Monday, December 24, 2012

Adrian's 2012 Year End Review: The Best of Blogs

Yes, it's that time of year again.  It's time to count down Adrian's best blogs of 2012.  I do two lists.  The first is a strickly by the numbers best of list.  It goes by the most views.  The second list is my personal favorite lists.  It's the blogs that I wrote in 2012 that I like the most.  Onto the lists!

10.  Soul Asylum Vs. The Rolling Stones:  Who ya got?   126 views.
As I was listening to "Without a Trace," I noticed something.  See if you can too.

9.  Hairy Fishnuts   130 views.
Religion is sometimes funny.  I found this out firsthand.

8.  The Worst Vacation   150 views.
Read (or don't) on why Adrian had the worst vacation in years.

7.  Absinthe, Part 2.   165 views.
Read only, don't drink.

6.  What Kind of Motorcycle Guy Am I?  236 views.
I ask a question every adventurous guy should ask of himself.

5.  Goth Night at the Coffee House   298 views.
Seriously.  Check out the last picture with the goth chick wearing ..... not much.  Is that even legal to wear outside your bedroom?

4.  Guitar Project #7, The Rosewood Telecaster   370 views.
I inherit a big piece of rosewood, and decide to get crackin on it.

3.  The Headbanger and the Bob.  397 views.
Even though this shows up as written on 12/31/2011, the actual time I wrote it was on Jan. 1st early in the morning.  It's a fun little story.

2.  WSTN   498 views.
This is probably my most metal blog ever. 

1.  I'm Finally Putting My Orchestra Training To Use.   1838 views.
I never would have thought this would be so popular.  However, it's by far this most popular Adrian blog of 2012.

And now for Adrian's personal favorite blogs of 2012.

10.  A Little Piece of Heaven.  A House, A Home, A Log Cabin
What I wouldn't give for my own home.  What I wouldn't give to build my own home.

9.  The Green Recliner
Sometimes the universe gives you gifts.  Mine was the green recliner.

8.  I'm a Terrible Painter
Seriously, I am bad at painting.

7.  The Serial Killer at Cafe Kili is Really Annoying Me.
I'm just waiting until I see this guy on the news.

6.  Too Cute To Shoot?
I like hunting, but I don't know if I have the heart to shoot one of these guys.

5.  The 80's Attack!  Movie Review:  The Adventures of Hercules 2
I don't know if I could become drunk enough to make it all the way through this movie.

4.  Goth Night at the Coffee House.
I know I said it earlier, but did you see that goth chick?

3.  Hairy Fishnuts.
Seriously, it was all I could do not to lose my shit when watching the Hairy Fishnuts.

2.  Fuzzy Memories With Durice D. Long
Durice was a great man.  How could I not love this blog?

1.  Hunting Season 2012: Story 2, Hoggin It Up.
I have to admit, I am partial to myself.  So it should come as no surprise that this is my favorite blog of 2012.

Thanks to everyone for reading.  I do appreciate it.  Including this blog, I will have written 65 blogs this 2012 year.  Like I always say, I try to aim for one blog per week, so I was ahead of my average.  I hope that I continue to write well in 2013.  Take care everyone.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hunting Season 2012: Story 6, Don't Hurl

Story 1:

Story 2:

Story 3:

Story 4:

Story 5:

When out hunting with our friend The Weasel (pronounced like Grease-el) a lot of weird things happen.  Let's be honest, hunting would be boring without him.  But a lot of things that are funny when looking back on it are not funny at the time.

On the last morning of hunting, right before I shot my hog, I agreed to let The Weasel sit in my tree (my hunting spot.)  Since Dad and I didn't know where we were going, we sat in the truck while the Weasel started getting ready.

Dad has a 4 door Ford F-150, and The Weasel sits in the back right seat.  Dad and I sit up front.  The Weasel had the door open, and was standing right by the truck when he unleashed a torrent of insect spray inside the truck. 

I had just enough time to yell at Dad, "Open the door," as I swung mine out.  The air was so thick with bug spray I could taste it, as well as breathe in what I suspected was a mustard gas canister worth of spray.  I thought to myself, "Oh my God.  I am going to hurl."  But then I realized that I can't hurl.  Dad is a sympathetic hurler like Wayne and Garth of Wayne's World.

That's when Dad yelled at me, "Don't you dare hurl!"  To which I replied, "I'm trying not to!"  And remember all this time I am choking, coughing, and crying due to the obnoxious amounts of mustard gas, oops, I mean bug spray that was unleashed in the truck.

At that time we figured it was prudent to abandon the truck, and get out into some fresh air.  I continued coughing for the next 20 minutes or so.  In fact, I continued to cough right up until I shot the hog. 

But the good news is that despite barely being able to breathe I did not puke.  Oh, and I did get a hog that day.  I'll take them both as great victories.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hunting Season 2012: Story 5, Fighting the Good Fight

Story 1:

Story 2:

Story 3:

Story 4:

Enjoying the outdoors can be a great time, unless it's that time of the year for the bugs to be out.  Unfortunately in Florida that means all the time.  So when out hunting it is always important to apply generous amounts of bug repellent.

For years I have used a brand called Muskol repellent.  It is 99.9% deet, and the mosquitoes don't even think about touching me.  However Muskol has been hard to get down here, so I knew I was eventually going to have to go to another brand.

The bad thing in Florida is that, besides mosquitoes you have to deal with other biting flies.  For me, I react worse to the bite of no-see-ums than I do from mosquitoes.  And unfortunately, Muskol doesn't offer any protection from sandfleas, gnats, or no-see-ums.

It just so happened that my Dad had bought a new kind of insect spray called Repel 100.

I put it on after I was done cleaning the hog, and an amazing thing happened.  The no-see-ums backed off my hands in a hurry where I had it on.  But they kept at my face where I had previously applied only the Muskol.  I know companies don't like to give away their company secrets, but the Repel 100 has some stuff in it that blocks a number of bugs, not just mosquitoes.  Whatever it's formula, it works great.  In fact, the description on the website says it all.

Repels the following insects: mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, chiggers, no-see-ums, biting flies.

According to the bottle it is 98.9% deet.  But whatever the other 1.1% is, it does a great job of getting the other bugs to back off.  And the thing I like is that it is a pump bottle, not a spray.  The spray bottles always give me the wiggles.  The pump is definitely the way to go.

So I feel good about having another repellent to use now that my Muskol has all but run out.  I wish I would have had this years ago, especially during some of the really hot winters we had down here in Florida.  Some years, there would be huge clouds of sandfleas floating in the air.  But now I have a way to back them off, and I am very thankful.  Hopefully, a lot of other hunters will be able to get the bugs to back off as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hunting Season 2012: Story 4, Cypress

Story 1:

Story 2:

Story 3:

On the day we were coming home from hunting, we decided to make a little detour.  Before we hooked the truck up to the trailer we went down the road to visit Bo Swindell's Sawmill.  Bo is a true old timey Florida Cracker.  I mean that in a good way, as most people have no clue what a true Florida Cracker is.  It's a term from the 1920's that referred to Floridians who raised cattle, and used a whip.  Hence, the cracker. 

But Bo is a great guy to talk to, or should I say listen to.  I gotta be honest, the man had a lot to say.  He had hurt his back, and hadn't cut any fresh wood in a while.  But he was sitting on a lot of new-old stock.  The good news about that was the wood had dried out, and was ready to go. 

We took a tour of the sawmill, and all the wood he had.  I think Bo was more interested in talking than actually selling wood.  He was 75 years old, and was concentrating on building tables and such.  As we wandered the piles of wood, Dad managed to find some persimmon. 

We then came across a pile of wood that surprised Bo.  He thought he had sold all of his cypress, but he had a giant pile of it stacked chest high.  I looked at a few boards, and picked one out.  Bo wanted all of 12 dollars for it.

The neat thing about this cypress is that it was old growth fallen cypress.  You see, over the years the cypress trees get old and when they die they fall into the water and much where they live.  These logs are then submerged in the water for many years.  The oxygen can't get to them, so they don't rot.  What's really neat is that the tree then soaks up the minerals in the mud and water. 

The tree harvesters then pull the logs out of the Florida/Georgia rivers and swamps.  The logs are then dried out, and sold as old growth fallen trees.  The good news is that they are not cutting down live trees.  These trees have been dead for many, many years.

So here is the board I bought in its rough sawn form:

Now here is a picture after I had run the boards through a planer.  Notice the golden yellow color?

Here's a picture of the growth rings.  Notice how they are black with the minerals in them.

So the main question is, "What am I going to use it for?"  Well, I'm not sure yet.  But cypress is used on acoustic guitar tops.  The most popular acoustic top wood is spruce followed by red cedar.  Cypress is a great tone wood, but is much more expensive than either spruce of cedar.  That's one reason why it is not used that much. 

I tap toned a few pieces of the cypress at the sawmill before I decided on the one I did.  But I have to admit, I liked them all.  The cypress's tone is not as bright as spruce, but not as dark as cedar.  The one thing I like about it is how loud it is.  It really surprised me at how the sound seemed to jump right off the board. 

So hopefully I will be able to write a post a year or so from now telling what magic project I have created with this cypress.  But I have to admit, I'm in no hurry.  I have more guitars than I really know what to do with.  But I guess I could always use one more. 

Hunting Season 2012: Story 3, The Mystery at Spur 4

Here are the previous stories about Hunting Season 2012:

Story 1, The Gator:

Story 2, Hoggin It Up:

Imagine if you will, a mystery.  A mystery where we park the truck out at hunting at Spur 4 (that's the name of the road.)  Here is the scene.

First we notice a bad smell.  It is the smell of death.  That's when we notice the skin of a hog.  Apparently, someone has skinned a hog right here.  That's when we notice a bunch of of large palm fronds cut down, and laid out on the ground.  They are laid down in a pattern to cover the ground.

We then notice two T-shirts lying on the ground about 60 yards apart.  This is disconcerting, but not as disconcerting as the ripped up underwear lying on the ground in between them.

We thought that was as bad as it could get until we notice the used tampon lying in the middle of the road.  Things had already become weird, but this just solidified the weirdness.

Sidenote:  I know a lot of people are not really believing what I am saying right now.  I usually take pictures to back up my stories.  However, I thought that this crossed the line.  It went right by the boundaries of good taste.  So I didn't take any pictures.

So as we walk back to the truck I take this picture of the creek/ditch at the corner of Spur 4 and the main road.

What you don't see is the hogs head lying in the creek being ate up by flies and other insects.  Yeah, it was pretty bad.

So basically, here's the mystery.

1.  Hog's head thrown in the river.
2.  Hog's skin in the road.
3.  Cut palm fronds on the road in the pattern of a blanket.
4.  2 old shirts 60 yards apart.
5.  Shredded undies.
6.  1 used feminine product lying in the middle of the road.

So if you were Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc. what would you like happened?

I guess is a Satanic ritual was held there sometime in the last few days.  That, and someone completely shit their pants.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hunting Season 2012: Story 2, Hoggin It Up

Here's the first story of the Hunting Season 2012 series:

Let me continue with my original story.  We (Me, Dad, and the Weasel) had gone hunting later in the year due to Dad injuring his back.  So we only had two travel days (one up, one back) and three hunting days.

It was the third day of hunting when our friend The Weasel (pronounced like Grease-el) asked if he could hunt out of my tree.  This story goes back 17 years, but I will give the short version.  Basically, I found this hunting spot, and marked a certain tree that I put my treestand in.  I shot my one and only deer out of it.  A few years later during a year I couldn't go hunting, The Weasel sat in my tree, and shot a hog.  Ever since then he has claimed that there is some debate as to who found the tree.  His memory is complete shit, and every blasted year I have to tell him the long story on why that is my hunting spot, and not his.

So he asks me if he can hunt out of my tree.  Since it is the last day, and none of us has seen a thing I say, "Sure.  Go for it."  When we get out there, he gets out of the truck super early, and gets out to the tree to set up his tree stand.  Dad and I take our time, and leave the truck a few minutes after The Weasel. 

We start by walking down the road called Spur 4.  My usual routine is to walk about 80 yards down Spur 4, and then walk back into the woods about 200 yards.  There's a nice place where a few game trails come together.  That's where my tree is.  However, since The Weasel is in my tree, Dad and I decide to walk down Spur 4 to see if we can come across some good woods.

We were about 220 yards, and/or four minutes down Spur 4 when I hear some noise at about 7:10 AM.  I say to Dad, "Did you hear that?'

He said, "No."  And then a lot more noise came from the bushes.

I asked, "Did you hear that?"

He said, "Yes!"

I then put my shotgun up, and pointed down the trail.  It was then that a pack of hogs started running across the road.  I shot twice in quick secession.  I tried to shoot a third time, but my gun jammed.  As I was unjamming it, I heard a squeal.

I told Dad, "My gun jammed, you go on ahead."

At this point Dad put down his treestand, and walked on ahead.  I worked on clearing my gun, and reloading.  He walks up to where the hogs crossed, looked down and saw the hog I had shot.  It was still moving so he put a kill shot in its head. 

I caught up to him, and we both agreed that there were about 7 hogs in the group.  I shot twice, and thought I had hit two.  However, I did not hit the hog I was aiming at, I hit the hog behind it.  And it was a small hog.  To be honest, it was so small that a few years ago it would have been illegal.  But since hogs are an invasive species and breed like crazy, the rules were changed that there was no size limit and no number of game limit put on them.  So basically you can shoot all the hogs you want during hunting season.

I told Dad, "I think I hit two.  We should get some of the dog hunters down here to see if one of their dogs can track down that hog.  Dad walked back into the woods to see if he could spot a blood trail or a downed hog, but he couldn't find either.  I marked the spot on the trail where the hogs had crossed with a orange ribbon.

So we grabbed our stuff and the hog.  I counted how many steps I was when I shot, and it was 65 steps.  My steps are pretty close to a yard so you can call it 65 yards.  Once we made it back to the truck we flagged down some dog hunters down the main road. 

The dog hunters we ran into were pretty nice.  They had a couple of trucks and quite a number of dogs.  The one guy told me that he had "hog dogs" and he had "deer dogs."  He wanted to get his son over with the other truck to get the hog dogs.  His son was also really nice.  I jumped in one of the trucks and they both went down Spur 4.  When we pulled up the ribbon, I showed them the blood pile where the small hog had fallen, and Dad had put a bullet in it.

The deer dog hounds started whimpering and going nuts.  They could smell that much blood not 7 yards from them.  But the dog hunter got out a red nose pit bull, and a black pit bull mix.  He set them on the trail and had them search the woods.  They ran around, but couldn't find anything.  So it seemed that I only hit one of the hogs, and not the one I was aiming at. 

So they went back to following where the hogs might have run to, and Dad and I went back to the truck to put our stuff away, and get some stuff out.  We needed to get out all the animal cleaning stuff.  But before we did that, we took some pictures and video.

Here's a picture of the hog:

And here's a picture to get a better idea of it's size:

I know, it's tiny.  But the one I was aiming at was so much bigger.  Anyway, here's the story in my own words, and my own choice of editing:

We then started laughing about how The Weasel was sitting in my tree.  As my story stated earlier, every year he wants to try to sit in my tree.  And when I finally say, "Sure thing, take my tree," I'm the one who ends up shooting the hog.

It was then that Dad and I had this conversation:

Dad and I then got to work on cleaning the hog.  It's funny, after watching "The Walking Dead" cleaning a hog isn't so bad.  We put it's feet up on some branches, and cleaned/skinned it out.  Since we were doing this right off a main road not far from the check station, we had people driving by us.  It was funny how they would be going way too fast, see the hog and let off the gas, and then slam on the brakes.  One guy even backed up, and hollared at us.  He was happy we got something.  So then, we put the hog, which was a sal by the way, in the cooler, and threw some ice on it.

At this point The Weasel had not come out of the woods despite three loud gunshots, multiple trucks going up and down the road, and a few dogs making all sorts of racket.  He said he could stay in the woods until 10:30 AM, and be back to the truck at 11;00 AM, and by golly he was not kidding.

Since it was still only 9:30 or so, Dad and I took a stroll down Spur 4.  After all, we still did have time to hunt that evening.  So we did what we were originally going to do, scout the woods and find a place to hunt.  We see some great woods down the road.  It's funny.  All these years I have always gone to my tree, but never all the way Spur 4.  There were a great number of places to hunt down there.  So after an hour of walking around Dad and I made it back to the truck. 

Some of the dog guys stopped by again to chit chat.  I'll admit, I was having a tough time understanding their "country accent."  But Dad is from West Virginia, and understood every word the guys said.  It was then that The Weasel got back.  He excitedly told us that he saw two very small does in the woods. 

The dog hunter drove off, and that's when I took this video of The Weasel:

He has a habit of getting all excited, and telling us what he saw, and forgetting to ask us if we saw anything.

So we then went down near the ocean to have lunch.  Hickory Mound is right on the water, and the area near the ocean is beautiful in its own way. 

So that evening Dad and I are planning on going back to Spur 4, but the strangest thing happens.  The Weasel wants to hunt this completely different area.  Since it is the last hunt of the last day, we say okay.  After all, I'd already gotten my game.  It's only fair to give him a chance to hunt where he wants to.  Even if that is right after I gave him the opportunity to hunt right out of my tree that very morning. 

Hunting Season 2012: Story 1, The Gator

Earlier this winter, we (Me, Dad, and our friend, The Weasel) didn't get to go hunting during the quota hunt season.  My Dad hurt his back and the next best time to go was this past Dec. 6th to the 10th.  Since we started hunting on the day after we got there, a Friday, there weren't too many hunters in the woods.  It was pretty quiet that day, like a lot of hunting days.  However, sometimes things take a turn for the weird.

Our hunting buddy, The Weasel, was walking down the road when he saw something in the ditch.  By golly, it was an alligator.  He said it was an 8 foot alligator, but when we looked at it, it had shrunk.  Yep, it had shrunk all the way down to 5 foot.  But that wasn't the only thing.  The alligator's left eye had been injured/destroyed.  You can see it in the pictures.

So we grabbed our cameras, and took some photos.  Note:  We were careful to only look at the gator, and not disturb the gator as that is a federal offence.

So here are the pictures:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Affirmation Retriever

I want a dog.  But not just any dog.  I want an Affirmation Retriever. What's that you ask?  Well, it's a dog that hasn't been invented yet.  I was thinking about all the things I look for in a dog, and no dog was completely perfect.  So I thought I should do some selective breeding, and come up with a new breed of dog, the Affirmation Retriever.

First up, a lot of you may ask "Why a dog?  A cat can be just as good."  For that I will answer this, a cat can be kind of angry.

They also just seem like they want to kill me in some way.

So let's start off with a Golden Lab.

Make it a little more family friendly.

Next, let's add some honest beagle to the mix.

I want a dog that's going to be right there to reaffrim how great it is to see me.  I want him right up in my face.

I basically want a happy dog.

But I also want a silly dog.

I want a dog that will also get mad when another team scores on the Buccaneers.

And of course, one that won't steal my food.

And I need a dog that won't tell anyone about me or my friends bad habits.

I want a dog that I can dress up for the fun of it.

I want a dog that will take me places I've never been.

But the main point is that I want an Affirmation Retriever.  I want a dog that will think I'm the center of the universe, and reaffirm that I am great no matter what crap life throws at me.

That's the kind of dog I need.

Adrian Gets Along With Women Online As Well As He Does In Real Life

There is a reason I am single.  I admit I am just a tad difficult to get along with.  I've also been told that my "Adrianess" is a little too strong for most people to take, including my own family.  So while I have female acquaintances, I don't have too many female friends.

This is mainly due to my lack of patience.  While most guys are used to talking rough to each other, when you do it to a woman, she gets really mad when you show irritation.  And let's be honest, I show my irritation on my sleeves. 

So what does this have to do with women online?  Well it starts with this little RPG online game called Wizard101.  I play it instead of World of Warcraft since Wizard101 is more family friendly, and has tighter controls on what players can do and say.  But since it is considered a "family friendly game a lot of kids play it.

Since I don't have kids, I'm not used to dealing with them.  I had kind of forgot that kids will be kids, and it's something you have to get used to.  I also have to remember that I am over two decades away from remembering how kids used to be.  Now kids have access to all sorts of technology that I didn't have growing up.

The thing that surprised me was how kids on Wizard101 would say they "needed a girl/boy."  I thought they needed someone to complete a mission.  What I didn't know was that the filters won't let you say "boyfriend/girlfriend."  So I went up to one girl who was looking for a boy, and had this conversation.

Adrian Lightheart (my game name):  I'm a boy, did you need help?

Her:  (No answer)

Adrian:  Did you need help with a mission?

Her:  I'm looking for a boy.

Adrian:  I'm a boy.

(Pointless banter goes on for a few minutes before this exchange):

Her:  Hey, you came up to me.

Adrian:  Yes I did.  You asked for help, and I came over here to help you with a mission.  And I am a boy.

Her:  I'm looking for a cute boy.

Interjection for a moment:  All of our characters look the same except for clothing, skin tint, and hair.

Adrian:  My dragon thinks I'm cute.

Interjection again.  I ride a giant dragon around the Wizard101 neighborhood.  It's like driving a 1970 Cadillac, in that, it's huge and everyone can see it for miles around.

Her:  Are you weird?

At that time another friend of mine transported to me, and asked for my help.  So I kind of left the conversation with the girl who didn't think I was cute.

But it was another conversation that showed I still had my way with women, in the only way Adrian knows how.  Badly.

So I became friends with this girl Hannah (her game name) on Wizard101.  She was nice, and was always interested in helping with my missions.  Actually she was happy to do any sort of game activity.  I think she liked to sit on the back of my dragon.  It's a two seater.  Honestly, here's a picture of one.  (Not me, but the picture of the dragon is the same so you can get the idea.)

So one night as I am playing we have the following conversation:
Hannah:  Do you have a girl(friend)?
Adrian:  No, I am single.  I don't have a girl.  I almost had a wife once.
Hannah:  I could be your girl.
Adrian:  Well, I am a lot older than you.  I'm old enough to be a Dad.  My age rhymes with "dirty sticks.'
(Sidenote:  Wizard101 won't let you type in numbers.  I don't know why.  Everyone just finds ways around the system.)
Hannah:  Well, it could just be for on here.
Adrian:  Society tends to frown on that.  People go to jail for that sort of thing.
Hannah:  Oh, okay.  Well goodnight Dad.
From the way she types and what she says I think she is around 10-12.  I also think she's in Europe due to the time she plays online. 
So one time we are playing, and I ask her if I can help her out with any quests.  Since she has helped out on a bunch of mine, I thought I could help her through hers since she is only level 11.  (Note: At this time I am level 33.)  Since she only wants to help on my missions I explain to her that her that at her levels she needs better armor and weapons.  I even take her to the best shop in the game, and explain that she doesn't have an amulet, ring, or knife equipped.  She could up her stats a lot by just equipping something.  She is also equipped with beginner's armor.  So I tell her to get better stuff from the Bazaar.
I explain this to her three times.  She just stands there and doesn't say anything to me.  This goes on for five minutes.  I then start to lose my patience. 
Adrian:  Hannah, are you there?
Hannah:  Yes.
Adrian:  Did you understand anything I just said?
Hannah:  (nothing.)
Adrian:  Because I feel like I am talking to a brick wall here.
And it right when that message got plastered on the screen that Hannah went running out of the Bazaar as fast as she could.  I didn't hear from her for a few minutes, but then I get this message:
Hannah:  I still wanna be friends, but I don't wanna play no more at this time.
Adrian:  Okay.
Hannah:  I'm going to be at my house.
(Sidenote:  We all have our own dorms or houses in the game.)
Adrian:  Okay.
A few minutes go by and I get this message.

Hannah:  Cry :(
So she is crying, and sending me a frowny face.  This is why I am single.  So I don't have to put up with over-emotional women.  Instead of sending a message enlightening her to the fact that "crying is emotional blackmail," I don't say anything.
Five minutes later she show up to where I am.  She wants to continue on the missions.  I ask her,
Adrian:  Are you mad or something.
Hannah:  No.
It's like the emotional hurricane of a PMSing woman meets a pre-teen.  It's not a pretty sight.  But the funny thing is she is still a good gaming partner/player.  And she just kind of goes with the flow when it comes to whatever mission is up next.  It really is it's own little world, and I've got to learn the rules of it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Little Piece of Heaven. A House, A Home, A Log Cabin

I have always wanted to build my own home.  In fact, I have written about it before.

Check this out:

Anyway, I was watching hunting programs on the Sportsman's Channel, and a commercial came on that interested me.  It was a company that sold you the wood and parts to make your own log cabin/ log home.

I looked at their website, and they have what looks to be 80 different models of log cabins/ log homes.  I really liked their Clearwater Model.

What's neat is that you can buy either, 1. Just the wood.  2. The Shell Package.  3. Or the Complete Package.  That way, you can get just the wood or pre-prepared parts for the house.  The pieces of wood come numbered so you know what goes where.  It's like of like Lincoln Logs.

In fact, they have some great construction videos of how the cabins/homes go together.  It's not as hard as I thought it would be.

I think it's neat how woodworkers can build furniture, guitars, and other things.  But to be a woodworker on a huge scale, to be building houses, would be awesome.  Especially on your own house.  You would get to choose not only the building plans and outside, but the inside of the house.  Flooring, cabinets, decoration, walls, tile, would all be at your control. 

One of the good things about log homes is that, they are well insulated.  Since the wood is so thick, they don't lose a lot of heat or cold.  That would make then great to have in Florida, so long as you had central heat and air.  They also have that nice, natural look on the inside.  And if you want to drill anything to the wall it's okay!  It's wood. 

The bad news about log homes is that they are expensive.  Not only that, but all that wood has to shipped from somewhere.  And shipping a house's worth of wood is not cheap.  You have to calculate all the wood, roofing supplies, inside parts like cabinets/tile/carpet, windows, and someone to wire the house up for electricity, cable, and wi-fi.  Not to mention the most important throne of all.  A sewage line needs to be created and hooked up to either city water or a septic tank.  I almost forgot the 2nd most expensive part of the house.  That would be the land.  Depending upon where you want to build the house, the land can be somewhat expensive or crazy expensive. 

So while it may be expensive to build a house, a man can always dream.  I have to admit, a lot of dreams go unfulfilled, and even I think that this one is out of reach for me.  But I can't complain.  As long as I have a roof over my head, I can't worry about whether or not I will be able to build myself a log house.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Absinthe, Part 2

Years ago I wrote a blog about Absinthe.  Here it is:

Basically what happened was I drank one mixed drink of absinthe (one shot, 1 1/2 ounces), a few hairy things went down.  One drink.  I can't exactly say what happened back then because a lot of it was private.  But there are a few things about absinthe that I would like to expand on.

First of all, this is the best European site for real absinthe:

In the U.S. we are limited as to what kinds we can buy.  They just made some kinds of it legal a few years ago.  Simply put, the absinthe in the U.S. is thujone free.  Thujone is the ingredient that supposed to cause hallucinations, but even in vintage absinthes, there isn't enough in it to really cause any.  But that doesn't mean it isn't potent.  The alcohol percentage varies by maker, but it is usually as strong as something like Everclear.  That's why most absinthe mixes tell you to mix cut it with cold water by a 5 to 1 margin. 

Here's "Lucid" the U.S. brand I tried:

Here's a great article talking about the different types of absinthe, and what the new ones are like:

But I actually wanted to write about something else.  Mainly, the way absinthe's tastes are described.  First and foremost remember this, absinthes have a strong black liquorice taste.  No matter what they say, it tastes like overly strong black liquorice.  So why do the descriptions of it say this?

Herbs are maybe the most important factor when it comes to high quality Absinthe. Therefore we have selected the best possible quality herbs and wine alcohol to make Absinthe Duplais an adorable, excellent drink.

We created a composition of herbs, where all aromas coexist and none of them is predominant. Although this balance sets free a specific pleasant taste, which is light, complex and subtle.

First off, absinthe is never, ever subtle.  It's subtle in the way that moonshine is subtle.  The next quote is a review of one of the better, more expensive absinthes.

I disagree with the quote above, as being that I've worked with A. pontica quite a lot, I don't taste the peculiar flavor of that herb in this all. In fact, I can't think of *any* modern product which employs that particular herb, this one notwithstanding. Therefore, my revelation comes as no surprise.

Nevertheless, this product tastes like some effort went into it, and the flavor comes off as a peculiar balance of both anise and a couple of atypical aromatic essences, the combination of them giving almost a pleasant 'cough-syrup' like aroma and flavor. The texture of the flavor tells me something about how the herbs were prepared, and unlike the other Spanish products, it doesn't taste like any 'oily' adulterants were added to the distillate. Tasting the liqueur neat, I don't taste the pointed flavor of absinthium right off, but rather I get the heady scent of other aromas which present an alternate, unobtrusive bitterness. Don't mistake this for absinthium, it isn't. What I notice here is that the bitterness from the other essences seems to hit the bitter receptors rather quickly, so that's what you'll taste most prevalently.

Honestly, all he had to say was "pleasant cough syrup."  That would have been perfect. 

To reinforce what I'm saying, all you have to do is look up absinthe recipes.  Because it's not meant to be drunk straight.  Even the most bare bones recipe calls for you to caramelize sugar cubes, and then cut the drink with cold water and ice.  Here's a great list of absinthe mixes.

Even the suggestions on the bottle of lucid had some pretty simple mixes.  Basically every single one of them did their best to cover up the real taste of absinthe.  That kind of sends a confusing message.  You want to drink the drink, but not taste the drink.  But let's be honest, the stuff is pretty awful.

So, I don't think I will be buying a bottle any time soon.  Namely, because a bottle of it is $60 a bottle plus state and county alcohol/sales taxes.  And I don't actually drink alcohol anymore, so that's another reason not to buy any.  And of course, it just tastes like "blah."

It reminds me of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode where she kept drinking alcohol, and kept hating it. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

That's Not A Cauldron

Years ago I was a little more active in my Pagan community.  I was reading my books and assembling all my working tools.  However, a few things can be hard to come by.  That's why they have Pagan/ Wiccan/ New Age shops.  They will carry all those hard to find books and tools.  However, they will cost you a pretty penny.

The hardest thing I was having trouble getting was a cauldron.  They had these very tiny ones made of real cast iron that I would have liked having.  Unfortunately, they were $40 a piece.  I didn't exactly have much money, much less $40 to burn.  So I did the next best thing.  I went to the flea market.

Ah yes, the flea market.  You never know what you will find.  At the Big Top Flea Market on Fowler Ave. there's this longtime dealer who deals in furniture and household items.  He has a nice mix of vintage and modern items.  Dad liked to browse though he vintage glassware for a while, so I was wandering around looking at all the household items.  (Sidenote:  This dealer has the biggest unit on the property.  It's about 10 times at big as any other spot.  The cabinets and stuff do take up a lot of room, so that's why he needs so much space.) 

Anyway, I was wandering around when I saw it.  My cauldron.  It was only $7.  So I took it up to the dealer, and he said he could sell it to me for $6.  That worked for me.  Then he asked me a strange question.  He asked, "Did I chew?" 

I was like, "Chew what?"

He said, "Tobacco."

I asked, "Why would you ask me that?"

To which he replied, "Because you're buy a spittoon."

This was my cauldron:

I told him, "It looked like a cauldron to me, and no, I didn't chew tobacco.  Only bubble gum."

But there you have it.  My cauldron for all these years is a vintage spittoon made for tobacco chewing.  I don't know if that makes me a bad Pagan, or just an idiot.  Maybe it just makes me cheap.  I mean, it was $6.

Worst Brother Ever

I'm sure every sister thinks their brother is the worst ever.  But I've been pretty bad to my sister.  Sometimes on accident, and sometimes on purpose.  Here's a vintage post that I wrote about pulling tricks on her.

However, the one time I hurt her feelings the most was the one time it was completely accidental.  You see, it took me a while to get through college, but the funny thing is I actually did graduate.  So my sister was all set to get me the greatest graduation present that could ever be.  She was actually really proud of me graduating.

She was saying that she had a great present for me on my graduation day.  (At that point it was about two weeks away.)  So I told her, "Your present doesn't have to be the greatest.  I'm going to love it no matter what it is, as long as it's not something useless like cuff links."

She then got a graven look over her face and said, "You're going to hate it."  Which I replied, "No, I'm sure I'm going to love it.  However she was a bit sullen all day.

So when it came time to get my present, this is what I received from her.

In case you can't tell, those are high quality silver cuff links from Tiffany's.  They are shaped like little globes since I was a History graduate.  I gotta admit, I felt like a heel. 

But then I had to explain to her that I already had a set of cuff links.

And here's why I said they were useless.  I have never worn them.  They are still in the original box.  I have only worn one set of cuff links, and that was with my tux at homecoming in high school.  Modern men's shirts are made so that you don't need cuff links.  In fact, I think I only have two shirts at this moment that are made for cuff links.  One shirt I have never worn, and the other I just roll the sleeves up like I normally do.  But back then I didn't have one shirt that I could use cuff links with.

So to conclude this blog, I gotta say that yes, I have done some terrible things to my sister.  But I have never felt so bad about hurting her feelings as I did then. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Too Cute To Shoot?

In preparation for hunting season I have been watching a lot of the Sportsman channel.  It's mostly hunting and fishing shows.  However, I will give credit to them in that, they show a wide variety of animals and different situations out hunting. 

I was watching one show that I had not seen before.  It was called American Huntress.

From their website:

The American Huntress was born out of the idea to get women more involved in the outdoors, whether in hunting, wildlife conservation, or passing on our American hunting tradition. As women, we can and often do experience the outdoors differently from men. And we wanted to be able to share those differences.
As they state on the website, they hunt in a lot of places, including Africa.  The episode I ended up seeing was one that they happened to be hunting in Africa.  In the episode they were hunting Kipspringer (Cliff Springer) Antelope.

Now I had never heard of the Kilpspringer.  I had no idea what one even looked like, or anything about them.  And then they showed them in the wild, and I saw one for the first time.

Oh my God.  They look like Bambi.  Seriously, look at those big, black eyes.  They are overly cute.  Also, they are only about 2 foot tall.  Even the adults look like babies.  The above picture doesn't do them justice.  They look like something an 8 year old girl dreamed up.

For a better view, this video on Youtube, taken at a zoo, will give you an idea on how they look, move, and interact.

I may be a hunter, but even I have to admit that is cute.  I think it finally passed my cute threshold where I couldn't shoot that.  I prefer my game animals to be rather ugly, such as hogs.

But as the Kilpspringer is only native to South Africa, I don't have to worry about one crossing my path. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Soul Asylum Vs. The Rolling Stones, Who ya got?

This is a continuing series on my blog about songs that sound the same.  This is the second blog on this subject.  Here's the first:

I was at a few yard sales the other day.  I noticed with the invention of the Ipod, people are getting rid of their CD's.  The good news is that, they generally sell them for one dollar a piece.  I picked up a few that I had missed in the early 90's.  One of the CD's I picked up was Soul Asylum's Grave Dancers Union.  What was funny is that I had their second album, Let Your Dim Light Shine, but had never got around to getting their first album even though it was the better album.

So I'm listening to the whole album as a drive around.  I hear a song that is slightly familar.  I looked at the CD, and saw the song was called, "Without A Trace."  And then, of all the weird things, the memories came flooding back.  Grave Dancers Union was famous for three songs, 1. Somebody To Shove," "Black Gold," and "Runaway Train."  After those songs were played to death Soul Asylum released another song that didn't get much airplay.  That was "Without A Trace."

Here is was twenty years later, and there was something overly familar with the song even though I hadn't heard it for years.  Then it hit me, it was the same melody as The Rolling Stones song, "As Tears Go Buy."

Going all the way back to 1965, The Rolling Stones had a hit with their first ballad with "As Tears Go By," from the album, December's Children (And Everyone's.)

I gotta say, Soul Asylum's take on it is quite brilliant.  The melody is a bit unusual, but really stands out.  If you are going to rip off an artist (or artists,) you might as make rip off the talented ones.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stickin In My Eye

Back in the early 90's we had a pretty cool public access station here in the Tampa Bay area.  There were a lot of music shows where guys would not only talk about national bands, but local bands as well.  You also had a lot of underground bands get shown.  You could find both videos and live performances getting played.

It just so happened I was flipping through when I saw this great song/video.  It wasn't high quality at all.  It was pretty low rent to be honest.  But the song and video were pretty funny in a punk rock way.  I had no idea who performed the song, only that it was about him having something in his eye.

I'd thought about that song over the years, even though I'd only heard it once.  Well, it occurred to me just the other day to check Youtube.  Even if it was a local band they're stuff gets posted on there as well. 

So I type in, "I've got something in my eye."  The first thing to pop up is NOFX's "Stickin In My Eye."  I thought, "NOFX?"  It couldn't have been them.  But you know what.  It was.

I remember the wild gang of fans singing in a chorus like fashion about them having something in their eye.  I'm just amazed that 20 years later I found this with help from the internet.  I'm going to have to think of other things I wondered about so many years ago.  Thanks internet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A New Way of Hunting

I first started hunting when I was 12.  It seems like a long time ago, most likely because it was a long time ago.  Back then there was a moderate population of feral hogs.  But lately, the hog population has exploded.  And there are some simple reasons why.  A sow (female hog) can have up to four litters of piglets a year.  They have no natural predators, except for the odd alligator, and of course, man.

I remember back in the 80's there was a big anti-hunting movement.  The animal rights people did not like hunters shooting at bambi.  However, in these past few years the deer population has exploded in Northern states.  The average person has to worry about deer getting in their garbage, crop and flower gardens, and the massive damage that deer can cause when getting hit by a car.  Suddenly, deer aren't so cute anymore. 

In the North, many states have opened up hunting season so that there aren't so many deer competing for so little food during the winter.  I know of one place in Virginia when you buy your licence you get a licence to shoot one buck and two does.  If you fill that, you can go and get another permit for $12.00 letting you shoot one buck and two does.  And it goes on and on like that.  They really just want that $12.00.  But they are so overrun with deer they have to bring down the population.

So what does this have to do with hogs?  Well, in the Southern states we are having the same problem but with hogs. 


Here in Florida hogs and deer compete for a lot of the same food.  A lot of deer have been pushed out of their territory by feral hogs.  Just two years ago I shot a hog during the quota hunt season.  But I wasn't the only one.  There were only about 6 deer killed versus about 70 hogs killed during that time period.  Does that say something?  You bet it does.  The hog population has gotten out of control.

Hogs have started to creep into residental areas as well as farmland to seek out food.  The problem has gotten big in Texas.  They have an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs.  They have been destroying farmland in huge numbers.  It has gotten so bad that a bill was passed with help from Ted Nugent to allow hunters to take out feral pigs from helicopters.  That's right.  They can go all Vietnam style, and run down hogs with a helicopter while shooting semi-automatic rifles at them.

Here's the video from a series called "Pigman."

At first I wondered how bad the problem could really be.  If you've seen enough fishing shows, you know they fish over several days to get enough footage for a half hour programs.  At the end of the Pigman show, they said that they flew the helicopter for 8 hours and shot 272 feral hogs. 

Seriously?  272 hogs?  Okay, the problem is as bad as they say if they can shoot that many hogs in just 8 hours.  What you may not see in the trailer is that they are hunting strickly over farmland that has been taken over and destroyed by wild hogs. 

I was telling my Dad about this, and wouldn't it be great for him to get back in a helicopter, and take out a few hogs?  He just gave me "the look."  The background story on this is that, he flew in a helicopter once in Vietnam, and swore he would never get in one again.  You couldn't drag him kicking and screaming into a helicopter ever. 

So if I had the chance to shoot down hogs with an AR-15 rifle out of a helicopter would I do it?  You bet I would.  But Dad would take a pass.   

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Guitar Project #7, The Rosewood Telecaster, Part 3

For Part 1:

For Part 2:

So to make a long story short, I finally completed the Rosewood Telecaster.  I'll explain how I did it while posting pictures of my work.

First off, here's the body after routing and shaping.  I got it nice and sanded down.

Next I used Z-poxy to fill the grain.  This really helped one place on the back that had a hallow place in it.

Then I sanded down the Z-poxy.  Sidenote:  It really sands down nicely.

Then I put on the Tru Oil.

After sanding and buffing I had this:

Next, it was time to assemble the guitar. 

I had to use a different bridge pickup than I would have liked, but I will change this one out later.

Here's the shot of the back.

Overall not too bad.  There's a couple of places that I could have done better.  I am going to change the one pickup out when I have the chance/money.  Oh, I also need a strap as I have locking tuners.  So it's playable, but not completely done yet.  But I guess it's close enough for jazz.