The commute home today was a tad long

I saw a lot of this today.
Snowstorm Traffic 12-13-2007
Total commute time - three hours fifty-five minutes. I had to stop once to clear the pile of snow the windshield wipers had made on the hood of the car. My iPod was full of podcasts to listen to. Had a long call with my niece. Didn't have a "bio" break. I must be getting mellow. No one had to peel me off the ceiling of the car when I arrived home. Once there, a fire was lit and the hot toddy's and dinner were made. Snug in our cozy home, in front of the fire, on a long winters night. The shoveling can wait till morning.


FFA Manual
Yes, I was a member. I spent a year at Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute as a forestry major. I joined the FFA and achieved the degree of Greenhand. That's my pin attached to the cover. I never got one of those cool corduroy jackets, but I coveted the ones my classmates had. They made you look like you were a member of a motorcycle gang. Most people don't know about the FFA, but the movie Napoleon Dynamite put it on the map in this new century. Being at Essex Aggie was a wonderful experience. I sometimes regret that I left. The reasons I left were all good though. I enjoyed my limited time there and have many great memories of the place. Students got half a day in class and half a day in the field or on the farm. I got to manage timber stands, plant trees, study lots and lots of biology and also work at traditional farm skills. The staff were all friendly and helpful. My fellow students were a pleasure to be with and all had a good sense of themselves. My father always said I was the happiest there. It must have showed. Being on the super honor roll was evidence of that. Whenever I drive by the school I always feel a sense of pride and gratitude. I wish I could go back all over again.


"Let's play trucks!" A cry heard from boyhood days. It was usually replied to with an approval. Out would come the fleet of metal trucks from our toy boxes and things would settle down into truck territories. First up, the roads. You would need a piece of wood, like say a shingle, at least two inches wide and eight inches long. The process would begin by dragging that stick across flat, dry, powdery dirt in a neighborhood yard. The dryer and dustier the better. The roads were defined with side by side wind rows of the powder that would serpentined thru the yard. If you had a truck with a plow or an earth mover truck, all the better. That was more authentic. Your road was sacred. If another wanted to cross your road project and make an intersection they would have to ask permission or face the wrath of a pissed off seven year old. Once the road was done, dump trucks were loaded with dirt and gravel then deployed at all different construction projects. Loads could also include grass clippings, more dusty dirt or wood chips. All vehicles were actually hand pushed around. (batteries not even an option and no remote controls!) The sounds came from various tones of raspberries blown from the lips of their respective drivers. As progress would continue there were more sound affects but hardly any chatter was produced. Occasionally a declaration would be uttered like "this tree trunk is the gas station. Everyone needs to come here to fill up after each trip" and thus a new civic law was enacted for the backyard municipality. If you passed another boy propelled truck on the road the correct greeting must be uttered in the deepest construction man tone possible. The greeting was "Hi Joe" and the reply was (in an attempted deeper tone) "Hi Joe" and off you'd go. The thing was, EVERYONE was named Joe. No Mike, Billy, Jimmy or Jerry, you were Joe. Is there any other name for a self respecting truck driver? No way Jose! These projects could last hours and hours. If it was a particularly impressive civil plan , it could continue into an additional day. The end result was a development plan everyone would be proud of. Another result was the dust and dirt would cover elbows, shins and knees. If it was a particularly ambitious project on a humid day we could sometimes have faces so covered in dust it would look like we had been given black eyes. The mark of a truly successful day of trucks. "Right Joe?" "Right Joe." brrrrrmmmm, Brrrrrrruuuuurrrrrr, ruuum ruuuum errrrrchhhhh.

The Black Hole Theory is Clogged

Science was turned on it's ear today when the black hole theory was disproved at the residence of John LeJeune, an amateur black hole enthusiast. While preparing for guests to arrive this Thanksgiving season the two black holes LeJeune has been maintaining became clogged. The first hole, Garagetofil resisted yesterday when he tried to store a portable gas grill in it. "It just sort of made this belching sound and out came the grill. It wasn't like it just popped out in a short polite belch, it sort of rolled out slowly like a prolonged, how long can this last, kind of burp," said LeJeune "The grill landed upright and It just wouldn't go back in."

The second occurrence happened today. LeJeune was removing belongings saved from two family homes he assisted in clearing out and selling earlier this year. "The stuff just had to get out of the living and guest rooms. We were successful in removing the boxes yesterday and we thought that the other black hole, Atticanholdit, was fine. We didn't think we could reproduce the fluke that happened yesterday in a million years. Unfortunately I had one box of magazines to place in there early in the evening and when I placed them at the top of the ladder and shut the hatch they came flowing out like a waterfall. It was actually sort of artistic how the black hole cascaded the magazines down the ladder and then down the stairway. It was almost like it was apologetic that scientific theories about black holes could be refuted by an amateur like me. We had to put the magazines in a conventional recycle bin just to be safe"

NASA scientist are still dumbfounded that in the space of two days LeJeune was able to disprove years of scientific theory and research. Early NASA investigations confirm that the amateur did succeed in clogging both holes. They thought it could never be done.

I love it when she talks salty

We're unloading a couple of yards of topsoil from the Black Beast (aka the pick-up truck). In the final stages she is sweeping down the bed to get the last vestages of the soil off the truck. I ask her to start from the top and work down to the tailgate. "Do you want me to do the gunwales?" - I pause and think, did I hear that right? Then I flush with pride. "YES!" I say. . . I love it when she talks salty. Besides, it wasn't that much of a stretch. I have boat cleats on the side of my truck. They must be gunwales.




Call to Transmission Repair Shop (TRS)
Me: "Can you repair my transmission? It will not go into third gear. It's a GMC 1500 pickup, automatic, two wheel drive."
TRS: "Sure, bring it in. We'll take a look at it."
I drive home later that evening coordinating with my wife to come pick me up at home, drive me to the garage where they told me they don't fix transmissions even though they said "they'd look at it." She drives me to the "We only look at things not repair them" garage. She then follows me to the TRS and then drives me home.

Call from Transmission Repair Shop
TRS: "Yes we will need to rebuild it."
Me: "Ok. Please do the work. I need it by next Friday November 9. I have family flying in from out of town and we'll need the extra vehicle. Can you do that?"
TRS: "Oh, I can probably have it to you this Friday (11/2) if not Monday (11/6)."
Me: "Ok, Call me when it is ready."
TRS: "No problem"

11/2/07 Friday
No call

11/5/07 Monday
No call

11/6/07 Tuesday
No call

11/7/2007 Wednesday
No Call

I Call the TRS
ME: "Is my truck ready?"
TRS: "Yes it's been ready since Monday"
Me: (thinking WTF????) "Ok I'll be down to pay you today. I have an appointment around the corner from you. I'll need to pick yhe truck up this evening though."
TRS: "Ok, see you then"

10 minutes later
Call from TRS
TRS: "We're waiting on a switch we need to put in but it will be ready this afternoon."
Me: (thinking WTF???) "No problem, I can't get it until later anyway."

Side note: My appointment around the corner. . . I wait 45 minutes to see an oral surgeon. He walks into the waiting room to tell me the computers are down and he can't take my x-ray today. (Me: thinking WTF???)

I go to the TRS, pay the bill then head to work.

Later that evening I walk to the train station, take the (28 minute late) train, walk to the TRS, get the car and drive home. I'm happy the car now goes into third gear.

11/8/07 Thursday
Call from TRS
TRS: "There is some fresh transmission fluid on the ground where we left your car last night, we think you may need to bring it in."
Me: (thinking WTF???) "Ok, I'll check to see if it is leaking. If it is, I'll bring it in tonight. "

I call my wife. She says "Yes it is continuously dripping - all over the driveway."

I drive home last night, get in the truck, call my wife to ask her to pick me up at the TRS after she gets out of work. She agrees. I drop off the truck. She picks me up. I then take her to dinner for having to picking me up so many times.

11/9/2007 Friday
Call from TRS
TRS: "There was a seal broken at the drive shaft we fixed it and it is all set."
Me: "OK I'll be down to pick it up."

I walk to the train station and take the train, walk from the station to the TRS and pick up the truck. I asked if they refilled the transmission fluid. - Yes they did.

15 Minutes later I'm driving down the highway heading toward home. I look out the rear view mirror and see a GIGANTIC BILLOWING CLOUD OF WHITE SMOKE following me down the highway. I suddenly realize I am the creator of said smoke. (Me: Screaming WTF???) As I say this I pass a State Police car. I quickly pull over at the next exit looking for blue lights (none) and try figure out where to safely stop the car and clean my underwear. Tow trucks and taxi cabs were called.

(conversation with TRS censored)

The Taxi driver says "Make sure they road test that thing before you take it home. They should pay for this cab ride too" I told him I already had those on my list.

Later today the TRS called and said the transmission cooling line blew. It is now repaired, test driven and all cleaned up. My sister and brother-in-law have graciously consented to make a detour with me to the TRS on the way home from the airport. Hopefully It will work correctly when I drive home tonight. Wish me luck

Should I be embarrassed or proud?

Maureen, technology rock star and lovely person rolled into one, posted this. I thought this would be interesting. It seemed harmless. So I mosey over to here. When all was said and done I am presented with this:

Nerd Score

I guess when someone says you are a deity, it is supposed to be flattering. I even beat Maureen, a "Supreme Nerd." She has won awards, spoken in front of thousands of nerds and geeks about software tools and she has even been sent on trips with an inner circle of technology guru's because of her nerdy accomplishments. I beat her??? I'm a little rattled over this.

Anyway, sorry this posting is brief today. I'm posting this early because my wife will be out this evening. This means I will get some quality time with a newer version of Rapid Weaver, the software I use to create this site. But. . . I'm really not a nerd.


Subtitute Professor

A friend of mine has to man a booth at an annual trade show in Lost Wages. Each year he asks me to cover a marketing class he teaches. I really enjoy doing this class and take quite a bit of time in preparing the lesson. Nothing too strenuous for the students. It is a 101 class at a community college. I have taught it several times and I've learned quite a bit about the art of substitute teaching. Over the years we have had to come up with a strategy to keep the students in the room. Sadly, I'm not kidding. All of these things are based on experience.

Here is our game plan.

1. Do not announce the week before there will be a substitute instructor. If you do, three people out of twenty five will show up for the class.

2. Arrive for the class at the EXACT time it starts. If you come early people will walk in see you are a substitute and walk out.

3. Start the lesson immediately. If you wait for the stragglers you'll loose a few people who were already seated. "I'll be right back, I forgot something." is a lie.

4. Do not greet the stragglers. If you do, it will give them an opportunity to speak to you and say "Oh, I must be in the wrong room, sorry" and then they will walk. (The other students will rat this person out and tell you the person is in fact a student in that class.)

5. Expect to see the number of people in the class decrease if you give them a five minute bio break.

6. Do not challenge anyone who suddenly stands up and says they have to go back to work, babysit or (fill in lame reason here). It will just
waste your time.

7. Take attendance at the end of class. They all know showing up for class is twenty five percent of their grade. Revenge is sweet!

These people pay good money to further their education but they don't want to show up for class. Hint; If you pay all this money for the course and the books, but don't want to attend the classes, do your self a favor, DON'T register. Use the money to buy some tacos. You can buy a lot of tacos with several hundred dollars and eating a taco won't take as much time as a three credit course.

Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin or St. Martin


Sometimes you just get lucky! Thanks Kim and Jim! Looks like this is where we'll be staying on our vacation this year. Well almost. The house we will stay at is next door and is not finished yet. It will be when we get there. Same builder and basic design. Check out the rest of the pictures. We can't wait. The villa will be shared with nine other people so there will be lots of activity. Here is more information about Saint-Martin. The fly fishing opportunities? Maybe not so good, but I hear the game fishing charters are spectacular. If all else fails there's still napping, my favorite vacation pastime.

Welcome to the world Olivia Marie Dunkerly!

This little cutie was born this morning. She is my first grand niece. I already have a grand nephew. Right Carter? She is absolutely beautiful. Happy Birthday little girl. May all your dreams come true.
Olivia 3
Her are some more photos.

Matinicus is Booked for 2006

We just got word from the owner of our rental cottage. We are now booked for our week of blissful boredom and copious napping. Matinicus is about 23 miles off the coast of Rockland Maine. It is as charming as it is rugged. We really enjoy being on one of the most remote inhabited Islands off the coast of Maine.

The Southern end of Matinicus Island, Maine.