Thursday, August 31, 2006

SandScruff: Buried Alive at Warren Dunes

Last weekend was our annual trip to Warren Dunes. The weather was pretty crappy, but we still had an awesome time. I got hit in the face with a football (thanks Biscuit!), we ate cold brats (it rained on our fire before we finished cooking them), and it might have been colder outside of the water. Yep, it was great.

The funnest thing we did (at least for me) was digging holes. After digging in the sand for like a foot, we would strike water. Then we could build these little caverns and try to connect them all under the sand. Then they collapsed and we were left with a huge hole. Naturally, we put Scruff in the hole and buried him. This was the highlight of the trip.

When he was buried up to his head, we built a body around him. It was actually kind of freaky. Here's what he looked like:

He looks like some creature that's being born of the earth. Very Uruk-kai-ish. You know, those orc-types from Lord of the Rings.

Then we did a mock of that picture that floats around in emails where the kid is looking for his head. That's my red hindend.

Unfortunately, we didn't have a video camera, because the next thing we did was hilarious. We put a towel over his head so it looked like a ball under a towel or something. Then he would start moving his head around, so it looked alive. Man, it was hilarious. But the last thing that happened was pretty funny too. Some strangers passed by and wanted to get a picture with the head. It looked so funny, that I took a picture too:

The funniest thing was that the guy just grabbed Scruff's head like that was no big deal. Scruff couldn't do anything about it and we just laughed.

It was a great weekend as always. I'm looking forward to next year and digging more holes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Interstate Driving: Crazy Michigan Drivers

We just took a trip to Warren Dunes this weekend and it was a lot of fun. I'll be sure to hit up all the highlights in a later post (after I upload a few pics). For now, there's just one thing I want to talk about.

We took I-65 up toward Chicago and then 94 E into Michigan. I've noticed before that Michigan drivers seem to be a bit more aggressive than those in Indiana, but nothing too reckless. And it's probably just a few crazy drivers and not the whole state. Most of the drivers in my neighborhood have their license revoked and rely on gas powered motor scooters and go-carts to get around. So it may be the case that I just don't have enough experience around people who actually drive automobiles.

Anyways, as we entered Michigan borders, I didn't notice anyone driving too crazy. There was a bit more road kill than I remembered seeing in Indiana, but that's about it. Then as I was glancing at a few billboards, I noticed a sign that I had never seen before. Here's what it read:

Injure/Kill worker
$7500 fine
+ 15 years

What? I asked my wife if I had read the sign right, and she confirmed it. It was written on a white background with black letters. Posted like a speed limit sign. I thought this was absurd. As if the negatives of killing someone doesn't already outweigh the positives. "Oh crap! $7500 fine! I better be extra careful not to kill someone!"

Naturally I was bothered by this and it solidified my belief that Michigan drivers are insane. Then I did a little research and found this document: International Association of Chiefs of Police: 2003 State Legislative Report. If you check out page 120 under "Traffic Saftey," it says that a woman was found not guilty because "the highway work zone safety laws did not clearly define a work zone." So now everyone can be clear about what a work zone is and what punishment awaits those who kill in a work zone. Well, I for one I feel much safer now.

It also comes as no surprise to me that the above mentioned driver was female. But that's a different story.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Improv Everywhere

Okay, these guys are just brilliant. I guess they're based in New York and do planned sponatneous acts of hilarity. I haven't looked at everything they've done, but the video about Home Depot is hilarious.

They got a bunch of people together (I think around 200), went into a Home Depot, and everyone just froze in the middle of doing something. They synched their watches so that after five minutes, everyone would go back into action. It looks hilarious. I guess they've done tons of stuff like that, which would be so much fun.

I'm guessing there are groups that do similar things around the world, but I would love to be a part of something like that here in Indy. Pranks are so fun. And they're not mean pranks or whatever, just fun little things that everyone enjoys. I would love to do something with the canal. Not sure what, but something fun. Like getting people to sing under a bridge, or swim in the canal with floaties or something. I'm sure with a group of people, something funny would come up. Anyways, maybe I'll see if there's a group in Indy doing this already. I'll be sure to let you know if I find anything. Gosh, that'd be so much fun. Anyways, here's the link to see Improv Everywhere missions:

Improv Everywhere

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Helping the Needy in Indy?

My wife and I decided to go out to eat yesterday to enjoy our last night before she starts classes again. She works full time and will be taking classes in the evening, so our time together (which already feels like not enough) is going to be even less. So anyways, we decided to go to Bazbeaux for a last meal, so to speak.

If you visit Indy, or live here and have never been, you should definitely eat at Bazbeaux. May be the best pizza in the city. At the least, we really like it. We got the garden pizza, which was great as always. My wife had to ask for the salt shaker to put salt on her pizza. I thought that was insane. Anyways, it was a pleasant meal and nothing exciting happened.

Then we were leaving and walking toward the car when a lady approached us. We had already gotten to the car when she started talking to my wife, “I like your shoes.” I’m a fairly pessimistic guy and usually think that people have hidden motives and agendas in almost everything they do. At least with strangers. So immediately I thought this lady was going to end up begging for money and was just trying to find a way to butter us up.

“Thanks, I got them at Eddie Bauer,’ my wife replied. If you ever pay my wife a compliment on her clothing, she will instantly tell you where she got them and usually how much they cost. I still haven’t decided for sure why I think she does this, but I think I have a pretty good idea. I’ve also been married long enough to know it’s unwise to write what I think it is on my blog.

If you’ve ever been approached by someone asking for money, you know that they usually try to find some way to connect with you. Our newly acquainted friend figured that Eddie Bauer would be that connection. “Oh yeah, Eddie Bauer. With them black and white bags?” My wife, who is without guile responds, “Uh, I don’t think they have black and white bags.” “Oh, yeah. Well, my name is Vicki.” She shook both our hands and asked for our names and was very friendly and all smiles.

At this point we were established friends. Then she got right to the point, “Can I get a sandwich?” This was much better than asking for money, and we really did want to help. We weren’t near anyplace that we could pick up a quick sandwich without paying like ten bucks for it. So after talking to her for a while about where to go and whatnot, we finally told her to stay where she was and we would go pick it up. At this point, we were no longer friends. She got upset and starting saying that she’d, “heard that before. Everyone says that.” We kept telling her to stay there, even as she walked away. Before getting out of earshot, I heard her say something like, “I’ll be here. I live on this street.”

After picking up a sandwich at Starbucks, we went back to try to find Vicki. We spotted her near where we had left her and gave her the sandwich. She thanked us and asked the Lord to bless us and we were on our way.

There really is no point to this story. Sorry if you were looking for one. The thing I wonder is if I'm really helping Vicki at all. Am I just encouraging her to rely on others for everything? Is that a bad thing? Am I only helping because I would feel guilty if I didn't? Does it matter in the end?

I will note that it seems like there are a lot more homeless people in Indianapolis this summer. My wife disagrees, but I don’t remember them being this visible. Not sure what that is about. I’m just thankful for what I have.

If you want to read a much more entertaining story about an experience I had with the Indianapolis homeless (and I guess I shouldn’t assume they are homeless, but I don’t know what else to call them at this point) click here to read the story. This one actually has a point to it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Changing back to Blogger Comments from Haloscan

Well, I've decided to go back to using the blogger comments instead of Haloscan. Blogger has improved a lot since I started and for reasons that you probably don't care about, I decided to switch back. It's fun messing around with my template, but I'm such a novice that it gets frustrating and I'm really slow. But I think my meager hacking skills did the job. The only downside is that now you can't see any comments from the old Haloscan stuff. That sucks and I'm going to search around to see if there is a way to copy them over. If you know of a way, please let me know.

I think I'm done tinkering with the template for a while. But it's so dang fun. I came across some good websites for doing blogging improvements and stuff. I'll leave the links below. They're worth checking out. If you blog. If you don't, then you should start. Because if you have time to be reading this, that means you have time to be doing it yourself. So, why not? Phil? And let me know when you do so I follow along. It's fun. Okay, that's my lame techy update. Uber-noob.

Weblog Usability
Quick Online Tips

I'll add more as I come across them. Please add yours too.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Friday Night Men's Group (8.19.06): Mustard seeds and Limoncello

Well, we finally got the Men's Group rolling again last Friday. It really was a good group. Hopefully we can keep it up on a weekly basis again. Although it was odd not having the likes of Phil, Joel, Ike, Scruff and Caleb there. Life goes on though.

Luke was kind enough to host and to share some home-made limoncello. Limoncello is an Italian liquer that tastes, well, lemony. (Visit here for details) The real stuff I've had (real as in store bought) wasn't as good as Luke's. At least in my opinion. Luke told us how he made it, but I forget what he said. Sounds like it wasn't too hard. Whatever he did, it was worth it.

We then had a good discussion about having faith of a mustard seed and how to move mountains. Also what disciplines are required to cast out difficult demons. Needless to say, it was a great group.

We spent after group hours playing foosball upstairs. I've always stunk at that game, but had a surprisingly good time getting whipped. The rest of the weekend was great and I'll try to post about it later. Only a few more weeks till we head to Santa Barbara. I'm giddy!

Here's a quick recipe for making your own limoncello. This recipe is courtesy of Divina Cucina. (see left column of web page):

"Soak the zest of 5 organic lemons [I have no idea what the "zest" of a lemon is, but it sure sounds good] in 2 cups whole grain alcohol for 3 days.
(If you can't find the alcohol, use 100 Proof vodka and reduce the water to 1 cup.) Make a simple syrup by heating 2 cups of water and 1-1/2 cups sugar.
Mix together and strain out the lemon peels.
Keep in the freezer.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Save the right template!

Holy Shat! Man, I'm ticked right now. I've spent forever trying to rebuild my template. I was messing around with stuff and thought I had saved a backup copy, but it was a backup of the wrong blog. So when I screwed up and tried to start over, I had the wrong template. So I just finished and I think it's all back to normal. If you find anything odd (browse through the archives if you have time), please let me know. I'd really appreciate it. I thnk I also might consider just getting my own website. If you have any thoughts/suggestions, that'd be great.

On a different note, our good friend Joel is back to blogging. He moved to Texas and will be updating us on his adventures. Be sure to check him out at I'm also adding him to the blogs on the sidebar for future reference.

Joel's Blog

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wisdom of Dumbledore

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. Life keeps rollin on. Yesterday was a fun little afternoon (it’s funny how my days don’t really seem to begin until after I get off of work. Another reason I wish I loved my job). Got to play some piano, then go looking for Rhoda who had run away. That was scary, but luckily she wasn’t gone long. By the way, Rhoda is a Seeing Eye dog for the blind lady next door. Then the wife and I had some dinner and played euchre and watched a movie. We saw The Constant Gardner. It was good, but not very uplifting.

The best thing about yesterday was probably finishing the Chamber of Secrets book on tape. I never got into the Harry Potter books until now, but they’re good. I really liked this one. Best quote (or one of them) was when Dumbledore (I’m not sure how stuff is spelled since I listen to it on tape, so sorry if things are wrong) says something about a person being known by their choices or something. Hang on I’ll find it…here we go:

"It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

That’s such a good quote. Especially when you don’t like the job you’re in and struggling with who you are and what you want to do with your life. Especially in a society where people get paid millions for being able to jump high, sell high, hit hard and be attractive, and when they make stupid choices it doesn’t really matter. It’s a good quote to remember. I could go on, but I won't right now.

We’re playing frisbee tonight. It’s been awhile, so I’m looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What you crave

This morning I am being reminded why I only eat White Castle once every 6 months or so. I had “the crave” yesterday and there was no stopping it. It really did taste good, but now I’m paying the price. My stomach has been rumbling all morning and every time I let some gas out, I’m rolling the dice. I hate not knowing what’s going to come out until it’s too late. And since when did they start advertising their burgers as “Sliders?” That’s definitely a negative term that was invented to make fun of them. Now I see them using it in their commercials. And it's funny how eating a White Castle burger is the exact same experience as committing sin, or less specifically, doing something you know is stupid. Before you do it, you can think of nothing else and even though you have some faint memory of knowing it is wrong, you are able to find a million ways to justify doing it again. Then it's great while you're eating it and you feel pretty good. But the second you're done eating, you get that sick feeling of, "What did I just do?" Then it's nothing but regret until enough time passes that you forget what was so terrible about it in the first place. Anyways.

Yesterday church was very restorative for me. (how's that for segue?) The prayers were beautiful and I found it easy to pay attention. I hate being distracted by my own thoughts during church, and thankfully I didn’t have that problem yesterday.

Then we went to rent a movie and get some meat. Then I made my dining decision. We rented the movie “V for Vendetta.” Overall, it was a decent movie. Not near as good as its inspiration: The Count of Monte Cristo (at least the book, the movie wasn't all that great). But I enjoyed it. One thing that stood out was the excessive use of the word, “bollocks.” It was like the Wachowski brothers knew one British word and decided to use it whenever they wanted to remind us that we were in England. Ridiculous, but not bad enough to ruin the movie. So that was my evening.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Summer Nights

Another weekend come and gone. We finally got the piano moved into our house, which is really nice. It’s so much easier to practice when you can do it for little 10 minute intervals instead of having to plan an hour session. It’s freaking loud in our little house though.

Friday night we tried to get the Men’s Group going again. Third year anniversary last Friday. It was a fun night, although we never did get into a structured group. We saw pictures of camps present and past and drank some fine brew (thanks Luke!) and as often happens when a group of men get together and drink, we ended the night by beating each other. Classic games of Rock, Paper, Scissors complete with thwacks for the losing party. We even organized ourselves into teams. It was a great time.

Saturday was a fairly relaxing day. The wife and I went to a wedding. She knew the bride from when she used to work at Nordstrom’s. It was a stark contrast to our wedding, but I enjoyed it. Hard to get used to hearing Radiohead as the guests leave and watching a power point presentation in the middle of the ceremony. To each his own I guess.

That night as we were heading in, we saw the moon rising behind our house. My wife let me grab the camera and we headed out to take a few pictures. I haven’t uploaded them all, but this on is my favorite.

There are a few more up at The Rainbow Connection. (by the way, if anyone knows any good sites that gives free lessons on taking better digital pictures and such, please let me know) It was a beautiful night and I wish I could remember to take more time to just go out and find a nice spot to enjoy an evening. I really enjoy doing stuff and forget to just relax every once in a while.

Then Sunday was spent mostly with family, doing a bit of yard work, playing washers, and watching a movie with Mom. It was a great, classic summer weekend.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day for yesterday (day after my 7 month anniversary): my wife says to me, “I’m not supposed to support you in every aspect of your life.”

Monday, August 07, 2006

Summer Camp 2006

Just finished another week of camp, and it was awesome as always. I figured that this was my 14th year in a row going to the same camp. That means that none of the Jr. High boys that I counseled this year were born when I first went to camp. Crazy. And every year always seems better than the one before it. I know that’s not true, but it seems like it. This year we had eleven JHBs, which is a record for Jon and me. That was cool to have a big group. They were a great group of guys and we only lose three next year. So hopefully they all come back next year and bring friends.

I’ve been talking about this a lot already and I seem to say it every year, but I swear camp is like one of the best weeks of the year. I feel more like myself at camp than I do pretty much anywhere else. It’s like when you’re single and looking for that one person that you can be yourself around. Single guys are always looking for the good looking gal who still fits in like one of the guys. Camp is sorta like that. Like when I’m at work, I’m definitely not myself. I just do my work and get paid and nobody really has any idea who I am. My co-workers would be shocked to see me at camp. Anyways, all this to say that it was a great week and helped remind me who I am. It’s always good to get that once a year reminder. I’ll probably post more about camp later, cause there was tons of fun stuff that happened. Actually, I probably won’t, because I’m not very good at keeping up with blogging. Anyways, here’ s the link to our camp website. Can’t wait for next year!

Saint John's Camp