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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just One Of Those Things

I decided that since I took these pictures in 2013, I should get them posted in 2013. So today before work I am throwing up the last post of the year. And as the other 364 days of this one, the wind is still  blowing.

See all that haze on the eastern (left handed) sides of the ridges of Casper Mountain. That's right, that is wind blown snow. And on the walk that spurned these photos, let me tell you, it blew. Both literally and figuratively. My face is still numb dammit.

Okay, since that was Sunday and this is Tuesday, it isn't. Well, it is, but not due to that walk, but todays. After that walk in the cold, for the second time during the day though, the kids were wore out.
In fact Sullivan came home and snuggled with his favorite toy. I know, he's ridiculous.

The picture of the mountain was taken on our earlier downtown walk as I took the kids for a quick outing after dropping some homemade bread off at work.

These were shot at the same time to show that nowhere is safe from the wind here. Just because we're not on the mountain doesn't keen it doesn't blow.

What little snow we got last night, is on it's happy way to Nebraska.
The rest is a crusty icy mess left behind, waiting to bust your butt when you are not paying attention to where you step.
And I have busted it. Let's not discuss it.
I was trying to get a shorty of the fluffy dog so you could get an idea of the gusting wind. No such luck.
Then there is the ever hopeful and willing Squirrel Hunter Emmitt.
And a rock solid river. Not even an open lead for this poor hapless duck who was silly enough to try to fly in this wind.
I last saw him blowing Eastward. However we did find a little trickle at one of the river drainage areas.
Not that road drainage is a good duck habitat, nor is it even enough water for him to swim in.
Then on our last loop, I caught the sound of this guy. I think he has been making new holes in the snapped off bases of the beaches that were lost in the first big snow storm of the year.

He's not really drilling for worms by the sound of it. He seems to be inspecting the spots for making a hollow. It's the second time in a week that I've seen him in this stand of branches, always at these wounds in the trees.

Well, I better get ready to go to work. It's going to be a busy night.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Not So Heavy This Time

After all that heavy talk last time I needed a break though still suffering from my head cold. So I packed the boys up and took them to the mountain for a snow shoe. I know, people always ask, "Your dogs don't like to be out in that, do they?"

And the answer to that question is? You tell me...

They seem to like it to me. Though in the deep snow they prefer to let me break the trail as you can see here.

Little lazy bums.

So, since I have been so lazy about photos as of late, this is my last ditch effort to get some more photos shoved into my blog before the end of the year.
And to be honest, I went a little hog wild with the camera while out in the snow. Let's not mention the lost lens cap. okay? All right, so I went a little nuts with the lens, but so did the boys. See?
They love that white stuff. Now if only Sullivan would learn not to huff it so it doesn't make him sneeze.
Then try to run off the brain freeze it gives him.
They are absolutely ridiculous, I tell you.
But oh so adorable.
Even when the little bastards insist that all of them will close their eyes for a picture. Sorry about the funky color of those last two photos. I forgot my setting was set for indoor lighting.

The rest is mainly just pics from the rest of the days snowshoe trek. The end has some black and whites I shot as well. Pulling a Betsy.
The light was fantastic out there.
Perfect temp, despite the wind as well.
And though I saw no one but a Sheriff's Deputy while playing, we were obviously not alone in enjoying the snow.
Kind of a neat color contrast between the vibrant lichen and stark snow.
I liked the look of the aspens agains the pines.
Selfie! Kind of.
I thought this old remnants of a tree looked kind of neat with the sage brush growing from it.
We hugged the tree line for the first 3/4 of the walk. One, it's deeper snow, and two, it's less windy. You can see here the hump of snow to the right which is to the SE of the trees. Our wind is typically from the East and North East and you can see where the snow has dropped out of the wind in the lee the tree line provides. Provides snow for the boys to play in, and wear their little butts out.
Then you get up away form the trees and the wind picks up and all the snow is this wind carved stuff. Very pretty but crappy snow shoeing. You can't see the wind per se, but all the crystals in the air is wind driven snow in this shot.
This was provides a better look at todays wind as a gust was headed our way.
Then it was on us.
Even the boys seem to get tired of the wind. Here is Sullivan trying to show me the faster way back t the car.

These are just a few of the wind carved snow. I am always amazed by the different ways the drifts get sliced. The bottom one doesn't due the odd patches of snow with an almost glittery matte finish justice. It was quite neat.
Another cool contrast, but I should have had a filter on the camera for the bright light.

The rest are the black and whites I shot. That's it for the day. See you in 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Time For Some Social Commentary

I have now had comments that I have deleted from the blogs, emails I have ignored, and now a co-worker wants my opinion on the whole Duck Dynasty "scandal". Why have I not commented on it sooner? Because I simply don't care.

Truly, I don't. I don't watch Duck Dynasty. As a whole, I watch very little television. In the last month I think I've watched more than I have in a year. I watched the Carrie Underwood Sound of Music Special that was... "meh" at worst, "okay" at best. And I watched the last two episodes of the last season of the Sing-Off. Notice a theme here? Music perhaps? That is where my attentions normally lay, and to be honest I feel guilty when planted in front of the television unless I feel crappy like I have the last 3 days. So, I have never taken in an episode of Duck Dynasty. Due to this, I don't have much of a formed opinion of it. So let's start there, my limited opinion, and flesh it out a bit.

From what I've seen of the commercials, Duck Dynasty revolves around a family who not only likes to look like a camo-geared version of ZZ Top, but made millions off of duck hunting paraphernalia. And that's all I have. Now, let's discuss the assumptions I can make on such a family. They are a back woods loving, most likely republican and Christian fundamentalist crew. Now, I stated backwoods. Not backwards. I am going to point out that for people that live in certain rural areas, there is a certain type of independence that typically forms. An often republican conservatism ideal of "leave me alone, I pay my taxes now let me do as I wish on my land" that forms with such an independence from many social/city services. I'm not saying it's wrong in the least, and I can see why it forms. Perhaps I understand the necessity for it to form having grown up in Alaska. I don't know, but I do know it happens, it exists and it's the way it is. It's not wrong, and in many ways it is needed for them to function well on their own.

So, with all that said, let's look at the actual "scandal". The patriarch made some comments that were down right infuriating to many. The network that carries the show suspended said patriarch and a whole bunch of people are now using either what he said, or the networks reaction as a soapbox to beat the other side of the argument with. Yeah, I'm tired of it being called a scandal because this sounds an awful lot like day to day affairs in Washington DC these days.

Now, with my limited knowledge of the whole affair outlined, let's discuss my view. We live in America. With that we assume our right to free speech. Papa DD (Patriarch to Duck Dynasty-Papa DD is much easier to type), has that very same right as you or I. He can say whatever he wants. Those may be his beliefs, or they may not. He may have intended to be so insulting, or perhaps he thought everyone would agree with him. Who knows, but he does have the right to say them. He should not be persecuted by the government by saying them, and as far as I can tell, besides the Governor of Louisiana and Sarah Palin praising him and trying to use his words as a pedestal, he has not been persecuted thusly.

While we're on rights though, let's discuss A & E's rights as a business and media outlet. Granted, I think Duck Dynasty and many of their other programs are a far cry from the arts, but many people find them entertaining so they have nailed 50% of their purpose if you were to go by their name, which is better than most politicians fulfillment of their pre-election promises so I'll give them a break here. A & E has the right to portray themselves and their values as they feel appropriate to their targeted audience. If they feel that a member of their broadcast network says something in a public forum that reflects on them in a negative fashion, they have the right to act in such a way to show that these are not their own views, but those of that sole member. And if they so choose to remove that member from their network, than that is their right. To simplify it, they are the employer and Papa DD is the employee. If I was an employee who stated something woefully inflammatory that reflected poorly upon my employer, I would expect termination. That is the world we live in these days. The world of easy access to mass media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Yes, you can make your comments and not expect the government to persecute you unless such comments are threatening towards others or yourself. However, your employer as a private entity can discontinue a professional relationship with you.

And this right here is why I am somewhat careful about what I post right here on my own blog. I'm not even sure if I have ever come out and said, this is the blog of a gay man. Those that know me know that I am. If you read much of my blog, you see I live with "The Guy" and it would appear that with all the animals we have a pretty domestic relationship and you can infer from there. On that note, I rarely discuss my work. I think I mentioned I worked for the local hospital in a single post here when that employee/employer relationship came to an end. And even then it was a very short and to the point post. I don't discuss my work here, in fact you probably have no idea what I do for a living. Well, minus those readers who I am real world friends who do know where and what I do for my cash... I meant that to sound kind of naughty but believe me, it isn't. I as a blogger, am amazingly private about some things. I assume most blog readers can figure out the basics without me shouting them out. If you go online to actually read, I assume you can do a little in-between-the-lines reading as well. As in my day to day life, I am comfortable with who I am without the need to wear pride paraphernalia so all on the street know who and what I am. Then on some things, I as person, have little to no shame and will tell people things they would rather not know. But as I write them I strive to be selective in the facts, pictures, and names I share so that I don't over share on other people, businesses, or employers who have the right to choose when they are presented on any social media form.

So with all that said, let's return to the Papa DD / A & E matter and my opinion. And that opinion is that both parties have the rights to do and say what they did, regardless of whatever the final outcome is. They as individuals and a corporation have the right to portray themselves as they see fit. And all the others that are using the whole mess as a soap box, need to find an issue that really matters to stand up on. And while they're at it, stop running their mouths off for the attention and dig and do something on the issue.

Now that's enough about my personal views. Anyone know a good joke? No good jokes? Then I'm going to make you cry. Instead of watching TV, I opt to watch things that move me like this.
Something that I feel will make me think about my actions and moves in this life. Oh, and let's not forget that I love to watch things like this
too. Just because it makes me cringe, and laugh at the same time. It's just too many years of working with trauma...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays

No, I am not sending out the mass text to my entire phone address book. So sorry. I do not appreciate receiving those and feel that they are an intrusion in to your time. So instead; here, where you can come read it when you want, I will offer my hopes that you have a safe, warm, and laughter filled holiday. Whichever of them you and your family observes.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

BBbbbbbrrrrrrr. Wind Chill Says? -4

Actually, it is not really all that cold out. I had considered earlier taking the boys up on the mountain for some snw shoeing, then I took the dogs fora  walk before heading to the grocery store. And the wind. Damn it's cold. Now I ma thinking with that windchill, watching a movie this afternoon might be more my speed.
Last night I baked up a batch of enchiladas. They were good as always.
A little bit of quinoa, a smudge of green sauce and lot's of grilled chicken, black beans, corn, and cheese. Slather it with red sauce and bake!
Then you throw on some cheese and brown. Or just melt it into a puddle of grease like this cheddar did. So much for being healthy. Okay... So they were never healthy per se.
So I made some wonderful salads to go with the enchiladas. As much as I love enchiladas, I think the salad was my favorite part of the whole dinner. There was a wonderful heirloom tomato that had rich taste. Some clementine orange, fresh pitted cherry quarters and crisp cucumber rounds. I may have to make another salad like it tonight.

The best part of the night though? Bob did the dishes while I walked the kids. Well, the fact that he washed them. I in fact busted my butt on the icy pavement and cracked my head a good one. I'm all right,a little sore this morning but otherwise fine. Just irritated at the time a bit. It was a doozy of a fall and left me stunned for a moment wile the dogs snuffled and snorted at me to make sure I was still alive.

We had a nice early snow which has been nice. But unfortunately frozen water crystals lead to ice. It's just one of those things and of course I couldn't have landed in some cushy snow. Nope I had to biff it on the pavement. Oh well.

Well, off to hunt up a movie I think and have a bit of a knit. Leftover enchiladas and salad tonight for dinner!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

AAAaaaannnndd, I spoke to soon.

Not to say we aren't moving, but now we do not know to where. I was just cooking up the chicken for this evening's enchiladas and thought, I have some free, time, I should write a blog post. It might make me feel more settled about this.

I know it will all get sorted out. I know that we will make the move, get settled in, and move on with the daily act of living. But this has been hanging over our head for months now, and just when we think we have some information we can move on, we get hit with news like this.

What news? I won't get into the gory details but someone other than myself spoke up out of turn and the position in MI is not a for sure thing. We may end up going north to Fairbanks AK. Which, we have our passports, and we can make Fairbanks work. Hey, Alaska is home to me. I can make Fairbanks work well and be back near my family and friends. The old dog, I don't' know if she would make that trip with us. When you are a medium sized dog that made it to 18 years of age, not a lot of your day to day living is assured.

Why are we not happy about the Fairbanks idea? Mainly, money. Alaska is expensive. It will cost us thousands more to ship our stuff that far. We will have to drive for days, and arrange for housing there. And when I say it's expensive, I mean a whole heck of a lot more expensive in Alaska than Michigan. We can get acreage and square footage for 10's of thousands of dollars less in Michigan. And I have this silly dream of having some livestock and I prefer to not battle large carnivores for 6 months of the year to keep a couple sheep alive.

But, alas, it will all get sorted out and plans for the future will get shifted and moved around to make room for the reality of whatever happens. And on that note, I need to go check on the chicken...

I was going to end the post there but as I came in with the chicken I realized that I have been light on the photos. Very light. It's just been whining about moving. And due to that there has been little photo taking because all we have been doing is getting ready to move. So, let me show you what we have been doing.

Cleaning. De-cluttering, and then trying to keep the dust buffalo to a minimum with a household of shedding beasts. In other words, a lot of vacuuming.
To Emmitt's Way of thinking, not a lot has changed. He still lays around the house when not out for romps.
Actually, the older kids who have gone through a couple moves including a major cross country endeavor to move here have figured out something is up. Especially when some pieces of furniture went away.
That's right, we have already started the downsizing. And no, we are not re-painting to neutrals. The woman we bought the house from sure didn't. And If you are unwilling or unable to afford to paint when you buy a place, you shouldn't have bought it. Take the time and make a place yours when you move in.
If anyone knows someone in need of a twin bed, this one is for sale. The cat mostly sleeps on it. Only had a guest in it for a few nights once.
And then all those rooms you forget this house has. It's easy to forget how big it is.
I don't think this room has been so uncluttered since we moved in. It has kind of been a catch-all room for not only us but a lot of the local family. yes that pile to the right is boxes already getting filled.
As our these in the office area. Another catch all that still has some items that are not ours in it. It too is a lot more empty and organized than it has been in a while.
And then there are these already packed boxes. I don't believe in waiting up until the very end to pack  it all. Last weekend we worked on the downstairs and I packed a lot of items up and put them away. The Guy focussed on the downstairs bathroom that I neglected to get a picture of. It is a largely unused facility in the house and the wall paper had started to peel of it's own accord so he spent the weekend cleaning that up with some bead board and trim.
Oh, and the other bedroom/my former blocking room. Yes, that's right. If you count the other odd office room downstairs this house has 4 bedrooms. 2 of which are non-conforming. If you know anyone interested it is listed through Jason Cummings at Remax. And if someone needs a queen sized bed we could probably be talked out of this one too, though we were planning on sending this one with us, But we do have my old Futon.
And for those sharp eyed ones out there, yes, at the end of the family room that was my stash. It looks so small when put away appropriately. It may be thinned a bit before moving. Who knows... And again, the loom is going with me! Unless you can offer me LOTS of money to replace it when I get settled wherever we are to be.

Now, off to the shower so I can continue the day as we have planned. Yeah right, planned. Ha!