I like Clouds

On the way home I was struck by how freakin' cool the clouds looked. So I had to stop and snap a few pix.

And while they aren't nearly as cool as seeing them live, they're still cool enough that they've made it in to my rotation of desktop backgrounds.

Oh...and in case you're wondering, there WILL be a thrift post this weekend. I just got all the pix uploaded. Witty comments to follow.

Stay tuned!


She Was a Day Tripper

There are actually some very cool things that can be done in a day if you live in the central part of the Buckeye State (that would be Ohio) and you are willing to travel a couple of hours in any direction.

For example, you might head up to the Wooster area and behold Grandpa's Cheesebarn (more on that later).

Jen and I took such a roadtrip today. It was a Daddy/Daughter bonding time and a sort of a last hoorah before she starts the big bad world of 8th grade Monday. Yes, she's getting old. Yes, I'm old.

Anyway, after popping my Geritol and gassing up the autobot, we headed north. North on I-71. Destination -Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and museum).

Oh yes.


It appears that even as stadiums (long noted RAWK venues) must have corporate sponsorship, so too must the house that RAWK built. Key bank to the rescue. Personally, I would have gone with an address of Eighty-Eight Key Plaza...but what do I know?

The first thing that greeted us (after the $10 parking (which as we left had switched to $15 parking)) was the row of massive 9ft. tall Fender Stratocasters. We later learned that they were for a charity auction for United Way. Very cool stuff. So of course we got pix (with the new camera, of course).

We didn't take the tour of the tour bus (but we should have). It's Johnny Cash's Tour Bus.

Here's the building from the outside. It's also the logo. On the logo, it looks like the part of the guitar right where the neck joins the body of the guitar.

More fiberglass Fenders on the inside.
I got excited when I first saw this one. I had heard that the homestar runner guys had done a 'The Cheat' guitar and I thought this was it. Alas, it was not.

Apparently there's some King in Cleveland. I don't know. I think he plays some sport or something.

And, when we got up to get our tickets we were greeted with this lovely note. The only other place we could take pix was in the lower lobby. Then we had to check the camera at the coat check (and it pissed me off because I saw people inside the museum taking pictures with their cameras that they smuggled in. Bastards. That's what I get for following the rules. Next time I'll know.
So...I live near Columbus. And while Cleveland seems to be the heart of rock and roll, Columbus is the ass pimple of rock and roll. It's where all the bad sh*t happens. This is Dimebag Darrel's guitar.
And then Robbie Robertson's axe.

Kurt Cobain's axe. I was about to type Kurt Blobrain's axe...but that would probably be in bad taste.
I read...but I have to say that my all time favorite book is "Cash" by Johnny Cash. (yes, this is his guitar).
This one belongs to some blues dude.
Give you one guess who this one belongs to.
This is Billy Joel's custom Sport Harley Davidson.

I've been to a Phish concert. And I have to say that in the state I was in at the concert, this would have FREAKED me the f**k OUT!

Especially to see the band flying in over the crowd in the weiner...weiner...weinerMOBILE!
And lastly, the true state of Rock now....Corporate. Fitting somehow.
Jen gives her best RAWKER pose before we ditch the camera.
So...tell me...how the hell could Roy Orbison NOT get a Pretty Woman with a SWEET ride like this??

If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
Even the ATM RAWKED!!!!
So, the day went well. And 4 hours later we were headed back to the car. We had planned on doing the true RAWK (sick of it yet?) thing of staying until the place closed and Security had to kick us out. BUT....the place really isn't as big as you might think. And 5 more hours after we'd already hit every exhibit just seemed...well...dumb. So we hit the road.
And on the way back, we saw a sign that somehow missed observation on the way up. It was for Grandpa's Cheesebarn. And it struck us as soooooo freakin' funny that we HAD to stop.
I like cheese!

And yes...there was cheese. Lots of cheese. And there was every country kanick kanack that you could think of. It was like an issue of Country Living threw up in 5 rooms of the CHEESEBARN. Heh...cheesebarn. Funny stuff.

We got a call about halfway home from the missus telling us that we might want to stall a bit in Mansfield since they were in the middle of severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings and all that rot. But by the time we got home, spent from our day of RAWKING, all was well.

Well, except for the A/C still being out and not being repaired until Monday or Tuesday.

But, what's a rawker gonna do??


Sammy the Wonder Beagle

I may have gone on and on about our wonder-beagle, Sammy. And if I didn't...he rules.
And here he is. I'm gonna let the pix speak for themselves.

Here Comes the Sun

So, a week ago Wednesday I bought a new camera. It's a new 7MP Fuji S700 camera and actually looks and feels like a film camera (I was getting very very annoyed with the tiny canon that felt like it was going to break or something if I looked at it wrong). It was a great deal ($250 normally, $200 on sale). So I got it. There's a whole backstory here about how it was on a credit card and a bunch of fun stuff like that, but that's really besides the point.

The point is, for what I spent (or will spend when we pay off this card) on this camera, I got a great still camera that I am supremely happy with. To the point where I am enjoying taking pictures again.

So, to that end, amidst the 3 weeks of off and on torrential downpours, I found some times when the sun was peeking through.

These pix were taken with the new camera and were taken on my way to work. I am quite confident in saying that these pictures blow the sh*t out of anything I could have taken with my other camera(s).

I don't think I'll be resurrecting the photoblog anytime soon but I will probably be posting more photos on this one as I take them.

And now...for your amusement......let the day begin.

Hope your day starts off just as bright.



Another Rant

This is going to be another rant. So, click away if you must. I will have a State Fair Update later this week that promises to be a tad more cheerful.
But today I have to ask a simple question.
When did English become the second language in America?
Yes, I know that we're supposed to be this great big melting pot...give me your tired blah blah. That's the whole point of a melting pot. Everything that goes in gets blended to become something that is cooler and more precious (in many cases) than the original elements that went in.
And that's fine. Most of the people that inspired that inscription on the Statue of Liberty came to America...to become Americans.
Get the difference there?
They wanted to be American. They didn't just want to come here and sponge benefits without having to go through the same shit that the rest of us go through (taxes, insurance, paying for healthcare). They wanted to be a part of something bigger.To contribute to the ever changing fabric of a land that offered them so much opportunity that it made their eyes well up and their hearts swell with pride. And they did whatever it took to become Americans.And you better believe they took shit from "real" Americans. Prejudice and racism are not 21st Century conventions by any means. But it didn't matter to them. Becoming American was what mattered to them. So they could look someone in the eyes and (with often heavily accented and sometimes broken english) say "I am American." And woe to you if you tried to tell them otherwise.
It's not about forgetting your cultural identity. That's not the point at all. It's about taking pride in something that is bigger than you and I. The concept of the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And know this. When I bitch about illegal immigrants, I'm doing just that. Bitching about ILLEGAL immigrants. I worked my last job with a Russian who was here on a work visa and doing whatever it took to become Amercan. Taking classes, learning english. And I applauded him, and helped when I could. That was 10 years ago. He's got a great job and his english is probably better than mine now (although he never lost his accent). When he's home with his family he speaks his native toungue. And I think that's cool.
I went to school with dude who's family was Ukranian. As soon as you walked in to their house, it was like you were in another country. English was never spoken (except when he translated something to me that his parents said). Oh, his parents knew english. They just chose to hold on to their traditions and cultural identites. But they were also American citizens.
I wonder how long it will be before ALL students are required to learn spanish?
Why are my tax dollars being used to teach students, in America, in a language other than English? I really want someone to explain to me when it became shitty to be proud that I was an American?
Why the f**k should I have to press '1' for English?? I'm in America. English is the language we speak in America...for..oh I don't know 200+ years now?  Should there even be a choice here? If you can't speak the language...you better frickin' find someone who can speak it and have them translate for you. I'll even be happy to help...draw you pictures, do sign language...whatever it takes.
I could go on, but it's really more out of frustration about how we are bending over backwards to make EVERYONE happy. Because we have become a society of pussies that don't want to piss anyone off. And it makes me sick that most of this stems from big business laying pressure on their congress (what, you didn't think your congress actually cared about YOU, did you?) to not drive out the illegal immigrants because that's their cheap labor force (and is better for their profit margin).
I think we would do well to heed the words of President Theodore Roosevelt from 1906 "We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house"
But what the f**k do I know? I'm just some stupid American.


A Page from my brother, Earl

I have  brother named Earl. He has a blog wherein he espouses views and rants. Normally I try to keep my blog lighthearted and what I like to call "funny" (air quotes optional).
But I have to admit....something scares the hell out of me. And I'm not even sure, given the current state of things, that I can (or should) even blog about them. Afterall, you know how subversive blogs can be.
I am an American. My skin is white. My ancestors came from Europe or somewhere like that. I'm not Italian-American or any that other horseshit. I'm American (and just for the record...where the f**k is Caucasia? I mean, sure...African-Americans.....Americans of African descent....but I'm Caucasian. And I would just like someone to point on a map and tell me where the country, nation or continent of Caucasia is)...ok..back to it.
I'm American.
And as an American, born in this country (and therefore legally entitled to be here), there are certain things I take for granted.
One of those things is that my government actually gives a little bit of a shit about me. I have this crazy idea because of a couple of documents from our past. The first is the Declaration of Independance. It talks about inalienable rights and blah blah.  The second is the Constitution of the United States of America. This sets forth my rights as a Citizen of the United States. 
In recent years (about 7 to be exact)...my status and beliefs in these documents has started to waiver. It's not that I think these documents are bad documents. I think they're great, actually. But apparently, they don't need to be followed. Given the course that our current Governing Administration (read the President and his Sith Lords) has taken, I'm finding that these documents (the foundation of the very government that got them in to politics, btw), are merely guidelines.
I've learnd a few things....
If you are an illegal alien in this country, you can get free health care (hospitals are not permitted BY LAW to ask you for proof of insurance). You can get Social Security Benefits after 18 quarters of emplyment instead of 40 quarters. Income taxes are pretty much optional. OH...and you can fly your own country's flag in the streets and protest about how you don't have the same rights that 'real' American citizens have.
Well...here's a little tip...STFU. You have it better than a lot of American 'citizens', mmmkay?
But the thing that really messes me up about the whole shite right now is some other things that have happened recently.
The first is the Patriot Act. And the Patriot Act II. These are freakin' scary. Read through them some time and pretend you're a character in a George Orwell novel (Animal Farm or 1984, take your pick).
Then we have the whole....WTC was bombed by Saudi Arabian terrorists with ties to Al Queada so we will go to war with Iraq. But no big deal, right? We were supposed to get in and get out. Minimal loss of American lives. Everyone's happy. Democracy wins again.
But the two recent ones that really kind of bug me are the fact that bills have been pushed through Congress (and signed by our president, the Conundrum in Chief) that take away your Constitutional right to know WHY you are being detained....and now they have just made it LEGAL for Law Enforcement to wiretap your phones, read your emails and surveil you without any warrant at all. This is regardless of if you are a known terrorist or criminal or not. Oh, I KNOW that you were told that it was to combat terrorism...and personal liberties are a small price to pay when we're fighting the war on terror, right?
Here's the problem with all of that.
Terrorism isn't a war. It's a way of life. At no point will these people wake up and surrender their beliefs. There will be no truce. No declaration signed that the War on Terror is officially over.
So, if you think that you are going to get your personal freedoms back after we stop the terrorists or after the war in Iraq is over....you probably need to rethink that.
Because from where I'm sitting, once that shit's gone. It's gone.
Take comfort in that. I, personally take comfort in the fact that I didn't vote for the bastards.
Wonder what Canada's like this time of year?

Failing NaNo - 4 Years and Counting

I looked, Dear Readers, and noted that the last time I saw fit to let the words fall from my brain bucket and onto these virtual pages was o...