Saturday, July 30, 2005

Gun Show for Toddlers

Took in a car show at the OKC fairgrounds today with PK. Didn't take C, since she is at the age where looking at old muscle cars and hot rods bore her. Sigh.

The car show was held inside two large air-conditioned buildings -- which I appreciated very much as the outside temps rose to the mid-90's. PK loves car shows, enjoys the brightly painted metal and fiberglass, and even tugs at my hand to go over and see any car that is rumbling in idle.

After an hour or so, we were getting ready to head home, when I was told by the Security Guard at the exit, that I could get free admission to the Gun Show in an adjacent building, since I had bought a ticket to the car show.

Well, free is free, and since it had been 30 or so years since I had been to a gun show, I thought, what better place to take my 2.5 year old daughter.

One person that we followed into the foyer (we weren't even IN the gun show building yet) had a rifle slung over his shoulder as casually as if it were a backpack. I thought to myself, is he a Seller or a returning buyer -- or perhaps he's a disgruntled buyer about to "return" his purchase with extreme prejudice?

The geriatric security guard put my mind at ease as he carefully checked my hand for the required car show stamp.
HE was unarmed.

Several feet down the first aisle, a man was showing his pre-pubescent son how to dissasemble a semi-automatic handgun of some sort. The wife/mother stood nearby, fondling a Sonic drink in one hand while eyeing my daughter with a raised eyebrow.
Family values.

Next aisle over, I had to maneuver the stroller around and past a group of fellas having concession stand beers from flimsy plastic cups. They were discussing a recent hunting trip they had taken and from the sounds of it, were on their umpteenth gun show sponsored brewski.
Drink your Bud and show me the exit doors, please.

We left with no regrets of not having cruised up the down the remaining aisles of rifles, handguns, ammo, stocks, grips, hunting gear, camping gear, instructional videos, knives, and other gun related hardware.

Back at my car, I noticed that a brand new red GTO was parked to my right and a '69 yellow/black Z-28 Camaro was parked to my left.

I asked PK which one she liked better. She took a moment and said, "I want Daddy's car."

She's only 2 and a half...give her a break.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Today while I was out back in the garage, using a sabre saw to cut some L-shaped pieces of plywood to fix our side storm door (don't ask), I noticed a medium sized, bird-like creature with a long tail, spindly legs, and crested head piece darting down my driveway.

It stopped to look at me momentarily, then darted off down the alley.

"I'll be darned," muttered my father-in-law, who was cutting trim pieces on the radial arm saw to finish off the kitchen cabinets he was building for us.

"That is one lost roadrunner."

Indeed, a roadrunner braved the 4-lane highway in front of my house, crossed in midday traffic and ran down my driveway.

And not a Wile E. Coyote in site.

Super Genius.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why did the turkeys cross the road?

To freak ME out, that's why.

Two, count them, one, two, full grown, full blown, brown plummaged female turkeys (what is a female turkey called...a hen?), were attempting to cross the road in front of me.

The two wild turkeys were clipping along at a good rate as they approached the roadside.

I was doing 65 mph down a two-lane highway out in the countryside just west of town.

These two wild turkeys were fast buggers, and were entering my lane before my brain could process the fact that there were actually two wild turkeys crossing the country road in front of me.

I didn't brake. The only thing that was anti-lock in my old Chevy were my bowels, which I was currently in danger of "anti-locking" all over myself.

Besides, I was, after all in a 4000 lb. solidly built American muscle car/truck from the early 70's. What could happen?

Umm, hitting a 30 lb. fleshy/feathered object at 65 mph...I could die, that's what could happen.

I didn't swerve. Impulsive steering at high speeds in these old beasts don't reveal Indy car reaction times, so attempting a dodge maneuver wasn't at the top of my quickly shrinking list of turkey avoidance procedures.

Instead, I did what any red-blooded American male with a high-horsepower classic muscle car would do.
I floored it -- hoping that I might outrun the future Thanksgiving day feasts on four feet.

The g-forces were instant and exhilerating as my Edelbrock carb greedily enjoyed every bit of the 650 cfm alloted to it, sucking dino juice and air into it's bowels, to be turned into instant horsepower for my aging Bowtie beast.

With aplogies to Clement C. Moore...I glanced to my right for I knew the birds were near,
when what do my wandering eyes did appear,
but two turkeys flying over (yes over) my rear!

The turkeys used their little brains and decided they didn't want to tangle with a 4000 lb. moving object. Instead, I was treated to a prime rear view mirror seat of their flights of fancy, up and over the tailgate of my car.

If only I could be as graceful as a turkey.

Bet if they were male turkeys, they would have most definitely played "chicken" with me and have "gone for it."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Acres and acres of free parking

I just realized that it had been some time since I looked for a parking space.

That includes curb parking in front of local businesses, lot parking at a mall or shopping center, ATM parking at my bank, angled curb parking at our doctor's office, street parking in front of my house - or anyone else's house, come to think of it.

I used to take pride and actually find some joy and self-worth in being able to cruise a parking lot and through no other skills than my will to succeed, find an open spot, or someone just leaving.

Sad to say, I actually kinda miss that.

Guess I just have to find something else to replace that mad-rush feeling and espresso ego boost.

I don't know, maybe I just need to kill more flies.

On a related note, we all know how great it feels to finally get to the front of a long line -- one which you've been standing in long enough to appreciate the invention of the padded shoe sole.

Now wait...I'm not talking about the relief you feel when you are actually "up to bat." No sir, I'm talking about being NEXT up to bat. First in line, baby. Ready to git and go, doggie. Numero Uno, top of the heap, king of the hill, A numba 1.
You've made it through the roughest part of the line and now stand at the threshold of completing your mission. There's a genuine rush that develops from the sense of accomplishment you feel for doggedly sticking it out.

Not to mention the sense of self-worth you experience in knowing all those behind you are envying your position of power, demonstrated by the straightened posture, jutted out chest, chin up position your body assumes while being admired by all those inferior folk behind you.


I haven't stood in a long line since I moved here.

Not at the bank, not at the post office, not at the WalMart, not at the movie theatre. One people, maybe two deep on a bad day. Lines that short don't even give you a chance to gather your thoughts, let alone have your money ready, or ponder the front pages of the Weekly World News and National Enquirer.

Okay, I was 3 cars back at a Sonic Drive-Up window, but it was 102 degrees at 10 in the morning, and everyone in town was getting a cherry-limeade slush that day.

Lines and parking. Parking and lines. No matter what order you put them in, they CAN be missed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Low water pressure

Our small town is fortunate enough to have an excellent swimming facility.

Completed several years ago, the aquatic center features an 8 lane, 25-meter lap pool, a corkscrew water slide into a separate 4-foot deep pool, a separate diving pool with both low and high diving boards, and a 25-meter long wading pool complete with beach-type shoreline and a 15-foot mushroom water fountain centerpiece.

The locker rooms are clean, the showers are hot and staff are small town Oklahoma friendly. Open year round, we've been enjoying the facility very much and very often.

With the exception of two days last week, that is.

One day we were turned away due to a baby ruth incident that caused them to shut down the pool to introduce what I can only imagine to be industrial strength E coli killing chemicals. They didn't drain the pool, however.

This type of accident seems to be more common than us public pool patrons would care to know about since the staff didn't seem all that concerned and were following what appeared to be a well-practiced set of procedures for chemical application.

The next day (no kidding), they closed the pool again due to some 10-year old doofus kid attempting a back flip off the side of the diving pool. He split his head open and the resulting flow of blood from his still-growing skull polluted the water beyond salvageability.

They had to drain, bleach, and refill the pool, retreat and reshock the water before allowing people back in some 24-hours after treatment. 10-year olds suck.

On a side note, the day they refilled the pool, we had low water pressure at our house. Here in my small town we have two water towers - one old and one new.

Wonder what would happen if everyone in town flushed at the same time?

On a personal note, Rest In Peace, Scotty.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Watermelon seeds

It's watermelon season here in my small town, as I'm sure it is in many points north, south, east and west of us.

I was preparing our latest watermelon for consumption the way my mother always did -- cutting it into little bite-sized chunks, removing as many seeds as possible.
Labor intensive, yes. Tastes better, perhaps. Easier to consume in mass quantities, absolutely.

The girls, however, at this stage in their young lives, prefer to eat it "hippo-style." Right off the "bone." Just slice a piece off and hand it down, man.

This can get messy, however, and at this stage in my old "doing-laundry-every-day" life, I prefer they eat it with a napkin on their lap, and a fork in hand.

While de-seeding the slices of ruby red melon, C noticed the abundance of both black and white seeds. I commented how one can safely eat them, but it's probably better not too (holding back the temptation to retell the "watermelon plant growing out of your stomach tale" from my youth).

She then told me, "the black and white seeds are the same, just like black and white people."

Innocent, until corrupted by the outside world.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Here in Oklahoma, we have fishermen who like to catch catfish using nothing more than their bare hands.

Dogging, stumping, graveling, hogging, tickling -- the practice goes by many names.

Here in Oklahoma, they call it noodling.

Wikipedia has a pretty good description.
"To begin, a noodler goes underwater to depths ranging from only a few feet to up to twenty feet. Placing his hand inside a discovered catfish hole, a noodler uses his arm as bait to entice the fish. If all goes as planned, the catfish will swim forward and latch onto the fisherman's hand and arm."
According to Wikipedia, the origin of the term noodling, is the word noodle, which is slang for a foolish person.

Seems about right to me.

P.S. - I don't think these Thai fellas caught their catfish with their bare hands, do you?

Friday, July 15, 2005


Took C for her first every foray into the universe of the recreational bowler.

She has a hard foam rubber bowling set at home that she loves to play with and wanted to try the real deal.

I found a cool old 24-lane alley on old Route 66 that was still in business to take her to.

Here is her scorecard:

Not too shabby, I think. But I was never a bowler. Didn't have things like gutter bumpers and 4-legged chrome rail rollers when I was a kid bowler. For the second and third games she pushed the rail roller aside and "toilet bowled."

Her scores reflect this, but she felt better knowing it was just her and the gutter bumpers making the points.

Favorite comment that she made that day was, "if only I could have three balls instead of two, I could get them all down."

How many bowlers have thought the exact same thing? Plenty, I think.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'll have mine with soy sauce, please

My small town is fortunate enough to have a combo KFC/Taco Bell.

I consider this the PB&J of fast food franchises. They do okay separately, but together they create a taste sensation.

Anyhow, spotted this sign for Tuesday's special.

I can't and won't comment since I eat a lot of stuff that S tells me smells like an aquarium.

Besides, that's a lot of culinary joy for a buck ninety-nine.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Roadkill of another kind

Driving home tonight from dinner with the in-laws, I noticed that the light showers the weather prognosticators had been predicting was actually commencing.

What keyed me into this was the familiar sound of raindrops hitting my car. Or were they?

Imagine my horror when after a second or two, I realized the sound my "cityfied senses" mistakenly perceived to be droplets of water from above, turned out to be swarms of bugs splattering against every inch of my poor defenseless cars turtle wax shine.

The onslaught of biblical proportions lasted several horrid miles, wherein my windshield wipers became nothing more than bulldozers of bug blood and guts.

Tomorrow, in the peaceful morning daylight, I'll survey the Sodom and Gomorrah that is my front grill, and may post a picture of it, if it can sneak by with an NC-17 rating. I doubt it will.

Which is why every small town in Oklahoma has a self-service car wash. Where, for only $.75 you can jet spray the carcasses of millions (yes, millions...may even be billions) of insectoidal creatures off of your cars violated finish.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Can't go home again?

Today were entertaining visitors from So Cal. We met them while C attended a progressive/bohemian cooperative nursery school in the Glassel Park area.

Hubby and wifey are both from Oklahoma. Kids are all born and bred Los Angelenos. Oldest in 9, youngest is 3.

They tried to move back here last year. Rented a house and everything.

He's a freelance artist. She's a freelance writer. Young, progressive, liberal, semi-hippie.

They lasted one month.

Inspired by our grand excursion eastward, away from the bustling hustle of the big city, they requested a visit to our small town abode to discuss how we did it, how were doing it, and how we going to keep doing it.

Wonder how our lifestyle will hold up under the scrutiny?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fly hunting

Back in So Cal, we had flies.

But not like here.

I moved our trash cans far away from the house, and try to keep our trash cans inside emptied as often as possible. The windows are double-paned, so no getting in there, and I am ever vigilent when anyone leaves the house via front or side door.

Still, the little buggers make it inside the hallowed grounds of the inner sanctum of my home. May be getting in through one of many little cracks and holes that populate our 100-year old home.

Yesterday I killed 5 of them.


I think I may have killed 5 flies in an entire year back in So Cal.

Daily total here.

After much experience, I've decided that my previous technique of waiting for the fly to land and get settled, while I take my time to set up the perfectly aimed killing swat is not effective on my small town's fly population.

Basically, I've seen more success in just whacking away whever the winged menaces come close to landing. They don't seem to wait around very long and are quick decision makers on where their next landig point wil be.

So, when killing flies here, you snooze, you lose. Swat with abandon.

I won't complain too loud however, since my friend in Chandler, AZ is having issues with scorpions.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A proud Daddy moment

Hanging out in the yard the other day, I spied C making skidmarks on our driveway with her Radio Flyer bicycle.

You remember how this works. Pedal as fast as you can, get the bike going at a good clip, jam on the foot brake and slide the rear wheel out to the side. Then step back and view your skidmark with pride.

I didn't teach her this. She either saw some other kids doing it, or figured it out herself.

Skid marks usually lead to burnouts, which are not all that easy to do on a bicycle. I'm confident she'll figure those out as well.

Color me proud.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Small town sex scandal

The small town police department where my wife grew up is being severely downsized due to a sex scandal of major proportions -- well, for a small town at least.

Seems the clerk at the local Conoco convenience store was providing "full service" to some of the officers in uniform.

The thing that seems to be upsetting most of the townsfolk is that several of the officers were married, one had a pregnant wife at home, and that they were all on-duty at the time.

The Assistant Chief is an old family acquaintance (used to be a friend, but he's become somewhat of a jerk since becoming a cop, so he's been downgraded to acquaintance), so we're anxiously awaiting to see what the Federal investigation turns up.

Dig the name of the first officer to be fired...Mayberry. Wouldn't Andy and Barney be upset beyond words? And don't even get Aunt Bee started.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Newspaper spottings

Public Notices in my small towns local paper this week...

As customary due to hot weather, Trash pickup will be one hour early.
Reasons why? Not sure, but here are my guesses:
  • Trash gets stinky in the heat.
  • Trash guys gets stinky in the heat (here in OK ,they don't insist on being called "Sanitation Engineers")
  • Trash guys know that cold beer tastes better in hot weather. The sooner Miller time arrives, the better.
  • Trash guys need an extra hour to pickup the trash, since hot weather somehow generates more trash.

  • Cemetery Association - NOTICE - Effective July 1, 2005
    The price on cemetery plots will increase from $150 to $300 each.
    For more information contact Ross Adam or Chris Cochran.

    Wonder what caused them to double the prices. $5 or $10 or even $50 more I can understand. But DOUBLE!
    I suggest going over to the next town to be buried. Save yourself $150

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    YASTM - why?

    S and I had a discusson the other night, during which the issue of this blog and the time I spend on it came up.

    Could 15 to 20 minutes of thinking/typing be considered a waste of time when I have two girls to raise, a house to fix up, a classic cars to restore, laundry to fold, beds to make, dishes to load into the dishwater, summer activities for the girls to plan and a career wife to look out for? Perhaps.

    I view this blog as a journal of sorts. A documentation of our lives in polarioid format, that enables the sparking of my creative writing synapses and offers a peek into my thinking and frame of mind at the time

    Basically, if this journal survives me, I think S and the girls will be happy I did it.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    Quick, to the bat cave!

    Yesterday, my family and I took a road trip out to the Alabaster Caverns State Park.

    Took the guided tour (as opposed to the wild "crawing-on-your-belly" tour). My in-laws came along to hold the girls hands while S and I held hands. Caves are romantic, what can I say.

    Some interesting factoids:
  • Alabaster Cavern is a 3/4-mile cavern formed of alabaster, a rare form of gypsum, making it the largest natural gypsum cave in the world open to the public.
  • Drinking the water that flows through the gypsum cavern is equivalent to drinking a double dose of exlax. They call it gyp water, it tastes terrible, but can keep you flowing and regular.
  • Bats only winter in this cave. They apparently summer in cooler climates. Didn't realize bats could be snowbirds.

    Speaking of bats, we did get to see two of them while spelunkering around inside the cave. C was more excited than scared as she traversed the sometimes narrow, often tight, and always slippery walkways. Not having to bend and stoop over when the rest of us had to duck walk through some low lying alabaster crevice, made her journey much to her liking.

    Meanwhile, her barrage of questions to the Park Ranger/Tour Guide were typical of a 5-year old, but provided audible entertainment to the few who were on the tour with us. Some questions I recall her asking follow:
    Where do caves come from?
    How are they made?
    Do you live down here?
    How come people are afaid of bats? I mean, I'm afraid of them, but that's only because they're kinda scary. Don't you think they're scary?
    What is that writing on the wall?
    Can I take some cave home with me?
    And everyones favorite C question for our twenty-something, young, robust, blonde female Park Ranger/Tour Guide: "Do you have any babies?"
    Hey, not everyone can get a Park Ranger to blush.
  • Friday, July 01, 2005

    Strange night flying creature spotted

    Sitting at my laptop, gazing out into the night air (I was wireless but indoors -- sure it was night but it was still 90 degrees outside), I spotted a strange night flying creature that I haven't seen since moving to my small town 3 months ago.

    It hovered low, spun around a few times, then darted off into the horizon. The sight of it so startled me, that I had to stop and watch it's balletic movements in the star-filled Oklahoma sky.

    My first helicopter sighting since I moved here. Hard to believe.

    They seemed to be a nightly occurance back in the San Gabriel Valley. So common, you almost didn't hear them anymore.

    Have to check the local paper this week. Will probably be the top story with the headline, "Helicopter buzzes night sky; citizens alarmed."