Monthly Archives: November 2013

An early end to “No kiss November”

Many men (and some women) take part in an annual tradition called No-shave November aka Novembeard aka Movember aka Brovember wherein participants agree not  to shave all or part of their faces for the 11th month of the year.

1 week beard
1 week beard

I sort of participated this year.  We had some events and things going on early in the month so I didn’t really start until the 18th.  As soon as I told Emily that I planned to start, she re-named the month  “No-kiss November”.  I got a good solid week of growth in before it drove me nuts…I mean before the “no-kiss” part drove me nuts…itchy beard?  Not a problem at all!

Half way shaved
Half way shaved

So last night I decided to shave it off and return to humanity (and kisses).  As with most of my spur-of-the-moment decisions, I started this one late in the evening.  It takes awhile to mow the man-beard and it causes all sorts of pain and emotional distress.

Newly shaved!
Newly shaved!

When I was finally done, I ran into the bedroom to announce to Emily that I had ended “No-kiss November” a  little early.  She rolled over, having been asleep already , and told me to shut up as she was in the middle of a good dream…

Played it til our fingers bled…

I never really understood the Bryan Adams song, Summer of ’69 where he talks about playing his guitar until his fingers bled. I mean, first of all, how? And secondly, why? I just never understood what it meant to play a guitar I guess. Fast forward to this week. I have long wanted to tinker with playing bass guitar. I don’t know why but I just like the sound of bass. They say a lead guitar gets the girls but a bass guitar gets the gigs. I don’t really want either but I think I would prefer gigs over girls since I sort of like the girl I have. So, by dumb luck (the best kind of luck), I discovered Rocksmith 2014, a “game” that works on all of the various gaming consoles. I happened to have a little extra money that I had been saving up so I hooked dumb luck together with extra money and bought a new bass guitar and Rocksmith 2014 for the XBox!

Fender Jazz Bass
Fender Jazz Bass

We hooked it all up the other night and started playing. You see, the game comes with a cable that allows players to hook a real guitars (bass or 6-string)  into the system so a real guitar becomes the game controller.

Playing Rocksmith 2014 on new bass
The game screen

It’s pretty cool how game-play merges with guitar-play. Basically the player sees notes coming down the screen and has to adjust fingerings and hit the string at the right time. The system picks it up and measures tone, accuracy, timing, etc and adjusts the notes to the player’s accuracy.  There are a number of different songs that span the 80s through today.  It doesn’t teach players to read music but it does build experience with playing notes on a real guitar and teaches a form of tab playing for guitar (check out this guy playing).

Playing Rocksmith 2014 on new bass
Get outta my way Dad!

So, Isaac, Abigail and I played for a few hours the other night and had a lot of fun.  I kid you not, though…my fingers are still numb!  I stopped before my fingers bled (I am sharp that way) but now I definitely get that there is a painful part of playing guitar that I hope will be overcome with callouses and experience.  I don’t know if I will ever amount to much as a rock star, but I am sure enjoying the chance to play now and the kids and I get a lot of time to goof around together!  With my playing, it is more likely that our ears will bleed than our fingers!


I was walking from the parking lot to my office the other day when I glanced up and saw the power pole that serves our building.  I usually try to ignore ugly stuff but for some reason, I decided to look up when I heard the flapping of wings.  Air-borne rats (aka pigeons) are dangerous creatures when you walk underneath so I wanted to be able to dodge their bombs.  So, I looked up and noticed this monstrosity hanging on the pole above me.  It always makes me wonder who decided it was a good idea to hang so much stuff on a single pole and who the unlucky person is that gets to work on that mess.  It’s funny though, how important electricity is in our lives…why else would we tolerate such a mess?

Ugly utility pole

Anyhow, I am still without power at the executive deer stand.  You may recall that we installed the meter base and trenched the conduit in September.  The system was inspected without problem and we have been waiting ever since.  I know things like this take time and I also understand that this installation is rural and somewhat hard to access, but it’s not that hard to get to.

New porch light

I have talked with the power company guy several times and he is very nice and very apologetic but I surely wish I could get good news soon!  We have spent time the last few visits wiring the interior components in hopes that our work will somehow bring about the electric elves to fire up the connection to the power company.  I am losing faith in that idea but we toil onward!  And really, it’s ok.   I think the exterior plugs look nice and the porch lights around the doors look classy.

New porch light Outdoor power socket

We added a big spotlight at the peak of the roof to scare off raccoons and zombies and other magical creatures.  For now though, I am still powerless as far as power goes.  We have done well building the place using only a generator but once I got the meter base set, I can barely function without “real” electric.  Funny how that works isn’t it?


I get picked on from time to time and usually by my wife.  Oh I know, some of you who know her well would never believe it, but it’s true…she picks on me!

Ahhh...Jergens lotion!
Ahhh…Jergens lotion!

So the other day, were were both complaining about “winter hands” so I went to the store and started sniffing for the right lotion.  I don’t like hand lotion much but bleeding knuckles suck so I suspend my dislike for the winter months.  Still, I don’t want to smell like a girl.  So I popped the lids on some and did the sniff test.  The scents were all over the place…some were stinky or girly or reminiscent of the southbound end of a northbound moose.

Finally, I happened upon a bottle of Jergens – original scent.  I knew I had my lotion!  I love this stuff!  It instantly transported me to my childhood where one of my relatives had Jergens in her house.  As a child, that smell was one of luxury.  I have no idea why but that’s how I viewed it.  I look back on it now and it’s silly, but my child-brain kicked in and it didn’t matter…I wanted to enjoy that luxurious feel in my home.  And sure enough, Jergens lotion is great!  It doesn’t stay oily and it works well on winter hands!  So I told Emily my story using those words and she has been picking on me ever since!  I don’t even care though…I am living a luxurious life!

There is a second part of the life of luxury I live…

The other night I was preparing to jump in the shower around 11pm.  It was a “work night” and pretty typical of my usual routine.  I cranked the water on, waited for it to heat up and jumped in.  I had my washcloth all lathered up when all of a sudden, water shot everywhere except out of the shower head.      I looked and the flexible pipe broke where it attaches to the wall.  We have long had a cheap low-flow shower head on a junky flexible hose that had a mind of its own.  It finally broke which didn’t make me sad.  Breaking at 11pm made me sad as neither Emily nor I had gotten a shower and we didn’t want to be unshowered for work the next day.

Broken shower hose
Well that sucks

I decided I would just go to Walmart  for a replacement.  It’s the only place open at 11pm.  They had a wide assortment of junk but I spied one shower head that had a metalish hose rather than an all plastic hose…sold!  They didn’t sell any hoses without the head but I never liked the hose or the head we had anyhow.  Surely, the metal hose has to be better than the plastic one that broke.

My new shower head
Ahhh, the life of luxury!

So here is the luxury part.  I didn’t realize it until I got home but this was not a low-flow shower head.  It was an “EcoSpa” and had green ink on its packaging.  It wasn’t until I got home that what made it “eco” was the “water-saving pause switch”.  Talk about worthless.  I saw “USA” on the package when I grabbed it too…I was feeling pretty good …until I got home.  It was packaged in the US of A.  Talk about a whole bunch of marketing crap!  Anyhow, I feel bad having a water-wasting shower head, but I have to tell you, the regular flow shower head is super nice.  I didn’t realize how pitiful the other was until I installed this new head (at, oh, about 12:15am) and grabbed a shower.  Talk about luxurious!

Please don’t judge me for using all these highfalutin things.  I promise to ask Emily to use the pause switch when she shaves her legs…

Thanks Obama

Double whammy…just when I was used to Daylight Savings Time, we go and switch to Standard Time.  It’s dark when I get home now!  Thanks Obama!  And to add to it, it snowed today!  I don’t understand what I did to make you so upset with me but this snow is not cool!  Thanks Obama!

Berries in snow
Thanks Obama!

Big trucks and other stuff

West Virginia is famous for a few things…we have mountains and mountain people and mountain music and mountain stories.  We have both poverty and wealth.  We used to be a blue state but are now a red state.  We play football here and some folks make a little moonshine now and then.  There is natural beauty and a state-wide small town feel.  There are lots of things but biggest on the list of what WV has is coal.  It’s all over the place here and it is a major part of the economy and conversation and politics and daily life for many people.

Really big coal truck!

We were driving around last weekend and came upon a slow-down in traffic.  One of the large coal trucks was being moved.  Well, it wasn’t an entire truck, but rather just the bed of one.  And really, this probably wasn’t even the biggest coal-truck-part I have ever seen here but it was the one I saw when I had a camera ready.  Coal is big here and so is the equipment.  It’s hard to imagine a truck like this one working at a mine site hauling load after load of coal, all day, every day.  And most mines have more than one truck.  It’s amazing how much coal is here and what it means to the state and country, good or bad.  I won’t voice my opinion on the coal matter.  I really only wanted to show a pic of how big some of the not-the-biggest-equipment-I-have-seen-here really is.

Pretty frost-covered leaf

Other than that, I also wanted to lament the recent frosts we have had.  I do not like fall/winter/cold/dark so boo on this leaf and it’s stinking frosty edges, pretty or not!