Monday, December 30, 2013

More manly stuff

Similar to a Christmas many years ago, I could not fully enjoy my big gift for a few days. 

You already know about the work commitments.  However there was another rub.  The recip saw didn't come with any blades.  Given all the retailers were closed yesterday it was not until today that I could pick up a set of DeWalt blades.  Found them on sale (Christmas spirit just keeps on coming). 

By this afternoon I was in the backyard and some of my trees now are nicely pruned.  And I still have all my fingers. 

And during our time out this morning Geogal told me she already has a project in mind:  a shelving unit for her closet.  Other than needing to borrow a router I think I can make this a reality. 

A whole lotta years ago I got a motocross bicycle for Christmas.  However it was a rainy holiday that day in Houston, Texas so no out-of-doors stuff.  The following day all of us trekked to Seguin for nativity celebrations with extended family.  Two or three days later (forever, it felt to me at the time) we finally returned home.  By this time the rain had retreated and I recall the fun of finally being able to ride that bike. 

Just like the fun of going outside and sawing through dead branches. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Now it's time to relax

No entries the past few days is attributed to Geoguy being very busy at his day job. 

Since Christmas Eve onward I was the person on call and this circumstance also resulted in me spending all day yesterday at work.  However the up side of all this is that my labor on a Saturday results in me being able to take an extra day off this coming week. 

And the fact that I already had put in to take tomorrow off didn't hurt either. 

But given my mental fatigue upon coming home in the evenings my creative/writing juices dwindled down to resembling those few grounds at the bottom of the coffee pot.  Here's hoping today is truly a day of rest and play for me. 

Play, of course, can involve me enjoying what Santa done brung.  Among my loot was a set of DeWalt power tools (cordless, of course).  A drill, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw, and a floodlight. 

I already intend to use the drill today to bore holes into a tree stump.  Need to get that thing killed, up, and out. 

And tomorrow I will get to a retailer to procure some blades for the reciprocating saw.  (If you don't know what that is, it's a Sawzall, but DeWalt's version.)  So during my day off tomorrow I can go to the backyard and play "Let's see if it will cut this."  I've already seen comments and videos online in which this tool can be used to cut tree branches. 

As I joked with family on Christmas Day, right now I still have all ten fingers.  Let's hope that's the case for the future. 


The gift that keeps on giving:  I brought my K-cup brewer home yesterday (it usually occupies my office) because I knew I wouldn't be at work too much this coming week and the womenfolk in my casa would certainly enjoy a cup of fresh java if they desire.  Not only that, but Santa also brought me a package of hot apple cider K-cups.  Geogal and Geoana sampled those this morning.  Luscious.  Smells and tastes like liquid apple pie. 


Question of the day:  So just how do you greet people today?  Seems odd to say "Merry Christmas" but also appears a bit early to wish one "Happy New Year." 

How about today I give all of my readers both? 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Almost Christmas

As befitting a working adult, I want Christmas to get here for different reasons than when I was a youngster. 

I have things at work that are due by the end of the month. 

I still need to give my co-workers (particularly those I supervise) their gifts of baked goods. 

I gotta get the stocking stuffers. 

And I need to get this blog updated with the latest news. 

(I guess I can consider that last one just about done.) 


I already wrote about my iPhone upgrade. 

Well, the womenfolk in the Geohouse decided they didn't want me to have all the joy of a fast phone with plenty of cool features. 

So two Saturdays ago Geogal and I trekked to Kearney and made our last stop of the day at the Verizon store. 

A while later we walked out of there with two Christmas gifts.  A gold iPhone 5S for Geogal and a blue iPhone 5C for Geoana.  And my wallet was a lot lighter. 

Enjoy your early presents gals!! 

Then the fun really began.  It already was dark when we hit the highway back to town. 

But wait!  Are those snowflakes?


About an hour into the drive Geogal is struggling to see where the highway centerline is.  And I'm keeping track of how large the white patches are on the roadway.

We got home just fine.  Never even lost traction.


Just about all of that snow has since melted.  In fact the temps were downright mild until yesterday.  Then a blast of Arctic air hit us with a vengeance.

However the forecast does not include snow for X-mas.  Sigh.


Here's hoping the weekend can be productive, relaxing, and joyous.

You can call that my early Christmas wish.  

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Finishing the thought

After posting I realized my last entry didn't finish the story of my Apple upgrades and what devices I want in what order. 

Since I got an iPhone on my trip out west the next cool item on my wish list is a MacBook Air (13-inch).  Upgraded to 8 GB of RAM.  Should work well for everything I need to replace my still-working-but-really-showing-its-age 2006-era MacBook. 

THEN I will set my sights on an iPad Mini with Retina Display (Space Gray to match the iPhone). 


It's really cold today.  The type where if my deep freeze unit failed I can just toss everything out in the backyard with no spoilage.  Not even anything thawing out, for that matter.  Still technically autumn but winter is no doubt here. 

At least this is the fun part of the cold season.  After the holidays are over, after the last football games are played for the season, after hunting season comes to a close, then we have the cruddy part of winter.  February and March especially. 

But I'll enjoy the temps for right now.  And no time like the present to enjoy dishes such as soups, stews, and spicy chile. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Change in the desired devices

You remember this entry in which I hinted I wanted an iPad mini with Retina display under the Christmas tree on December 25. 

Scratch that. 

Originally I didn't intend to upgrade the iPhone for at least the near future.  In my mindset my venerable iPhone 4 still needed it do everything I expected. 

However during one of my evening constitutionals during July or August I dropped it.  I figured the Otterbox case protected it.  At first nothing seemed damaged.  However I soon learned that the upper speaker (the one you use to listen to your phone calls) didn't work. 


I figured I could get around that by using the "speaker" function whenever I got an incoming call.  Yeah right, like I was going to remember that every time. 

Then about two days later the upper speaker worked again with no explanation.  So far, so good. 

Until recently.  Shortly before the weekend of November 15-17 the old "can't hear my phone calls" problem again reared its head. 

Given I was planning a trip to Denver anyway I figured it was time to break down and buy me an iPhone 5S while there.  Geogal was certainly OK with the idea (she tried to answer incoming calls for me during times when I couldn't--such as washing dishes) and was obviously frustrated with sliding the bar for "answer" then not hearing anything when she put the phone to her ear. 

So I am now the proud and happy owner of a Space Gray iPhone 5S. 

And it's a really cool device. 

I've already shot slo-mo video at one of Geoana's basketball games.  Speaking of Geoana she seems taken with my new phone and is now trying to see how many philosophical questions she can ask Siri. 


As I alluded above, I went to Denver in mid-November.  The occasion?  Geogal and Geoana were headed to Kansas City that weekend for a church youth group function so I chose to head the other direction.  I'd been longing for a road trip anyway and this seemed the perfect opportunity. 

As if I need an excuse. 

On my list, in addition to the task mentioned earlier, was to visit an Apple store, go to some outdoor retailers to get a new pair of hiking boots, and hit The Tattered Cover bookstore.  Also needed to pick up some New Mexico spicy southwest cooking ingredients that I can't obtain in here in The Land Of Dorothy.  You know, red chile pods, green chile sauce, and the like. 

I actually got my iPhone at a Verizon store that Friday afternoon so my visit to an Apple store didn't take place until the following day.  Went to Cherry Creek Mall.  Crowded as one would expect on a Saturday afternoon.  I'm surprised I even got a chance to pick up and hold an iPad Air. 

On my way out of this gaggle of pretentious stores I noticed Microsoft also has a presence at this mall. 

Well, a kiosk anyway. 

That could be a joke right there.  But I just couldn't resist snapping a couple of pics to show the folks back home just how different the interest in the products is between the Apple offerings and the devices from Redmond, Washington:

Gotta love how the sales guys are just standing around off to the side in that top pic.  But I'm sure Steve Ballmer (if he was not in the process of stepping down) would continue to pontificate how the Surface is going to dethrone the iPad. 

Oh and by the way I did get my hiking boots.  Broke them in that afternoon at Red Rocks Park.  I decided to keep to an easy trail given this location is 6000 feet above sea level (according to my GPS device) and I am nowhere near acclimated to the altitude.  Also got some pictures to make other people envious. 

One enjoyable trip!  But it was still good to get home. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Past and future gifts

Black Friday is just about gone and I don't think the Geohouse occupants did any real damage. 

I couldn't help but notice Geogal was sound asleep in our warm bed come 5:00 this morning.  So much for her big talking about going to our local retailer to pick up a doorbusters special for the child. 

Speaking of gifts I had my birthday last month and thankfully Geogal didn't just give me a card with the inscription:

Dear Geoguy, our getaway to California was your birthday gift!!     XXOO  

Nope.  Instead she picked up on some obvious hints and I wound up with a Mr. Coffee K-Cup brewer (been wanting one for my office since the coffee to be had in our breakroom amounts to little more than hot water with a few brown crayons dipped in it).  I'm enjoying such a device on these chilly days.  Just this morning I had a wonderful cup of Joe (this stuff).

Also in my haul of b-day presents was a Kindle Paperwhite.  Nice to have a reader that is easy on my aging eyes.     Right now I'm reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. 

So what might come from ol' Santa?  Watch for the next entry. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Back to it

No doubt some family members are wondering about the lack of postings here this year. 

And the other day Geo-mom-in-law asked specifically for me to be more consistent with my postings. 

There is no one explanation for 2013 having a lesser-than-average amount of entries.  However there are many small reasons. 

For more than half the year I was functioning as a single parent as Geogal was in school pursuing her physical therapist assistant credential.  Add to that the fact that I now have a job that is more demanding of my time (and is a job I cannot just leave at work at the end of the day) and you have a person who was often too mentally taxed and tired to be creative at the computer keyboard.  Then for good measure during the second half of the summer much of my free time was spent preparing for a board examination. 

An interesting (he writes after the fact) story there.  With my new position came the expectation that I obtain a credential from the state of Kansas.  Having been under licensure in my old home state of Arizona I figured reciprocity would not be a huge problem. 

I was wrong. 

States don't always play nice with each other. 

When the dust settled I was almost to the point of being licensed.  The final hurdle was to pass the national-level board examination.  A paraphrase might sound like this:  "OK, Geoguy, so you've shown us by your education and work experience that you qualify for this credential.  However in order to make sure you know what you say you know, take and pass this exam." 

Yeech.  I don't care much for standardized tests, and actually don't know anyone who really does. 

But, since I had a clear goal I put aside some of my personal life for a while and hit the study guide. 

I did have a partner in this process.  Geogal had (by then) graduated from her program and knew she needed to study for her licensure exam as well.  So our August getaway saw us laying beside a swimming pool, getting tanned, and us with our noses in the respective study guides.  (Not all the time, of course.) 

End of story.  We both passed our exams and now have those all-important pieces of paper that grant us the ability to practice our professions in the state of Kansas. 

Then comes a new school year and a child who is VERY active in sports and other extracurricular activities. 

Plus a new BB gun team season where I am again the head coach. 

And now you know why I haven't been posting much to this blog.  But that will certainly change. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This is why we like college football

First, it was great to see a Big 12 matchup being featured on ESPN's College GameDay yesterday morning. 

The Big 12 is a conference definitely in need of such a spotlight game.  Given the defections of the past few years and the increased attention on the SEC and Pac 12 last night's contest between Baylor and Oklahoma State was positive for all involved. 

Second, look at the teams!  How many years did Baylor and Oklahoma State play in the shadow of OU, UT, Nebraska, and Texas A&M?  Nice to see former punching bags playing football at Top 25-level. 


This piece from ESPN makes a convincing statement about the Rose Bowl gods forcing Oregon to pay for those comments made by a couple of players last week. 

But what about this?  Oregon loses to a Pac 12 team that has NEVER made it to The Grandaddy of Them All. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yeah, that

Couldn't have made it more clear to Geogal yesterday evening.  Watching the tail end of yesterday's Apple keynote and I let out a "whoop whoop" when they unveiled the iPad Mini with Retina display.  She was in the room. 

Hope there's one under the tree come some morning in late December. 


Winter is coming, as it seems to do every year around this time.  Cool nights, chilly mornings.  Dry hands. 

I did grow some tomatoes in the backyard this summer.  Didn't start too well but the delay had nothing to do with heat or drought.  The two varieties I planted were Fourth of July and Big Beef.  I had a couple of good looking Big Beef ones on the vine, then one morning they were just gone. 

Scratched my head over that one.  If someone wants to vandalize my property they could do much more than snatch a couple of underripe veggies.  Then the answer presented itself a few mornings later. 

The culprit was a fawn. 

Fortunately the small deer decided to venture elsewhere and I did finally get a decent crop of nature's goodness. 

Today, however, the tomato vines already have suffered some frost but I just don't have the heart to pull them out of the ground yet. 

As if that's going to delay winter's arrival.....

Monday, October 21, 2013

Now That's An Odd Coincidence

Earlier today I was listening to SiriusXM NFL radio.  The commercial break was fast approaching and the hosts made reference to the upcoming topic of "the passing of Bud Adams, who died at age 90." 

I said out loud (to no one in particular):  "You mean Bum Phillips." 

Nope, turns out they were right. 

Phillips died last Friday.  Adams died today.  Both reached the age of 90.  Both will always be identified with the (former) Houston Oilers. 


I know what I will be doing tomorrow night.  Same thing the last time Apple had a product announcement. 

I'm already making it clear to my loved ones that I want an iPad mini for Xmas.  Hope they introduce a Retina model. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


A good word to describe the last two mornings. 

Summer is winding down, fall is nearly (officially) here, and cool beginnings to the day are upon us here in NW Kansas. 

I've even seen a gang of turkey hens traipsing through my backyard during the past week.  Life is pretty good.  

Football also is here (hooray!), and I thought by the fourth Saturday of college football that we'd be done with all the money games and state-legislature-mandated contests (anyone bother to watch Texas A&M play Sam Houston State University?). 

Nearly every college pigskin pundit is lamenting today's contests. 

Patience, patience. 

Hey my family members!  What is the mood climate in Austin today?  I would have tuned in for last Saturday's matchup of Ole Miss versus the Longhorns but the television coverage was limited to the Longhorn (a.k.a. The Reason Texas A&M and Nebraska Left The Big 12 Conference) Network.   Which means more folks saw the game at the stadium then saw it on TV. 

At least I can watch tonight's K-State against Texas game on ABC. 

I'm not publicly taking sides for this one.  My supervisor bleeds Wildcat purple and many of my kinfolk see nothing but burnt orange on fall Saturdays. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A conversation, then a hotel visit

While getting gas midweek last week (prelude to an overnight business-related trip) on the other side of the pump was a pickup-travel trailer combination.  Given my interest in these particular types of camping rigs I gave it more than a quick glance while simultaneously filling my vehicle's tank with petrol.  Not a large rig but not small, either.  The tow vehicle was a Ford 3/4 ton with a diesel engine.  The driver noticed my interest and greeted me. 

I began the conversation by mentioning I am looking to purchase a rig of my own in the near future. 

His response?  Not what I expected:

"Let me give you a piece of good advice.  Don't buy a travel trailer.  Just keep your truck, load it up with what you need, then use hotels for your camping." 

Given we were on opposite sides of the gas island I couldn't see his expression but I'd wager he wasn't smiling. 

We talked for about another minute or so.  Turns out he was from Georgia, headed for Idaho.  Does this trip twice a year. 

Fast forward to the evening.  I'm now in Wichita and checked into my hotel.  Free wi-fi, but free does you no good when you can't connect.  The room is acceptable but nothing beyond that.  No kitchen (of course), need to head out for the evening meal. 

Even hearing the fellow's wisdom from earlier in the day I still long to camp.  Not worry about when the linens on my bed were last changed or laundered.  Cook for myself if I desire.  Not having to hear doors closing up and down the hall for a good chunk of the night.  Being able to run a fan all night if I desire (white noise), some hotel AC/heat systems have this feature, some don't.  My stay last week did not.  Still feeling like you are in your own space. 

Hotels have their purpose, but I've "camped" in enough of them the last 10-15 years to last me a lifetime. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My prediction was correct, and it sure didn't take long

As I noted in my last entry I did indeed watch the iPhone presentation (not live, but on Memorex) this past Tuesday evening.

First, I noticed the event only rolled out the two new iPhone models.  I was not surprised by the offerings but the absence of any other products seemed to make this past week's Apple "special event" a bit disappointing for ol' Geoguy.  I very much missed Steve Jobs this time around, particularly when I saw the time remaining and Tim Cook appearing to wrap up the iPhone 5C and 5S details.  I thought, "Could he be taking a cue from the master and about to do a 'just one more thing...' product intro?" 

Sadly no.  Everyone at the live event then got to hear three songs from Elvis Costello.  That moment I was glad I was not subject to live event "real time" and could just hit fast forward on my Apple TV remote.  I am not a Costello fan.

Seems I am not the only one who found the event or the presentation lacking something.  Maclife's Michael Simon shares his take.  

Still the phones themselves are impressive.  When the 5C's introduction concluded I remember thinking:  "Every kid in America will want one of these."  I then annotated that sentence to include "every kid in every industrialized nation..." 

It's less than a week later and Geoana is already making her case to get an iPhone 5C.  Both her mother and I explained to her that the cost of the phone will include a monthly data plan, which does add a certain amount to the monthly bill.  Thus the child is now taking more stock of her cash on hand plus anticipated income via pet watching and babysitting.

How will all of this play out?  Keep visiting this blog.

As for me I am more than ready to see what Apple will add to their next release of the iPad mini (the model I am likely to own).  And I can certainly wait until next month to find out.  And yes, Geogal did read the previous entry and didn't think my last sentence was particularly amusing.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Monday Night

Walked a great distance with Geogal.  That's fine, considering I was rather sedentary last night. 

And no, I will not be watching the unveiling tomorrow of the new model iPhone (or plural).  I still work for a living and ply my trade in a field that has nothing to do with technology.  I will do the same thing I did when Apple gave its keynote at the WWDC earlier this year:  watch it on Apple TV in the evening. 

I don't expect any drool moments for me tomorrow.  No, I'm still pining for the combination MacBook Air and iPad mini.  And those Airs they unveiled back in June are at the top of my birthday list. 

Are you reading this, Geogal?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

End of one week, beginning of another

We went to a wedding yesterday.  Nothing of note for us, really.  In telling people about our whereabouts this past weekend I used the phrase "peripheral invitees" liberally.  The groom was a former classmate of Geogal this past year and that is the extent of our knowledge and/or contact with the wedding party.  I had never met the guy before yesterday afternoon and Geogal hadn't seen him for many months.  We knew two people who also attended.  (Another classmate of my dear wife and his significant other.) 

That was it. 

Ceremony was uncomplicated, lasted a total of 40 minutes.  Reception was a ways away.  Geogal and I were among the first to arrive at the reception site.  Turns out most folks were locals and had gone home to change into more comfortable attire before hitting said reception.  We decided to hit a furniture store and check out some living room sets before going back and making a reception appearance. 

Now, take into account that the wedding commenced at 2:30.  Done by 3:10.  When will the dinner be served?  We don't really know.  The only things provided for the guests were lame salty and sugary snack foods and an open bar.  I'm not drinking (because I'll be driving later) so I made do with weak punch and tonic water on the rocks (no limes available, either).  Yeech. 

Around 6:15 they began the food line.  Meal was actually OK, fried chicken with mashed potatoes, corn, and dinner rolls (gotta like the Midwest).  But the whole time we were wiling away the minutes trying to make conversation with the other couple Geogal and I were fending off starvation (lunch had been many hours before).  We also recalled many of the things we did correctly at our wedding more than two decades ago.  Things such as providing a map from the church to the reception site, since many of our guests were not local.  Also having real food available almost from the time the reception started.  And so on.  I suppose since we are not relations nor close friends with the wedding party we can be complete snobs. 

So, after hearing one of the most inappropriate toasts I have ever heard anywhere (given by a man of the cloth, no less), being visited by the groom at least twice and noticing he was way drunk by that point and throwing around the "F" word gratuitously never minding whether or not there were small children in earshot, and eating our fill, we decided to take our leave.  Good idea, too.  We did well to get out of there before the dancing, carousing, and drunken fistfights began. 

So that was our Saturday. 

Today was much more relaxed.  More low-key.  Just what we needed. 

And did I mention Geogal and I are now hooked on watching "Duck Dynasty?"  

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

More post vac

What did we do on vacation?  Practically nothing. 

No joking.  Got suntanned by the pool.  Got a bit sunburned by the pool.  Get in the pool.  Get out of the pool.  Go back to room and relax.  Go back out when sun goes down.  And so on. 

Got to eat Thai food.  Got to eat duck.  Got to eat at Chevy's (Ontario Mills), a nice repast after getting off the plane.  And no visit to The Golden State is complete without satisfying one's burger fix at In-N-Out. 

Our return flight featured on-board TV, courtesy of Dish Network (watch it on your device, such as my trusty iPhone).  Which would not have been bad had I been able to choose from several of the college gridiron matchups taking place at said time. 

Problem was, we only got to choose from about 15 channels, none of which I watch much.  Food Network, Bravo, HGTV, Animal Planet.  Among the offerings was NBC 4 from NYC, which featured Notre Dame playing, oh I forget, someone else.  Not an exciting matchup.  I think watching paint dry could have proved more entertaining.  However the on-board features including something called "flight tracker."  Watch the progress of your plane overlaid on a map. 

I was in hog heaven.  What a joy it is for yours truly to look out of the window and be able to correctly identify the highway and landmarks below.  Doesn't take much to make me happy. 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Suitcase unpacked and taken down to the basement

Which signals the end of "summer" in the Geohouse.  More so than the arrival of the school year or the passing of Labor Day. 

Seriously, we really did an unpacking over the past weekend.  Geogal and I returned from a sojourn to the California desert (the nice, nice part) and Geoana stayed here in our burg as school already had commenced. 

Vacation getaway was a long time in coming.  Given last summer didn't really have one, and the summer before involved a family-centric trek to Rocky Mountain National Park Geogal and I were more than ready for a trip that involved only us.  Time to reconnect after her school and related sacrifices over the past 12 months. 

I'm also happy to report the trip had no glitches whatsoever, not even with the TSA.  In fact both our flight to and flight from So Cal featured planes that were about 1/2 full.  (Never happens to old Geoguy!)  Stretch out and relax...

Going home was interesting.  Land in Denver in the early evening.  Get luggage.  Catch shuttle to long-term parking.  Drive out of DIA.  Grab a bite.  Hit the grocery store for items not available in our small town.  Gas up.  Then get on the Interstate.  Already dark by this time. 

Talk to keep ourselves focused.  Listen to podcast to keep ourselves focused.  Get coffee to keep myself focused.  Pull into our driveway at 1:30 a.m. after 4 hours and 15 minutes of driving time. 

Then try to act as if the following day is normal. 

Is is yet time to be thinking about our next get-away-from-it-all??

Sunday, June 09, 2013

A fine Sunday evening ahead

The new season of Ice Road Truckers will begin this evening.  And to make a good situation even better, all of the eps this year take place in Manitoba.  No Dalton Highway.  Why is that good?  Because one week ago today Geogal took a coach up to the Arctic Circle which involves going up the Dalton.  Had this roadway been featured in this year's IRT, she would have been insufferable whenever we caught an episode. 

"I've been there!"  "I've seen that curve."  "I recognize where that is."  "The TV camera just doesn't do justice to what that area REALLY looks like."   And so on. 

And tomorrow the 2013 WWDC will open in San Fran.  I will be working and therefore won't be able to watch the keynote live but if I have the chance I will watch it on 21st century Memorex tomorrow evening.  I'm looking forward to the upgrades and improvements that are no doubt coming to the Mac line.  Just before we dropped Geogal off at the Denver airport I commented that Geoana and I would be heading to the Apple Store at Cherry Creek after we discharged our Alaska-bound family member.  I even alluded to being "bad."  To my surprise Geogal said I had permission to be "bad." 

I only wound up buying the new Apple earbuds ($30). 

While I drooled over the Macbook Air I decided to take a pass, mainly because I was curious over how this product would be upgraded in just a short while.  I know full well the newer iPads and iPhones won't be introduced until the fall so buying an iPad mini at that time wasn't happening. 

That's OK.  I can wait. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

God has a sense of humor, and reliving an old childhood game

As all of you know, Geogal is in Alaska as I write this.  I'm not here to lament, nor give a summary of her adventures.  Rather I will just point out that this past Saturday morning, in which Geoana and I went to the nearby state park for the annual kids fun day (translation:  free admission and free outdoor activities), the morning low in our town was 39.  Degrees.  Fahrenheit.

Just for fun I looked on the Net for the morning low in Fairbanks.  45.  Projected high for Alaska's second-largest city?  82?

High for us in our Northwest Kansas town the same day?  Didn't even get out of the 60's.  Who woulda thunk it that a location in Alaska would be warmer than one in the lower 48?  At the beginning of June?

Saturday also was very cloudy and very windy, combined with the cool temps.  Built character.  However the following day dawned with clear skies, calm winds, and more June-type degrees.  I'm sure the local park superintendent (whom we know) was cursing the weather gods.


On the way to Denver (which is where Geogal caught her plane to The Last Frontier) I decided to engage all of us in the license plate game.  Not a bad way to kill 5 hours on the highway.  Plus the child and I continued it until we again saw our own front door.

Ready for the roll call?

Kansas (of course)
Nebraska (not hard around here)
Colorado (natch)
North Dakota
New Mexico
South Dakota
North Carolina
New York
New Jersey
and....Alaska!   (Yep.  Spotted in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Aurora, Colorado)

Maybe it would have been easier to list the states we didn't see.  Pretty much the entire central and western US was accounted for.

Nice to know we don't always have to have a movie going during a road trip.  Plus, we get to duplicate the journey at the end of this month when Geogal returns. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

Fresh Eyes

Geoana and I have only one more Star Trek movie (featuring the TOS case) to watch:  "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." 

Which means, of course, that we already have viewed the first five cinematic adventures of the Enterprise crew.  I decided early on that I would not give my opinions of the flick before we watched it, in order to let the almost-teenage girl formulate her own opinions. 

She wound up with some interesting ones.  So far her favorite one of the bunch is "Star Trek III: The Search For Spock."  Maybe it's just that any flick featuring Klingons as the enemy is bound to be good.  She also gave approval to "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."  (Regarded by many Trekkies as the movie equivalent of "Spock's Brain" in as far as the badness factor goes.)  However the child thinks there is plenty that is redeemable about the movie.  And I have to admit, watching these movies again after all these years gives me a different perspective as well.  The first movie isn't too bad as far as the story (though it sure could use some more action) but it's just so godawful LONG.  The second flick is my personal favorite.  Three?  It's OK although I still can't fully accept Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon.  The fourth installment is just pure fun.  And the Shatner-directed fifth movie might have a few rough spots but it's far from being unwatchable. 

And speaking of unwatchable pieces of celluloid, I did catch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 take on "Manos, The Hands of Fate."  Yes, almost as bad as "Troll 2."  Wonder what other pieces of trash I can get through Netflix? 

But lest you think I do nothing but watch terrifically terrible movies or Star Trek offerings exclusively, some weeks ago the child and I watched "The Sound of Music."  And lo and behold, just a couple of weeks later her music teacher has the whole sixth grade viewing this musical.  Good taste abounds!

Score one for the Geoguy!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

About to call it another school year

Geoana's school is wrapping up this coming Thursday.  Geogal takes her last final exam on Wednesday. 

Then we can all enjoy one day of respite before Geogal flies out to Alaska at the end of the week. 

That is a summation of the Geohouse life for right now.  We are all very busy. 

Geoana will be saying goodbye to elementary school.  Our school system here seems perpetually disabled between the old-style system of elementary being through grade 6, then 7-9 for junior high, and grades 10-12 designated as high school; and the newer milieu of middle school (grades 6-8) then high school being a four-year long journey through the academic salt mines.  As such, she will be in junior high for a grand total of two years, then on to high school for grade 9. 

I know--it makes no sense to me, either. 


Geoana and I completed our viewing of the Original Series episodes of "Star Trek."  Tuesday evening we watched #79 ("Turnabout Intruder") and relished Shatner overacting in a couple of the scenes.  And if that wasn't enough we also concluded another series this week, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."  The DVD had the two-parter that aired in January, 1968, before the cancellation ax hit. 

On to the "Star Trek" movies. 


Speaking of TV shows, some weeks ago I decided to give "Mad Men" a try.  Since Netflix has it streaming I didn't need to wait for a DVD in the mail.  I've always been interested in the period of the 1950s and 1960s and I heard that the "MM" producers are sticklers for accurate detail.  Therefore I watched the first and second episodes of the series.

And I'll pass.

Just wasn't enough to hold my interest. 


Geogal will be twisting the knife for the coming five weeks.  She will be in Fairbanks, Alaska as part of her clinical placement to complete her schooling.  But on the weekends she will be free to do as she wishes.  Doing things that will likely include going up the Dalton Highway as far as the Arctic Circle, seeing some of the same route the "Ice Road Truckers" do, and enjoying the flora and fauna of The Last Frontier.

While I work.

It's my own fault.  I encouraged her to go for the adventure.  Alaska is a whole lot better than Peoria, Illinois.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's April, nearly May

Things in the Geohouse are as busy and hectic as ever.  Yesterday saw the whole family heading to Colby for a 5 on 5 girl's basketball tournament.  Left the house at 6:45 in the morning.  Got back to the house at 6:50 in the evening.  In between were 5 (yes, 5) games in which Geoana's team came in second overall.  The team consisted of six girls which made for six very exhausted gals come evening.  Geoana is also very sore today to boot. 

Thankfully some things are ending at this time of year.  Geoana's school only has a few weeks left.  BB Gun team is done for the season.  After-school volleyball is also now history.  AWANA is over.  All of these things will make for more relaxing evenings (I hope).  And not a moment too soon since the weather is now warm enough to create the need for yard work.  First order of business is to scatter some more grass seed as last summer's Phoenix-like combo of high temps and no rain took a toll on the turf. 

Since Geogal is still in school, and will be until August, no summer vacation is on the schedule.  However Geoana will get a chance to go to 4-H camp the first week of June (should be a blast).  And Geogal is headed to Alaska for her first clinical of the summer.  Yes, she will be in Fairbanks for five weeks.  Her second and final clinical will be somewhere less exciting but much more convenient.  Kearney, Nebraska, only about an hour and a half drive from here. 

How's the watching of the original series of "Star Trek" going for me and the child?  We're nearly done.  Just have about 8 more episodes to go.  We've discovered that some of the Season 3 eps are not nearly as bad as some fans have made them out to be.  However last Wednesday we watched one that really reeks!  ("The Mark of Gideon")  Just how did that race of people create a replica of the Enterprise that fooled Kirk so well? 

Another topic that I've thought about revealing here in this forum.  My watching of what many consider to be the worst movies of all time.  Over the years I've had the chance to view "Plan 9 From Outer Space" (like many folks of this day and age I wanted to give this one a watch after seeing "Ed Wood"), "Troll 2," and most recently, "The Conqueror."  (You just haven't lived until you watch John Wayne playing a Mongolian reciting dialogue that smacks of Shakespearean English.)   I still need to catch "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" and "Manos, The Hands of Fate."   Haven't even checked Netflix yet for availability. 

Spring is definitely here.  Last week we had a combination of mild days, one heavily rainy day, a dusting of snow, and then we were treated to a 90-degree this very day.  Geogal and I went for our normal Sunday constitutional and were struck by the oddity of summer temps with most of the trees around here still bare as though it was mid-January.  And there is another cool-down set for about this coming Wednesday.  Rain and maybe even some snow.  Spring is definitely here. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

What I've been doing

Given the dearth of postings recently all seven regular readers of this blog might wonder about my overall functioning.

I'll set the record straight:  I'm not dead.  I'm not dying (that I'm aware of).  I am not being lazy.

I was, however, very busy over these last few weeks.  How busy?  I haven't had a Saturday at home for three straight weeks.  I've logged a whole lotta miles behind the wheel since the end of February.  My stress level reached all-time highs.  And I had a trip home last Sunday following a visit from Old Man Winter in which Interstate 70 had only one lane open between Topeka and Junction City.  Plus that one lane was itself sometimes snow packed in stretches.

Late February--qualifying BB gun competition at Oakley, Kansas (about 100 miles from here).  Long day.

First weekend in March--Drive to Omaha on Saturday.  5 hours.  275 miles.  The following day--drive back home.  Same distance.  Same time frame.  Tiring weekend.

The child and I dropped Geogal off at Omaha as she had a month-long clinical at Creighton University Medical Center.  Just this past Friday the kiddo and I got into our big vehicle and trekked back to Omaha.  Clinical is complete, drove back home yesterday.  At least this weekend is a long one, allowed us to take this Easter Sunday to rest and relax.  Plus this just-ended trip also gave us time to drop into the Apple Store and handle the latest offerings from Cupertino.

(I think yours truly will be getting a MacBook Air plus an iPad mini to celebrate Geogal's completion of her school program, which should wrap up in late August.)

Third weekend in March--head to Rock Springs 4-H campground for shooting sports instructor training.  Placed in a cabin and stuck in a room with seven other guys.  Naturally there are those who snore, and in accordance with the old adage the snorers were the first ones to fall asleep.  Was glad to be home.

Fourth weekend in March--the state BB gun tournament.  I am the head coach and this year we had enough shooters for three teams.  Saturday the 23rd was a very long, tiring day.  And I already mentioned that a snowstorm decided to hit Kansas that day which created the rough road conditions for the long trip home.  Again, was truly happy to see my front door.

Since Geogal was at Omaha all month, guess who got to do the single-parent thing?

Now I don't want this entry to sound like some old guy who does nothing but complain day in and day out.  I had a few high points during this time.  Got to meet several good folks at the 4-H event and even saw a few of them at the BB gun tourney.  (And I will likely see them again since our shooters now have the state 4-H tournament on April 13.)  Also went to an RV dealer in Omaha (actually Council Bluffs, Iowa) on both trips.  This weekend we found a unit that seems to fit our bill.  However we didn't do a deal just yet given there are still several variables in our near future such as where Geogal will get placed for her next two clinicals as well as other smaller details.

Still, I got jazzed realizing our family will soon have some camping ventures, this time in a hard-sided rig with more amenities.

And I will keep on posting here.  I'm not dead, just dead-tired.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

First One In Feb.

People who follow this blog know there are periods where I will let a lot of days/weeks elapse between posts.  There are typically three reasons for why this happens.  First, I might not have anything new or significant to share and therefore posting for the sake of posting seems tedious.  Granted, this is MY blog and I am free to express what I desire but I also want to ensure the readers will peruse something that is worth their time, even if the said time is only a few minutes.  Second, I might be under the weather although God has blessed me with overall good health.  And third, I could be so busy and occupied with other responsibilities that sitting down an writing a blog entry isn't even thinkable. 

It's actually a bit of all three that explain the four weeks between posts.  Since the holiday season ended and the downhill cruddy side of winter took hold I have a lack of engaging, interesting material to share here.  Not like the summertime which could involve camping trips or national BB gun tournaments.  Not like the fall where I like to espouse my thoughts on college football.  Under the second category I did have a head cold that came on about two weeks ago.  I'm over the worst of it but still have the drainage and occasional coughing fit that still keep me grumpy.  The third reason is the most relevant one at this time.  Regular readers of this blog know I took a new position at work back in August and this job is far more demanding than my previous one.  Also this is my first year of being the head coach for our BB gun team and that is a task that is more than willing to take whatever spare time I might have left.  Combine this with a spouse who is away M-F and you have the recipe for a very tired and taxed Geoguy. 

But what has been going on? 

The lack of significant free time and the winter season combine for me to get creative in how I will relax.  However I think I've found something leisurely with which to occupy myself. 


A fun type of research. 

Readers here know that we sold our pop-up camper last summer.  We learned quite a bit about camping from having that rig.  We learned what works and what does not work for us as a family.  For me it also was a good introduction to towing, backing up, and how to efficiently store one's gear. 

So what is next for us in the wide world of RV-ing?  (as some now call any type of vehicle camping)

Travel trailer.  Something that will accommodate the three of us as well as allow space for a fourth person since Geoana will likely want to bring along a friend.  Something hard-sided.  (A hybrid trailer would definitely fit our needs and would be well within the weight limit of our tow vehicle but since we have camped in bear country and likely will do so again, that rules out a hybrid.) 

I've been looking over material that's available online but also last weekend Geogal and I traipsed to the library (which now has both fiction AND nonfiction books--shout out to the Geo bro-in-law).  I picked up a tome titled "How To Select, Inspect, and Buy an RV."  Yeesh, I have a lot of stuff to learn.  They definitely are not all created equal.  And even going with a reputable brand name doesn't guarantee no problems or issues. 

Since we won't be buying until next year at the earliest I have plenty of time to consume and digest the necessary information so we don't end up with buyer's regret.  And maybe it's good that I have that much time with which to work as the subjects are numerous.  What is the maximum weight for our vehicle?  (And the owner's manual only tells you so much.)  Will I want to go with a weight distribution hitch?  (Probably so.)  Do we want a rig with a slide out?  (At present I'm inclined to say no, but that might change.)  What about an anti-sway mechanism?  (With as windy as it is around here I'm inclined to say yes.)  New or used?  (Likely the latter, but sometimes private parties want exorbitant prices for the rigs they are selling, so who knows?)  How does one go about emptying the gray and black water tanks correctly?  How do you light the pilot?  Just how does the refrigerator run on propane anyway?  What other gear will we need to buy once we actually make a purchase? 

I'm sure these things will work themselves out.  And I have the assurance that Geomom and Geodad knew virtually nothing about these things before they bought a fifth-wheel rig after Dad retired.  And they had plenty of positive camping/traveling experiences so I know none of this stuff is rocket science. 

In the meantime I'm enjoying myself with the reading and the learning.  And the looking at rigs on eBay or any other "for sale" sites.  Plus none of this costs me a doggone dime.  Hopefully the work I'm doing now will save me many dimes down the road. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Back to normal?

Geogal is back in school.  So is Geoana. 

No back-to-reality for me.  I've worked steadily throughout the holidays, being home only on Christmas Day and New Years Day. 

But things now do have a secure sameness to them.  Even though Geogal is still 80 miles away during the week both Geoana and I have our daily routine and the adjustment we had to make during the early days of September is paying off now. 

I'm enjoying a relaxing evening at home for the first time in several days.  Yesterday was BB gun practice, the day before that we were taking Geogal back to Colby, the day prior was an all-day basketball tournament for Geoana and when I got home that early evening I felt I had been beat up six days from Sunday. 

And by the way, I learned the hard way that I cannot sit through several hours of kid's basketball without aggravating my back. 

Uh-huh, when I got home I could feel the inflammation in the same old place.  Reminded me of the bed rest I had to undergo after the doc "cut on my back," as my supervisor puts it. 

But fear not, family members.  I may have had a small setback but I've taken things easy for the past two days and the pain seems to be lessening.  Ice and ibuprofen also help.  Geoana has (possibly) another tournament coming up on January 19.  I've got to figure something out in the meantime.  No way am I sitting that long on a relatively hard surface again. 


Other thoughts: 

Black Monday was indeed that way for several NFL head coaches.  Some of those I saw coming, some I didn't. 

And Andy Reid will bid "goodbye" to Philly cheesesteaks and say "hello" to BBQ. 

A story I saw (but did not read) on yesterday morning's ESPN main page.  "10 Reasons The Irish Will Win The BCS Championship."  Not surprisingly, that piece is nowhere to be found today. 


I will NOT be going to the RV show in Wichita this weekend, much as I want to. 

Probably a good thing, too. 

Maybe next year. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Covering two cultures today. 

On my stove, all day long, are two stockpots simmering.  One has posole (that's hominy stew seasoned with red chile, for those of you not in the know), the other has black-eyed-peas.

Posole is a traditional New Year's Day dish in northern New Mexico, eat it for good luck.  Same for black-eyed-peas in the South.  Since both sides of my family hail from Texas I was raised with the belief that one eats black-eyed-peas for good fortune in the new year.

Yes, I'm hedging my bets.

And they both taste good on this cool January day.  It snowed again yesterday and dumped a couple of inches, enough to make things look pristine once again.  These dishes cooking simultaneously also make for a rather pleasant smelling domicile on this first day of 2013.

Just for good measure I also roasted up some green chiles I bought a few days ago.  Now this place really smells like a restaurant in Las Cruces, New Mexico.