Monday, April 30, 2012

I've Been Bitten

A couple of days back I mentioned locating a benchmark out in the middle of nowhere.  What is a benchmark?  A benchmark is basically just a marker used in surveying the country.  They can mark property boundaries, elevation changes, and some are used as navigational aids.  I became very interested in the whole concept of benchmarks instantly.  I did a little research and discovered an entire network of people that hunt for and log different benchmarks.  There is a large database where you can get coordinates and survey notes on the different markers.  

I had a fairly tame night at work, last night, and spent quite a lot of time researching the markers in my area.  These things are basically everywhere!  You probably pass at least one a day and probably don't even notice it.

Because I went to be so early today, I ended up waking up early.  I decided to grab my bike and head downtown for my first find.  I did a drive by on this one this morning, so I knew exactly where I was going.  I just wanted to get a chance to see it and take a few pictures of it.  This one is a SUPER easy find.  It is right across from Marshall Park on the side of one of the buildings.  Chances are you've just never noticed it.  It was placed in 1918 and remains to this day in very good condition!

The location.  On the corner of Washington Ave. and West
Robinson St.  You can see the benchmark right below the 
street sign.

The benchmark.

The trendy Instagram version.

I know i'm a huge dork and have some pretty "different" hobbies, but this may be a new obsession of mine!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Loathe Telemarketers

Why, all of a sudden, are telemarketers blowing up my phone all day long!?  Over the last couple of months i've had an increase in telemarketer traffic to my cell phone.  It started out with a Washington number that led to a recorded message about being approved for loans and increasing your credit score.  I just learned not to answer that number and the calls began to slack off over time.  

Now, over the past couple weeks i've been getting calls from Oregon.  More specifically Gresham, Oregon.  I've done a couple Google searches of the number and find that there is a LOT of people have complained about the same thing as me.  You get multiple calls a day usually related to a credit card. 

 I typically just don't answer numbers that I don't recognize, but as my frustration level grew after a few days I started answering. I have yet to actually hear anything on the other line.  There hasn't been any recordings.  It may have something to do with the foul way I answer the phone in my angry form.  I decided to call the number back yesterday.  There was a recorded message on the other end that stated what the company was (can't remember) and that if you don't want the calls to continue press 1.  The message stated that I will no longer receive any calls and to allow 24 hours for the change to occur.

What has the result been of pressing 1?  Instead of a few calls during the day, now i'm getting one about every one to two hours.  Awesome, right?  Also instead of calls only generating from Gresham i've started receiving calls from Astoria, Oregon.  My first thought when seeing a number from Astoria was that the Goonies were finally calling me to invite me to join the gang.  I would answer that call any day!  How awesome would it be creeping around in tunnels looking for treasure with Sloth while running from the Fratellis!  But, to my dismay it was another recorded message regarding credit.  I swear that these people are just trying to drive me mad.  Well they are serving their purpose because i'm borderline crazy at this point!

You can see how often they are calling!  

Until Next Time,
Angry as ever,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tour De Ocean Springs

Today was one of those intensely beautiful days down here on the gulf coast.  I picked up a half shift from 1 - 7 this morning, so I was a little bummed when I walked out to see the day that was ahead of me.  I knew from how tired I was when I got home that if I didn't set an alarm I would end up sleeping all the way through this amazing day.  

I finally drug myself out of bed around noon to see that although it was a good deal warmer, the beauty of the day hadn't let up a bit.  I had some business to take care of first off and got my mullet trimmed up a bit, but when I finally got back home I decided I needed to go for a little ride.  I carried my bike down the stairs, clipped in, and could tell from the first turn of the peddles that my legs were into it today and there was no telling where I would be heading.

I started out, like I always do, riding down and around the beach.  I just always feel like I need to see what's going on down there.  Then I headed into downtown.  You may have seen me if you were out and about today because I was everywhere!  I criss-crossed back and forth all over the place just enjoying the sights and the smells.  Everywhere I rode down there it smelled like honeysuckle.  That smell always reminds me of being young and seeking them out for that tiny drop of sweet liquid.  

Once I finally got tired of dodging traffic I decided it was time to head off to a couple of my favorite spots.  I weaved here and there through the back roads and came to the inner harbor park.  I navigated the side walks, up onto the pier/gazebo and parked the bike for a few minutes to take a few pictures.  While I was in there I noticed one of my BIGGEST pet peeves.  My first mention of this was in my post A Day Out.  Graffiti makes me angry to no ends!  It just bothers me that someone would go out of their way to deface something and make it an eyesore for the rest of us.  I enjoy getting and about and just hate a blatant disrespect of that.  

As you can see, they even decided that it would be just
awesome to burn the table as well.  

This I can stand.  Just kids playing with chalk.
Who would deny them that pleasure?

My view down the boardwalk to the Inner Harbor.

Inner harbor

I honestly just thought this tree was cool.
I like the way you could see the exposed roots
on the edge of the harbor.

I had some time to think while I was down at the Inner harbor and planned out the rest of my trip.  I decided that I was going to continue on and spend a little time at some of my favorite little spots around the area.  My first stop was the top of the wall on the bridge across the harbor on General Pershing just before it turns into Shearwater.  There is a spot where you can sit high over the harbor with an amazing birds eye view over the boats.  It's a great place to sit and relax as long as you're not scared of heights.

The view from my perch.

From there I continued on down Shearwater until I came out on East Beach.  Right before the beginning there is a little culvert where the water runs under into the bayou.  Just off the side of the road there is a great spot to kick back and relax.  I spent over a half hour just sitting there enjoying the sun and wind.  I enjoyed watching the pelicans circling around looking for dinner.  It was the perfect spot for some classic thinking about life.

My view from my spot on East Beach.

Crazy hobo-looking guy enjoying a little sun.

I had intended on continuing on down to the National Seashore Park and spending some time riding around there, but I spent too much downtime at my other spots to beat the 5 o'clock traffic.  If there is one thing I hate when riding, it's being the moving road block.  I can't stand having a line of cars behind me trying to work their way around me at increasing frustration levels.  There is nothing like having angry motorist seeing how close they can get to you while passing you.  

I headed back to my apartment, un-clipped from the peddles, headed back up the stairs, and called it a day.  I'm working on what to do tonight now.  It's my last night before heading back for a stretch at work.  I may head down to Sweet's for a little bit of vinyl appreciation.  

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's With the Beard Dude?

My beard, for some reason, has become my most asked about topic of conversation period.  Everyone has a comment, question, or reason for concern it seems.  Some are pretty basic comments of adoration.  Dude, your beard is awesome.  How long have you been growing that thing?  How long does it take you to grow a decent beard.  Do you pick up more girls with or without the beard?  Why did you grow it?  Are you Zach Galifinakis?  Other people have gone in a different direction all together and have taken offense to my beard.  We'll get into that later.  

Let's take on this topic of curiosity together, shall we?

Q:  Why did you decide to grow a beard in the first place?

A:  Well, the easiest answer is it's Awesome!  Let's get a little deeper than that now.  Ever since I was a small child I have been admiring beards.  My dad has had one for my entire life.  I remember one time, when I was really young, he shaved it off and had nothing but a mustache.  I had no idea who he was when he came to pick me up.  

Exhibit A

From my earliest of bowtie/suspenders wearing days, I have
been admiring beards.

I attempted my first beard during my senior year of high school.  I decided that I was going to grow a playoff beard for our high school football teams first trip to the playoffs in a decade.  Our run was only into the opening week and that's as long as my beard lasted.  I couldn't stand the the itching so I caved to the initial pressure.  

My first official beard was grown during my freshman year of college.  I was playing in a band and was informed that facial hair was way cooler than a cleanly shaved face.  I have had facial hair in one form or another off and on ever since then.

Q: How long does it take you to grow a beard?

A: 2 weeks for fullness.

Q:  Have you ever had anything besides a full beard?

A:  Yes.  I don't typically like anything besides a full beard, but I have ditched it for the right circumstance.  

The beardless.  This was July 2011.  This is the last
time I had the completely clean face.  Notice my dad
is still rocking his beard 20+ years later.  It's a little
more white, but still pretty awesome.

I call this one the WWF or the wolverine.  It was the result
of the shave down to become the guy above.

Here we have the classic sketchy stache.  
It just kind of went with the cut-off Jorts.

Q:  Can you still be a classy dude with a haggard man beard?

A:  Let's just take a look at the photographic evidence.

Was this a convention of super classy dudes?  Maybe...

Marcellus mafia?  Classy none the less.

Q:  What's the craziest beard you've ever grown out?

A:  This past year, somewhere around early September I decided to let my beard go until I got home from my Grand Canyon camping trip.  When I got home I thought it sounded like a good idea to let it grow all the way through no-shave November.  Then I thought a great idea would be to grow it all the way through the start of 2012.  I trimmed it several times along the way, but eventually I felt like I looked WAY too much like a crazy hermit, so I pretty much just trimmed it all the way back off.

The height of my beardom.  Whoa, I forgot how crazy that 
thing was.

Q:  Are you Zach Galifinakis?

A:  NO

Not me..

Q:  Has the beard ever gotten you in trouble?

A:  Almost!  Just this past week I had an entirely new experience.  I was sitting at Mezo's talking to a few people and this random guy stuck his head in and said, "you can't trust a guy with a beard."  I, along with everyone else, just kind of laughed it off and figured it was just a joke.  As the night went on it just started escalating.  Then I pushed him over the line.  The girl that he was hanging all over gave me the head nod rescue me motion.  I pulled her chair over to mine and it sent him into rage mode.  He instantly asked me if I wanted him to "break my jaw like glass."  When that didn't even garner a response from me he proposed another question.  "What if I knocked you out of that chair right now, you punk?"  Here's the deal.  He is the same idiot talking goon type of fool that will rant and rave, but will cause a lot more commotion that actual damage.  I love that bar and i'm not going to just jump up and start fighting with some idiot and lose my welcome in there.  Give me a break.  I asked him what he would get out of knocking me on the floor then told him it wouldn't be the first time i've been hit and probably won't be the last.  Before I knew it one of the bartenders was in his face then the bouncer came up from behind and had him in a Chief Jay Strongbow sleeper hold before he knew what was happening.  They stuffed him in a cab and sent him home to sleep it off.

Chief Jay... Respect

Q:  Do you pick up more girls with or without the beard?

A:  This is a question that was asked to me last week at work.  What I told them was that I definitely meet a whole lot more people in general.  I don't know why it is, but strangers are way more inclined to talk to me when I have a beard.  It's a phenomenon I just can't explain.

Q:  How long do you plan on keeping the beard?

A:  My mom likes to ask me this question every time I see her.  I don't know.  I like it for now and that's all I know.

*All of these questions came from friends, family, and random people in different conversations.  If you'd like me to answer anything else I would be glad to!  Thanks for continuing to read along with my random train of thoughts.  Y'all are great.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fill Me In

Last night, I promised a friend of mine from nursing school that a night out in Ocean Springs would not disappoint.  The bits of food scattered about my apartment are telling me that it was probably a pretty great night.  I'll have to admit that i've got a wicked hangover, but that's half the fun.  Yes, hangovers suck, but when you can still laugh about it they are at least tolerable.  

I'm working on putting together all the bits of memory from last night.  I'm seeing pictures.  I've got new numbers in my phone, but the entire night is pretty much running together in my mind.  Here are the cliff notes that are highlighted in my head from last night.

  • Cold beer
  • Tequila
  • The Government Street Grocery was out of EVERY beer that I asked for so I settled into the taste as cold as the Rockies again.
  • Someone beating on the bathroom door
  • Crazy eyed guy playing a washtub bass (that was actually pretty awesome)
  • DKB with co-workers at the pelican.
  • More cold beer
  • Talking college football long after football season
  • Ran into family
  • Took pictures with formerly mentioned co-workers
  • Made  the move to Mezo's
  • No cover!
  • Beer and delicious shots
  • Memory is getting fuzzy
  • Ran into people from high school?  Can't remember who it was, but i'm pretty sure I hadn't seen whoever it was since then.
  • Put money in the jukebox and played the only Band Of Horses song that was on there.
  • Made new friends because of the Band of Horses.. thanks guys!
  • Got called Allen by everyone
  • Talked tattoos with new friend.
  • spilled SOCO................. fail
  • It was cold
  • Really fuzzy
I still think that's a pretty good list from a fuzzy brain.  Looking the list over, i'm pretty sure that I may be borderline awesome.  AND no one even threatened to "break my jaw like glass" this time.  That's always a victory!  If you have more information to help me fill in the gaps it would be very much appreciated! haha

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Look What I Found!

For the last couple of nights at work Jason (same Jason from A Day Out) and myself have been making plans for today to get back out into the woods and do a little more exploring.  We had the day set, but not really what exactly we wanted to do.  I woke up this morning with an idea.  I wanted to get back into a section of woods I haven't been into since 2005.  

Prepare yourself for another one of my sentimentalist moments.  Back when I was in high school and up until they declared the entire area still hunting only, I spent a lot of time in the falls and winters out in the woods around my grandpas camp.  There was a big group of us that hunted together that include my grandpa, some uncles, and occasionally my non-hunting father would even come along.  So, needless to say that entire area brings back a lot of good memories for me.  

Soon after declaring the area still hunting only, the next step was taken (for conservation) and the entire area was also declared walk in only.  Trucks were brought in and large earthen mounds were built in front of all the access roads to block any motorized access to the management area.  I don't have any problem with this because it has actually cut down on a lot of the use in general and now you can really get a more solitary experience out there.  

So, this morning we headed out there to go look around.  We ended up walking in a lot further than we had anticipated, but it was worth the trip.  All the different spots brought back memories for me.  Although a little grown up now, nothing has really changed.  The one thing that was different was they removed some of the culverts that used to channel the small branches below the road.  The last time in was in this bottom I got my jeep stuck and had to walk about 3 miles back to the camp in my rubber boots to get my grandpa to come pull me out.

April 2005


We walked FAR FAR back to an old camp that was on Red Creek.  I was interested to see if it was still there and it was, but getting a little more worn with time.  On our way down there we found our most interesting item of the day.  If you have read more than a couple of posts here then you've probably read about my obsession with all things history.  There is just something about history that intrigues me.  As we were walking down one of the old logging roads, Jason pointed to an out of place concrete block.  Upon further examination we were able to read the disk on top as being placed by the US Geological Survey in 1946!  This thing is in the middle of nowhere too!  

I see things a little differently than most.  When I look at this bench mark I don't just see a piece of concrete.  I see a crew of men in a post WW2 America slowly surveying the entire country.  This is the mark of their hard work.  The fact that it's still there is really a surprise to me.  This is the same area where all the signs are shot and there is just a general disrespect for everything.  How does a historic marker survive out here?  I don't know the answer, but the fact that it's there makes me happy.

After we had made it back out of the woods I started thinking about that little marker.  How many of these are out there?  Is there some kind of database that I can look in?  Do people actually look for these?  When I got back to my place I started doing a little research and the answer to all the questions was yes.  Apparently there is a fairly large community of individual that search for different landmarks.  There is a Geocaching website that is devoted to all of these different hobbies.  People even place hide and seek with GPS coordinates.  They have a section of the site that is all about benchmark hunting.  You can search for benchmarks and add any that you find.  Not that I need another hobby, but this does have an interesting appeal to me.  

If I start finding anymore I will be sure to let you know.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Vinyl Countdown

I'm SO close to being off again.  This will be night six for me at work.  We've been busy enough lately that I haven't gotten called off either.  Don't get me wrong, i'm DEFINITELY not complaining about having work.  I love my job and have my fair share of bills that need paying, but I forgot just how tiring doing six in a row can be.  It will pay off in the morning though.  I will have eight days off now to do absolutely anything I want.  One night is nothing.  It feels like an entirely new week when you get to that last night.  What you might have lacked in motivation the previous few days, you make up for in enthusiasm on that last one.

Everyone has their own routines when getting ready for work.  Mine all largely depend on what time I wake up, but are generally revolving around music in one form or another.  This entire week before work i've been digging through my recently expanded vinyl collection here at my place.  On a trip to my parents house last week I was examining the huge stack of LPs I had left behind, over there, and couldn't believe some of the gems that I had left tucked away in that stack.  I loaded the stack in my truck and headed home with it to more closely sort through.

You can tell where my priorities lie.

Today, instead of my standard browsing through albums I knew exactly what I wanted to hear, before work, as soon as I woke up.  My favorite album growing up was a CCR greatest hits LP.  I've always been fond of that record and the band in general.  I think it has something to do with the fact that my dad once told me that he liked Creedence while we were riding around in his old truck.  The things kids remember.  If dad thinks it's cool, it MUST be cool right?  Anyway from that day on I was a CCR fan.  

I woke up early enough today to listen to the entire album too.  That has been rare these last couple of days because i've been sleeping right up to my alarm.  It just makes my nights better to hear those cracks and pops when you lay the needle on that black vinyl.  It has a certain quality charm to it that makes it more appealing to me than just turning on the iPod.  It's the same reason I listen to that little old radio.  Does that make me a sentimentalist?  I don't know, but I can assure you that i'm a fan of the "charm."  

My night 6 "pre-game"

I'm not sure if you have, but i'm sure some of my regular readers have noticed that i'm often TERRIBLE at endings.  How do you end a post like this?  "Go listen to some vinyl!"  See, that just doesn't sound right to me.  Maybe you can come up with a big database of proper endings for me and email them to me so I have something to just choose from when I get to this point.  The only proper ending I have for tonight is i'm out of time because I have to go get ready for work tonight.  Enjoy your Tuesday evening guys.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You Want To Know a Secret?

I've had several people asking me where i've been.  I haven't posted much lately, this much is true.  Honestly, I don't have a real good answer for this question.  I've been largely uninspired and in a general funk.  I've also been working a pretty good bit.  Anyways I promise I will attempt to be more consistent.

You're wondering about the secret from the title aren't you?  Well I know a truth.  The truth is that everyone has something that they do that they probably keep under wraps for one reason or another.  Something like a guilty pleasure.  It could be anything.  I have a couple that sometimes make people laugh so I thought I may share one or two.  

I don't watch a ton of TV, but when I do I only watch a couple of things.  What is that you ask?  I LOVE MPB and HGTV.  That may sound a little funny for a 25 year old guy, but it's the truth.  Don't get me wrong, I watch my fair share of Sportscenter and baseball this time of year, but those are my go-to channels.  My favorite HGTV show is For Rent.  I don't know why, but I love apartments.  I especially love some of the old apartments she finds in the city.  That's not too weird is it?  

I feel like this is a failed, feeble attempt at getting beyond my writers block.  Oh well, the form will return with time.

Ye Olde Radio

On a completely different note.  A Prairie Home Companion's broadcast was absolutely amazing last night!  I have a great old radio that I like to tune into the show on.  It's got a great old feel that just truly complements the show.  Last night it featured the Punch Brothers with Aoife O'Donovan and Heather Masse.  I really couldn't draw myself away from ear shot of the radio while the latter two ladies were singing with the accompaniment of Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers.  It was the kind of performances that would give you chills.  If you've never tuned in, it's a must in my opinion.

Ok i've tried to embed a couple of my favorites from the show last night.  I hope you enjoy.

Elivs Presley Blues
Aoife O'Donovan, Heather Masse, And The Punch Brothers

Oh Mama
Aoife O'Donovan, Heather Masse, Gabe Witcher and Shoe Band

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Late Night Drive

I know it's been more than a few days since i've posted, but i'm never motivated to post when I work and i've pretty much just been lazy and not very in the mood.  It's strange how something as simple as writing a post can be so mood oriented, but if i'm just not inspired I don't feel like doing anything.  

I was on call for the first time in a while this past Tuesday night.  We've just been so short handed and also busy at work that we have been needing everyone that is scheduled.  So, even though i'm not on overtime this week, I openly embraced the opportunity to get a bonus night off.  Now, my luck with being on-call usually involves me being called in before the shift even starts, so when the clock struck midnight and I was still sitting there I started to grasp a little hope.  I have rarely been called in after midnight.  I started thinking of what I could do since I had slept all day and wasn't in the least bit tired.  

I decided to go for a drive.  Here's the back story.  Back when I was living on campus up at USM, I would take off across campus late at night to get away from whatever.  In the beginning I would go with my room mate at the time.  We would go to this huge oak tree and climb way up in the branches and lounge out talking about life and everything that came to mind.  That was great, but eventually my solo trips became more prevalent.  Then they became the only way.  I would turn my iPod up loud and just lose myself in the music, thought, and discovering all the secrets of the campus.  Just thinking about it now makes me miss those moments.   

After graduation while I was living back at home, I found that I still needed that alone time to lose myself for a bit.  Since I didn't have campus to hide in I started doing late night drives.  I would crank up shuffle and just ride to wherever my truck took me.  I never had a specific destination.  I would just think of something interesting or somewhere I would like to see at night and I would go.  Sometimes they were short and sometimes they were way too long.  I don't know why I couldn't just lay in my bed with my headphones on, but there was just something about getting away that made me feel like I was actually leaving whatever was on my mind behind.  

As I was sitting at home on-call Tuesday night, I decided it was time for another drive.  I put my scrubs on, in case they decided to call me, and headed out with the radio turned up.  Ocean Springs is a nice place at that time of night.  It was quiet.  The only place that had any cars was Mezo's.  If you'll remember back, Tuesday night was some pretty rough weather too.  It hadn't started raining yet, but the lightning was lighting up the sky while I was driving around.  I had to pull over and watch from the sea wall on East Beach for a few minutes before it started raining on me.  It was nice to get away for a little bit again without even having to leave town.  I headed back to my place and stayed up for a little bit longer watching the lightning before I called it a night, but I felt incredibly refreshed.  Sometimes you just need a little bit of time alone to level yourself back out.

Photo I snapped around 2:30 Wednesday morning.  
Looks like daytime doesn't it?

When i'm doing these little trips there are usually songs I end up repeating.  I repeat them because something usually strikes me about them at that moment.  I can't really explain what it might be, but here are the 2 I repeated Tuesday.

Amos Lee- Windows Are Rolled Down

Louis Armstrong- Moon River

Is there something you do when you just need to get away?

Until Next Time,