Saturday, December 31, 2011

Closing thoughts on 2011

Figured I should get this in under the wire....

Geogal and I don't mail out Christmas letters any more.  We still get a few and some are downright laughable.  No doubt Facebook and the like have made these types of manifestos a bit meaningless.  This entry isn't meant to sound like one of those end-of-the-year-pump-ourselves-up mailings but I thought some musing wouldn't hurt. 

Upgraded the house just a bit, mostly by adding an egress window to one of the basement rooms.  Now we officially have three bedrooms.  And an office.  And a large basement catch-all that tends to be the center of social activities for little Geoana.  Also replaced the garage door and cut down a couple of black walnut trees resulting in more sunlight and less mowing mess during the summer. 

Upgraded our technology, too.  Since the beginning of 2011 we have replaced two run-of-the-mill cellphones with iPhones.  Also got an iPad mainly for Geogal's schoolwork but during semester breaks the tablet sees a never-ending Angry Birds tournament. 

Cut back on the summer getaways.  Made only one journey, to Rocky Mountain National Park.  This coming summer, likely no trip.  Between limited funds (thanks to Geogal's schooling and not working full time as a result) and a lack of destinations within reasonable driving distance we might just do the "staycation" thing. 

Expect more hunting ventures, trap shooting Saturdays, and basketball games thanks to the interests of little Geoana.  Who will not be referred to as "little" after this entry due to regular readers not likely confusing her with Geogal.  The child is also not that little anymore. 

Interesting, how did this entry go from being a look back at 2011 to a look forward at 2012?  That's my style of writing for you. 

Happy new year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

You Know It's Good When....

For yesterday's Christmas meal I prepared a rib roast (not prime rib mind you, prime grade is just a bit out of our budget and almost impossible to find in these parts).  The rib roast for Christmas day is fast becoming a tradition at our house given I've made it at least three years in a row.  Right now I just can't recall if I cooked one for our first Christmas here in 2008.

Before cooking the weight was 3 and a half pounds.  Next year I'm getting a bigger one as I keep forgetting some fat renders off in the oven.  Yet it still yielded sufficient red meat to satisfy all three of us during yesterday's Big Meal.  Didn't have as much left over as I would have liked.  And then later in the evening Geogal gets hungry and pulls the rib roast meat from the fridge and nuked it together with a dinner roll.  I look at her plate and said: "Would be nice if there was just a little left over for me to enjoy."

Her response?  "I promise I won't have any tomorrow.......morning."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What's been going on? Read on

No entries since December 4?  There’s a reason. 

Numerous reasons, actually.  The last month of the year seemed to be a non-stop sequence of commitments. 

Such as going to the minister’s open house on the first Sunday of December; Little Geoana having church Christmas musical practice thrice weekly until their performance on the 11th; Little Geoana’s traveling girl’s basketball team continuing their practices and Saturday schedule of games topped off with a day-long tourney last Sat. in which her team won the first game but was then defeated by Hoxie yet the child’s team did win the consolation bracket which netted them third place overall; Geogal hollering at the officials in the Hoxie game in which I am still surprised our team didn’t get hit with a technical foul; yes there were tears after the loss to Hoxie but that’s a great opportunity for all of us parents to teach the girls how to deal with defeat and also the importance of demonstrating good sportsmanship; Geogal getting sick with some sort of a cold during the better part of the month and since she had already completed her schoolwork for the semester she spent nearly every day at the elementary school subbing in one area or another and we all know how much germs and bacteria thrive in the schoolhouse given the number of kids therein; Geogal finally going to see the medical practitioner and being diagnosed with bronchitis, she is now on a slew of medications which prevent her from enjoying dairy and alcohol for the present; by the way the obligations continue such as the elementary kids’ Christmas musical performance last Monday night in which Little Geoana sang her heart out even if she didn’t get seated near any of her friends (but then again maybe that was a positive thing); during the time Geogal was down with the crud I had the task of shuttling the kiddo to her practices/rehearsals/events and me saying how time-consuming it is and Geogal giving me a look that could wither the most hardy cactus and saying: “Welcome to my world;” the ongoing Sunday night small group Bible study which culminated with a party a few nights ago in which we found out who’s good at games and who steers clear of such things and Little Geoana was the life of the party despite being the only child there (all of the other couples have grown children) and we also heard of folks who always equate egg nog with ingesting alcohol (not me, I just remember it being a delicious drink and didn’t know grownups put adult beverage in theirs until I was a teenager); the normal ongoing events including Little Geoana’s BB gun practice, AWANA, and American Heritage Girls; me learning at the last minute that we had a commitment this past Wednesday evening which the child I and fulfilled given Geogal was too run-down to participate in such a thing; despite all of the goings-on that I’ve just detailed I actually did something smart and got on the computer a couple of Wednesdays ago, hit a few web sites and did all of my big Christmas gift shopping from the comfort of my downstairs study; took a vacation day yesterday and Geogal and I traipsed to Kearney and in doing so I knocked out the stocking stuffers so by 12:30 yesterday afternoon I was OFFICIALLY DONE with the shopping (like most men I dread any sort of retail experience that doesn’t involve something related to home improvement or sporting goods); last night I also got smart and decided to do the wrapping since neither Geogal nor Geoana seemed inclined to leave the comfort of the Laz-E-Boy recliners and what a wonderful feeling it is to have all of the gift-work out of the way unlike other members of my family of origin who shall remain nameless but who were known to wait until coming home AFTER midnight mass and then take care of the gift-wrapping and yet their gifts were still wrapped more pristinely than the ones I did since I wrap presents as most guys do but I’ve also noticed no one ever rejected or returned one of my gifts just because the wrapping was below acceptable standards. 

And there you have it in excess of 700 words why I haven’t exactly found time to sit down and blog. 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Return of Old Man Winter

Friday:  Dry and cool. 

Saturday:  Colder, snow, then sleet, then more snow. 

Little Geoana is in a traveling girls basketball league.  On Saturday her team was scheduled for a contest in Grinnell.  By the time I headed home from work on Friday I was aware of the winter weather advisory.  Already was planning out what to do in case of blowing snow.  Figuring out what gear I needed to stow in the truck. 

Fortunately smarter heads did prevail.  The decision-makers for the league agreed to cancel Saturday's contests due to the inclement weather. 

Right move.  I woke up Saturday morning to just a little dusting (barely an inch) but about 8 a.m. the clouds started to plop down more of the white stuff.  By the time it was all over we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 inches.  That's just enough to collect on the roadways and snarl the careless drivers. 

Little girl didn't get her energy expended on the basketball court but instead did burn off calories sledding, tubing, and overall sliding down the hillside at our main city park.  Several of her friends were there as well and everyone had a blast.  I even took a couple of trips down the hill myself. 

For the benefit of my family and friends in Texas, Arizona, and California I snapped these pictures on the way home from church this morning. 

Friday, December 02, 2011

The only thing lacking is the punch line

Let me get this straight....

Texas A&M University, after decades of being denigrated, minimized, and humiliated at the hands of UT and its associated strata, makes the move to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. 

This was a move initiated and consummated by the university's ruling Powers That Be. 

Now they can their football coach before the Aggies play even one down of football as official members of the SEC?  

Now they have to find not only a new head coach, but one that is also expected to be competitive in the brutal, sub-NFL college conference that has taken home the national championship for the last several years?  A league that includes such powerhouses as Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida? 

And they expect immediate results?  Even though their annual matchup with Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium has had the Aggies walking out of there as losers since the series began? 

And you blame the head coach for dropped passes, drive-killing penalties, and a questionable personal foul call that gave UT 15 yards in their final drive of the final Texas/Texas A&M matchup? 

I just know there's an Aggie joke in here somewhere.  If only I could put all the elements together....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can't believe it will be December in a few hours

Where does the time go?  (The years certainly didn't fly by like this when I was a kid, when I would have enjoyed them going quickly!) 

Haven't taken out the Xmas decorations yet.  And I doubt we will get to that chore this weekend as little Geoana has another basketball doubleheader and then we are participating in a church small group outreach activity on Sat evening.  At least Sunday will be a day of rest (sort of). 

Looking forward to a low-key Christmas this year.  No traveling (haven't done any over the holidays since little Geoana was born) and there won't be a lot of gift exchanging this year for a variety of reasons.  Geogal, however, has intimated she will be hosting a "bake and drink" get-together for a few of her friends about mid-month, once school is over. 

Might get snow later this week.  Still not quite adjusted to the cold temps.  Haven't even gotten all of the leaves raked. 

And then I look around the exterior of the house.  Paint around the trim is flaking. 

Oh yippee. 

I know what lies in store for me come the warmer months.  Wire brush, drop cloths, masking tape, inhaling odor of not-yet-dry chemicals. 

I'd better enjoy this winter. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Last One (For A While) (Maybe) (But....)

As promised, I watched all four hours of the Texas/Texas A&M game on Thanksgiving evening.  (OK, so the game itself wasn't four hours but it began at 7 and didn't end until almost 11.) 

Saw Texas win on a last-second field goal.  Glimmers of earlier in the day where I saw the Cowboys win their contest on a last-second field goal.

Classy move, Show Band Of The Southwest, doing a "Thanks  T/A/M" formation during the halftime show.  Pity someone hasn't yet put that on YouTube. 

Last one?  I figure not.  I (and a whole lotta folks in the Lone Star State) hope cooler heads prevail and keep this contest on the schedule.  Still, it seems plausible they won't meet on the gridiron for a couple of years or so. 

Friday night I caught most of the Backyard Brawl (that's Pittsburgh versus West Virginia, for my kin who disbelieve football exists in the Eastern time zone).  Just as with the Longhorn/Aggie game, this one too will fall victim to conference realignment.   Another rivalry sacrificed to school greed. 

Yesterday I watched some of the Border War.  (Come on, folks, I explained this one in a previous posting.)  Some mention was made of that contest possibly being the final one but it doesn't seem to evoke the emotional outrage of the Texas schools matchup or the scrum between the Mountaineers and Panthers.  Likely because Kansas is much more a basketball school but it also might be that I just am not acquainted with that many Jayhawks. 

So what about the future college pigskin matchups for Thanksgivings to come?  I've heard talk that Texas versus Texas Tech is the touted replacement for the Aggie game. 

Say what you will but everyone knows it just won't be the same.

All the more reason for the decision-makers to do the right thing.

On the subject of rivalries, an aside before I close out this entry:  I caught the documentary "Roll Tide, War Eagle" on ESPN.  Yeesh, makes Texas versus Texas A&M look like child's play.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Now There's Time To Write

Even though I haven't made any new entries here since Nov. 2 that doesn't mean I've been idle.  Work keeps me occupied (as it should) and the child's extracurricular activities gobble up much of the weekend's free time.  Rest assured I have plenty of concepts bouncing around my noggin. 

Since the last time I wrote an entry all hell broke loose in State College, PA.  Many have written about the events and the ever-present larger meaning of them all.  I won't add my voice to what already exists and is accessible via the Web.

But I will interject this aside-- Bobby Bowden must be thinking to himself, "Maybe the way I went out wasn't so bad after all."

And I recall reading this entry in the Omaha World-Herald following the Nebraska/Penn State game on November 12: 

Jay Paterno, Joe's son and the Lions' quarterbacks coach, said he thought his father was handling his situation well Thursday night when he stopped by his home for dinner.
"I think we'll see," Jay Paterno said. "And I think he'll find another challenge."

Wishful thinking, son.  Don't be surprised if your dad takes a downhill slide faster than anyone expected.  Between the legal wranglings and Paterno's already-known health issues I don't see him hanging around much longer.

I also agree with some pundits who suggest Penn State should take a pass on going to a bowl this season.  As with everything, we will see how things progress.  


Speaking of things progressing, no doubt I will be watching the gridiron action from College Station tomorrow night (probably concurrent with digesting turkey and other fixings).  The last game.  Who woulda thunk it?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Now It's November

The Powers That Be finally enacted the office move. Today was my first full day in the new digs and I spent it seeing snow fall through my (large) window. Most folks might get dysphoric over such a sight but I simply relished the ability to see the changing weather. (I've spent the last 3 1/2 years in an interior compartment at the mercy of refrigerated air and fluorescent lighting.) My routine was disrupted and jumped the track several times today but I'm sure I'll adjust in due time. Nothing like change to keep one's brain cells chugging.

Will the Texas-Texas A&M Thanksgiving game really become history? Possible. I know my Lone Star State kin aren't thrilled with this prospect. I'd invite them to converse with a few new friends I've made since relocating to Rural America. Nebraska Cornhusker fans. These are guys who truly know that the "N" on Nebraska's football helmets stands for "Nowledge." They would be happy to commiserate over the loss of football tradition and rivalry. It started some years ago when the Big 8 became the Big 12. Suddenly the annual Nebraska/Oklahoma game was played far less often. Then there was this year, where Nebraska and Colorado both defected to other conferences. So long to the traditional Thanksgiving weekend matchup. There's also the spectre of Missouri defecting to the SEC, which would put an end to the Border War (KU versus Missou-rah at Arrowhead Stadium). The times, they are a-changin'.


That's all for now. I'm bone-tired and already looking ahead to the weekend (problem is, it won't be a lazy one).

Monday, October 17, 2011

But It's All Good In The End

The iPhone 4S is a hit with consumers, even if the techie pundits and industry writers weren't wowed by the product at its official unveiling. 

All's fine with the smartphone world.  Apple will continue to be profitable.  The competition will keep Apple on its toes (and vice versa).  And we the public will continue to be offered periodic "way cool" gadgets. 

Now I can post this.  Let's all just have a laugh.  (Warning:  contains PG-13 language):

Danged near perfect

Last Friday evening I took little Geoana out to the high school football game.

I enjoy the game.  She partakes in social activities.

I sit in the stands.  She goes to the grassy hillside and holds court with her friends.

I follow the game.  She's vaguely aware of the gridiron contest.

We both make use of the concession stand.

Last Friday evening was about as close to perfect as football game weather can be.  Clear.  No wind.  Cool temps.  In fact the temps started going down quite a bit once the sun dipped below the horizon.

The only thing marring this outing was the performance of our guys.  They were shut out and were plagued with mental mistakes.

But I guess that's not important in the long run.  Not when you're making memories like what I just described.

(Taken during pregame warmups.  If this isn't Americana I don't know what is.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To 5 or to wait?

Today's big question for the after-work leisure time:  Do I update the iPhone to iOS 5 or wait a couple of weeks? 

Reasons to do it now:  Because it appeals to my geeky nerdy side which likes gadgets and all updates heretofore.  Start using iCloud right away, check out all of the other cool functions of the newer interface. 

Reasons to wait:  Let the bugs be worked out for several days.  No hurry (not like the new release is going away anytime soon.  Best to not do this during the busy workweek. 

I'll wait. 

However my newness appetite is satisfied anyway.  Geogal gave the OK to update her iPad2 to the new OS.  I'm sure she'll check out the features once she finishes her Angry Birds tournament. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I didn't intend to post today, but....

Just a few thoughts about the death of Steve Jobs.

First, a reminder that you can be one of the wealthiest people in the world but riches don't guarantee you a long life.

Second, there's a lot to be said for having a vision and following it.  We can all do that, right where we are.  We don't have to be CEO's, entrepreneurs, or in otherwise "high positions" to do so.  Make a difference, right where you are.

Why am I writing this right now?  Regular readers of this blog know I am a fan of Apple's products and will continue to watch the company's latest offerings (as I did yesterday).  Geogal will be getting herself an iPhone before much longer and little Geoana is saving up for an iPod Touch.

Here's hoping Apple will stay the course.  I like their products because they work.  Simple as that. 

In parting, here's a look at what started all of the Apple phenomenon:

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Waltz

Was invited to a friend's pumpkin picking party (how's that for alliteration?) this past Saturday evening.  To use the colloquial expression: a good time was had by all.  Little Geoana got to play outside with a few friends plus enjoy cooking hot dogs and s'mores over an open fire.

But the entire time one song kept going through my mind's ear.

Here's the original version from the Vince Guaraldi Trio:

And here's an update from 1988 or so, courtesy of Chick Corea:

Friday, September 30, 2011


Scroll down to the Sept. 19 post (Sitting On My Hands). 

So the Big 12 will survive (only due to the Pac-12 wanting to keep the status quo). 

And Apple's next shindig is this coming Tuesday.  Curious to see what they do with their iPod line but I'm not placing high expectations for the iPhone 5 (ain't nothing going to make me part with my iPhone 4 anyway). 

And what about the "just one more thing" epilogue? 

Couple Days Off

That's the theme for yesterday and today. 

No real reason, just "mental health days" as I like to call them.  Need to get away from the work environment for a day or two just to prevent mind fatigue and avert going-postal behavior.  Fortunately I have the type of job where I can be gone for short periods and colleagues will pick up the overflow. 

So what fun enjoyable activities am I engaging in?  How about getting into the study and doing more clutter reduction?   I pulled our old Dell desktop PC out of the dust (it was put out to pasture at the end of 2008 when Geogal got me an iMac to use as our primary system).  Before wiping the drive she wanted to make sure we have all of the photographs off of it so a good chunk of yesterday was me firing up the CPU and making copies of all image-related folders.  A twofold process.  First I copied the pics to USB drives (not very difficult at all), then burned backups of those files onto CDs. 

(An old saying I recall from the college computer lab:  Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups.)

Before much longer these pictures will all be copied over to iCloud.  We also will send quite a few to our Kodak Gallery account and likely have many of them converted into prints (we simply aren't photo-intensive to have our own photo printer and the related ink expense). 

The last task was to connect the old Zip drive (via parallel port--gives away its age, doesn't it?) and check the six or seven disks I have and make backups of any photos.  However time seems to have taken its toll as the Zip drive clicked clicked clicked obnoxiously away but would never open the contents of the disk.  At least I was able to eject the 100MB disk from the drive, hoping there's no damage to the contents.  Next I headed over to the iMac, pulled up Ebay and checked prices for used 100MB Zip drives.  Not too bad, there's several available.  Might be wise to get one that's USB since I could make use of it in my present setup.  Theoretically anyway.  I'm not sure if I would trust important files to a Zip in this day and age, especially with cloud storage being readily available and inexpensive. 

So overall not a bad way to spend a day.  I didn't have any yard work beckoning and the other outdoor chores are not exactly urgent. 

And what of the old PC?  I have a vague concept of wiping the drive, reinstalling the OS, and making it into a dedicated DVR for the bedroom TV.  This would require buying a tuner card and popping it into the back of the CPU, both Geogal and I could easily do this. 

However.....I need to make sure the chip and the memory would support this task.  Looks like I'll be doing more research.  Wonder if the Dell will just be placed into our basement storage next to little Geoana's old PC (long since beyond useful).  What was all this about decreasing the clutter?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sitting on my hands

Don't know what's worse:  Waiting to see how all of the college football conference realignment will play out....


Waiting for Apple to hold its new lineup announcement and see what they've done with the iPhone and iPods. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting desperate?

Either Vermont is really hurting for an influx of tourist cash or they just didn't hire an ad agency with much in the creative tank:

(Seen on

What was the runner up? "Visit us. Stay overnight. Please bring money.  Please spend money!"

Monday, September 05, 2011

It's as if they know

The calendar says fall officially begins on Sept. 23.

Bunk.  Around here it started on Saturday morning.

Actually, Friday evening might have been the agreed-upon starting point.  That was the first high school varsity game of the season (a victory for our home team, by the way).  The air had that cool crisp quality that only comes with the transition from summer to winter.

Then Saturday arrived.  Yard work for me and the little one (she in the front yard, I in the back).  Toward the latter part of the afternoon I noticed a few leaves on the ground, shed by our remaining black walnut tree.

Almost as if they know.

Yesterday morning on the way to church I was listening to the college sports channel on Sirius.  At that hour the hosts were taking calls from people digesting the first games of the college season.  (How about that Baylor-TCU game, anyway?)  One of the callers stated:  "For most everybody Christmas happens on December 25th.  Not me.  The first Saturday in September is more enjoyable than any other time of year!"

Well said.  Gridiron contests combined with cooler temps (at least here, anyway) mixed in with increased kid's activities topped off with preparing for the fall hunting season makes me one satisfied guy right now.

Speaking of hunting/shooting, a couple of things to note.  For Labor Day my only scheduled Labor will be of the fun variety.  Turns out a friend bought himself a new gun cabinet recently and was wondering if I wanted his old one.  Sure!  How much do you want for it?  Nothing.  Hey, free is good!  So today I will venture up the road and haul that piece of furniture back to my burg.  Now I just need to find a friend to help me get the thing out of the truck and down the stairs.

Hope I don't break the glass in the process.

Soon little Geoana will have her own youth shotgun.  She's been saving for a while now and has accumulated a sizable amount.  I priced out the youth model Remington 870 (with a pink camo pattern on the stock) and she will have to save just a bit longer.  Also started scoping out the auction websites but most every youth model with pink camo is a new-in-box versus a used model and the prices aren't much less than at a retailer's.  Add to that shipping and the necessity of shipping the firearm to someone with an FFL license and I'm just as good off to head to Cabela's and fork over the cash.  Except we are making a concerted effort to be thrifty particularly in light of Geogal having resigned from her job recently to pursue a different career. 

Therefore I called a local gunsmith, one with whom I've worked before.  Asked what he charged for use of his FFL license should I find a good deal through  25 dollars.  Then the conversation takes its logical turn.  What are you looking for?  Explained.  How about I check with my wholesalers and see if I can get you a brand new one for probably less than you'd find online?  Well sure.

End of story, he found a Mossberg 500 youth model, pink camo pattern, for a very decent price.  (And little Geoana has fired this model before.  Last November we hit the gun range one final time before upland bird season and there was another family there, one of the gals let my kiddo fire her pink camo Mossberg 20 gauge.)  Deal should be done sometime this month.  Then I will take the little girl out to the gun range and have her break some blue rock.  After that, first weekend in November is pheasant hunting for youth only.  Will definitely get her out into the CRP and corn fields before the out-of-staters arrive for the start of regular pheasant season the following Saturday. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More odds and ends

College pigskin officially begins tomorrow. I'm ready for an awesome 12 or 13 weekends. ________________________________

I've come to the conclusion that the Geofamily would have been right at home watching TV in the mid to late '60's. This is given credence by our Netflix queue, currently featuring "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "Star Trek" (we just finished watching the first season), and now "The Brady Bunch." Course back then we would not have had digital media, or barely even magnetic analog media for that matter.....

Why do preseason NFL games need to go into overtime?
A: Las Vegas. Thank the gamblers. 

Might we be seeing the last Texas-Texas A&M football game this Thanksgiving? A: No. Keep in mind Georgia and Georgia Tech are in different conferences, as are Florida and Florida State. However the Longhorn-Aggie matchup might have to move from its Thanksgiving weekend slot to sometime earlier in the season.

I can say this: My alma mater might have a perpetually crappy football team but at least that means they run a clean program. You can't say that for: USC, Ohio State, Miami, Oregon....I'm sure the list will go on.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I'm Glad To Be Living Around Here

The people here aren't perfect, and there are a few neer-do-well's in these parts.

But overall Midwestern hospitality and looking out for each other is still expected behavior.

Yesterday's Amtrak derailment, which happened about 100 miles from where I reside, illustrates just how the locals react when a crisis situation hits

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It only took 3 years

But I finally was able to take little Geoana to Kool-Aid Days in Hastings, Nebraska (where it was invented).

Featured the world's longest Kool-Aid stand. Just plunk down a few dollars to get a couple of commemorative mugs, and the child and I could have as much of the sugary drink as we could consume.

As I told Geogal before we ventured forth: "I hope they have plenty of porta-potties."

They did.

And, as it turns out, Kool-Aid is progressive and embraces people of all lifestyles:


Getting cool in the mornings. Just a hint of fall in the air.

(Had to include that piece especially for my Texas kindred, who are suffering through one of the worst summers imaginable.)


Speaking of the hint of fall, I walked out of the house today, started the truck, drove to the end of the street, and before making the turn saw about six turkey hens congregated next to the ballfield.

First sighting of the season. Autumn's a-comin'.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No Creative Title

Little Geoana spent some of this morning at the local sewing concern getting her skirt ready.

Ready to go to Hutchinson.

We're not planning another trip. For benefit of the out-of-staters, Hutch is where the state fair takes place.

That's right. Her award-winning textile is being entered into competition at the state level.

I'm so proud.


Our heat wave and dry spell ended some days ago but last night elevated precipitation to a new level.

Three ginormous thunderstorm cells passed over our fair town last night. The last one hit about one in the morning. It featured a couple of thunderclaps that were so loud I swear the lightning struck somewhere on our street.

Made for a moist and cool (for summertime) day, however.

Took a while to get back to sleep but once I returned to repose I dreamed of being quickly transported to Antarctica, which included a temperate pocket of civilization containing a nondescript neighborhood topped off with a cut-rate Target store. Roadways were marked with highway signs that looked like they were contracted out to the Arizona Department of Transportation. They didn't even bother to change the state shape on the signs.


Heard a beautiful sound today. That of our dishwasher churning away cleansing the items inside.

Repair guy finally got out here yesterday. Sure enough, it was the motor. Fortunately he had a replacement one on hand.

How long before I start taking that appliance for granted again?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Bountiful, Part II

Last year I wrote about my rather disappointing home-garden haul.

This year, much improved. I didn't plant any spuds but we again did the yellow squash thing, more tomatoes (gotta do tomaters!), and a few other odds and ends provided by one of our acquaintance's mother.

And again I did Big Jim green chile.

Last year's crop (I use the term very loosely) yielded only a few peppers and none of them were of significant size. I don't know what's different about this year. I got the Big Jim from the same place as before, planted it in the same area as in 2010.

What a difference a year makes! I've already harvested 9 peppers from this baby and they are comparable to what you'd procure from Hatch, New Mexico. I roasted them yesterday under the broiler and they have a nice flavor, not mild like the Anaheim but not scream-in-pain, either.

Made salsa yesterday. Made more today.

Totally garden-grown was the first batch (save for the store-bought cilantro). Tomatoes, onion, and green chiles fresh from the backyard. Finally fulfilled one of my dreams from last year.


August is here, and little Geoana seems ready to return to school. Around these parts there's just something about the month of August. Fair is over, the kids just seem sparse. Like they've already succumbed to the reality that school time is almost here. (Doesn't bother my kid, she's social and seems to enjoy school just fine.) The public pool gets less use, even though they keep the same hours as always. The getaway fun vacations are all over, the farm kids have plenty to do as it is.

Earlier I blogged about little Geoana's (prize-winning) baking. I neglected to mention that in the midst of all the heavy kitchen use our dishwasher decided to take a hiatus. (I think the motor died since water goes in and water pumps out, but nothing else happens.) And try waiting for you local appliance repairman to come over and at least do a diagnosis, since he's keeping busy with air conditioner repairs courtesy of our recent heat wave.


Few things are more surreal then having your wife tell you she sees our old house in Chandler up on the market again. (Via Zillow) Click through the realtor's photos and say to yourself: "I had that put in, I built that, I painted that, I paid for that to be done."


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catch-up Saturday

The county fair is winding down, none of us will probably go tonight. We've done our bit-- the gals in particular. Notwithstanding little Geoana's ribbon-winning entries in the sewing and cooking categories both mother and daughter have been active with games and concession stand work.

Tired household.

Back to normal routine. I'll be grilling up some steaks tonight and Geogal and I will be consuming some adult beverage. Tonight will probably just consist of Netflix DVD-viewing, either "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." or "Star Trek."


Have I downloaded Lion and installed it on the iMac?

No. I'll wait just a bit for the bugs to be worked out. As an old colleague once told me a couple of decades ago, never buy the ".0" release of any software.

Then there's this.

Get it together, Cupertino.

I've been going to ESPN's site every so often, trying to keep up with the trades and signings around the NFL. Kevin Kolb going to the Cardinals was no big surprise. Ditto for McNabb to the Vikings. Can't help but notice the Patriots, Eagles, and Steelers are hoping to win The Big One this year.

We'll see. The short offseason (there was an offseason?) will of course result in plays and players that just don't congeal well at times. And the New York Yankees can attest that getting plenty of big-name, high-priced talent doesn't necessarily mean these guys can come together as a team.

No doubt we have one interesting pro season upcoming.

And on the college side, who can but wonder if Ohio State and North Carolina will resemble the fictitious Texas State University Fighting Armadillos from the 1991 flick "Necessary Roughness."

Other questions remain. Will the Longhorns shake off last season's string of disappointing losses and earn a respectable bowl invite? How will Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska adjust to new conferences? And will the Texas A&M Aggies ever win a game in Cowboys Stadium?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Skin of the pig

I'm not one who lives and dies by the NFL but it is heartening to see the lockout end. Late July always signals the gridiron guys, at every level, to put on the pads and start the drills.

I still enjoy college football just a smidge more than the Not For Long league but I really don't want an autumn without both. Watching high school ball here is true icing on the cake. I'm ready for cool Friday nights cheering on the BlueJays (I think I just gave away my location) followed by flipping the remote on Saturday (always a chance to catch a good matchup).


Took little Geoana to a youth trap shoot yesterday. Free for the participants, simply show up and be 18 or under. We brought a .410 one of my coworkers let me borrow but the little one also took the chance to shoot 25 rounds with a Remington 1100 20-gauge semiautomatic, property of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

She did well, broke some blue rock here and there. She still prefers the .410 which I don't mind. If she can be a crack shot with that firearm, bringing down birds with a youth 20-gauge should be child's play (pun intended).

She's like her dad in another respect. Following a morning where she fired off 50 rounds (25 from the .410, then another 25 from the previously-mentioned 20-gauge), her right shoulder was a bit sore. I believe both of us need to make a trip to Cabela's and buy a couple of recoil pads. (My last blue-rock venture left me with a nice big bruise on the right shoulder. Didn't help my tendinitis, either.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Once a cult hero, always a cult hero

I've already shared that little Geoana and I are watching "Star Trek" (TOS) via the Netflix DVD's in order that I may introduce her to Trekkiedom. We're just about through the first season.

Some time ago, she made a quick sketch of her favorite character and showed it to me.

Not Kirk, not Sulu, not Uhura.

You guessed it. Old "pointy ears" himself:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Skip if you're not a computer/gadget nerd

To follow up on a previous entry:

Sure enough, Apple announced both iWeb and iDisk are coming to an end with the rollout of iCloud and phasing out of MobileMe.

And to add further pressure I talked to Geodad recently. He made note of the aforementioned entry in which I indicated a possible interest in web design.

Now I've got REAL pressure to not only migrate my other site to another provider but also to make new pages that are aesthetically pleasing.

Sounds like a project for the upcoming winter season.


While we were on vacation Geogal learned Netflix is raising its rates. She had an initial negative howl but I countered with the facts that the increase in rates will only mean about $4 a month more for us. Yes, she's returning to school and leaving her place of employ soon so money will be a little more tight but I think we can manage. Still can't beat Netflix's library. (Don't EVEN try to tell me Crackle is a viable alternative and keep a straight face while doing so!)


Am I excited about Spotify and Google+?



Last week's journey was the first camping trip in which we had a full-fledged iOS device with us (the venerable iPhone). Useful? Heck, yes! Worth its cost? Yes! Just being able to check the local weather alone made the thing indispensable (our campground's Wi-Fi was rather hit-and-miss).

Geogal also likes being able to get on the Net to check the weather ahead of us, by way of using the 3G signal. Sure couldn't do that with her iPod Touch.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


What book am I currently reading? This one. Appeals to my geography and history leanings.

Prior to that I read "Travels With Charley In Search of America." I enjoy Steinbeck's prose but agree the book still left something to be desired. What would Steinbeck have written about the South and Southeast had he not mentally called it quits?

However I admit I enjoyed a look back into the nation's past, some 50 years ago. Yes, times were a bit different and certain aspects of life were more gentle. (I could never today fathom camping outside of an established campground or other state-or-federal designated area, though I agree with some of his dissenters that Steinbeck didn't do nearly as much "camping" as one is led to believe.)


Another myth shattered.

I was feeling heavy-eyed this afternoon so decided to lay down for a bit. Then I find myself going back into my kitchen, now noticing there are some significant steak-blood splats on the wall, courtesy of my pounding the round steak for tonight's meal. (I swear I kept them protected in wax paper at the time of the hitting!) Then little Geoana enters the scene and by this time I notice things seem just a bit exaggerated. Why did I move the refrigerator out of its assigned space? Why do the walls have an overtly glossy appearance?

I ask the little girl to pinch my arm to ensure I'm not dreaming. She does, and I can feel the twinge of pain from her following instructions.


Then more events that are nonsignificant.

Then I wake up. 30 minutes has elapsed since I reclined.

At my old age am I now becoming more cognizant of what's a dream and what's reality?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back From Vacation

Ventured into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado this summer. Found a great campground just outside the National Park. Literally just outside. Its eastern boundary is the Colorado River (yes, THAT Colorado river). Normally it presents as a gentle stream as its headwaters are but mere miles due north.

This year, however, it was running quite high. A hefty snowpack combined with high temperatures and much rainfall this summer made for one roaring waterway.

Got to the campground last Saturday. On Sunday, we were getting ready for Cowboy Church when news spread that the bridge was compromised. Seems some of the high rushing river was slowly washing away some of the foundation behind a metal shoring.

Needless to say we had some stressed-out campers on the verge of panic. As most of the vehicles there had Colorado plates it is safe to presume many folks were heading back home as the weekend was just about fin.

Plus, this bridge over the Colorado River was virtually the only way in or out of the park. (We heard talk of a Jeep trail that could get you back to civilization but the guys also made note of needing high clearance and skidplates. Since I was relying on my trusty Toyota to get us back home midweek I wasn't going to chance it.)

How did that story end? The county got their engineers and crew out there and by late afternoon the bridge was reopened.

Now, for some pics to provide what I cannot do with simple prose:

Beautiful bull elk:

How about traipsing through the tundra?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Channeling a past generation

Since little Geoana is at church camp this week Geogal and I decided to jazz up our nightly meal menu. Like most kids, little Geoana is a picky eater though her tastes are slowly moving toward more variety.

Tonight's meal was chicken-fried steak. Since we have plenty of tenderized round steak in the freezer (courtesy of a Kansas cow) this is not a dish that will set us back many dollars. The only things I needed to purchase during the weekend grocery run were a small container of buttermilk and a bag of potatoes (you just can't have CFS without mashed taters on the side!).

Going down one of the grocery aisles I spotted the envelopes of powdered gravy mix. For a split second I pondered taking the easy way out, then the vision of my paternal grandmother flashed into my consciousness.

No way! You make the gravy out of pan drippings, just as grandma did.

And so I passed on the manufactured krep. However I did make sure I had plenty of flour, milk, and salt.

(An aside: My grandmother died when I was very little and sadly I do not remember her. However over many years I've heard from both dad and mom that she was an outstanding cook from the old school, where everything was fresh and made from scratch. I wonder if I've inherited some of her culinary talent.)

I haven't cooked chicken-fried steak in over 25 years. As a teen I made it a few times, using a recipe taken from The Genuine Texas Handbook. It was a simple dish: tenderize the meat by hitting the dickens out of it, make the crust from an egg-and-flour mixture, fry in a skillet. Make the white gravy out of the pan drippings.

The reviews at the time were polite. Steak was OK, not great. Certainly not anything compareable to what I'd get in one of the better restaurants.

This time I decided to do a little homework. Scoured for the different variations, then decided to mix buttermilk with beaten eggs, plus crush some corn flakes to add to the flour. Salt and pepper the meat first, then dunk and dredge. Repeat.


Steak was good. Still not restaurant quality but more flavor than my teenage attempts. Crust had more integrity. Gravy? Much better flavored than I remember, but a bit lumpy (it will get better with practice, I'm certain). Definitely tasted better than the powdered stuff. I had to fry the steaks longer than anticipated (thicker than what I am used to) and the crust did come off of sections of the meat.

Overall not a bad freshman attempt. Just like my other dishes of note, I'll get better with each attempt.

Judge for yourself?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A week in a small town

If I had Tom T. Hall’s talent I could write a “story song” from the events of this week.

But given my abilities I’ll keep things limited to prose.

Sunday: Church, lunch after church. Then Geogal gives the kitchen a deep cleaning. Shortly I hear a YIPE!, followed by whimpering.

No limbs lost, but one heckuva bloody finger. Cut it on the inside of the toaster oven. She decides to head over to the ER and returns in short order with a sophisticated bandage and the needle stick from a tetanus shot. But no need for stitches.

Monday: Begin week as usual. Breakfast, check over evening meal plans, head out to work. Eat leisurely lunch.

Notice storm clouds gathering. It’s getting darker. Soon I hear folks in the building listening to weather radio and chatter over the city’s 2-way system.

Get a call from Geogal. “Are you coming home?”

Nope. The higher-ups haven’t excused any of us.

Tornado warning. And the building in which I labor does not have anything resembling a storm shelter.

The siren sounds. Then the rain pounds, followed by hail (only pebble size).

On the home front the gals are huddling in the basement.

Turns out our town is spared. Tornadoes do touch down at points south and east.

Get home at quitting time. Next thing you know the phone jangles with the sheriff’s department doing reverse-911 calls. Another tornado warning. And in the middle of meal prep.

Go down to subterranean safe level. Come back up a few minutes later when it is revealed the warning in question refers to the northwest part of the county, not anywhere near us.

Tuesday: Next-to-last softball game for little Geoana. A nail-biter but they pulled it out in the end. Final score: 7 to 6.

Her games commence at 8:30 in the p.m. Hard to go home and hit the hay after all that.

Wednesday: Normal routine (see Monday). Get home from work, go exercise, Come back home, eat a leisurely meal.

Oh, did I mention I saw a utility vehicle at one of the lots in town? Would meet Geogal’s needs perfectly. (When winter drew to a close she voiced her desire for a large SUV that has 4-wheel drive, the better to tame the snow with!) She rings me in the 4 o’clock hour, want to come over and test drive it?

We do. Nice. Maybe a bit too nice.

Back at the domicile, she and little Geoana go about making cookies from scratch. (For the blood drive the following day.) I’m down in the basement minding my own business. Next thing I hear is yelling, then whiny little girl voice. More yelling from the adult of the pair.

I head upstairs to ensure nobody’s finger got sliced off.

Nope. Just the little girl not paying attention and most of an egg winding up on the counter and floor. And a mother who is on the edge of postal.

A short while later, all is calm once again. Congregate to watch Star Trek--TOS on the DVD. (The episode was “Arena,” if you’re curious.)

Thursday: Kitchen is a wreck from the evening before. Cycle is off, dishwasher ran in early evening. Dishes inside are clean and waiting to be put away. In the meantime the cookie preparation and mealtime did the usual damage to cleanliness. (Normal cycle would involve an empty dishwasher after supper, then it gets loaded and we hit the “on” switch before going to bed.)

Before I even have breakfast I commence on the evening meal. Pulled pork sandwiches. Involves dry rubbing a shoulder roast and preparing a concoction of apple juice this and apple cider vinegar that. Throw in some Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke to boot. Set in Crock Pot and turn switch to low. Many hours should make good meat.

Then assume role of “Cookie.” Fry bacon, then whip up some farm-fresh scrambled eggs for everyone. After, head out to work as usual.

Meanwhile Geogal gets home from work, has little Geoana unload the dishwasher, then attacks the kitchen with something a little shy of vengeance. By the time I get home the cooking area is immaculate. Crock Pot is the lone warrior, doing its thing on the countertop with nary a complaint.

Looking forward to an easy evening. The meal is mostly done, then little Geoana has a softball game at 8:30. The last one of the season.

Then the phone rings. It’s the P.E. teacher/local recreation guru/softball umpire calling to tell us that little Geoana’s team has a game scheduled at 6. (It’s currently 5:55.) A quick glance at the schedule confirms it--the coach and just about all the parents missed the fact that today’s contest involves TWO games. And hardly anyone from our daughter’s team is even there. Might be looking at a forfeit.

Hit panic button. Geogal starts calling the other kids’ parents. Some are in town, some live out on farms.

She gets little Geoana there. Calls a bit later, they’re playing. Got 8 girls.

I eat in peace, then gather together said food to provide nourishment to the rest of the family.

Arrive at the ballpark, find Geogal. Tell her I’ve got the food. She’ll eat once this inning is over.

Third out. That’s the game. (Time-limited and it started late.)

Head back home, so thankful I took the food down there (said to self in sarcastic tones).

Back at the homestead, the females eat while I begin working on this piece.

Postscript: The second game of the doubleheader was won by little Geoana’s team. 11-10 on a walk off base hit. (They were the home team.)

And we haven’t even experienced Friday yet....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is this a challenge?

Following up on the last post...

iCloud, with its features and abilities, promises to be a major improvement over MobileMe.

I'm OK with that as MobileMe certainly had its deficiencies. However I wondered about the future of Apple's offsite system as it pertains to maintaining the Web pages I built with iWeb.

And it turns out I'm not alone. Since last week numerous other Mac devotees are posing the same question in their respective realms of cyberspace.

Making things worse, Apple hasn't made public (yet) the plans for storing more than just audio and visual files, syncing information across one's iOS devices, and automatic backups.

What about our web pages?

Not only that, but what of iWeb?

It didn't escape fans' notice that in the latest release of iLife the emphasis was on iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. iWeb (and iDVD) were left unchanged.

Unchanged, ignored.......soon to be orphans.

Even James Lileks made note in his entry today:

"As for Web Design, they learned iWeb. Sigh. Not exactly a platform with a future."

Yes, this blog you're currently reading gets the bulk of my creative attention. However long-time readers know I also maintain an Apple-hosted blog that allows more creativity with picture placement and text format. Everything I do there I create in iWeb, usually with the stalwart MacBook.

Time to start thinking ahead. I presume (along with most anyone else in the know) that Apple will kick iWeb and web site hosting to the curb. What now?

How about taking it to the next level? Obtain a different host? (Hey, now I don't have to pay MobileMe a C-note every year to keep the service, maybe I can swing this.) There are a multitude of hosting services out there, plenty of competition means reasonable prices!

And what of learning more advanced Web design? I'm not the nerdiest chap around these parts but I've tackled computer-related challenges before. I must acknowledge that while iWeb was (excuse me, is) easy to learn, it has its limitations. Perhaps I can do simple redesigns that will give the end result of a more attractive (and up-to-date looking) site.

Last but not least I don't have to sacrifice my previous work. The ever-helpful MacLife gang offers a solution to the question of migrating my site (intact) to a different host.

So rather than launching diatribes at Steve Jobs and Company I'd rather just test my own abilities. Time to make lemons into lemonade!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Geeky stuff, but at least it's COOL geeky stuff!

Like just about all other Apple fans I paid close attention to the new software coming forth from Cupertino that was officially unveiled last Monday.

I'm not overly excited, but the information about IOS 5, iCloud, and OS X Lion was interesting on several fronts.

I'm already getting the machines here at home ready. Our plan is to upgrade the memory in both the iMac and the MacBook to 4GB and 2GB, respectively. Coincidentally (?), this month's issue of Mac Life features an article on how to do just that.

A couple of glitches, however. First I learn that Lion will only be available through a download via the Mac App store.

Um, I can't access the Mac App store currently as I'm still running Leopard on both my machines. (I figured it wasn't important for me to upgrade to Snow Leopard since that release wasn't significantly different from regular old Leopard.) Why not just wait for Lion since that would be a more significant update?

Scratch that. Soon as I learned that Lion would not be coming via CD or DVD I got over to the online Apple store and ordered the Snow Leopard family pack (at least it didn't set me back much $$$$). By this time next week I should be enjoying the tweaks Snow Leopard offers plus browsing the Mac App store.

Now today I'm reading further and learn that I can't upgrade the MacBook to Lion. Lion, you see, requires at least an Intel Core 2 Duo chip. The iMac has it, the MacBook has a Core Duo.

Rats. That's the first sign of obsolescence.

I'll make the best of it. Running Snow Leopard, I should be able to get a few more good years out of my trusty notebook. It still runs great considering it's been in continuous use for nearly five years. And the memory upgrade won't hurt either. Next up is a new battery (this 'Book is of the vintage with user-replaceable batteries).

iCloud, meanwhile, poses a question to me. I'll address that in my next entry.

Monday, May 30, 2011

And A Happy Memorial Day To All

I've got Old Glory flying outside the front porch. In today's wind (gusting around 40 mph) her colors are well displayed!

Little Geoana spent Friday and Saturday nights at the lake with one of her friends (and the friend's family). Sunday morning she comes through the front door. Tired, a little scraggly, a bit sunburnt, and not quite full of energy.

Turns out she spent plenty of time in or right at the edge of the lake, making sandcastles and engaging in other activities such as playing boat with a fallen tree and throwing mud clods at the other kids. She herself was the recipient of a rock to the head, courtesy of friend's slightly older brother. (He claims it was an accident.)

My words to her? "Sounds like you had a great time."

She did.


Popped up the camper this morning, first time this season. Thankfully everything is safely intact and there was no mold or mildew from the wet spring.

We have only one trip on the docket this summer. Unfortunately little Geoana's summer commitments combined with Geogal starting school soon makes for a June-July-August with little downtime, family-wise.

The one downside of camper check-out came when we were readying the rig for takedown. The bungee on the back end bunk canvas snapped in two. No big surprise, we already knew the thing was worn when we bought the pop-up. In fact we're a bit surprised it held out this long.

No matter. A quick look on indicates this will be a fairly easy fix.

I hope.


More evidence of the double standard.

Geogal and I went to Kearney on Saturday. I find a pair of swim trunks at Old Navy on sale for $8. (For the record, I have had my current pair for over 10 years. The elastic in the waistband is gone. I'd say I got my money's worth.)

Geogal, on the other hand, can't seem to find herself a suit that runs less than $50 or $60. She finally finds something online she likes but when it comes time to place the order it turns out the item won't ship for about three weeks.

My comment? "Women's swimsuits seem to be one of the biggest rackets there is." She agreed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I win!

This morning was just like many others in the Geohouse.

Geogal went to go wake up little Geoana.

Upon returning, Geogal tells me the little one had her hands to her face while in slumber. "Mommy, I dreamt I got braces."

(We did spend Sunday afternoon with a family we've befriended, since our last get-together their son is now adorned with braces.)

Geogal's answer? "I dreamt I was eating a breakfast burrito."

My dream? "I was driving up Interstate 10, heading for Sky Harbor airport. Had plenty of time to make my plane. Then the Highway Patrol pulls all vehicles off the roadway in groups of 50. They then question us one at a time. Nothing about any possible criminal activity, rather the questions were the nature of 'What is the maximum speed allowed on such-and-such highway?'

"I was looking at the clock, trying to determine if I could endure this delay and still make my plane."

For what it's worth I won the "weird-dream-just-before-waking-contest." Hey, I take my victories where I can get 'em.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dinner table conversation

On Sunday we ordered a pizza for lunch. Brought it home, Geogal and little Geoana already had served themselves and were seated at the table. I prepared my plate, went into the dining room and was hit with a distinct whiff of something pungent.

I thought for a moment, then identified it as Parmesan cheese. Sure enough, Geogal had torn open a packet and dumped it over her slice. I verbalized my discovery, saying the smell was unmistakeable.

Little Geoana said in reply: "That's what that is? I thought somebody farted."

(She shares my disdain for most things cheesy, save pizza.)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Further indoctrination into the ways of rural Kansas families

It's no secret that many people around here are farmers, related to farmers, or have lasting friendships with farmers. And along with the growing of wheat, corn, milo, and alfalfa comes raising critters as well.

I already get farm-fresh eggs from one of my coworkers (her mother owns numerous hens and this is the time of year where their egg production skyrockets). Therefore, excepting the winter months, the Geohouse enjoys the best-tasting eggs around.

A few weeks ago I heard this particular colleague talking in the hallway about one of her acquaintances about to send in a cow for processing. My ears perked up and I butted into the conversation by saying I was interested in buying into this process. Before I knew it I was on the hook for one quarter of beef, the price to be determined. (It's based on the weight of the cow/steer and the current market price.)

Last week I got a card from the locker, my meat was ready for pickup. I loaded my truck with coolers and thermal bags (the locker is about a 45-50 minute drive one-way).

We now have a freezer full of beef. Steaks, roasts, stew meat, ground 90/10, premade hamburger patties, BBQ ribs, and liver to boot.

In case you're curious, the cow weighed in at almost 1500 pounds. No tipping this bovine.

Yesterday I thawed a couple of packages of hamburger patties and cooked them up on the kettle charcoal grill (still don't have the propane beauty working yet).

The verdict? Out of this world. Little Geoana commented the burgers practically melted in your mouth. Everyone liked the flavor. Just about what we expected. One of Geogal's coworkers warned her, "Once you've bought a local cow, you'll never go back to grocery-store beef."

And we haven't even tried the steaks yet....

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Home Improvement

Last Sunday Geogal and I cleaned out one of the rooms in the basement. You know the type--it's the quarter where all of the extraneous boxes and items wind up mainly because there's no other storage alternative. It's known in this dwelling as "the guest bedroom." Simply because it includes a queen size bed. The rare occasions where we have company finds this room as base of operations for the visitors.

While spring cleaning is a good pretext the real reason for the downsizing and moving of boxes and bed was due to a project that's been in planning stages for many moons now. Geogal has long wanted an egress window in the basement. We are acquainted with a fellow here in town who is engaged in his second career as a remodeler/construction dude/cabinetmaker/old item replacer and the like. I can't call him a contractor as I don't know if he is licensed, but no matter. He took a look at our basement last fall and recommended the window go into the larger bedroom rather than be situated in the den. We noted his advice then simply waited.

A short time ago he came by and said he and a colleague would be starting the job soon. Then last week he came around and said they would begin on Monday. Sure enough, they did.

It's now Saturday and our guest bedroom contains an eye-appealing egress window.

(For those of you not in the know, an egress window is a large rectangular ventana facing out to a well that is large enough to accommodate a normal-sized adult. Inside said well is a ladder reaching up to a translucent cover that opens out to (in this case) our backyard. It's meant for emergency exit of the basement as well as to allow a firefighter access to the "downstairs.")

So either today or tomorrow Geogal and I will move the items back into the "guest bedroom." We also have hope that we can organize the boxes just a bit better to make the room appear less cluttered. Not to mention we can now officially call this a "bedroom" (apparently it couldn't have the government-approved moniker without an egress window).

To add icing to the cake he also replaced our garage door yesterday (another project with which we approached him). Our old door was not only showing its age but also last fall it snapped one of the support springs which made it nearly impossible to raise or lower. We elected to take the more expensive route and just have a new door installed.

And now every time I go online to check the savings account balance I swear I hear the sound of a vacuum cleaner.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May Day! May Day!

Decided to get little Geoana up to speed on something crucial to her future functioning.

A working knowledge of "Star Trek."

Thanks to the business entity that is Netflix we are now having episodes of Star Trek: TOS delivered to us three episodes at a time. We got her started this past week with "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "The Man Trap," and "Charlie X."

She's observant. In "WNMHGB," she picked up on Gary Mitchell's hair slowly turning gray which is something I didn't catch in numerous viewings. She also got scared by the true appearance of the creature in "The Man Trap," turning her face away from the screen and having us tell her when the creature was gone.

In all fairness it is one of the most grotesque beings ever seen on "Trek."

One thing that struck me in watching these episodes is just how well they hold up after all this time. Even though they're more than 40 years old these eps show that good storytelling is truly timeless. (That the special effects have been updated in recent years doesn't hurt.) Plus the acting, still superb today even with Shatner's mannerisms and speech now fodder for the comics.

Case in point: When the mutating Gary Mitchell turns to the camera (knowing he's being watched by the senior officers) and gives them an arrogant glare it can send a chill down your spine.

There's a good reason for the little one to start on her Trekkie journey. Both Geogal and I are fans, plus my mom has been watching the series since it first aired in 1966. I remember as a little kid my mother watching the reruns on weekends even though Dad hated (and still despises) TOS although he is much more partial towards "The Next Generation."

Geogal and I have fond memories of catching "TNG" in its first-run syndication while we were in college. And now, with little Geoana enjoying shows such as "Futurama" we figured it was time to let her in on the Star Trek jokes plus have her enjoy some of the best science fiction television around (well, maybe not season 3 of TOS).

The little girl sometimes will join us in watching TNG reruns on weeknights (though they're on at 10, a bit late for her right now). Many weeks ago I kept an eye on the schedule and finally was able to watch "The Inner Light" episode from start to finish.

You remember that episode, even if the title doesn't ring a bell. It's the one where Picard is knocked unconscious by an alien probe, during which he lives most of the adult life of a man from a planet that's long gone. When the probe releases the good captain it turns out only 25 minutes has passed on the Enterprise.

Again, good storytelling is timeless (no pun intended).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And In The Meantime

Don't have a significant amount to share this time around. Almost like the whole Geofamily is in a period of marking time. Not much action, no major news, no differing developments. Never mind that little Geoana is wrapping up fourth grade, the summer trip is entering final development stage, and a couple of house projects are on the launching pad.

No, just business as usual right now.

Geogal and I had the opportunity to make a sojourn to Kearney last week (both of us took a day off from work) and savored the slow pace of two adults who weren't in a hurry for anything (once the medical appointment was out of the way). Had a great BBQ lunch at Skeeter Barnes and I finally got to redeem my Cabela's gift card (Xmas present from Mom and Dad). Did I get anything exciting? Yes, a pair of New Balance walkers to replace the light duty hiking boots I've had for 15 years (and that were literally coming apart). Geodad, I encourage you to go to the Buda store and get yourself a pair!

Geogal also got to use her Hobby Lobby gift card as well, purchasing stuff about which I have no interest.

Overall a good trip.

Old Man Winter is giving us the last he's got for the season, which means cool but not cold. Not having to scrape ice in the mornings is a nice harbinger of the coming summer. But as one of our friends said tonight: "Betcha before you know it we will be begging for it to cool down!"

Indeed, but for now I'll welcome the coming of warmth even if it means yard work.

I'll close with the saying on the slides they used for the old commercial bumps on the Tonight Show: "More To Come."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend update

First, my grill might not cook again. At least not without me replacing some of the innards.

After uprighting the thing on Friday I hit it with a good cleaning on Saturday afternoon. Scraped out about two years worth of grease and gunk. Then the moment of truth: would I get the blue flame of propane?

No. Started out with yellow hues, not quite hot enough for the true griller. In a few minutes they burned out leaving me with no fire and the rotten cabbage smell of unused LP.


I do know this was caused by the wind shear, as I've used the grill a few times since the weather turned more temperate.

What about the lamb chops for Geoana's birthday meal?

Since I tend to work with a backup plan in mind I procured charcoal for the (smaller) kettle grill and the end result was nicely grilled bits o baby sheep with a flavor that only comes from coals.

And, since Char-Broil is a manufacturer of some reputation I went onto their web site and sure enough it appears my parts are still available. They're just not cheap. To replace the burners will run me $25 apiece (three of them). The valve/hose/regulator assembly will set me back more than 50 bucks.

Still cheaper then a brand new grill.

Did I mention I used the aforementioned kettle for smoking spareribs yesterday? I used some charcoal combined with hickory, cedar, and apple wood. The result was a nice aroma together with white smoke.

What about the end result? Turns out I had them on just a little too long. While portions were still edible (and tasty) some parts were just too overcooked.

I could have felt sorry for myself, but I'd rather view this as a learning experience. It was my first attempt at smoking meat the true way (low and slow), in the future I just need to check on the doneness rather than have a set time in mind.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How windy was it??

Here in NW Kansas folks are used to "air in a hurry."

Today, however, I came home to find this:

That's my propane beauty Char-Broil grill, no lightweight here.

Took two people to get it back upright.

Any long-lasting damage? I'm not sure yet but will definitely find out tomorrow when I grill up some lamb chops for little Geoana's birthday meal.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

And I didn't help...

Read this news today about the demise of the Flip camcorder.

Last Christmas season I was wondering if Geogal (Or Santa, or Geogal playing Santa) would give me a Flip. Given it is so compact and could shoot hi-def video I wouldn't have been surprised.

But no, a bipod for my hunting pursuits was the highlight of my Christmas morning.

And yes, I have to admit shooting video with the iPhone is way too easy. Great quality too. I will post a couple of live-action captures on my Apple account so family can see what we do for fun on weekend afternoons (hint: guns going off).

So long, Flip! Say hello to the non-smartphoners for me!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Catching up to me?

I woke up last Friday morning with a sore throat.

I knew what my next few days would be like. I got a hold of some Zicam and now have a back-to-normal gullet but my head is another story. Sniffling, sneezing, congested, spacey, loopy cranium it is.

So what better time to write than now?

Geogal thought it was the lack of rest and a busy many days that led up to this current condition. Could be, although I prefer to believe I just caught a bacteria or bug of some sort. No matter, I did rest more this past weekend then the one previous. Also, now that the BB Gun tourney is history and the in-laws visit is past I have eased up on my evening workload.

March is almost over and I (plus everyone else) is waiting for Old Man Winter to make a final exit for the season. Just about there, at least this week's unpleasant weather consisted of rain and not snow. Some sleet, some freezing fog, but no white stuff.


Another reason to be done with winter: Spring turkey season. A few Sundays ago little Geoana and I went to a turkey hunting seminar put on by Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife. It was time well spent and we came away with a couple of in-mouth turkey calls and new knowledge about hunting down those gobblers.

I don't have a lot of hope of bringing home game this time around. I remember hearing a snippet from one of the hunting programs featured on Outdoor Channel that when it's man against turkey...... turkey usually wins.

Still, I can be persistent. Plus I have a lead which might result in me hunting on private land this time around. We'll see.

Did I mention little Geoana's birthday is coming up? She wants a youth shotgun, decked out in pink camo.

The next few hunting seasons are going to be (even more) fun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winding down

We’re back home this evening. Been gone since Friday a.m., little Geoana was competing in her first BB Gun tournament. This one was statewide and took place in another Kansas town several hours away.

She did quite well given this was her first go-round in competition. Yes, “a good time was had by all,” and needless to say everyone in the Geohouse is exhausted from yesterday’s shooting marathon. (The day began at 6 a.m. and closing ceremonies wrapped up just before 7 in the evening--that’s not including the pizza and pool party back at the hotel.)

Not only was my child a first-time shooter but I was a new coach, helping to guide the neophyte shooters on the line. The amusing (and high point) of my day came when several of the team scorers and parents motioned me over toward the scoring table. “I’m in for it now,” I thought to myself. Either I had committed some type of technical error that would disqualify one of my young charges or I was about to be the recipient of a chewing out from a parent who believed my inexperience resulted in his or her child getting a lower score.

Turned out it was neither. My progeny shot extremely well on one of the rounds and the other folks wondered what she usually scored in the weekly practice sessions.


Geogal is not someone who “wows” easily. She’s been there, done that, heard it before, seen it already, and often knows someone who has surpassed whatever I’m describing at the time.

So when I downloaded the NCAA Tournament app for my iPhone imagine my surprise when I showed her what it could do, up to and including live streaming of the games (in HD no less).

She was impressed. So much so, she spent a good deal of this weekend using it to check the games. Hey, she’s even enamored with the concept of accessing the Net while we’re going 75 on the Interstate (good old 3G).


One positive about the month of March is that winter is officially over (I believe today, but if not, then definitely in the next couple of days). ‘Twas nice to ditch the jackets during the return trip today (temps in the 60’s and 70’s).

I’ve alluded to this before and yes, I know the cold hasn’t made its final exit for the season just yet. Still, gotta enjoy this while I can.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Finally, winter appears to be on its way out.

I used to say fall was my favorite season but given the snow/ice/slush/dry/more snow/more slush/horrid wind chill that was the past several weeks I think spring is heading to usurper status.

Not only is the weather getting more tolerable but yesterday I was cutting dead clippings away from the remainder of last year's garden when I saw an earthworm and later, a ladybug.

Not to say Old Man Winter is completely gone but at least his days are numbered (until November or December).

It won't be long now before I raise the roof on the camper and get her ready for more trips. (Colorado is calling.)


Watched the NCAA tournament selection show this evening but this year I just can't get excited about college hoops. NMSU didn't win the WAC tournament and therefore are turning in the uniforms and cleaning out the lockers.



Not much happening on the home front. Geogal and I both work, little Geoana goes to school (except for this week--spring break). Little Geoana's BB gun shooting is improving, the state tourney is coming up! After that, soccer. After that, softball. After that, the town shuts down for about six weeks!


Don't let the tone of this entry fool you. I've got plenty going on, stuff related to my interests and hobbies. I'll fill you in as the days and weeks pass. But for now, bring on the warmer temps!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How many uses are there for an iPhone?

Bet no one ever thought of this.

My luck being what it is, I'll never have the chance to catch something as cool as what this guy recorded:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So much for the interlude

Last week we had temps in the 60's.

Earlier this week we had temps in the 50's.

Snow had all melted, no need to worry about ice while one is driving.

That all changed today. Since it's still February here in Kansas I knew the springy temps wouldn't last forever but today Mother Nature decided to hit us with both low temps and plenty of snow.

How much snow? Well, when I took little Geoana to school this morning it was sleeting just a tiny bit, no accumulation.

Lunch hour, about four to five inches. None of us brought our snow boots either. I arrived home with wet socks and professional shoes that weren't made for deep snow.

When it was all said and done I measured eight inches in the front yard.

Oh well. Temps are supposed to be in the 60's next week. Here comes March!

Pictures? Why not?

Yes, I snapped them with the iPhone.

Speaking of iPhone, got a call from Geomom last night. She decided to head over to her local Verizon retailer and take a look at the iPhone. But before doing so she wanted to ask me about mine. In her words: "I decided it was time to get into the 21st century."

Glad to have you here, Mom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Technology Assist

iPhone is fully active, porting the number was complete sometime this morning.

Now on to creating custom ringtones. It's not hard to do in iTunes, provided you're familiar with Finder and know where your music files reside.

I don't have a lot of phone numbers in my contacts. Only two, actually. Geogal's cell and the home phone number.

I already knew I wanted to import "Theme From 'The Monkees'" and use a 30 second clip for Geogal's ringtone. But for the house number the decision was a bit more difficult. So many really good songs in iTunes. Which one to use to identify home sweet home?

Pondering this question while doing the dishes tonight, the Nano in the living room speaker unit gave me the answer. I had it on shuffle, and after several songs it went to Steely Dan's "Home At Last."


Now the lyrics of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen will alert me to an incoming call from the domicile:

"Well the danger on the rocks is surely past
Still I remain tied to the mast
Could it be that I have found my home at last
Home at last"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


My latest toy (i.e. an iPhone 4) arrived yesterday. Setup is (mostly) done. It works fine but I'm still waiting for the porting process to be complete. I elected to keep my same cell phone number and Verizon is just waiting for my previous carrier to give the "OK."

I can use all of the non-phone functions. Actually right now the only things I can't do with it are receive an incoming call or text.

And a couple of days ago our land line phone resumed its weird habit of not allowing us to call out, although incoming calls still go through. (Geogal finally had enough and ordered a new phone/answering machine combo via Amazon.)

At least these telephonic idiosyncrasies still allow for full communication with the outside world. Not only that, we still have Geogal's cell (and my old cell phone) for full phone privileges.

I'm glad my ancestors can't see this. They only had to endure drought, famine, poverty, continual wars, high infant mortality, and live by the sweat of their brow.

Me? I'm having phone issues.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taking The Plunge

For those of you wondering (all zero of you!), yes I ordered my Verizon iPhone last night.

Decided to go with the 32 gig model, figured it's worth the extra hundred bucks.

I figure to get it early the week of February 20 (these things don't even ship until Feb. 18). Then I'll enter the brave new world of apps and mobile web. Bet you anything after I've had that gadget a few months I will wonder how I ever got along without it.

For those of you who don't know me, I enjoy my desktop and laptop Macs and I use a laptop PC every day at work. I've got a good iTunes library going and use not one, but two, iPod Nanos. (A first generation and a fifth.) Yet despite my affection for things digital I don't own an iPhone (yet) or an iPad. I figure if I traveled greatly for my work I would probably have both but my needs are met with what I have currently.

So why the iPhone?

First, my current cell phone battery is already showing signs of slowdown. Second, I've found myself sometimes desiring a phone that has just a few more features (such as a music player, still and video camera, and the ability to go online and do more than just pull my e-mail. The iPhone fits all of these needs and a whole lot more.

Plus I already fulfilled the two-year contract for my current cell phone, so I won't lose anything in the transition. So why not? What is there to lose?

Nothing. And there's a whole lot to gain.

I did buy the data plan for my new 'phone. Geogal and I will enjoy being able to get online even if there is no available wi-fi. We won't be going back to the days of pulling into a hotel's parking lot to glom onto their free wi-fi (we actually did this once, in the Kansas City area).

And besides, it really won't set me back much. I pulled out a Macworld magazine from September 2007, with the cover story titled "Hello, iPhone." Back in those olden days $499 would get you a 4 gig model, with 8 gigs costing $599.

Shoot, I feel like I'm getting a deal!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Post-football thoughts

Yes, I watched (most of) the Big Game.

Rooted for the Packers, just don't like the Steelers much. Gotta like Aaron Rodgers, class act all the way (at least for now). In total juxtaposition to Roethlisberger.....


Wittiest comment of the night came from Geogal, immediately following the Eminem ad for Lipton Brisk:

"That ought to get a 15-yard penalty for bad commercial."


My favorite ad (at least from the ones I saw)? Believe it or not, one of the spots from the Obama Auto Company:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Add this to the list of things I never thought I would say

Checked the late afternoon weather stats while at work.

"Hey, things are warming up! The wind chill factor is now 16 below."

(At the beginning of the workday it was 33 below.)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Reflections on a windy snowy evening

Last Friday it was in the 60's. Today it barely got into the teens. Then the cold really hit. I won't share what tonight's wind chills are expected to be (don't want to scare you). Then by Friday it should be in the 40's. Downright balmy.

Little Geoana doesn't have school tomorrow. (When the projected wind chill hits 25 below zero they automatically cancel public education.) Geogal will be home with her (even if they had school we still would keep her home as little Geoana was sent home sick today).

As for me, I have to get up, dress warm, dig out my vehicle, and get my carcass to work. (I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'....)

Tonight's meal was roasted chicken with green beans. I intimated mashed potatoes would go well with the meat and veggie, especially since yesterday's roast beef dish (prepared in the pressure cooker) yielded a heckuva lotta gravy. Good gravy. Gravy that doesn't come from a packet.

Geogal agreed. When we were eating I simply said, "It's just a potatoes and gravy kind of night." Cold outside, need to stay warm on the inside.

Speaking of the pressure cooker, we used it twice during the weekend. Pinto beans (goes good with cornbread) and the aforementioned roast. The amazing part is that I started with dried pintos. Not soaked overnight. Totally dry.

Less than an hour later I had a pinto bean concoction ready for eating. Beans were nice and soft. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't cooked it myself.


The same time I was making the beans, Geogal was baking banana bread. Our kitchen had an interesting mix of smells. Oniony and bakery-sweet, at the same time. Still beats eating out.