Thursday, June 28, 2007

Into The Wild

Jon Krakauer wrote a true-story bestseller called "Into The Wild" a while back. I think I read it in 4 or 5 days which is really good for me.

Sean Penn directed the screen version of the movie and shot some of it in Carthage, S.D. The stories subject Christopher McCandless gave up all of his earthly possessions in order to hitchhike to Alaska and live in the wilderness, during the journey he worked in Carthage for a while.

In the end McCandless' body was discovered in a junky bus at a remote campground in Alaksa.

The trailer is out now and from the looks of it I can't wait to see the movie this fall.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Guest Blog Today.

I'm going to do something new here...I'm posting a guest column. It was just too good to let slip into web-history.

As some of you know, readers can post comments at the end of the each blog entry, I think every now and then I get 2 or 3 per gives the reader a voice on this blog. So after last week's post on my "big problems" traveling United Airlines, my older and always wiser cousin Brent left this super funny post, and I couldn't let it set on a back congrats have been published on Living On question though - Did you put Jesse the Gov. in a headlock?

The following is Brent's post:

Tom, As I read your blog from my PC phone Thursday night, yeah Vicky told me to look it up, I was sitting on a plane in Minneapolis waiting to take off on a 3.5 hour delay trying to get to NYC.
Rain in the area and traffic congestion forced Laguradia to shut down for a few hours. Great..what else to do but surf the Internet from my phone.

As I near 1 million Northwest miles, 950,000 and change, I've had many interesting travel episodes. I've had 4 aborted landings, 3 from stray planes in the way in the runway and 1 from the landing gear not engaging. That provided an extra hour of flight time and 2 tower flybys to verify landing gear locked down.

I've endured kids screaming and crying for 10 hours of a 15 hour flight from Melbourne, Australia to LA. I was stuck in Australia 5 extra days during the 9/11 attack. I had a drunk pass out on me and wet himself..ironically, the stewardess gave me a bottle of wine for my troubles.

Don't fly Aerlingus from Dublin, Ireland to Manchester,'ll be sick the rest of the day. KLM from Amsterdam to Paris is a pretty good flight..until they give you little sandwiches with week old cheese with a meat like substance. And the dutch stewardess has a tooth or two missing.

I learned along time ago "stuff" happens. A few things I learned right away that sounds like you just learned...Never check your luggage, always carry on your luggage, and never fly United...and Aerlingus.

Flying without a corporate jet and with the masses as allowed me to meet interesting people. Like the man who got on the Quantas flight from Melbourne, Australia to Adelaide, Australia and exclaimed "When this plane is in the air I will save you all from your sins". He didn't get the chance. Or the lady that let her dog out from Minneapolis to Atlanta. That woke a few people up.

I've also sat by famous people..Former Gov. Jesse Ventura, Al Neuharth, USA Today, Joe Mauer, MN Twins, Tim Johnson, John Mcain, Paul Schafer, Serena Williams, and John Thune. John and I crossed paths on 4 or 5 occasions in the Minneapolis world club on Thursday nights coming back to Sioux Falls.

So Tom, if you are stuck in a corporate jet, you may be missing out on seeing all the world has to offer and all the interesting people God created. Just be sure to carry on your luggage.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

United??? More like somewhat disjointed...

I realized how much I love our corporate jet on Monday. I just show up, I get on the plane, and I don't even have to undress or wait in lines...I get a big fat leather seat to sink into, the donuts and coffee are fresh and the pilots load my luggage on the plane without forgetting it on the tarmac.

My schedule was different than the schedule the jet took this week, so I flew to Montana on my old friend United Airlines. I didn't ever really commute by plane until I took this job, so my biggest concern before was finding gas stations with good cappuccino. Now I'm in airports on a regular basis and I have become a pretty smart and good traveler...too bad United Airlines can't make the same claim, and they travel for a living.

I left Sioux Falls on Monday after a 2 hour delay, got to Denver and had another 3.5 hour delay...I didn't get to Bozeman until 2:30 a.m. Had I drove I would have been an hour behind my plane arrival in BZM...and 2 days in front of my luggage.

It seems United (aka---Disconnected Airlines) couldn't find the time in the almost 4 hours from when I arrived in Denver to throw my luggage with precision and care onto the next plane I was to get on. Usually it makes it there in the 45 minutes that the layover is scheduled to last.

So after a meeting with a "Divided Airlines" representative in Bozeman, and 3 half hour plus phone calls with Habib from customer dis-service concerning my lost...I mean "delayed" luggage, I finally got my stuff 2 days later...I only have one day of my trip left!

The crazy thing is the route my luggage took to get to the Hampton Inn in Butte. Follow if you can...

Monday: Sioux Falls to Denver (got lost somewhere here)
Tuesday: Denver back to Sioux Falls (WHY I HAVE NO IDEA)
Tuesday mid-morning: Sioux Falls back to Denver, Denver to Bozeman, Bozeman back to Denver, Denver to Salt Lake.
Wednesday: Salt Lake to Butte...then the Butte airport decided to hold on to the bag for a few hours before delivering it to my hotel.

Makes you wonder how someone hasn't gone postal on a United desk clerk.

Other names United should consider to better represent their service.

Divided Airline
Separated Airlines
Bad seats, old planes and uncaring employees...Fly Disbanded Airlines.

You are reading this saying, well fly Delta or something...I can't I already have a bunch of frequent flier miles, that I don't want to lose...and they have the quickest flights to Montana. I'm bound to their inadequacies.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tile Shortage.

I think actual real world construction experience should be a Federally required prerequisite for being able to work in a lumber store or a flooring store.

Case in point, my Uncle Skip, a somewhat-retired handy man works for UBC in Garden City, he has taught me things, so I know he is a great asset to UBC helping weekend warriors with projects...I worked construction in the summers and at a lumber yard during college time, and so I always thought I was a good help by knowing the difference between AC and CDX plywood and so on.

Now to my story...we started to lay the tile in the kitchen last night...we are doing a "hopscotch" pattern. So there are 2 size of tile, 12"x12" and 6"x6". I told the flooring guy we needed 400 square feet of flooring, in a hopscotch pattern in this tile. When we picked it up I should have wondered, but I trusted the "expert" tile estimator.

The tile looks great, but we are only half done with the kitchen and we are out of small tile. I should charge the clown for the gas it takes to drive to Mitchell to pick up more, but I have to pick up some other things at Menard's anyway, so I'll just be kind of grumpy to him when I tell him he messed up the project time line. (Like this project has a time line anyway...I think the tile sat in his store room for 3 weeks)

Maxim's birthday is on Sunday...5 years old.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My dad has a cat.

My dad is not much of a cat either for that matter, but he has a few wild cats at the horse barn to help keep the mice population down.

I think there has always been 1 or 2 cats around, but at one point this year he had a cat that had kittens. One day out of the blue he commented to me, "I think I'm gonna neuter that cat." That comment now lives in infamy in our house, because at the time he said it...nobody was talking about cats, and he just brought it up as general conversation.

Try it sometime, when a conversation goes dead during a party, during a boring meeting, or in bed just before you kiss your wife goodnight...just throw this out there, "I think I'm gonna neuter that cat." then see how many people look at you strange or just bust out laughing at your obscure Bob Barker remark.

So anyway, after laughing at him and finally with him, I ask him if he is going to take it to the vet or what...he says, "Are you crazy, I wouldn't waste money on that...I'd just shoot it." Now you have to understand this comment came from a 60 year old, native Beadle county, farm-raised boy. Pretty typical thing for a person around here to say.

For the record Webster defines neutering much differently: To render incapable of breeding by surgically removing reproductive organs--the testes in males, the ovaries and uterus in females ("spaying"). (Not by drilling it with a .45 slug)

So now that you have his background with cats...about 2 weeks ago I was in dad's garage and I hear this meowing sound. It was a couple week old kitten! This guy flopped from cat killer to kitty foster parent like Lindsay Lohan goes from sober to plastered! On top of it all...he was bottle feeding it...once every 3 hours!

So on Sunday I see the once homely orphaned kitty, is eating kitty food and lapping up milk out of a bowl, jumping, climbing and running around. She has been named "Shaky" by Maxim. She occasionally comes into the house, climbs on the screen doors, and despite mom's efforts to give her every chance to run away, the kitty lives in the garage.

Dad said after my niece Cassidy leaves he's going to get rid of it, but we will see. It will be to lazy to hunt for food on the farm, and I'm not taking it. I think it should stay in the garage. After all, I think he is attached...I kind of like the little thing as well...just not enough to be a cat person.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This Child Is Very Excited About Living!

The title of today's post is a nice way of saying, Brecken is a complete handful. Some minutes he can be a sweet little boy, but then the alter-ego kicks in and he dumps toys all over the floor, or pulls a plant and stand on to the floor then laughs like a madman about his ability to destroy that which Stephanie has made.

Last night Steph was in town, so it was me and the boys. We went swimming, which involves the tube, a 15 foot section of climbing rope tied to the dock, and all 3 of us in a tube made for 1 or maybe 2 small kids. After 30 minutes of riding the big waves Maxim and I jumped on to the dock and when I went to grab Breck, he went "rubber legs" on me and would not get out of the water. So for another half hour I pushed him out and pulled him in on the tube.

He threw a huge fit when it was time to get out. After the swim in the lake, we hit the swing set and trampoline, finishing the night off with grape freeze pops. I gave him a bottle and sent him to bed at 8:30...I was pretty proud of myself, thinking I was super dad, and that this kid was not the little tornado we sometimes make him out to be.

1:30 a.m. Brecken had been crying for at least a half hour (I was waiting for Steph to hear him...she sleeps super heavy). By 2 a.m. we are all awake watching TV and Brecken is playing like it is the middle of the day???

Just when you think you have your children figured out, they throw the off-speed pitch and catch you sleeping. I think we all went to bed around 3:00 a.m. Somehow during all of this Maxim ended up sleeping in our bed while Brecken was voicing his opinion very loudly...he was still there when I left for work this morning.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fun Stuff Always Happens Around Boats.

I posted this video because stuff is always funnier when it happens to other people...but ironically I have fallen out of a boat, ran over a friend at a very slow speed with a jet ski, seen a pair of boardshorts get ripped off by a boat cleat, caused a friend to rack himself on a boat dock, while on a jet ski I saved a sailboat crew of 5 from the shark...I mean CARP...infested waters of Lewis & Clark resivour...also towed in the sailboat, on the same day watched an 18 foot boat go under the water in like :30 seconds, ...and finally was the 2nd to last person to abandon ship when my cousin's Malibu sank due to some crazy high winds last year.

That being said...I really love being around the water.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Memorial Day Pictures.

The weather for Memorial Day weekend sucked so not much time was spent in the water. Dave and Travis were huge in helping get the docks back in the water and rebuilding the section of dock that the neighbor's pontoon tore apart.

Here are some pictures...most don't need any explanation.