Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Momma warned me...

When I was a young child(and a not so young child) I was fascinated by the idea of candy/caramel coated apples...mostly because it was the ultimate 'forbidden fruit'.  My mom flat out did not let use eat these...she always said that back in her day, the lowest quality/nasty apples were selected to be covered in candy/caramel, because the only way the could be sold was to cover them in something so people couldn't see what they were getting.

Now...I'm not saying there is any basis in fact here, and I am certainly not accusing any person or company of doing this(other than the creepy lady who used to live down the street from my mom who put this idea into her head)...but I will tell you that I have never had a caramel apple this I did not help prepare myself.

Stories like this fall into the 'it's not paranoia if they really ARE out to get you' category.

Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

The investigation is just kind of getting going, so, far be it from me to even try to guess what might have gone wrong here...but, let's just say I'll give me momma an extra big hug this Christmas.  It just makes me wonder what else she might have been right about...will my face really freeze like that if I keep faces at my wife?


How is that not on purpose?

The last few years, I have done the majority of my shopping on the internet machine, and then waited patiently for everything to show up in the mail.  For the most part, things show up in great condition.  I'll give major props to Amazon....I've never once even come close to returning something for it showing up in bad condition.  If anything, a lot of time their packaging is overkill. 

Place other than Amazon?  Well...things are not always as perfect, and sometimes I sit waiting with bated breath, for things like this to show up in the mail.

Yeah, it doesn't show up the best in the picture, but that crease about 1/3rd of the way across is a bend...right near the 'Do not bend' request.  Inside is a print that I ordered for my new Step-Father from e-bay.

Luckily...the print inside was not creased.  I don't think I can place any blame on the folks I ordered it from...the print was between two pieces of cardboard, a they  wrote 'do not bend' on it. 

Ah, the holidays.


Can't believe I forgot to brag!

So, with our cycle of Handel's Messiah wrapping up, I've had a whole 48 hours now where I haven't had to worry about learning new music. 

That period is now at an end because tonight we had our first meeting for Mid-Columbia's Musical Theatre's production of 'Cats'. 

Yeah...that 'Cats'...Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical about singing, DANCING cats.  Singing, YAY.  Dancing...not so much.  I'm not 100% unathletic...but smooth, stylized, RYTHMIC movements are not my strong point. Neither is wearing tight, clingy unitards. 

There are a few roles with reduced amounts of movement...and luckily, I nailed my audition, and landed one of those roles.  I'll be playing Bustopher Jones. 

I'm excited.  I had more stage time during our production of Les Miserables...but in this those show I have an actual feature roll...two of them in fact because I also will be singing the roll of Gus, the theatre cat, which is a very different part from the one above. 

We get to ease into things...the show is for two weekend in April, and we start slow with only two rehearsals a week through January.  We are expected to start learning music over the Holidays...so I hope my wife and kids enjoy listening to my 'Cat's CD as we go on Christmas visits.


Long Weekend

I was out of town all weekend...the choir I am in, Mid-Columbia Master Singers, did a swing through Pullman and Clarkston, supporting the Washington-Idaho Symphony doing Handel's Messiah. 

Things were made slightly more logistically challenging because there was a graduation ceremony at Washington State University this weekend, meaning we were put up at a hotel in Lewiston, Idaho...convenient for the Clarkston concert, not so much for the Pullman-Moscow rehearsals and concerts.  This meant much criss-crossing of the Palouse, and surprisingly little deer sighting.  I kind of figured with my hunting season over, I would see somewhere around 1200 deer.

I left my house at 2 on Friday, and didn't get home until 8 Sunday, making for a long weekend.  So long in fact, that I had put in a month ago to take Monday off from work.  Good choice.  Other than the length of the weekend, and the fact that I didn't get to see my wife and kids for two days...it wasn't bad.  Both shows went pretty good.  It's always tough to tell from the choir's perspective...you are standing behind the symphony, and so you are lucky if you can hear the 4 or 5 people standing around you...let alone the finished product in the audience. 

Of course, I can't go on a road trip like that without using yelp to plan my meals two weeks in advance. The only real negative thing food/drink wise about my trip was that our rehearsal Saturday morning, less than 12 hours after the last rehearsal, was not good.  There was a lot of vocal fatigue, and with a concert 6 hour away, our choir director begged and pleaded with us to take it easy on our throats, and specifically directed that we not drink any alcohol with out lunches/early dinners.  That made my planned trip to Paradise Creek Brewery for lunch a little less festive than I had hoped it would be.  It did give me an excuse to buy a new growler and get it filled with some Stovepipe Scottish...and, yeah, I might have had a small (16-ounce) taste of it before deciding to get my growler filled...but, they had 8 of their beers on tap...and I limited myself to one.  THAT is dedication and sacrifice.

I also greatly enjoyed a dinner at CD's Smoke Pit in Moscow(pulled pork and brisket platter) and then some fine chicken fried steak and eggs at Hazel's in Clarkston.  It was a very kitschy place that I will need to take my wife and kids to at some point.

Tomorrow it's back to work...got a whole 5 work days left before Christmas.


Not enough.

Our local paper ran a quick two paragraph blurb about two folks in Idaho who were given record fines and lifetime hunting bans for going on a little poaching spree a few years ago.  The local story just basically listed the number of animals and amount of the fine...no real information...just hey, they were fined a lot of money for shooting 1 cow moose, 1 spike elk, and at least 8-deer.

I tried to refrain from judging without getting some more information.  I mean...folks shooting cow moose and spike elk...there is a potential someone doing that is out sustenance hunting...especially in Idaho.  Now...is that legal?  No...as far as I know there is no real provision any more for sustenance hunting, but if I ended up a jury of a poacher, and that person was able to prove that shooting a cow moose is the only think that kept his family from starving...I'd be willing to push for jury nullification.

So...I did a little research, and found this story, and the attached picture removed all desires for leniency from my mind.

Photo borrowed from the Spokane Spokesman-Review, for emphasis. 
A cow moose, a spike elk are one thing.  Spotlighting deer with racks like that, AND THEN being dumb enough to keep those racks.  Nope, nope,nope...that's heinous.  I am 100% okay with lifetime hunting bans.  I am NOT okay with 'time served'.  As a hunter who resists temptation...I'm angry to see this.  Maybe they don't need more jail time, but there has to be some kind of hunter supporting community service they could be sentenced to. 


I wouldn't mind, if...

I really wouldn't have a problem with 24 hour Christmas music stations if 50% of the music didn't just plain suck ass.  Do I really need to hear Billy Idol's 'Christmas Love'(yes, THAT Billy Idol has a Christmas Song) three times in a week?  Nope.

But, I did get to hear a song that was new to me at least this week, and man, did I love it.

The thing is...that video is from 1998.  How does something this epic float around for 16 years before I get to hear it?  Thank gosh for the internet machine, and Bless Mr. Gore for inventing it.

As a singer, I am hear to tell you that that is one of the most challenging pieces that I have heard in a long time.  Your ear, and your sense of timing have to be spot on.  Something like that is very easy to perform badly. 

Since this group was founded at Indiana University, this is just another secret, like lamb bacon, that those fine folks in Hoosierville have been hiding from the rest of us.


Hmmm...now that's an unfamiliar feeling.

For Christmas, the big thing my wife put on her Christmas list was the desire to either get a new treadmill, OR a membership to one of the local health clubs.  I've bought home work out gear before...and the fact is, unless you can afford to drop $2000, you aren't going to be happy.  When we paid $500 for an elliptical, I didn't think that we were being cheapskates...but, all those little things that slightly annoy you build up in a hurry, and then you have a $500 clothes hanger.  So...I knew the answer to this one, especially after pricing up Columbia Basin Racquet Club.  I mean, I don't know what a health club should cost...but I wasn't offended by the price.  It helped that they were having a Black Friday discount for new members.

Anyway...I understand the whole 'Christmas Present' thing...but to me it didn't make sense to pay for something like a health club membership, and not start using it...especially during this dangerous eating season between Thanksgiving and Christmas...so, I gave the membership cards to my wife as an early present.  Oh...and I kept mine, which I finally used this weekend.

Now, I am sore, and tight.  Nothing like going to the gym to make you realize just how much you have let yourself go.  Oh...it's not like I haven't been sore before...or even recently.  Days two and three of hunting season were pretty rough.  It's just that going to the gym and using actual exercise equipment allows you to focus on muscles that you kind of forgot you had...and it makes you sore in places that you forgot you could be sore. 

Well, now due to rehearsals the next few nights, I have a few days to loosen up before I go back to the gym...which is actually tougher, because the longer I wait to go back, the tougher it is to go back.