Archive for the ‘Trying New Things’ Category

Doodles #14

February 23, 2012

This next installment of my random-doodles-from-a-boring-training-class was based on a story about a gun fight between two groups of belligerents*.

From the little I was actually paying attention to the discussion, apparently the engagement involved use of hand held weapons alone.

When the speaker said the following words, this is what my mind pictured – –

a problem with definitions of 'arms'?

*belligerents: n. people who hate someone else’s fucking guts and wants to cease their life with great prejudice.


What she MEANT to say—

February 16, 2012

Got a twofer coupon offer in my e-mail box.

Horseback lessons.


Ever since I was a kid and was thrown by a (seemingly at the time) huge horse my cousin owned, I’ve been waiting to accomplish the proverbial, “Get back on the horse.”

Also, since I have very few things I’m doing* and need yet another diversion activity, I wrangled Dear Friend into going with me.**

It.  Was.  Magic.

…and has become a pretty standard weekly activity for the two of us.***

Every lesson, I get to ride “My” horse—Izzy.    She has a mind of her own, so it’s always a battle of wills.****

One of my favorite things about Izzy is that she belches and farts at the same time.  Noisily.  Such a lady.  But, I often get blamed.

I’ve gone from being tentative (remembering that fall I took as a kid) to sort of competent in ‘driving’ my horse in a walk and trot.

It’s been great fun, though there was one moment of panic when a trot turned into an uncommanded canter (sort of like third gear for horses).  Izzy just got excited that other horses around her were cantering, so joined in.  I grabbed onto the saddle to keep from falling off and looked frantically to the instructor.  The instructor gave a little laugh and nonchalantly asked, “Going somewhere, GnuKid?”  Shit.  Guess I have to handle this myself.  Was able to get Izzy under control and release my severely clenched butt muscles from the saddle.*****

Not me (found here), but this is how it felt

It was only afterwards that I learned that, if you fall off a horse, you have to buy ice cream for anyone witnessing it (which, effectively, is the entire class).  I’m guessing the class was cheering for Izzy on that ride.

But I will continue to get back on that proverbial horse.  And learn to command that canter.  Oh, and I’ll be sure to wear a helmet…

A fun aside:  Recently, our instructor—a sweet, petite woman who has a pure heart and innocent spirit—informed us she and her family were going on vacation.  She was back yakking about the trip with Dear Friend and I was half listening while getting Izzy ready for the lesson when I heard:

“Yes, my husband is an anal packer.”


I was just about to open my mouth to comment when Dear Friend gave me ‘that look’, meaning, “If you say anything to embarrass this sweet lady, I will kill you.”

“Anal Packer” – – <silent chuckling>


*well, other than scuba diving, skiing, motorcycle riding, flying, bicycling, drinking…

**’wrangling’ roughly equated to her running over me, climbing in the car, and hollering, “Let’s go!  We’re late!”

***…or even one of us, if the other is out and about doing someonething else.

****yes, I just admitted that a horse is giving me a run for my money, intellectually speaking.

*****I’m still picking bits of leather out of there.

Doodle #32

February 11, 2012

Once again a foray into my artistic side (said the guy who was lucky to get “C” grades in art).

A long while back, my company sent me off for some long term training to make me a better company man.  The course was all over the place — sometimes very challenging and sometimes too easy.  It was during these ‘easy’ lectures that I’d let my mind wander some.  So, occasionally, the lecturer would say something…a phrase or key word…that would just send my brain off to a strange place.  It was at these times that I felt I had to try and capture that strange place.

This is another one of those wander off pictures.  The lecturer was talking about the impact religion has on many of our customs and practices – – –

...and, yeah, i felt i had to tag my pictures so people would understand

Honestly, I do sort of wish I had a better flair with expressing what’s in my mind (it looks MUCH better there), but I get a kick out of this stuff nonetheless.

Just Because

November 25, 2011

"Okay, you...and you...and you..."

Tis The Season

November 1, 2011

Halloween, that is.

Yesterday was Halloween.  And it closed out a great 5 days of wearing stuff that wasn’t typical.  Costume?  You bet (and a blast that was).  But more…

The folks at the office foolishly wisely asked me to be master of ceremonies at an awards luncheon.  Now, while I do theater and being in front of a crowd doesn’t bother me, I don’t often seek out that opportunity outside of theater.  This was no different.  So, I thought to teach them a lesson.  It’s an awards ceremony?  Then the emcee should be wearing a tuxedo.  So, I wore a tux to the ceremony.  And – – –

I wore it to work – –

forgot my top hat at work

I even wore it to the dentist – –

I told them I wore it just for them

And to Krogers – –

amazingly little reaction to this outfit

The next day was dress down day at work.  We are, on occasion, allowed to dress less professionally.  That day’s theme was favorite sports teams.  Therefore – –

yeah, a Steelers with it

Then we hit the Halloween weekend, with a couple parties.  And, stupidly unthinking bravely on their part, the office encouraged wear of costumes to work.  What could I do?

and this was downright comfortable!

Yep.  I enjoy this time of year.

A Pressing Concern

October 8, 2011

Had the opportunity last night to witness a luscious and talented artist and companion, M.  No, not that way (however…hmmm…).

No, this was just something cool and artsy.  Me?  I appreciate art, but aren’t that artsy myself.  So this was a night for appreciation of M’s talents.  No, not that way (however…hmmm…).

The local visual arts center sponsors the ‘show’, which features artists of all skill levels.  But what’s most fun is the steamroller!

“More than 30 local artists will also create original linoleum block prints that will be printed using the steamroller. Kids & adults can create “mini-steamroller” prints using watercolor paint in a free, family fun activity. Fun for all ages! An Open Portfolio will be held at the adjacent studios of ThinkTV from 5-9 p.m. with many unframed prints for sale at very reasonable prices.”

So the artist carves a picture into a square of linoleum (individual sized – – one foot square;  team sized – – four foot square).  Then they ink up the square, lay it on a large board on the ground, cover it with canvas, then cover all that with three blankets.

A picture of them prepping the big print – –

The big canvas was tough to lay down flat without smudging.

Then the fun part.  They drive a steamroller over it to ‘press’ the ink into the canvas.

heavy machinery for big kids

After the steamroller is clear, they have the big reveal.  If they’ve inked the linoleum correctly and if they haven’t smudged extra ink around, the canvas now holds a perfect representation of the carving.

My favorite big print on canvas after a great roll out – –

This would look good in my home.

The smaller prints were fun, too – –

Six at a time for the smaller ones.

M's Creation!

I’m one of those guys who is in the “I Don’t Know Art But I Know What I Like” club.  And I have to admit, I liked this.


July 7, 2011

no, not the guy at the swimming pool.

i fly Angel Flights.  helping people get to medical appointments by volunteering my plane, gas, and time to get them there.  i have also been volunteering for a special subset of Angel Flight missions for years now- – LIFEGUARD flights.  LIFEGUARD flights are time critical missions.  these are for the transplant patients.  an organ becomes available and they have a limited time window — usually 4 to 6 hours — to get from where they live to the hospital with the organ.

Angel Flight

Last night was my very first LIFEGUARD flight.

i got the call around 5pm.  Just home from work, i had changed into my bike clothes and was trying to convince myself that it really wasn’t that hot and i should get my sorry butt out on the bike trail.  Charlie (female type) at Angel Flight mission control asked if i was available to take a LIFEGUARD, from a nearby airport to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

i’d preplanned my LIFEGUARD missions just in case.  That way, i’d know the length of the flight and whether i could make it in time.


i left my flight bag, with the preplanned flights, in the plane.

A quick mental (yeah, “wild ass guess”) calculation of the trip time and a quicker look at the weather map to make sure there were no tsunamis or typhoons or the like and i said, “Sure, i’ll take it.”

The clock is ticking.  I have until 9:30pm to get the patient to Pittsburgh.  A guess of a 2 hour flight, plus 30 minutes to get to the nearby airport, plus 15 minutes to get to my airport, plus 15 minutes to get the plane pre-flight checked and up in the air.  i should be able to get there an hour plus before the deadline.

Despite having an hour to spare, i’m already nervous about the time.  i bash around the house, quickly changing out of bike clothes, and out the door.

Zooming off to the airport, i take the road i usually do…and run into a traffic backup.  A farm tractor, leisurely putting along, is at the head of the line.  “Breathe, GnuKid, breathe.”  Thankfully he turns off.  i scurry to the airport (tapping my toes impatiently at the one red light) and start checking the plane over.


Low on gas.  I’d been on a long pleasure flight the weekend before and the gas pumps were blocked by other airplanes when i got back.

To the pumps, fuel up, and into the air, to the other airport, and there they are, waiting on me.  Quick goodbyes to those staying behind, and the patient and his mom board the (stinkin’ hot just sitting in the sun) airplane.  Up and away and heading eastbound to Pittsburgh.

The guy fell asleep and i talked with the mom.  Come to find out the guy was mugged sophomore year of college and shot with an AK-47.  Blasted his insides.  Pancreas, liver, small intestines were all messed up.  Amazingly, the liver and pancreas made a remarkable turnaround, so he just needed a small intestines (i didn’t even know you could transplant those).

that's me on the left...not

He’s been on the transplant list for two years and finally got the call…just as they walked in the door from great-grandma’s funeral.

Landed right around 8pm (how’s THAT for a wild ass guess?).

On the way in to the terminal building, the mom said, “Yes, great grandma was called to Jesus…and when she got there, she asked Jesus for a small intestine for my boy…”.  And then, i guess, Jesus went out and killed someone so he could have that small intestine <ducks from impending lightning bolt>.

Saw them to the cab and off to the hospital, then turned around and went right back, landing at home base at 10:30pm.

i know i did a good thing.  But, strangely?  i wasn’t as jazzed as i thought i’d be doing a mission like this.  And I found myself thinking, it’s *just* a small intestine.  It’s not like it was a heart or lungs or some other awesome organ.  Oh well.

Waiting to hear (which i never may, such is the life of a volunteer Angel Flight pilot) on how the operation went.

But it was a good thing.  I helped.

And ready for the next one…crap…left my flight bag in the airplane.