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Saturday, November 20, 2004


So...G-Had got stuck in the mud (check out his story - you may have to scroll down a bit). A pretty good story, complete with beautiful artwork. But...clearly, he is an amateur when it comes to getting stuck in the mud....

My two closest pals, Scott (‘Tiska) and Pete, and I, all owned pansy little 2-wheel drive trucks - me a 1984 4-cylinder Ford Ranger (I miss that thing almost as much as my Cougar - I really need to do a tribute to both someday, on this blog, but especially the Cougar, given the way it committed suicide immediately after I got rid of it), Scott had (heck, still has) a busted up rusted up S-10. He's always going on about how tough it is, and about how it is going to last forever, but since he's pretty much replaced everything on it by now, it's not like it's really the same truck. The closest that’s left to original equipment on that thing is probably the paperclip he jammed in the stereo to make it work when he first bought the truck. Pete also had a beat-up S-10. Between the 3 of us, we probably got stuck at least 2 dozen times when we were in high school. If that's an exaggeration, it's not by much.

My truck looked like this, except dark blue and silver:

I’m not sure which is my favorite stuck in the mud story. Here is one….

So….’Tiska and I were going to go fishing at this pond that my dad and I used to go to. We hadn’t been for about 5 years. I’m frankly surprised that I could find it again, since I was probably about 13 the last time I had been there, so obviously hadn’t driven, and we’d only been there like 2 or 3 times. But I can usually get to a place if I’ve been there even once. On the way out, it was a beautiful day. I can’t remember exactly what the weather was like, except that it seemed like we would be in for some good fishing. The last 3 or 4 miles to the pond are all dirt roads, but it was dry, and didn’t seem like it planned on raining or anything. We were in my truck.

We got within a mile of the pond, and were just about to go over the last hill before we got to the place where you pull in to drive to the pond (it’s one of those that’s set back in the middle of a section), when it began to rain. A lot. We tried going forward for awhile, but soon bogged down (that truck would get bogged down in a pile of dog poo). This must have been like our senior year, because ‘Tiska was all huge and buff by then. For some silly reason, we thought maybe he could just push us out of our predicament.

So ‘Tiska hops out of the truck (getting soaked in the rain) and proceeds to push the truck along. That thing was so light that if I got the back tires spinning, he could just push it all over the road. Seriously, it was that light – me and Tyson Oden picked up the back end one time, and neither one of us was what you might call World’s Strongest Man material. In a previous stuck in the mud encounter, we had worked out that I was better at driving a tire-spinning 2-wheel drive truck in the mud, while ‘Tiska was the better pusher. It was quite comical. We would get a ways down the road, with ‘Tiska pushing behind, and then we would suddenly lurch toward one shoulder (a fair-sized ditch that we would NEVER have gotten out of). So then ‘Tiska would come slipping and sliding around to the ditch we were heading toward, and would start shoving mightily on the front of the truck until we got somewhat centered on the road. So we proceeded like this awhile.

Eventually, we decided that:

1) it was going to take us all day to get to the end of that mile of road

and more importantly

2) having never been past the turnoff for the pond, I had NO idea what would be at the next intersection – if there was one.

So we abandoned the truck, and set out on foot. Being veterans at getting stuck in the mud on country roads, we knew that Step 1 was to find a farmer who could haul us out with his tractor – he wouldn’t be doing anything useful anyway, what with the rain..

I forget the path we took, except that it was something like this…..Walk 2 miles east on a bendy twisty road, and find NOTHING, other than an abandoned farmhouse. Return to area where truck was. Walk 2 miles west, find NOTHING, other than an abandoned farmhouse. Walk 2 miles north, find NOTHING, other than an abandoned farmhouse. This was in southern Pawnee County, if I remember right – that area is DESOLATE. I think you could pick any old abandoned farmhouse, move in, and nobody would notice for years.

We happened across an old falling-down barn at one point. There were no houses anywhere in sight. So we had an idea to pull off some old boards from the barn, and use those as traction. I can’t remember now, whether we suddenly had a lucid moment and thought, “Yeah right,” and abandoned that idea, or whether we actually tried it. At any rate, that idea never panned out.

At some point, 2 things happened:

1) The rain stopped


2) I hit upon the brilliant (it seemed to me) idea of following the railroad tracks we had stumbled across on our previous southward foray. I knew this would take us to a town fairly quickly.

We did this. I tried to get ‘Tiska to run, but by then his heels were bloody, because he either wasn’t wearing socks, or they had slipped down, or something. (There’s some amount of humor in me chiding ‘Tiska for not running, since he was in track and stuff and was actually a decent runner, whereas, according to my dad, I was so slow running the bases in baseball that you had to use those earthquake-detecting laser devices to see if I was moving at all). So we went plunking down the railroad tracks like a couple of hobos. I’m sure we didn’t walk as long as it seemed like along those tracks – probably it just seemed like a lot because of all our previous tramping.

Finally, we spotted a town (I don’t know which one - I can never keep those Pawnee County towns straight). So we kept plunking along – the railroad ties being too close together to take one per stride, comfortably, and too far apart to take 2 at a time. Before we got to a town, we saw a little farm house. Eureka! Somewhat sheepishly, and soaking wet, and probably muddy up to the knees, with ‘Tiska probably leaving a blood-trail from his heels, we went up and rang the doorbell. The farmer answered the door quite awhile after we rang – he seemed to have been napping. We explained our situation. Just about anyone else in the world would have laughed at us and told us to get our muddy asses off their porch, but Midwestern farmers are obliged to help out, no matter what the circumstances – it’s something genetic. So he got his irrigation boots on, and waddled out to his shed. BUT, he had to spend about 20 minutes unhooking some kind of implement from his tractor first, and then locate a log chain. Once he did, we were soon off – with ‘Tiska and I sitting on the tractor’s wheel wells beside this rotund, flannel-shirted saint.

I’m kind of surprised we could even lead him back to our truck, since we had come to his house via railroad, but we did it. I should say I did it – if it were up to ‘Tiska to find it, we would probably still be jouncing along on that tractor. 2 things 'Tiska can't do: 1) row a boat and 2) navigate. I don’t know how far his house was from the truck, but it seemed like the longest ride EVER. Once we turned onto the dirt (mud) roads, chunks of mud the size of cats started flying up off the tires and hitting ‘Tiska and I in the back of the head and in the spine. At least the farmer, chuckling, slowed down a little, so the mud chunks that were hitting us were just muskrat-sized. It’s impossible to state what a long ride that was.

We finally made it to the truck – the farmer seemed impressed by how far we had walked. He hooked up the truck to his tractor, and started pulling it out. I was trying to drive it in reverse while he pulled, but it was sliding all over the road, so he told me just to put it in neutral and he would pull me. This turned out to be worse. Frustrated, the farmer said, “It’s probably dry enough you can just drive out now.” So...we unhooked the truck, turned it around, and drove out. When we got back to gravel, we thanked the farmer, and tried to pay him. He refused payment, saying we had earned it, after all that walking. In actuality, I think that he would have felt bad taking money from a couple of kids who were obviously so stupid. He drove off into the sunset, and me and ‘Tiska sat there feeling like the dumbest guys in all of the world.

If we had just walked the rest of the ½ mile to the fishing hole, fished the whole day, and then walked back to the truck, it would have been dry enough to drive right out. Instead, we spent the whole day slogging along on mud roads and railroad tracks.

I learned some valuable lessons that day. I’ve forgotten them all by now, but I’m sure there was something…

G-Had: That’s hilarious, that you had a towtruck (or ‘wrecker’ as ‘Tiska calls them) come and pull you out. Next time, just find a farmer – seriously, they don’t mind – I think that’s the kind of stuff they sit around talking and laughing about over coffee at CO-OP every morning. And they will almost never take payment, except the guy that tried to extort ‘Tiska and Pete for like $50 for pulling them ½ mile with his tractor one time.

I wish I could tell the best story ever about getting stuck in the mud, where ‘Tiska and Tiny Nick stole a tractor, but alas, I wasn’t there. Perhaps ‘Tiska will share as a guest blogger…..


Friday, November 19, 2004


Every time Jenn & I, or Abbie, get ready to leave for a break, it starts to snow. Doesn't matter what time of year, doesn't matter if it hasn't snowed a lick up to that point, doesn't matter if it's already snowed several times before...

Mommy, why does God hate me? That road! The road to Denver, via Ft. Collins, from Laramie..Not an entirely safe drive under dry conditions in daylight, let alone at 2 in the morning, with falling snow, wet/icy pavement, and dangerous cold.

I've probably posted this before, but I must revisit a quote from the archduke of aphorisms - Edward Abbey:

"Fire lookout, 1400 hours, ferocious lightning storm. Me and God. That fucker is trying to get me again, God damn him. But I got me old .357...."

Funny that Abbey was so quotable, given that he once said, "Proverbs save us the trouble of thinking. What we call folk wisdom is often no more than a kind of expedient stupidity."

Reading Deadeye Dick. So far, it has all the makings of a great story. But Vonnegut is a great author. Probably our greatest living author. Anyone care to suggest someone else whom I then can deride mercilessly....?

Let us know when you make it to PA, Bonnie. We'll miss you.


Thursday, November 18, 2004


OK. I'ma end the quiz now, since all 6 of my readers have already taken it...

So..the answers (with comments):

Question 1: What is my rule regarding eating while going to the bathroom?

OK if you put the last bite in your mouth before you enter the bathroom.

I can't quite remember when I decided this rule for myself, but I remember a conversation about this topic that took place around 8th grade with my friend Tyson O. He concurred with my rule.

Question 2: My favorite Pablo Neruda poem?

Clenched Soul. I also really like Girl Lithe and Tawny and Saddest Poem, so some of you got partial credit.

Question 3: My favorite movie line of all-time..?

"You sank my battleship" - from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

I really like all of these movies and quotes, but it doesn't get much better than the grim reaper playing Twister and Battleship with Keanu Reeves.

Question 4: Preferred floor covering?

Bearskin rug. Yup.

Question 5: Favorite genre of vegetable..?

Root crops.

I read once what the difference between 'tubers' and 'root crops' was. I forget now, but I remember that root crops were the ones I liked the best.

Question 6: Preferred future career?

Yukon River hermit.

The only contestant who missed this one was Terra, and she's a dog.

Question 7: Which of the following have I never eaten..?

Edible undies.

Only one of you thought that I had previously experienced edible undies. I don't know what that says about your opinions about my personality...

Question 8: What is my current waist size?


This question wasn't quite fair for those of you who don't live near me. I used to be a size 34 waist, with 34 inseam (I was square). Gradually, the inseam size has decreased to 31. My motivation not to gain weight as I get older is that I just purchased a pair of 31" waisted Carhartts. My inseam seems to keep getting longer...I can wear a 34, but 36 is better. 35 would be perfect, but they don't make those, typically. Especially not with a 31" waist. Now you know more than you probably ever thought you would about my trouser tribulations.

Question 9: On average, about how often do I think about the movie "Contact?"

Once/6 months

This question (and answer) is highly debatable. Ever since the infamous "thinking about the movie Contact incident," I've thought about that movie quite a bit more frequently than if that incident had never taken place. But on average, over the course of my life, once every 6 months is about right.

Question 10: Favorite Wesley Willis tune?

The Vultures Ate My Dead Ass Up

There's really not a Wesley Willis song I don't like, but man....it doesn't get much better than that...

So there you have it. Thanks for playing.. Jenn was the big winner, followed by Abbie. And J, who I assume is jeremywhite, takes the bronze.



So I'm applying for a job in Ireland. An 'Assistant Lecturer' position - teaching biogeography, GIS, human impacts, stuff like that. The application is funny. It asks about subjects taken and results of examinations, for 'post-primary' school. Well, according to the superinformation hyperspeedwaynet, 'post-primary' means 'secondary,' which means high school. Do these people really care that I took 3 years of mechanical drafting, 3 years of French, 2 years of accounting, in high school? What am I going to write in the final examinations section? ...."During my senior year, I took pre-calculus and trigonometry (got a C!!! Wooo!) and spent most of the time writing poetry and taking naps. I didn't do so hot in chemistry, due to frequent equipment malfunctions..."

In the U.S., someone asking you about your high school career when applying for a college instructor job would be as meaningful as asking what you did in kindergarten.

Anyway....dunno. Ireland was just ranked (by The Economist) as the best country to live in for 2005. The U.S. was 13th or something.

Doubtful that I will even get interviewed (around January 17), but..what the heck. Pays pretty good, but $60,000-$100,000 might not go far in Dublin.

How does one go about moving to a foreign country? Does U-Haul rent 'moving boats'?



OK, I'll give one more day on the "how well do you know m" quiz, and then I'll reveal the answers.

Jenn & Abbie kicked arse. I suppose it's an issue of proximity, to some degree.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Been awhile since I've done one of them Friendtest quiz thingies...

So...test your knowledge of the artist futurely known as m here.


Monday, November 15, 2004


I figured someone would start a 'not sorry everybody' site eventually. Here is one. Note that there are only a couple dozen pictures in the gallery of this one, in contrast to over 425 pages of pictures at SorryEverybody.

So based on some preliminary research, the people posting pictures to the 'not sorry' site are:

1) more likely to be holding guns
2) homelier, on average
3) more likely to use cursewords

They sure got us with that 'Liberal' epithet, though. Dang. That stings!

I was thinking of making T-Shirts. These T-shirts would be black, and would have a big red "L" on the front (you know, like a Scarlet Letter thing). On the back, they would say "Liberal" in big red (or maybe blue)letters.

Anyone interested?


Sunday, November 14, 2004


Sooo...after I graduate...and after Europe (I guess)..my plan is this...lash a bunch of bigass logs together, pile on a bunch of provisions and equipment (pinto beans, rice, water purifier, rain tarp, whisky, pipe tobacco, fishing tackle), shove it into the the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam, and float all the way down to the ocean. Anybody want to come with?



Ol' Dirty Bastard was never one of my favorite Wu-Tang members, but clearly there is no justice in a world where this Ol' Dirty Bastard dies suddenly at 35, whereas this old dirty bastard, at age 63, after 4 previous heart attacks, turns out to be just fine.


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