Feb 28, 2009

Feb 28 2009

Our two organs. When we moved into the house we had no furniture for the main living room, so we went to the D.I. (deseret industries, a LDS goodwill store) and bought the Baldwin organ in the background for $30. Two weeks later I picked up the 67' Hammond classic for $250.

Logan has been practicing every day and is starting to sound pretty good. I taught him the basics and showed him some neat sounding chord progressions.

Feb 27 2009

Grand Teton in the mist...

Going though the pictures of my recent trip I found this one. It's nice living 200 miles from the Grand Tetons. Friday was fun. Called a few old friends after school, had big T-bone steak dinner, played on the computer with Logan, then went to bed. Nice that my back yard stayed frozen today, so the dog is clean and I don't have to leave him in a room for hours while he drys out.

Feb 26, 2009

Feb 26 2009

Another warm day, nearly 40 degrees, the snow depth of my front yard is only about 6 inches of hard crusty icy crap. At least my sidewalk was clear of most of the ice, since I had to unload a carload of Mormon packaged cans of grains, beans, and other stuff. It would suck falling on my ass while carrying 35 pounds of food. After making 5 trips from Mrs. Lloyd's car to my living room, I now have one years supply of food, stored in cans designed to last 30 years or more.

Mrs. Lloyd is a semi-retired Art teacher, who pushes me to stock up on food storage. She works with a group of people from her church and they actually can the grains, suck out all the air, add an oxygen absorption packet, then seal the can. And the prices are quite reasonable. 5 pounds of canned dry pinto beans, with all the air sucked out, for only $4.50. I am really excited to get the onion chips, and oats with this shipment.

I love Mrs. LLoyd, she is very down to earth. She's like the Jewish mother that I never had. She is an incredible artist too. Her oil paintings are wonderful. She also does ceramics, drawings, plays the organ at church, and sings in a top ranked choir at the university. A true genius of the West she is! Of course Judy is a Mormon, like I said, "Mormons rock! Whats nice about her and most Mormons, is that they never preach to me or invite me to their church. She knows I'm a Taoist/Buddhist but it's all good, Judy's love is UNCONDITIONAL.

Nothing too wonderful happened aside from all the food I invested in.

Today was the big championship game for our basketball team. The school gave free bus rides to any student who bought a ticket to the game. The game was 2 hours away from here. So since so many students weren't in their classes, the smarter students that didn't go to the game, ditched school, rather than be stuck in lame ass classes, watching movies and doing nothing.

I know of three kids who got bored, left the school and got busted by the cops for truancy. Well since half the school got "truancy wavers by going to the game" I hope the police go easy on my son and the two other "truants" he was riding around with.

Unfortunately my son was wearing a belt buckle with a real set of brass knuckles attached to the front, and the cops didn't approve of it. The good news is that an 18 year old man, cannot be charged with "truancy"! I can't believe the dumb ass would go out in public with a 10 dollar belt buckle with some Chinese made brass knuckles stuck to the front. Hopefully, this lesson won't be too expensive for him.

Freddy was black from all the mud and had to spend a couple hours in the utility room before I could let him in the kitchen. It's so sad that I have to leave his muddy self in there for so long. He feels that he is being punished or something.
Freddy is quite emotional. I made it up to him by spending the next 3 hours with him in the kitchen, and in the camper: I think he is past it now.

That's about it for today my friends.

Feb 25, 2009

Feb 25 2009


Rough day, not enough sleep. Rained in the afternoon, the snow is melting fast, the dog is covered with mud, and everything is bogged down. I miss the cold when all the water was ice or snow and not WATER!

Came home and crashed for a couple hours, then went and sprinted 500 yards in the pool at the health spa. Even laid in the tanning booth again.... (Heather)!
I may be a big, hairy, 280 pounds of man flesh, but I look way nicer when not as white as a corpse! Got to give all these faire Mormon ladies something to fight over....(hehehe).

I like the Mormons quite a bit. They are very family oriented and tend to have many kids. Most LDS (Mormon) children are very happy, loved, and well adjusted compared to children from broken homes. I also learned about the wisdom of food storage from the Mormons.

Hung out in the back of the "Hell Bitch" for a few hours with Freddy. You know the story, this is a happy place to hang out. I plan to stock up the "Hell Bitch" with 6 months supply of food, gas, and bullets, just in case shit hits the fan.

Many Mormons practice advanced food storage techniques and I must admit that I follow the wisdon of this. Lets say disaster happens, like a great depression where there are millions out of work and roving the land looking for food like in the 30's. The ones that are prepared, will have food and enough bullets to hunt with or protect their food supply. Many suburbanites would get invaded by huge mobs of hungry, desparate, inner-city people, and probably get killed or starve. I would merely jump in the Hell Bitch, hide way up in the mountains and ride out the storm.

I am not a survivalist or a gun nut, but the Mormans have been prepared for over a hundred years. Utah has historically a dicey place to carve out a living. Most of the state is a dry desert. In bad years the Mormons would dip in to their food storages and, live through crop failures better than the unprepared. So the tradition still exists strongly today, to hoard food. The main grocery store here has a giant wide aisle dedicated to large cans and barrels of food to stock up with.
85 percent of all American households only have enough food stored away to last for a month. Nearly all Mormon families have at least 6 months of food stored.

I have over 70, 5 pound cans of food staples, including powdered milk, oats, beans, sugar, oil, rice, wheat, and flour. I could last for more than a year with this, plus we have a huge stock of canned soups, veggies and other food.

Many events could cause food unavailability: Natural disaster, nuclear war, oil embargos ect... Storing food should be a top priority for everyone. If the super volcano known as "Yellow Stone" erupts again (it is thousands of years overdue), the resulting amount of volcanic ash, would cool the earth down for 4 or 5 years, and crop failures would be rampant. Hate to seem like a "sky is falling" sounding person, but it is smart to be prepared.

Feb 24, 2009

Feb 24 2009


With my bills doubling since I moved into this house, I feel the thrill of Payday once again.

It was feckin' 40 degrees this morning with light rain floating down. I can't remember a morning this warm. The downside is that much of the snow is melting in the backyard and Freddy will be quite muddy with I get back home.

Today went well, except that I had to cast 1 1/2 hours after school. It was fine and the casting went great.

I whizzed around town on my dirtbike to run errands in this hot tropical weather, and was most grateful for the beautiful day. Freddy had to spend a couple hours to dry out when I got home at 5:00 PM. Cooked up some porkchops w aspharagus/leek/requeson (mexican cheese) concoction and added way too much chicken bullion, which ruined every thing. Logan and I choked it down while wrapping the salty shit in flour tortillas and eat till we became adverse to futher gastrnomic endeavors.

Spent the rest of the evening listening to classical music over my new-vintage wooden radio from Grundig which occupies much of our tiny kitchen table. When I got bored with that, I watched the "Andy Griffith Show" on TV land for an hour or so.

I love these old sitcoms. Beverly Hillbillies, has the best acting and funny writing. The Brady Bunch disturbs me since I know what most people know about the cast. Now that I am older and much more understanding about kids, families, and schools; Leave it to Beaver is my favorite. The writing is insightful, if not incredible! The writers have child and teenage logic down to a T. Things weren't that different with childrens psyche's in the early 60's then they are now.

Night all..

Feb 23, 2009

Feb 23 2009

Warm rainy day, up to 36 degrees, feels like spring is here.

Logan had a sprained neck this morning, he couldn't turn his head. He looked better in the afternoon and even went out to hang with friends.

Good day today, which turned into a great afternoon. Spent the evening swimming, doing laundry, driving at night, with Freddy (he really dug getting to see the night view of Logan City! I love this dog but he sheds quite profusely, if he rubs up against your leg, the part that he touched looks like a fur coat. He's worth it though, I guess...

Had Sambar (thin Indian soup) with three toasted tortillas for dinner. Tortillas are great when warmed on on a dry frying pan. The Sambar was uneventful, like Campbells, only with a curry flavor.

I will leave you now,


Feb 22, 2009

Feb 22 2009

Sunday, what can I say? Sunday is the most depressing day of the week to me. Although I don't have to work, a since of doom permeates the entire day and coats it with a twinge of sadness. Nothing terrible or too depressing, but I lose the since of freedom that I had since Friday afternoon. Most people hunker down with their families, and ride out this desparate day in their homes, as if the land was to suffer a great swarm of locusts or something.

I woke at 6:00 AM, ate breakfast, did some stuff on the computer, fed the dog, then went back to sleep until 2:00 PM. Sundays suck, might as well catch up on some lost sleep. When I re-awoke I read magazines, computed stuff, and began making my Asparagus, Leek, and Potato cremey soup.

Finely chop up a couple Leeks. Fry them at low/medium in butter, with bayleaf, pepper, curry powder and salt/pepper. Add a quart of chicken broth, add chopped potatoes, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Check flavor, then add a handful of finely chopped celery, 4 oz butter, and a pound of asparagus cut in 1 inch segments.

Simmer for another 20 minutes until the asparagus is tender.

Add cayenne, and any other flavor that you choose, I put in some thymne and rosemary. Wait a few minutes for the flavors to marry before adding 16 ounces of sour creme and stirring. Wait a few more minutes and add 4 oz of Mexican or Italian blend of cheese. Stir, simmer a few more minutes and serve.

This was great stuff!

Logan came home at 5:00 from snowboarding. He couldn't find a ride so he hitch hiked to the sky slopes. I use to hitch alot when I was his age, and it was an excellent experience.

Feb 21, 2009

Feb 21 2009

Not much going on today. Took Freddy on some errands, even went to the gym, to swim laps for an hour or so. Usually my swimming is a 500 yard sprint which takes about 15 minutes, but I went for a tan after swimming today, leaving Freddy in the truck for a long time. This was a first experience at tanning and I loved it. I love going to the sports academy, but since the pool lanes are clogged with swim teams during the week, I will probably give up my membership and start swimming at the University.

I felt bad about leaving Freddy in the truck for so long today, but he doesn't seem to mind being left in the truck during cold weather. Maybe he feels like it's his cave or something. He looks happy when I get back to the truck. Dogs like to drive around and see more sites than their backyards.

Afterwards, I bought some groceries, including trout and leeks. I found a great trout recipe for dinner, tomorrow I'm going to cook up a Leek and Aspharagus soup!
Today I made a recipe called "Trout, Asian style", which was a great way to cook the fish. Just pour some soy sauce on the fish, then take white pepper, garlic powder, ginger, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper and rub it all over the fish. Let sit for 10 minutes while the skillet heats up to medium high (spray with oil first). Let the fish cook on each side for a few minutes, then eat it. Simple.

Spent the rest of the night playing the Myspace game called "Mobsters" with Logan. Funny how some of these people take this game too seriously. We usually play mobsters once a months, so our characters save enough money to put our enemies on the hitlist mega times. And our virtual enemies get quite angry. Hahahaha!

Feb 20, 2009

Feb 20 2009

2 degrees this morning. Apparently I stayed up too late the night before and woke up in a daze. This was a giant cup of coffee morning. I hated to put the dog outside, but he has a doghouse and a warm straw filled chicken coop if he gets too cold. But I never see him use these warm places. I started worrying about Freddy around noon, because the temp was still under 10 degrees, fortunately the sun came out and it was a scorching 30 degrees by 2:30 PM. So I got out of school and drove the bike 3 or 4 miles to get some much needed supplies for tonights party. I soon realised the wisdom of wearing gloves in sub-freezing weather, but the sunshine and the Russian hat, kept me warm enough.

Took the "High Bird" dirt bike to school this morning, which was ok, since I only have to go 1/4 mile. The Chinese "High Bird" starts easily at zero degrees, which is much better than my Honda xr650l would do. Funny, I bought this bike brand new including shipping (partially disassembled in crate) for a thousand dollars last June, and the bike runs flawlessly. I did take the time to research these bikes on : www.chinariders.com and took their advice on how to properly break in and set up the new bike. Yes some aspects of the bike are cheesy, but much much better than I expected in the performance dept. I've already put 800 city and backcountry miles on the bike with few problems. I've done some gnarly mountain climbing and was quite impressed that this "Chinese" 200cc motorcycle could haul my big ass up to 8000 ft in a rough mountainous trail without complaint or break down. I've also jumped it on several occasions and got some impressive air and easy landings.
I was saving for a Japanese bike, but I believe I'll put the money in my "new truck" fund, since my truck has 270000 miles on it. This bike should be good for a few more years.

Not much else happening, but I want to give a shout out to my newest follower: Melissa, who is Chucks partner and a heck of a nice lady. She is a mudlogger at the same drilling site that Chuck works at. She just started a Blogger account today, that should be pretty cool.

Feb 19, 2009

Feb 19 2009

My classroom is right next to a mountain stream. The stream is beautiful but I have to walk past a gang of ducks every day. It sure beats the scenery of the last place I worked. I'll take a gang of ducks over a street gang any day.

Busy day at school. After school I hung out with Logan for a while then, hung out in the camper and found this awesome "oldies" station! I've discovered this station months ago and I love the plethora of music they have to offer. They played things as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Joanney Mitchell, Dean Martin, Engelbert Humperdinck, and many other fantastic songs, many that I have never heard before.

Of course; I had to bring Freddie, my evergrowing, well mannered and polite dog. This dog is so polite and correct I'd swear he was a large poodle. Freddy constantly watches me and tunes himself to my moods. He always seems to be aware of how close or far to keep his proximity, whenever the mood or circumstance, Yet Freddie seems to be always nearby. When I got him Freddy weighed about 45 pounds but he keeps GROWING!! Freddy takes up the entire floor of the camper now it seems. He weighs around 70 pounds now and shows no sign of getting any smaller. But he is fairly graceful and stays out of ones face for the most part. Freddy is quite the large gentleman. His head is approximatly the size of a bowling ball and about the same weight. If he gets much larger I'll have to pull a trailer just to hold him. I feed him the high dollar fare, with ample leftovers and many treats. He is from Auzzie Shepherd and Rottweiler blood lines. Both are large dogs.

After the heated died for lack of propane, we both left and went back into the house. The weather is wet and colder than usual.

I hope all you loyal readers to have an excellent night.


Feb 18, 2009

Feb 18 2009

Great day today. Walked to school in the snow to catch an un-necessary meeting at 7:30 AM: The streets were frozen. After hanging out with the Art Department for a year or two it seemed, a few of us realized that we were "Meeting" just to proclaim that we were "meeting", so we ajourned. I bore easily with meetings without urgency or substance/meaning. But all school districts do this and I give kudos to my district because they allow us to meet during the school day, rather than after school. I do like my fellow department teachers, so it's more like a fun early morning social occasion. I love Wednesdays, since the classes are 15 minutes shorter to accomodate these important "Meetings" each week.

WAL-MART, calls me at work and promised to straighten things out. They asked for my bank card number (which I grudgingly gave them)and by the late afternoon, I had my one hundred and fourty nine dollars and eleven cents back! (of course last week they did this, then took it all away so we'll wait and see).


That last manager, should be the CEO of Wal-Mart. He really did give a damn about customers. He was sincere. And was behind my $20 gift certificate that he gave me with an apology. Apology accepted! They did the right thing.

So I bought exactly $20 worth of stuff, used up the card and left.

Freddy's behavior gets better each day. He follows directions quicker and better than any dog I've ever had. I can teach him a totally new thing in 5 minutes. Those Australian Shepherds need to work at Wal&Mart and then the place would move like a one-legged man on buttkicking night!

I wrestle with Freddy often, and place him on his back each time, in order to show him that I am the leader. Now that he accepts this: he follows each command like a valued soldier. He doesn't rebel when I am away so bad, and never trashes the inside of the Hell Bitch (truck camper), when I am not there. I think Freddy and me will be friends for a long long time.

We spent a couple hours in the camper and fell asleep. Athough I keep a window open when I run the heater, I woke up an hour later with a true "low oxygen" headache. Note to self: Never turn the heater up high with a window only open 4 inches. This is a catalytic stove which produces little to no carbon monoxide, but it is a user of oxygen nonetheless. In a tiny space like a small truck camper; this principal can be quite deadly. I better watch it, this was scary.

Feb 17, 2009

Screw Walmart part II

Snowing like HELL all day, prolly about 4 or 5 inches of wet stuff. Utah is known for it's high quality dry snow, but with the balmy 30 degree temperature, the snow came down wet and thick all day long. The streets are fairly snow free, which is great cause I had to go to Walmart. As you may recall, I spent last Monday trying to reclaim my $150 that the Logan, Utah Walmart took from me. They passed me around on the phone from the local manager to the corporate office and back, just like a fickin ping pong ball. The next morning one of the charges dissappeared from my bank statement, and everything appeared to be ok.
Last Friday I checked my bank statement and sure enough.....Wally World stole the $150 from me AGAIN! ARRRRRRAAgggghhhhhhhhh! So I got $40 to my name which is supposed to last for the next 9 days.
I called the store AGAIN this morning and the nice manager "Bill" told me to simply show up at the store after I get off work with my receipt and bank statement. I did this and guess what! No one in the @$@$^$%^ store had the power to reemburse my @#$%$& money. Bill was no where to be found. I did get passed on to a semi-intelligent asst. manager who was genuinely sorry for what his company did. Of course he was powerless to help me, but he did loan me his cell phone and recommended I call my bank's corporate office. My bank is going to credit my account, and will remove the charge once I fax the receipt. I plan to take Walmart to small claims court and sue them for my wasted time and aggravation! Like I said "ARRRRRRAgggghhhhhhh"......
Boycott WALMART! Damn right. Remember back in the 80's when Walmart only sold American Made products? That was the Wally World I liked. Now; much of what they sell is cheap Chinese made shit. The entire American economy is bad, but Walmart continues to make big profits. Walmart employees (many which are unemployable elsewhere), aren't allowed to work full time, so they get no benefits: Therefore, the public has to pay for the medical bills of all their non-managerial employees. Too bad Sam Walton is no longer around, cause it used to be a decent place to shop. I am boycotting Walmart, and I hope everyone I know does the same. This beast of a corporation needs to be stopped.
Enough bitching and I will try not to bore you with this again. But I do plan to honestly relay my experiences every day, and sometimes one just has to bitch.
Today did go quite well overall. Freddy's behavior has been immaculent. I took Freddy to Wally world with me and left him in the Hell Bitch (my truck) for at least an hour. He was so glad to see me, which is one of the qualities I used to like about my children back when they were younger. We drove around thru the snowstorm and had a great time. I found out if I make howling sounds, that Freddy will start howling with me. Howling with your dog driving around in a snowstorm might not be for everyone, but ya just got to try it once.
I might add more later, Freddy and I are going to hang out in the camper for a couple hours. I'll be sure to let you loyal readers know if anything interesting comes up.

Feb 16, 2009

Feb 16th 2009

Look closely. Note the two icicles sprouting from the windshield at a 45 degree angle? This happened after 3 hours of sunshine melting the ice off my window. Things like this are most fascinating.

Zero degrees at 8:00 A.M. Logan's friend "Eric" woke me by knocking at the door. Seems that Logan made plans for snowboarding today, which make it the third time this week Logan gets to snowboard! Damn he loves it up here in the cold cold North.

I ate a little breakfast, fed the dog, and went back to sleep until 2 P.M. . What a lazy bastard I have become. I tend to be a night person and if unfettered by artifical schedules such as working, I tend to stay up late deep into the night since it's the best time to think.

My son "Logan" came home around 5 o clock and was totally beat after 2 days snowboarding. I let him drink some cocoa, so he could get his core temperature back up, then sadly informed him of our dire need to do some laundry. Seems like going to the laundry mat is about the only quality time my 18 year old son and I get to spend together. This could explain why I don't buy a used washer and dryer which I could easily afford.

We drove a few blocks to the tiny, lonely, ancient looking laundry mat in the south side ghetto part of town, then loaded up a few machines with our way too nasty clothing. Poor Logan looked like I was forcing him to go to a funeral. I knew he was way to tired, but wearing the same clothes too many days in a row is a bad habit for the both of us. While the clothes were washing we ran to McDonald's for a "Big Mac" fix. I'm not a big eater of fast food, but the Big Mac sure does hit the spot every once and a while. Logan actually volunteered to pay for the check! The magic of McDonald's seemed to brighten up his spirits. He sure is growing up to be a fine young man. I'm very proud of my son.

When we got home Freddy was ecstatic since I gave him the rest of the ham and potato soup from Friday. It's nice to have a dog again, since I hate to throw out leftovers. Freddy and I spent the next two hours hanging out in the "Hell Bitch", just listening to the news and reading the Smithsonian my dad sent me. When in the camper, Freddy automatically calms down and seems to be at total ease. This could be due to the cave-like atmosphere that canines in the wild so much enjoy. Maybe that's why I feel the peacefulness in there also. Perhaps a 100,000 years ago, my ancestors used to huddle in caves with a warm fire and draw on the walls, safe from the pressure of everyday life, with a "Big Mac" of some form in their stomachs, and a can of brew in their hands, while their dog huddles near the fire, and all is right with the world.

Feb 15, 2009

Feb 15th 2009

(This should be yesterdays picture of the Thai restaurant across the street from my house)

Nice blanket of snow this morning, Logan left early to go snowboarding. Freddy woke me up around 8:30 so I could let him outside. Since it was only 4 degrees, I let him back in the house 10 minutes later. I cooked up some grits and coffee, then laid back down and watched the "Beverly Hillbillies" on TV Land for a few hours. I'm quite the lazy ass this weekend.

(more will be added later)

Feb 14 2009

Valentines day. Not much romance around here. Logan and I did eat Thai food at the restaurant across the street. Having "Thai food front property" is pretty cool I guess. Afterwards I ran some minor errands bringing Freddy with me. Freddy loves to ride in the truck!

Nothing much happened the rest of the day. I did cook steaks and roasted new potatoes for a late dinner. I wish the day was more exciting. We did get a few inches of snow today which was nice.

(Here is a picture of "Dead Indian Pass" which is located between Redlodge Mt. and Cody, Wy.)

Feb 13, 2009

Feb 13th 2009

Nothing much happening today. Everyone seemed kind of bummed out at school, seems like the high of 20 degrees failed to cheer anybody up. I worked on my new ring all day and it's starting to look refined and professional. The kid who made the wax origional was pleased with his accomplishments. This kid has a promising future in the Jewelry business.

Freddy threw another fit today when I was gone. He flung his food and water bowl in the back yard, out of protest that I dare leave him outside during the day. I will get some time to spend with him this weekend and hopefully we can work this impasse out. My last two dogs were "outside only", so I might have made a mistake in spoiling him. Time will tell of course.

Hung out in the camper again and the heater got the camper heated up lickety-split! Hell, It was only 15 degrees above.
Dog was good and seemed to like the cave and fireplace thing.
Called Chuck and Dan Aptekar. Chuck and wife are going back on the job, and Dan was quite fun to talk to as aways. Dan has the most laid back personality and knows much interesting information.

Feb 12, 2009

Feb 12th 2009

Incredible day. I found out that one of my students has been awarded the highest honor than any other piece of Jewelry submitted by a high school in the state of Utah! I commissioned the same student to design me a University of Texas class ring which I got to cast today.

My modern kiln is on the fritz so I had to cast using the ancient kiln that hasn't been used in two years. This kiln is small, and requires the teacher to ramp up the temperatures manually, which means I can't program it when I leave school, and be ready to cast in the morning.

Aside from all that, I had to take an ounce of 24 carat gold, and mix it with an ounce of mixed copper, silver, and assorted 12 carat gold broken jewelry pieces, including one of my mothers old crowns.

I was worried about the casting, since 1 and 10 casting molds blow up or fail in some way. I was imagining $1200 worth of gold getting splattered around my casting studio!!! (Yikes)!

After casting the first mold, I placed mine in the centrefuge and let her rip. The ring came out a bit dirty, with some bubbles; But the overall casting went quite well! I finished up staying 2 1/2 hours after school, and most of the casting molds came out excellent.

From 5:00 PM till 9:00 PM, I filed and refined this ring, and it's starting to look incredible.

Freddy is behaving much better today, he seems to have lost his "Alpha Male" problem, which caused him to be a pain in the ass yesterday. I hope to take him camping tomorrow night, if I can find a place that is open.

Feb 11, 2009

Feb 11 2009

Checked my bank account this morning and noticed that Walmart had fixed their mistake! I also noticed that the $300 check I deposited yesterday, to keep my account from bouncing, was not there.... No record of the deposit was on my account?? I drove to the bank, walked up to the teller that deposited the check and politely told her what happened. She acted like she didn't remember me. I told her I was probably the last customer of the day, and reminded her that she led me into the safe to access my safety deposit box.

She went through a small pile of checks and found it, then checked my account and put the deposit into my account. At no point did she admit fault or apologize. What is wrong with people nowadays? Seems like most people are too cowardly to admit when they are wrong, and few will apologize for they're mistakes.

Took Freddie up into the mountains today, he got so excited that he forgot how to come when I call him...again. I don't blame him, but something has got to change or I can't take him out in the wilderness. I might try a dog whistle or even a shock collar. Freddie also tore away at the backdoor during the day, flipped over his water and food, and tore out all the bedding from his doghouse. Freddy is clearly challenging my authority as the alpha male. I'll read some of "The dog whisperer's" techniques and apply them today if he still needs it.

In the evening, Logan and I went to the underground pizza place nearby and watched WTC(?) boxing and wrestling. It was fun.

Feb 10, 2009

Feb 10 2009 (Late Nite)

After finishing the Atomic Enchiladas and listening to Wolfie's (my son) crazy organ music, I read a little more from the Steinbeck book "Travels with Charley".

Steinbeck get very introspective once he hits his hometown of Salinas California, and reveals much of his true thoughts and wisdom. The book no longer is a fun adventurous road-trip like when he started. He talks of the locals he had known that treat him like an outsider and he quotes Thomas Wolfe, saying that "home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory".

My take on it is that his controversial book "The Grapes of Wrath", and his rejection by some of the rich farmers from his own valley, who called Steinbeck a "communist" and shit, have forever estranged him from his native place. He moved on from Salinas then crossed the Mohave desert and began to philosophize.

Some of his quotes from the Desert chapter were quite profound. "and there are true secrets to the desert. In the war of sun and dryness against living things, life has it's secrets of survival." and goes on to state: " I find most interesting the conspiracy of life in the desert to circumvent the death rays of the all-conquering sun."! Damn that man could write!

Steinbeck goes on and adds: "The desert, being an unwanted place, might well be the last stand of life against unlife. For in the rich and moist and wanted areas of the world, life pyramids against itself and in its confusion has finally allied itself with the enemy... non-life. And what the scorching, searing, freezing, poisoning weapons of non-life have failed to do may be accomplished to the end of its destruction and extinction by the tactics of survival gone sour."

John Steinbeck shared the concern of the worlds destruction with others such as Einstein and Oppenheimer and many, many others. But John Steinbeck proposes that the inhabitants of the deserts....being used to such harsh extremes and tribulations could possibly be where the survivors of the destruction would come from.

He writes " The lone man and his sun-toughened wife who cling to the shade in an unfruitful and uncoveted place might, with their brothers in arms....the coyote, the jackrabbit, the horned toad, the rattlesnake, together with a host of armoured insects---- these trained and tested fragments of life might well be the last hope of life against non-life." then adds this poignant sentence: "The desert has mothered magic things before this."

Curious how after his initially his trip sounded like a personal blog or even a tourist guide book, then turns into a personal journey. After Steinbeck visits Salinas, the book turns inward-then on to profound philosophy. Steinbeck seems to be searching for something. Unfortunately the book is almost over when he gets to his desert ideas. He is only halfway finished with his trip yet the book is nearly over. I think he lost interest after the heartbreak of visiting his home town.

Life is all about "heartbreak" and how we deal with it. There are many types of heartbreak and millions of ways to address it or accept it. The heartbreak of being rejected by many of his old friends and neighbors is a tough thing for Steinbeck to live with. I suspect that he was so far beyond those people in his writings and ideas, that he tended to make those folks quite uncomfortable and his old friends had no choice but to reject him and his ideas. People reject things out of fear or misunderstanding, or a perceived need for self-preservation: This causes people like Steinbeck to travel to the desert and contemplate existences.

Feb 10th 2009

SCREW WALMART! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGjrCZpj5j0&feature=related

Remember the stuff I told ya I bought yesterday? I unfortunately bought it at Walmart. When paying with my card yesterday, the checker told me that their system was having problems and then she swiped my card again. She told me that I needed to pay cash, since their system was down. I happened to have the money and I paid cash. This morning I noticed that I was charged twice from my bank card and that my account balance was minus $100.00!!!! I called the store, who passed me to the corporate office, who passed me back to the store again! Then once more to the corporate office. So far nothing has been resolved.

On the bright side, it was a bright sunny day with 4 inches of new snow on the ground, and cold enough to freeze my backyard. So the mud is now frozen and covered with snow. Freddy is one clean puppy! I ran some errands and Freddy was happy to go for a ride with me. Tonight I plan to make some "Al's Atomic Enchiladas! I use ground beef, cheese, and sour cream for the filling, combined with an exquisite mixture of Pace Picante, tomato soup, and Tabasco Habenero sauce. This is quite a labor intensive dish, but should help me keep my mind off the Walmart situation.

I cranked up the new $49 Bissel vacuum cleaner before cooking and gave it a workout. This thing has some big power and sports a clear window to show you all the filth that it sucks up! The Bissel sucked up enough dog hair to weave a sweater and 40 days worth of dirt. As much as I now dislike Walmart, I have to admit that $49 for a kickass vacuum cleaner can only be found there. This thing is way more powerful than the old Kirby's I used to sell for $700, back in the early 80's. I will still shop at Walmart, but not as much, and will only pay with cash.

Chuck, who I just toured the northern Rockies with just called. He snowboarded Monarch Pass and Wolf Creek, and is presently near Roswell, New Mexico. He's traveling fast so he can see his lady that he missed for the past two weeks. Chuck is the best tour guide for anyone wanting to see cool places between Terlingua, Tx. and Alaska. He has crisscrossed the Rockies many times in all the Western states and Canada as well. Chuck knows where to go when out west. He has also traveled to many Countries and on all continents except for Europe.

I'll try to write more later and add a picture or two, so remember to always check back with me.

Feb 9, 2009

Feb 9th, 2009

I finally found my damned cable that allows me to upload my pics from my Nikon D-60 to my computer. Unfortunately I had my camera set to "Dumb ass Mode" or "Automatic" which tended to over-expose my pictures due to the increased light in a snowbound world. I plan to educate myself and learn how to fully use this camera, but it will be quite the challenge. I confess I didn't get the camera out much, especially around town, since the thing weighs as much as my SKULL!

In the future I will get a smaller digital (Canon makes an excellent one for less than $200), that will allow me to get easier in-town shots.

I will try to get some of the pics I did take ASAP. It is a good idea to reread my posts a few days later, as I am constantly updating them and adding things.

Today I went back to school in order to ascertain the wreckage that forms when leaving the classroom in the hands of a substitute. Fortunately my Sub was hand-picked by me for her easy going nature and her general success in relating to kids. "Jen" did a heck of a job! Funny how any reasonably intelligent person, with no training could do my job as long as they can relate to young people. Teaching is a great career! don't ya know??? But you gotta love young people, and you got to be able to deal with craziness and stress.

My teachers aides helped Jen take over the helm for three days, which is the longest time I've been away since moving to Utah. Jen is a heck of a gal and my students seemed to like her alot!

Freddie is having a tough time dealing with the unseasonable warmth we've suffered with in February. The temps get up to nearly 40 everyday but with the snow and rain my back yard is a total mud hole. Freddy plays all day in the cold mud, but cannot come into the house in the afternoon, since he is so wet and nasty! Today, I put him into the utility room for three hours to dry out, before I could brush the filth off of him. He is also shedding copious amounts of long, fine, fur, which covers the interior of our house.

Today I bought a more effective vacuum cleaner and a serious doggy brush. I plan to brush him daily, and try to use the hose attachment on the vac to suck up as much hair as possible. My older robotic vacuum cleaner is excellent at cleaning the kitchen tile and living room wood floors when I'm not home. I love the "Roomba", but getting fine dog hair off the carpet, is no match for robots, I needed a new weapon!

Inside/outside dogs take a heck of a lot of care, but it is always worth it to do things for others. Freddy is a hell of a good dog, so I can live with the effort and expense. Freddy shows his appreciation for my efforts many, many, times each day, Freddy is truly "mans best friend".

Feb 8, 2009

Feb 8th 2009

(location of Logan Utah)

Sunday: Hated to leave the condo, so we left at 11:oo am toward Logan, Utah. I asked Chuck to take be directly back home since I had to get ready for work Monday. Jackson Hole is only 180 miles to Logan. Somehow the trip lasted 6 hours but we got to criss/cross the Grand Targhee National Forest.

We left Idaho and went back to Wyoming then drove thru the beautiful "Star Valley" , which is about 50 miles long and quite cold. We filtered back to Idaho and the Caribou National Forest (which is merely an extension of the Cache and Grand Targhee National Forests).

I could walk from Logan Utah to Jackson Hole up to the Grand Tetons and ultimately Yellowstone. All these mountains are connected. We have been cirumnavigating "Yellowstone Park" for the past 5 days. We even touched it once near the Tetons.

These are some of the most pristine and unspoiled places in the lower 48 states. These are places were wolves, grizzleys, moose, elk, buffalo, and mountain lions still run free. It's nice to have these places and they should be left alone as much as possible.

I, preferring the truck camper and dirt bike modes of transport, will not have much access to places like the Wind River Range. But I still have plenty of access to some of the other wilder places where most people never get to go. I am grateful for this.

We drove past the giant, "Bear Lake" on the Idaho/Utah border, and through the nice little towns of Paris, Fish Haven, and Garden city, before we thread our way across the Wasatch Range between Garden City, Utah, and Logan, Utah, via: the Magnicifient Logan Canyon.

Logan Canyon is one of the most beautiful 30 mile drives in the world as far as I'm concerned. Twisting and turning with high walls on both sides, finally snaking it's way 3000 feet downward to my town called: Logan, Utah.

Logan is as beautiful as ever and I'm happy to be home with my son and dog again.

Feb 7th 2009

We arrived Friday evening in Jackson Hole. We got a lucky deal at the "Snow King" resort, and only paid $100 per night for a nice condo with two bedrooms and bathrooms which was right next to the ski lift. We spent Saturday taking photographing the Grand Tetons and snowboarding. I haven't really tried snowboarding at a ski resort yet but after starting off on an "Expert Only" ski lift, I eventually came home beaten and broken.

Yet I plan to try it again in the near future.

This town is nice and beautiful, but lacks the genuine sincererity that was noticed in Red Lodge. Jackson Hole is a bit more serious about money and feels the huge pangs of being a world class resort. We enjoyed watching the crazy skiers and snowboarders that would park at Teton pass, hike four hours to get to the top of the nearby mountains, then ski down to the bottom of the pass then hitch hike back up to their cars: these people are tough son of a guns in my book ... kind of makes me wish I were 20 or 30 years younger. We also enjoyed dining and watching how the young Europeans with money mix with the Americans with money.

After my trys at snowboarding and tumbling down the mountain....I seemed to feel that I got punched by a thousand gorillas. With twisted knees and a general soreness all around, I dove into my giant bathtub which heated most of my injuries away. Chuck went "night snowboarding" over at the lift. Chucks energy is at least as relentless as my laziness!

Feb 6th 2009

Friday: We left Redlodge late morning. The Hotel we stayed in, the "Yodeler", was a pretty cool place to stay. The place was older but they saved all the retro things like "the steam shower" from the 50's. Just turn the switch, wait five minutes, and steam starts filling up your shower so you can take a steam bath! The rooms were clean and roomy enough, the owners were two outdoors people, and are eager to please their guests. They are loads of fun to hangout in the lobby with and talk about rock climbing, skiing, or anything else to do with mountains. Great conversations are to be had all over Redlodge. Gabbing with strangers is a pasttime there, and I had the impression that all were quite sincere. I will return to the town of Redlodge soon! The rest of the state impressed me immensly, Montana was the favorite state of Steinbeck as well.

We drove the 30 miles from Redlodge to Cody, Wyoming and felt like we were in another world.
Cody was a nice clean town. We had lunch in a very old restaurant called the "Irma", which sported a fancy buffet for 6.95. I had the goulash with fried pollack and shrimp. Chuck made a veggie burrito with lots of cheese and sour cream, and the tomato sauce and spaghetti.
The waitress was professional (and cute!), the decor was Buffalo Bill related (as is the entire town), and the moghogany paneling, tables, frames, ect.. combined with the old pictures of locals from yesteryear, made for an excellent lunch experience.

Leaving Cody, we headed South toward Thermopolis and beyond. As lonely and desolate Wyoming seems, the topography is fascinating. The rolling hills, half frozen rivers and lakes, the distant mountains, the wildlife, and the general lack of people, seem appealing to me. I hope Wyoming always keeps it's population small. We wound up skirting the "Wind River Range", which is a national Park and has little vehicle access. The Range gets less visitors than most of the other Parks in the system. Avid hikers who venture this wilderness, are the only ones who get to experience the Wind River Range. Anyone brave and tough enough to traverse the 70 or so miles to cross the Mountains, has my deepest respect. The place has most of North America's largest and most dangerous animals. It nice to know that such a large refuge exists for them in the lower 48.
After 6 hours or more in the rough looking lands, we started over the Northern end of the Wind River Range. We passed through the mountain town of Dubois, and continued toward Jackson Hole, which would be my hometown for a couple days.

Feb 5, 2009

Feb 5th 2009

(Photo compliments of Jody Z.)
Red Lodge, Montana is an interesting town located in the south central part of the state. Red Lodge has 2100 residents and at least 10 bars and 3 casinos. The town is a bit touristy with a ski resort and close proximity to YellowStone National Park. The people in the town are as real and friendly as it gets. Chuck is wanting to relocate up here this summer.
We were eating breakfast and some old timer stopped by and introduced himself as Frank. Frank proceeded to talk and tell jokes for quite some time, I've noticed a general friendlyness here that is tough to find in the rest of the US, its easy to see why Chuck wants to live here.

Feb 4, 2009

Feb 4th 2009

9:15 AM: Left Logan and it's hazy stench and headed to Montana. Once we started up the Wellsville range we were in the sunlight once again. We drove the 90 miles or so, up to Pocotello Idaho and had a gas station breakfast with coffee, then rode like the wind thru Idaho Falls and entered the "Grand Targhee" National forest. Much of Idaho (and Utah) is part of the Great Basin Desert which is comprised of red dirt and sagebrush. Compared to my favorite desert the Chihuahua, this desert is bare, cold, and depressing to me.

The Middle Eastern part of Idaho has some beautiful mountains and incredible vistas like in the Grand Targhee range. The little mountain towns in the Targhee are spartan but quaint and friendly, no pretension in the air. We never saw a sign when we entered Montana but we made a pitstop in the tiny town of "Norris" and I noticed a bar and casino.

I found out that in Montana there are many bars and casinos in every town. Kind of like the old West! The land in this part of the state had rolling hills and warm temperatures in the 50's! Back in Logan the temp was around 7 degrees, and 250 miles to the North East was downright hot! I didn't even see much snow until we neared Billings and turned south. Here in Red Lodge Montana, near the Wyoming border, there is as much snow as Logan. I really was impressed with the large college town of Bozeman, Montana. One of my best students plans to attend college there.

I love every thing about this great state. It's alot like the real Texas that I remember as a child. I have definate plans to move up here when I retire. The vibe here is quite nice.
Chuck and I just pulled in the "Yodeler" Hotel in Redlodge.

He got us a fine basement room, for only $59 dollars per night.

It does have an ancient steam bath option in the restroom, that came straight from the 1950's. I haven't used it yet. We got here an hour ago, and plan to hit a restaurant/bar/casino very soon. Wish me luck in the Casino. I want to play some 5 card draw with the local sharks for a little while (Mom, I'm sure you are reading this, so I just want to assure you that I will quit after losing 50 bucks or so).
Wound up playing Ntn Trivia for free and drank a few "Red Lodge Pale Ales", the water for the Red Lodge brewery comes straight from the local glaciers. The beer was incredible and fresh, and if you buy 4 beers, they give you a fifth on the house. I hear all the bars in town do this.

Feb 3rd 2009

Bussssssssy day at school. Took me nearly two hours to get out of there....Whew! Logan is subject to a phenomenon known as an "inversion". This happens in areas that are surrounded by mountains during the winter time, where the cold air mixes with smog and other pollutants and sinks to the valley floor. The result is burning eyes, lungs, and a general stench in the air. The only natural solution is for a new weather system to come in and flush the nasty air out. When the inversion becomes officially "Hazardous", schools will not let the children play outside during recess. This inversion is the worst I've seen during my 1 1/2 years living in Cache Valley, and the thickest pollution I've witnessed since 1983 when I stayed in Mexico City for a few weeks. The building in the background is the beautiful Logan LDS temple.

Ran around with Chuck the rest of the day, getting ready for our trip to Montana.

Feb 2, 2009

Feb 2nd, 2009

My good friend "Chuck" from Texas got here today. He arrived in his truck sans camper. His camper is too big for the truck and he can cover more distance without it. Plus he likes to camp in tents on top of mountains at -20 below. Chuck loves the mountains more than anyone I know. We are leaving for "Red Lodge" Montana Wednesday. Thursday and Friday we will go snowboarding. I'm still learning how to snowboard so I'll get back to you on the subject of how a big 45 year old man, does at learning to snowboard.

Chuck, my son (the Elvis looking guy), and I went out to eat at Chili's, then returned to discuss important matters like: How well my 260 cm snowboard will haul my 280 pounds over the flats and stuff? Or will my old school bindings hold my ancient "Lost in Space" looking snow board boots? I paid $150 for my board, bindings, and boots, and it's all top quality, yet older than hell snowboarding equipment.

Freddy, Chuck, and myself then hung out in the Hell Bitch just to see how crowded the camper would be with two giant dudes and a 60 pound dog. Spent a couple hours catching up on things. Turns out the the camper is comfortable for all of us to sit around. Sleeping would be impossible.

Feb 1, 2009

Feb 1st, 2009

After more ham/chickpea soup for breakfast, I spent the rest of the day reading "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck. I've read the book a few times before and must admit that I've been influenced by his passion for boondocking across the country with his dog.

Here is his Truck and Camper which he named "Rocinate" after Don Quixote's horse. I named mine Hell Bitch after Col. Call's horse in Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove". Funny how both Hell Bitch and Rosinate are very similar in the interior setup and equipment, as well as the general lack of high technology. I'll leave you with a quote from Steinbeck.

"Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the Bastard Time." John Steinbeck

In the afternoon, Freddy prodded me out of my chair and convinced me that a walk was in order. Freddy was not too well trained on the leash. So I research leash training techniques, and now taking him for walks is much more tolerable. We only walked to my classroom and Freddy got to roam around. While I fed the fish and did some aquarium maintenance Freddy grabbed a chunk of "Jewelers rouge" and apparently enjoyed the taste of it. So me and "red mouthed Freddy" walked around campus before walking home. Funny how much taking Freddy for a short adventure would boost his spirits for the rest of the day.