Thursday, January 31, 2008

Regulator Robert...Epic Lamour style.

It dawned on me this morning that I hadn't blogged about a great story that happened over the weekend.

If you have read this blog you know my dad was born about 150 years to late. He would rather head cross-country in a covered wagon or on a horse with his 6 gun on his hip. He has a love of all things of the Old West.

With a break in the freezing cold temps last Sunday he took one of his horses out for a ride near his "ranch", and that's when it got "western"....and now I will get L'Amour-ish.................................

There he was, just a lone cowboy on the prairie, a few miles due East of the James River Valley, or as the locals called it...The Jim.

It was a regular day for this ranch boss, checking on his horses and longhorns as the January wind nipped at his life-weathered face. He turned up the collar of his ranch coat, and pulled his silk scarf a little bit higher on his neck to block nature's attack. His hands, dried and cracked from hours of hard labor, needed no gloves. Time had turned them into iron.

It was turning into a long winter on the flat and desolate plains, the cold seemed colder, the nights seemed longer and the warm company of his fine wife made it harder to force his beaten and scarred body out of bed in the mornings. This is the kind of winters that Laura Ingalls would write about, or as the native Sioux called this time of year...The Moon of the Popping Tree.

It entered his mind, that this might be the last season on the ranch, time for a younger to take over. But he knew, in his family, he was the last of his breed.

His daughter's husband was a preacher-man in the plains of Kansas, a good man with a great heart, but his thin build and feeble back was not cut out for the work of a ranch boss.

His only son, the last hope for the family ranch was a writer...a sissy-boy by his account. More content to prose, and to wax on with a pen and paper. That mama's boy couldn't even pull a calf on a sloppy March day or sack out a 3 year-old gelding for it's first saddle. Where did he go wrong with that one, he would often think. Knowing full well that a life on the ranch was a hard one. He didn't wish on anyone, but it made him proud to see all that he had, right there on those acres of his life.

Times had gotten harder in the last few seasons...commodity prices on the rise and the invention of GPS driven combines had made the dirt farming folk successful. That new fangled technology never did serve the cowboy well.

So then and there, on the back of that dun gelding with the sunlight warming his work-widened back, he decided to plod on, as long as his body could handle it, he would run this ranch. If his brother-in-law the banker had to come reposses it out of his unwilling hands, or if he died in these pasture lands...well, all the better. That's how his daddy went and that's how he would go, working his craft right to the very end.

He continued to ride that Sunday through some naked trees, and shrubary, he noticed rabbits, a few deer tracks and antler rubbings, things you notice when you are in tune with nature, and one with the land.

His attention came on an old busted off pine tree, and a smile creased the cheeks of his wind-whipped face. He and Penny used to share many a summer picnic under that old pine, good memories. That pine was a stoic beauty until the storm back in '05. Ice came down so hard almost every tree in the area broke in some way. Just another story of his survival.

Just past the fall tree of memories was a clearing, his trusty horse Cookie stepped out of the belt of trees and his ears perked.

The old cowboy noticed.

"What's that, boy? You hear something?"

(to be continued)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Steph...

My coffee guzzling wife is celebrating her birthday today.

For the longest time...well, up until 2 years ago, I couldn't remember when my wife's birthday was...January 30th or the 31st. So I would either sneak a peak at her driver's license or just give her a present on the cover the next couple days.

It's funny how if you get something in your head once, and it's hard it is to change it. I have since programmed my wife's actual birth date into my BlackBerry so I don't forget or miss it.

Grandma is going to handle the boys tonight...believe me that's about all you can do is HANDLE...So tonight we will celebrate her big day at some exotic restaurant in The Fair City. I was thinking Phoebe's, but someone told me it closed a few years ago, so I'll let her decide.

I must say I got her a pretty rad gift, tickets to Phoenix in March...I have some work conferences and I have never taken her when I do stuff like this so I am parlaying her birthday and our anniversary into one big gift. We are staying at 2 different high end resorts, and she can't wait to sit by the pool in the desert. We will also take in a Cubs spring training game and a Phoenix Coyotes game...and yes, she is excited about going to watch the Cubs and the Coyotes. I'm sure she'll shop for a few hours as well.

That being said, Happy Birthday, Steph...January 30th, I finally got the right day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterdays life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries...Mary
-Jimi Hendrix, The Wind Cries Mary

So yesterday it was around 50 degrees as Maxim and I walked into the hockey rink for practice...we joked with some others that Spring was coming early. When we left, completely under dressed for what was beyond the doors, the wind slapped me on the face and we ran for the car.

This morning with the wind chill's close to 35 below...that's an 85 degree swing! I think I can truly say, I don't mind humidity, extreme heat, snow, below zero temps or spring days when it is 73...but I hate the wind. I have never liked the wind. In the summer it makes my lake choppy, my golf ball fly in directions I don't want it to go, in the winter it makes the cold...colder. I can't think of one good thing the wind does for me.

With the exception of wind generated power, I have no use for wind. Even windmills work better with a slower wind speed. So I am pushing for a law to keep the wind speed limits to under 13 mph.

The coolest thing today was that the DJ of the station I was listening to played an old Jimi Hendrix song that I hadn't listened to in a while, and it completely made sense that he played it today...THE WIND, IT CRIES...MARY...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Quite Possibly The Worst Animated Movie Ever Made.

Ironically the toys I played with as a kid are experiencing a comeback of sorts...Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Justice League Super Heroes and Transformers. Star Wars, Justice League and G.I. Joe never really went away and Transformer is fueled by the success of last year's very well done summer block buster.

Maxim loves the new movie, and so we decided to pick up the original full length animated movie from 1986. I couldn't have been prepared for how brutal this movie was. The plot was impossible to follow, some of the characters were impossible to understand and Optimus Prime gets killed off half way through the movie. The main reason kids loved Transformers and now he's dead!

Did I mention the soundtrack...the theme song is sung by a knock off band that sounds like Stryper and Weird Al Yankovic's song "Dare To Be Stupid" even makes an appearance during one of the fight scenes.

There were scenes where Steph and I would look at each other and be completely confused with what was going on. You could totally tell it was Hollywood trying to make some quick money off of the TV series...and it probably worked.

With that said, Maxim loved it. I have a feeling I will have to sit through parts of it again before we have to take it back to the rental store...the saving grace of the movie was that the disc was scratched and we got to skip through about 20 minutes of boredom.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

10 meals.

I had a buddy ask me, "If you could eat 10 meals with living people...not relatives or close friends...who would make your list?"

So here is my list:

10. Chris Sharma...the zen master of rock climbing
9. Rob Bell...great man of faith and writer.

8. Ty legend.

7. John Stewart and Steven Colbert...from the Daily Show with John Stewart, and from the Colbert Report...TV's most trusted fake news shows...I'd roll them into one meal.

6. Tony Hawk...Skateboard and action sports legend

5. Bono...U2's front man

4. Sean Penn...I know a little strange to see him so high on my list, but I have seen a couple of interviews with him and I think he would be a good meal partner.

3. Wayne Gretzky...sorry Paul Coffey, you are in my top 20, but The Great One beats you out here.

2. Matt Lauer...NBC anchor...will go down in history as one of the best

1. Bishop Desmond Tutu...I interviewed him while he was in SF a while back...I got 15 minutes with him and wanted 2 more hours.

So there without a ton of thought put into it...that is my list...I am sure I could do the same list tomorrow and have about 4 or 5 changes.

Your job...go to the post comments section and put your top 10 in.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Napoleon Dynamite

I still laugh when I see anything that has to do with Napoleon Dynamite...the first time I watched it was during a holiday break with my brother-in-law and my dad at like 12:30 am. We were quite punchy and laughed really loud. I think G-ma Pen told us to quiet down about 4 times.

I was sent a link to an advertisement that the Utah State Fair used a couple years ago. Super funny.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hockey Rituals

A couple nights ago in the coaches locker room a buddy and I were talking about hockey rituals...things we do prior to stepping on the ice, whether it be playing, coaching, reffing or just skating.

Some of the things I do I have no idea why I started them, but I still do them today.

Here is the list:

Most important is my number always number 7, (Paul Coffey's number) although my freshman year of college I had to be 14 for the first year, because a senior already had I went with the sum of two number 7's.

I also write the number 7 on my stick handle, and the bottom of my skates.

White tape on the blade of my stick...because Paul Coffey did.

My shin pads are always super tight to my legs, either with tape or "shin-tights"...can't stand floppy shin pads.

I dress left to right...left skate, right skate.

Helmet is never buckled when I step on the ice.

Maybe the most important ritual that I do is "the spit"...when I step on the ice I step on with one foot and push off with the other and before that skate touches the ice I spit on the's my way of becoming one with the ice. I have taught Maxim that ritual as well, and my buddy asks Maxim every time he sees him on the ice if he has spit on the ice yet.

The other ritual in college that I used to abide by was pre-games I would eat at Subway...6" club on every time I eat one of those sandwiches...I think of hockey.

I'm so hungry for Subway right now!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My next shotgun.

Pheasants and ducks beware...I'm getting this for next season.

Spelling Words On A Calculator.

I think my buddy Dale in 2nd grade first showed me that you can spell the word "hell0" on an upside down calculator...there were a few words that our 2nd grade minds could come up with as well.

Yesterday in a meeting a friend spelled the word "shell.oil" on his calculator and showed it to I got to thinking how many words can you spell on an upside down calculator???

Of course on the net we find a host of websites...this one was the best.

You are welcome for this useless knowledge from Living On Liquid.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Frozen Fun.

This is some video of the boys enjoying winter ON the lake...too much snow for skating...I think Brecken's cheeks and nose were red for 3 hours after we came inside.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

South Dakota Barbies To Hit The Shelves Soon

My buddies and I had fun with this chain e-mail a few weeks ago and I thought I would share it. It seems the folks at Matel are making a few new Barbies for '08 to fit the stereotypes that our major cities of South Dakota have developed over the years...enjoy.

Sioux Falls Barbie:
This queen Barbie is sold only at Macy's. She comes with an assortment of Chanel Handbags, a Volvo, a French poodle named Charisse, and a Lincoln County McMansion. Plastic surgery available upon request. Hey, she has to look beautiful when she works at KELOland TV. CitiBank Ken sold separately, but don't tell Barbie that Ken has an apartment in Sioux Falls' slum suburb Tea! Sold at all shops in beautiful downtown Sioux Falls and by street peddlers along the Phillips' to the Falls city namesake.

Rapid City Barbie:
This tough little sport comes with optional hiking boots or mountain bike. When she's not selling magnets at Mount Rushmore, she can be spotted off-roading in her Jeep Wrangler or running on the Mickelson Trail. Inhaler included to give relief during forest fires. Buy her while you can because Ken works at Ellsworth and might be getting transferred!

Spearfish/Hill City Barbie:
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, no makeup and always wears Teva or Chacco sandals. She prefers that you call her Ocean . She does not want or need a Ken doll. Sold at the Sylvan Lake gift shop.

Aberdeen Barbie:
This "Frost Queen" comes with an entire winter wardrobe! Her parka can be modified to use as hip waders for the 10" spring rains that flood the downtown area. She drives a Grand Am, wears Lee Jeans and works out at the YMCA. Package includes a psychologist for seasonal depression. She comes with a Ken Doll and 4 kids that love to play at the Barbie Waterpark and Storybook Island playsets. Sold exclusively during the Brown County Fair.

Vermillion Barbie:
This young, hip girl ended up at the Division 2 school because her ACT wasn't good enough to get her into SDSU. She actually comes with her own pepper spray to fend off campus predators. Her USD sweater is made of real wool and her '97 Cavalier gets great mileage between the Empire Mall and Vermillion. Available DakotaDome play set with purchase of makeup. College Ken doll sold separately with broken cell phone... he never seems to calls back. Sold exclusively at the Shrine to Music Museum gift else would you get folks to visit.

Mitchell Barbie:
This brassy, tobacco-chewing gal comes with camouflage overalls, Cabela's Credit Card, and a rifle. She can be found just north of town shooting pheasants and drinking an ice cold brew. Cabela Ken available with purchase of Chevy Silverado and Congo Club play set. Sold only during tourist season on the basketball court of the Corn Palace.

Brookings Barbie:
This modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Einspahr Ford Windstar Minivan or uber-exotic Honda Odyssey Minivan with matching stay-at-home velour Wal*Mart sweats. She knows she has it so much better than her sister-in-law in Sioux Falls, after all Brookings has 3 malls...if you count the Brookings AutoMall. She gets lost easily while taking Stacy to her soccer games, due to the remarkable numbering of both avenues and streets in Brookville. Thanks to the Campanile she can find SDSU. She has no full-time occupation other than the PTA. Ken doll sold with matching Daktronics company car. Sold at Lowe's.

Sturgis Barbie:
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, leather chaps, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills) ...unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about. Harley sold separately along with deadbeat Ken. Jail uniform available with purchase of Mobile Home play set. Sold at City Hall.

Huron Barbie:
This model comes dressed in her own Cruel Girl jeans, a NASCAR or Dakota State Fair Speedway t-shirt and Care Bears tattoo on her shoulder. She has a six-pack of Bud light and a Johnny Cash CD set. She can spit over 5 feet and out-worked all the other guys on the "turkey wing cutting line" at Dakota Provisions. Push down on her head and watch her karate action kick mullet-haired Ken's butt when they leave The Red Arrow. Purchase her Schoenhard Ford dually F-350 pickup truck separately and get a #3 Earnhardt with angels' wings bumper sticker absolutely free. Sold at Humphry's Drug and Lewis Drug.

Deadwood Barbie:
She may be a 75 year-old, Brandy drinking, Virginia Slim smoking cuss, but she has more audacity than Calamity Jane. She listens only to Big and Rich. She just got out from Gambler's Anonymous and needs to get rid of some spare change. Deadwood Barbie has an "aces and 8's" tattoo on her wrist, and can be found in a "Saloon #10" t-shirt at the Monday night "Kevin Costner Fanclub" meeting just down the street from Cadillac Jack's Prime Rib Buffet. Ken comes free, but is usually working two jobs to keep a roof over their head. Sold only at the house of the really super tall guy that dresses like a cowboy and walks up and down main street.

Pierre Barbie:
She comes with scooter and a state employee ID card, bowling ball, pool stick and dart case. Khakis can be rolled into capris for social events at the RamKota. Ken available with purchase of fishing boat. Sold only at DakotaMart

Lake Byron Barbie:
This beautiful Byron babe is sold exclusively at Fowl Play Bar and Grill. When not chasing around two young sons, or wakeboarding, she can be found polishing up her skills with her AK-47 which she might soon use on Toolman Ken if he doesn’t get the house finished soon. Gun sold separately. No assembly required.

(Cousin Erkel added the Lake Byron one after the fact, and Steph loved it)

Monday, January 07, 2008

10,000 hits on this site!

Just about 7 months ago we celebrated our 1,000th visitor to the Living On Liquid site. (Almost 100% sure Uncle Skipper tipped the tally to 1,000) Today we celebrate our excess of 10,000 visitors to the site. Ironically the 10,000th hit also came from in Garden City, KS. I'll let Uncle Skip, Kent or Kim fight out who the 10,000th visitor was, but I put my money on Skip.

When you think about it in the historical presence, size and advertising to readers ratio terms, more people are reading my blog than the Daily Plainsman. Maybe I should hire R-Kasa to write for me.

Last weekend, to celebrate the 10,000th hit to the site I reffed 9 hockey games in Pierre...which translates to 21.5 hours in skates, 27 periods of hockey, 459 minutes of regulation hockey, 4.5 minutes of overtime hockey, I called about 130 penalties, 150 icings, 75 offsides, and told 1 coach to take me off of his Christmas card mailing list.

I once read that one hour of moderate to casual ice skating is like running for an hour at 4.5 MPH because of the total body involvement during skating...I think I got my cardio workout in this weekend...missed the wife and boyz, and a lot of good football on TV though.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Other Hockey Player.

I think for everyone there is a few pictures that define your childhood.

My folks have a couple of is a picture of me in my full cowboy gear, chaps, hat and all. I was "Larry Mahan". Every ounce of me, back then thought I was going to be a world champion bull rider...that dream was shattered when I got sick of the pain and losing money.

I also have a great one when I was about 5 or 6 in my hockey gear, mouthpiece and all, right there on the gold shag carpet of the living room. Those pictures are priceless.

I got the same feeling when I saw this picture Steph took of his brother's hockey gear, ready for the puck to drop. Can't help but think this is one of those pictures you go back to enjoy in 15, 20 and 30 years down the road.