Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Kids Today Have it Easy!

I got this in an email today from a friend and I thought it was cute. With the exception of the microwave, I think I "suffered" through all of these horrible atrocities!


When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tearswith their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walkingtwenty-five miles to school every morning ... uphill BOTH ways

yadda, yadda, yadda. I remember promising myself that when I grew up,  there was no way in hell I was going to laya bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that... I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.


You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, kids today live in Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!


I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet . If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!


There was no email!! We had to actually writesomebody a letter .with a pen!


Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!


There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself!


Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!


We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was!It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer,a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!


We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!


When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed!


Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no on screen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!


And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire .. imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot. That's exactly what I'm talking about!


You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!



The over 30 Crowd


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Buttons, Macgyver, Prom , Amy Poole, Memories, and Hard Work

I don't have long to write this because I have to get working on dinner. I'm cooking barbecue chicken on the grill tonight for Leven's 42nd birthday! (Forteeeeee Twwwooooo: inside joke) It's been a really long week setting up the new shop and I could use the time to hang out with friends, but I couldn't resist making this post before this memory I had falls once again into obscurity.


I pulled this little old yellowed tacklebox out of the shed and smiled to myself as I put it on the front seat of the Jeep, remembering some of what was in it and thinking back on those days. Like any kid of a carpenter, I was always saving tools, wires, bolts, nuts, broken tools, and anything else that MacGyver might need to get out of a sticky situation. Sadly, I discovered that I was missing an egg, one roll of duct tape, and a gum wrapper,; these being MacGuyver's most important implements of escape, evasion, and destruction.  (Did you know I actually did that trick with the egg in the radiator one day when I was younger and it worked?)


Crap, now I have to digress:

The show opens up with MacGyver stranded in an army camp in some back woods country like Botswana or something, in a need of immediate escape.  He sneaks over to an old army truck and tries to steal it only to discover the radiator has holes in it and it won't start. Not to be deterred, he sneaks around the premises eventually returning with an egg. Whether he bogarted it from the kitchen or a coop I can't remember, and isn't important anyway. What's important is that MacGyver needed an egg and therefore he obtained an egg. Actually he probably needed a radiator, but the egg idea came to him first.


Without further harassment from the bad guys he manages to sneak back to the truck, steal a big bucket of water and starts the truck up. The motor gets hot pretty fast since it has no water, so he opens the hood of the truck, pours a little water in to check the heat, and seems satisfied when it burbles back up in his face and emits a jet of steam. He summarily pours in the rest of the water, waits for the water to leak out the holes in the radiator, and then cracks the egg on the radiator rim, pouring the egg into the radiator. As the radiator heats up to boiling the egg is forced to the hole at which point it fries in place, effectively sealing the hole.


Seven or Eight years later; here in the real world:

I'm driving my new truck home from the mountains. I have just turned 21 and thanks to my trust fund money I was now the proud owner of a 1984 Toyata Limited, blazing red with two gold stripes, a bed cover, and custom rims. Unfortunately I had decided to see what my new truck could do. I spent most of two days at dad's house running through the mountains and driving across cattle fields with it, jumping every hill I could find. One moment, I'm blazing along through a cow pasture at 60 miles per hour and the next I'm confronted by what looks like a cliff.


Did you know cows don't like falling over cliffs? MAYBE I should have wondered as I blazed through a field of cows, dodging bulls and heifers alike, WHY they were no more cattle where I was headed. MAYBE I should have wondered WHY there was no fence on this side of the pasture instead of gleefully slamming the accelerator to the floor. MAYBE I should have looked where I was going before barreling full throttle to the edge of the earth... LITERALLY!


If you don't know by now, I'll tell you why there were no catlle on that side of the field. BECAUSE THERE WAS A HUGE FREAKIN CLIFF THERE, PLUNGING A THOUSAND FEET INTO SHALLOW WATER BELOW!


As I roared nearer this nice green flatland area, I noticed what appeared to be a dip in the ground. I'm flying as fast as I can, maybe around 45 miles an hour, through this field as it finally dawns on me what that dip is. It's a freakin cliff!  Only as I get closer am I paralyzed by the scene to my left; two beautiful mountaintop pastures, one  slightly more elevated  than the other, separated by twenty or so feet of open air by  the majestic flow of a stream bed that has been cutting away the mountain for thousands of years.


Imagery of me slamming the truck into a flying slide while yanking the emergency brake and J-turning into a reverse run flew through my head, followed immediately by thoughts of my truck not quite stopping in time and sliding right off the side of the cliff, followed again by the mental picture of the ass-whipping I'd get if I DID somehow manage to survive wrecking my truck and walking all the way back to dad's house.


Thank God for Jerry Reed and the Duke Boys!

Possessing maybe two seconds in which to decide what to do, I chose the only path that I could foresee giving me a chance not to end up in a ball of flame or twisted metal. I screamed at the top of my lungs like a 6 year old girl and slammed both feet on the gas (in case maybe the use of two feet would articulate to the God of cars that watches our for stupid teenagers that I really really wanted to go faster). I remember wishing I had the horn old General Lee had as I flew out into space, tires free-wheeling in the air and the engine screaming as the lack of traction allowed the 4 little cylinders to slam as fast as they could under the red hood of my flying machine, my body lurching forward repeatedly in the seat as if to give myself the extra couple of inches I would need to land on the other side of the ravine.


I remember I was airborne long enough for the truck to lean left due to the weight of my body in the drivers seat, gracing me with a view of the stream below and of the grass which was no longer beneath my truck. I was flying, literally, for about twenty or thirty feet. If the other side of that ravine hadn't been significantly lower than the side I launched from I would have summarily face-planted into the side of a mountain at high speed. As it was, I remembered (while trying not to urinate on my new seats) that the Duke Boys never seemed to get banged around that hard when the General Lee did that!


I was alive... Stopping the truck in the middle of a green pasture, I got out and walked back to the ravine, my legs giving almost out on me as I looked down at the crazy stupid stunt I'd just somehow survived. I walked back to the truck, popped the hood, and was surprised to find that the engine was not in fact a ball of twisted metal, but seemed in fact no worse for wear.  One of my 8 inch MTX eliminator subwoofers had suffered a crack in the seam when it was thrown into something and was forever damaged, but the rest of me was ok. (Hey Raymond. I still have those speakers.. lol.. and that's where the hole in them came from. I'm 30 years old now, so I guess I can't get into TOO much trouble from mom and dad, so I can say that now.. lol)

Back to Macgyver

The following day I had to go home again, back to the beach, and get back to work. I left dads house early morning planning on a 8 hour drive. Unbeknownst to me, the Gods of Thunder and Racing had implemented a pennance for allowing me to survive the stupidity of the previous day's events. About 100 miles out of the mountains, I noticed the engine was getting hot. I pulled off on the interstate and opened the hood, only to find I was pouring water from my radiator like a fire hydrant stuck in the open position. It was literally pouring from about 4 different spots on my manifold.  I slammed the hood, returned to the truck and turned the heat on high. This bleeds heat off the engine core into the cabin and allows the engine to remain cooler longer. I drove for 50 miles like that. I had to drive for ten minutes with my hazards on and then stop and rest for 30 to allow the truck to cool so I wouldn't blow my engine.


What do I see over the horizon but an exit! Thank god.. service station! WRONG! What I was greeted with was a little hole in the wall mom and pop store somewhere west of Asheville North Carolina. As if to further punish me for my sins, the Gods of Nascar had seen fit to make sure this store didn't carry ANYTHING I needed to make a repair on my truck. Guess what I walked out of there with?


As much water as I could afford and 1 dozen eggs.....


I walked to the front of my truck, popped the hood, and lit a cigarette and waited for the engine to quit ticking enough for me to open the radiator cap. Half an hour later I popped the radiator, started the truck, and revved the engine until the radiator was protesting with spouts of steam Actual water would have been the usual effect but it as yet had none to work with, so it settled for spitting and hissing at me in protest. Glumly, I poured most of 1 gallon of water in the radiator and waited for it to start leaking out the front of the radiator. Two minutes later I crossed my fingers, sent a silent prayer to heaven, and cracked two eggs into my radiator.


To my immense elation, I was greeted with the warming scent of fried eggs, which made me hungry but I had spent all my money on water, so I was out of luck on that one for the next 500 miles. Maybe half a minute later I glanced under the front grill and saw this little yellow spot on my radiator.... Fried egg yolk!


When I reached the beach, 500 miles later, I was down to three eggs and not much in the way of water, but I was home.

Thanks Macgyver!




So,this box of "tools" had acquired some junk over the years, as well as some memories. When I opened the box up in the shop, I smiled to myself and shook my head at some of the memories conjured by the contents of that box.


Here is the inventory of memories I discovered this week:

  1. Plano Tackle Box (because I couldn't afford a real tool box as a kid).
  2. Three spare rubber tires from my modeling days, from a 1957 chevy I never finished putting together.
  3. One roll of fishing line with 1 pack of Eagle Claw hooks, 4 riggers, and 2 weights
  4. My grandfather's nail punch, from his old wood shop.
  5. 4 brown woodscrews no doubt taken from something Dad was working on.
  6. Various modeling paints for painting model cars and airplanes and two paint brushes.
  7. All the blades and saws from the modeling set my grandfather let me have. (Still packed in oil and without rust)
  8. Two Shirt buttons and 1 Cufflink (see below)

High School Memories Uncovered


April of 1992, I was a sophomore in high-school and had the wonderful pleasure to date for a short time, a girl who will always remain one of my first true loves. For whatever reason, Amy Poole, who was a junior at the time, a volley ball player, and a 4.0 student was enamored of squeaky, stuttering, little me. Amy was five foot 9 and a half with blonde hair like waves of silk, and legs that ran all the way up to her alabaster chin. lol. She was one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen and as her boyfriend I had the honor to take her to prom.


16 years later, almost to the week, I find these cuff links in my tool box while cleaning up my storage shed. I remember I got them from David's formal on the Outer Banks and never returned them. I'm not sure WHY I never returned them.. I just didn't. I think I most probably had lost them for awhile and then saved them for some future occasion once I found them again.


Since I was missing the other half of the pair and they were tinged with rust, I decided to finally throw them away yesterday, however in losing the objects I gained the memory back afresh. I'm not sure why, but I just wanted to share this part of my memory before I forgot it yet again. One day years from now, I might look back on this photo and smile again at the memory of the tall leggy blonde who made my sophomore year one of the best years of my life.






No trip down memory lane would be complete without the accompanying embarrassing photos of my childhood, so I dug these out of the digital archives today. Wow, I feel old.


That's Amy's senior high school photo. (Above)




This next photo was Easter of 1992, standing beside her mothers house. God I had some hair back then. lol. Amy of course was as good looking as ever.


Note: It should be noted that of all the people graduating Manteo High, Amy was one of those who I always knew would do exactly as she always dreamed. Since leaving school, she went through College earning top grades, and moved into the field of Veterinary science. As of this year she's finally opening her own veterinary practice. She's always excelled at whatever she put her mind to.


One day, if she ever decides to search across google and reads this, I hope she'll be proud of all she's accomplished and I hope she'll remember her first prom with a smile. (And as the year when Allen Bush took Miyuki to prom with spinach in his teeth! GOD he was so mad about that when he got his prom pictures back! lol


I've always stayed in touch with her progress over the years and she's done a lot to be proud of. 


Well, that's the end of my journey down memory lane for now. I've spent WAY too long on this as it is and I need to shower so I can get ready to cook dinner and clean the house.

Until next time.




PS: The whole point of this was to show you the picture of the new shop we setup. lol. I never even got around to that. See below. lol.