I removed my shoes, I thought about a picture of me splashing into the water ending up in someones vacation photos.

It was only a staircase of 600 steps long to the top and we were exhausted after about 200 of those steps. I climbed a flight ahead of the guys as they took a break. When I turned back to take a photo of them, a man tried to get his wife out of my photo. I told her not to worry about it. I said, "I'm just trying to get a shot to remember those guys. I'm not sure they'll make it up."
Rake made a great dinner for us back at camp and RoadRunner helped with dessert. "Put it in the stove at 350 degrees for thirty minutes." We all kind of looked at each other before putting it on the fire. We played some cards until it became too cold to be away from the fire. Around the fire we shared some ultra scary ghost stories before heading off to bed.
This is the point of the story when I froze half to death. I don't think my sleeping bag is rated for temperatures below 75 and it was near freezing through the night. When the sun came up, I crawled outside where Rake had restarted the fire. The camp chef created some tasty omelets before we started off on our final adventure of the weekend.

Roadrunner put his car in 4-wheel drive and we followed the GPS maps onto a little used road. At one point we thought the road had ended, but we found it hiding among some trees. The "road" was narrow and tight between the trees. As he drove his new vehicle deeper into the woods, we heard the branches screeching along the shiny paint. I was laughing, Rake was laughing, Roadrunner was crying.
We had to reverse out of that road that we now believe was probably private property. Ooops!

The three of us had a great time camping at the Tallulah Gorge this past weekend and I have some memories I won't forget for a very long time. Thanks for the adventure, guys! Be sure to read the blogs of Rake and RoadRunner as well.

One more thing: Rake, I didn't do it. -

Sunday, November 09, 2008

k. . .back. . . from Tallulah

I've survived the weekend at Tallulah Gorge with my friends Rake and Roadrunner. We had a great time and I'm sure over the course of the week, you'll get to read more than one perspective if you want to.

The time has slipped away very quickly today and I am way too tired to try and write about the weekend right now.

Here are a few photos from our trip. I hope to have the story to go with these as well as some more photos on Tuesday morning.

(I just tried to upload five photos and Blogger failed after I waited eight minutes. So now you only get two tonight, and I'm going to bed.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

brb . . .camping.

By the time you read this I'll be camping. Rake, Roadrunner, and I will be somewhere in Tallulah Falls, Ga for the weekend. He gave a great description of what to expect, so there is no reason for me to try and out-write him here.

Right now, it's actually Friday night. It's raining and I am supposed to be getting my stuff together so I won't forget anything. By this time tomorrow I'll be slapping my forehead with a "d'oh!" as I remember the stuff I forgot.

Its not supposed to rain tomorrow and the temperature should be a bit cooler. Perfect for being outdoors.

I still have not worked through my Charleston photos, so there will be a bit more of that trip to write about next week as I get that done. I'm sure I'll have some stories and photos to share from this camping trip as well. It looks like I'll have no shortage of material to write about for a while.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Size of Your Bunk

We visited Patriots Point in Charleston during our vacation and took a tour of some of the ships on display there. The first ship we toured was the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier.
I have never been on a carrier before and the size of that ship is amazing. We walked through the maze of passages and rooms and saw the kitchen, the bathrooms, dining hall, sleeping quarters, doctors office, . . . you get the idea. About fifteen minutes into our walk, Meredith started getting scared. She thought the boat was going to drift off into the sea or something. She kept trying to get us off the ship. I told her after we got off the carrier, we would be visiting another boat and asked her if she was going to feel any better. She said a different boat would be much better. We kept going with our self guided tour and tried to keep her calm.Although the size of the ship is awesome, some of the sleeping areas seemed tight. Bunks were stacked three high and didn't have much room between them. With so many doorways and stairways, I thought that a sailor would be constantly getting lost. Do they give them maps?

As we left the carrier we headed over to the Clamagore submarine. This sub was built in the late '40s and is diesel powered. As we walked down its narrow single hallway I realized that life on the carrier would be a life of luxury in comparison. The bunks on the sub were still stacked three high, but were squeezed together much tighter. There was room to lay down and hope that the guy above you didn't weigh more than you. EVERYTHING on the sub is compact. I know that a fellow blogger has a spouse living on a submarine at times and I have a new appreciation for what that means. The engines on this one were loud and hot. I'm not sure that you would be able to escape that noise anywhere on the ship.

The final boat we toured as the sun was going down was the USS Laffey, a destroyer. Randy was thrilled to check out the weapons mounted to the top of the this ship as we climbed aboard. The Laffey was built in the 1940's and had a part in WWII. The ship was a part of the D day invasion and then moved to the Pacific. The USS Laffey fought near Okinawa, Japan in 1945 where the ship was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and kamikaze. Five kamikaze hit the ship and along with three bombs. The crew battled to save the ship while fighting off more planes. As we walked around I tried to imagine, unsuccessfully I'm sure, the chaos and panic that the attack must have been. Again, the halls and stairs are narrow. As men would rush to repair damage or fight fires, others would be performing their jobs in this environment. Randy had never heard of a kamikaze before and couldn't understand why a pilot would do that. I tried to explain to him the idea behind it and he said, "That's stupid."
Walking on these ships was really interesting and we all had a great time. Randy seemed really interested in learning about them as we walked and he kept wanting to see more. When we got back to the car he said he would choose the destroyer because he had the biggest weapons but the carrier was his second choice because it had the biggest bunks and the most food.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's a baaaaaby!

We just got back from our winter vacation trip to Charleston, SC.   On our way home yesterday, we stopped at the Columbia zoo.  It was a cloudy Monday and at times it felt like we had the zoo to ourselves.  

Then I heard a whiny little voice of a kid - not my kid , "It's a baaaaaby!"   I looked down and saw a kid pointing at Brenna.  He or she, we still aren't sure, was between eight and ten years old.  The kid kinda looked like a boy but was dressed kinda like a girl.  Pink shirt, powder blue jacket, heart pocket on the jeans and pink shoes.  The haircut was very plain and gender neutral.  Brenna was standing against the glass looking at the gorilla and the kid repeated, "It's a baaaaaby!"  Kids parents were across the room looking at the animals and ignoring their he/she.   Cari and I ignored the kid as he/she continued to watch Brenna at point blank range.  We collected our kids and moved onto the next exhibit.

About twenty minutes later, the kid and his/her family caught back up to us.  I knew this because I heard, "It's a baaaaby!"   I started wondering if this kid has ever seen a  baby before. He/she  ignored the giraffes in front of us and started looking at Brenna.  The kid never said anything else until Brenna reached over and touched a hand.  "The baaaaaby likes me!  She touched my hand!"  This kid had a whiny voice and stretched each word out.  Cari went and scooped up Brenna and the kid pointed at Brenna and said, "It's a baaaaaby!"  The parents continued to ignore their child.  

We left them behind again and I started laughing out loud.  Cari looked and asked me what I was laughing about.  "I don't have to tell you, you already know.", I said.   She started laughing when I mocked, "It's a baaaaby!"   Then Randy asked us, "Did you see that strange kid?"  I burst out laughing.  Even Randy knew something wasn't right.  Randy said, "Just because a baby touches you doesn't mean she likes you.  Maybe Brenna was trying to push him away."  That's when Meredith piped up and asked, "Was that a boy or a girl?"  Cari was laughing so hard she had to wipe her eyes.  

On our drive home, anytime we wanted to say someone was stupid or did something stupid, we would say, "It's a baaaaby!"