Monday, August 31, 2009

Last Day

Today, the North Henderson Mild Ones went to Kewanee. Four of us, Ryan, Timmy, Christopher and myself, went over to see Christopher's grandparents, Reimer's Harley shop, Francis Park, and a quick beer at the friendliest bar in Neponset. Tomorrow morning I will be leaving for the airport in Peoria and return to St. Petersburg. I will post some pictures later, but a quick thanks to my friends and family who acted like they were happy to see me, and I hope you guys know how happy I truly was to see you guys, too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Update

Went fishing on Friday with neighbor Tim ("Anyone can catch a big fish."). No fish fry this weekend. Aunt Gladys, 95, passed away and services are Tuesday. Rode the bikes around yesterday, but the ride was shortened due to the chill. It was a good ride, nonetheless, and thanks to Tim, Ole, Rick, Diane and Rod for joining us.
Mark and Holly have been great and generous hosts but I will move my base of operations today to Pat's in Knoxville. Dead fish and house guests start to stink after 3 days. That is, if you are able to catch any.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back In BFE

I am back in BFE for a few days. Staying with brother Mark in Aledo and rode a cycle yesterday and plan on a couple of trips this weekend. Going to Mt. Pleasant Iowa to visit Iowa Wesleyan College bookstore and have World's Best Pizza today. Weather is more like April rather than August.
It was great to see the BFE crew on Tuesday: Tim, Christopher, Carrie, Ole, CiJi, Diane, Richard, Ashley and Vincent. I hope to have some pictures up soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun With Sheep



I have no idea if this is fabricated or true. It was sent to me by a member of the North Henderson Mild Ones and I think it is pretty fascinating, true or not. Who would have thought there were other things you could do with these beasties?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Doggie Park










There is a dog park about a half mile from here. My daughter and her beau have a two year old, well-hung German Shepherd, Bishop, who doesn't take chunks out of my leg, and he is a regular. Really didn't know they had parks just for dogs but I've been there a couple of times and its kind of a neat place. They romp, run, sniff and seem to all get along. There is a section for smaller dogs, and an area for the big ones. The owners sit at picnic tables and yak about things, they seem to meet at the same times and they all know each other. If I was a dog and couldn't live in BFE, I'd want to live around here and go to the park.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oil Slick?

Today was beach day and, of course, it was a fun day, but something wonderful happened. We were out in the Gulf for the third time and just having fun without snorkels, goggles, or boogie boards. Nancy turned to me and then behind me and asked, "What's that?" I turned around and saw a large dark area undulating toward us. I stood still and let it approach. Nancy asked if it was an oil slick. We both stood there as it came even closer, to about 8 feet of me, and by that time I was thinking giant manta ray. No fins so it couldn't be a dolphin or shark, but damn that thing was too damn close so I started moving toward the shore. The slick or whatever it was then moved away from me and up came a round snout taking in air. Nancy yelled it was a manatee. It moved slowly toward some fishermen down at some rocks and pretty soon an arm went up and we heard "manatee...".

Didn't have the camera with me but sure wish I could have recorded the contact. I don't think this is a common sighting at Sunset beach so feel honored we were there and saw it.




Friday, August 21, 2009

TRY TRY AGAIN

IF YOU HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL IN VIEWING THE MOVIES, PLEASE TRY AGAIN. I THINK THE GLITCHES HAVE BEEN REMOVED. THAT IS, I MAY HAVE LEARNED HOW TO DO IT.

Pelican Dive




This is the best I have been able to get of the dive-bombing pelicans. I've taken some pictures but they never come out too well. These babies roam along the beach and then when they see a treat they pull their wings into a tight streamline and dive. Fun to watch.

Or Paste this into your search: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsOPYyIF-cY

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

District 9 -- Two Thumbs Up, Way Up




If you like your films to tackle big ideas, head out to District 9. We went on Friday and thoroughly enjoyed it. The set-up was a bit slow, but then it catches fire and takes you on a Hell of a ride. If you don't go to the theater be sure to watch it when it goes on DVD. Clever, humorous, touching, laced with just enough action, thought-provoking, and excellent special effects. Last I checked it had amassed a score of 88% positive-critic approval reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Perfect Day At Beach







I think I have the technical problems solved. This was taken last Saturday. Warm sunny day, water was calm, clear and you can see the little fish swarming around when I first got in. I don't know what they are or if their edible - Tim, you'd have a tough time fixing these guys with a beer can.



Monday, August 17, 2009


It was a rainy Friday so Saturday became beach day. In the handful of times I've been there this was the best day. Warm, sunny, cloudless, with crystal clear water, no waves, and practically deserted. Just a fantastic day for beaching. In what could be confused for an episode of "Whale Wars" the bottom picture is yours truly, floating on my boogie board. I also got a few movies to post but either I am forgetting how or the process has changed, we have run into technical problems.
I am planning on a visit back to North Henderson one week from tomorrow to see my friends (you know who you are), ride a bike, have a beer, laugh, have breakfast with the girls, and to see my Aunt Gladys who I learned this week is in the hospital. Can't wait.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Draft Bitch

Tomorrow is the first draft I will miss since we started some 8-9 years ago. We do the baseball and football thing and has been a highlight of mine; the minutes of homework bearing fruition, the camaraderie, the beer...its always fun. Tomorrow Stewart will be my draft bitch, and thanks. Stewart is a fellow biker, fantasy nut, blogger and joined us in our BFE Farewell Ride. Here is what I did during my drafts which may help you in drafting my team:

1. Do almost no homework - why clutter an uncluttered mind?
2. Drink and guzzle beer starting 6 hours prior to draft. This gives you an excuse for picking a lousy team.
3. Take your fantasy football magazine - cause you never know when some writer's ideas 4 months ago might come in handy.
4. Always pause an extra few seconds to announce your pick - others will think you are thoughtful, when actually you trying to force back that nasty burrito you ate with onions.
5. No matter how dumb you think your pick was, there is always someone else who is dumber.
6. Tell Focker he is a pussy for wearing his Phillies baseball jersey at a football draft
7. Ask Gullstrand if he is losing weight...his expression will be priceless.
8. Do not, I repeat, do not look at your team for at least a week - better to brace yourself for the crap job you did.

Thanks again Stewart.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vicious Pit Bull Slobber Attack

Best Buy, Indeed



Yesterday morning I received a call from Drew, who was at the gym talking to some fellow trainers. He told me Best Buy was offering 52" HDTV's from Samsung for $9.99. I started the purchasing process and put in a quantity of 2, one for both of us, and proceeded to the checkout. Whoops. That's when reality, corporate economics and greed snuffed our dreams. It was a great try and I have since learned that Best Buy will not honor the purchases that did go through before they caught their mistake. What was the sign outside Twelve Oaks plantation in Gone With the Wind, "Samung 52" HDTV's - That's The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of"?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fauna In Florida

Picked this up out of the Gulf but there was a critter residing inside. Can you spot him. It is a small crab-like guy just above the center. See his pincer?



These big birds never do anything, just sit there and stare out at the ocean. They stand their ground, too.




I have posted pictures of these lizards before. What I didn't post is they do cool push-ups for some reason and come in all different colors.



OK, I wasn't under the influence when I spotted this little bugger, I mean bug. It was walking without grace outside the door the other day. At first I thought an ant had found a goody and was taking it back to its lair. You really need to click on the picture to enlarge it to get a good look. On the off chance that I have discovered a new species I hereby name it turpissimus furis creatura, Latin for nasty fur bug.





Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gee, Look At That Midwest Weather

This was on Sunday and all those different colors signify heat warning (pink), thunderstorm watch (yellow boxes), flood warning (light green), severe thunderstorm warning (yellow), and
flood watch (dark green). Hope the weather spotters in BFE are reasonably cool, dry and hydrated.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An impressive sailing craft in the far distance and a pelican sitting on the water after doing one of their dive-bomb feeding were just two things to watch last Friday.



video


Short film that was a bit of our weekly trip to the beach. Fridays work great because we avoid the weekend crowds. The birds are fun to watch, along with the pelicans that dive right into water for food.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Part 2 - Views From The Bike Path...The Other Way



I can still sniff out an old car.



Apparently some like to "go" outside.



It takes nerve to have a landscaping company down here and name it "All Seasons" . There are only 2 seasons: hot and less hot.


First Bank personnel giving away free water on the path.


The reason our complex is full of young students is the fact that SPC is right next door.



Saturday, August 8, 2009

OPEN LETTER TO BRENDAN ON HIS BIRTHDAY











Dear Brendan,

First off, Happy Birthday. Seems I never get to be with you on your big day, so I hope Karen is there and will give you a big hug for me. 23 years ago you blessed our life by arriving quietly, with a scrambling of the nursing staff and no congratulations from the Doctor. You were an eight week preemie, establishing early on that you would be your own person, and so it has been. A couple of weeks in the hospital and then sprung onto an unaware world. I have never seen a happier more care-free kid.



I hope you had a good childhood, and I hope you are having a good adulthood. Live it up and enjoy, because all too often the crushing obligations of 'living' will rear its head and put you on your backside. When that happens get back up, face those obligations squarely and deal with them like the man you are. I am proud of your service to our country and heartsick that you have wounds that still won't heal. I am proud of your sense of adventure, of your predilection for doing it your way and taking a path in life I was too timid to take. Furthermore, I am proud for who you are: courageous, loyal, with an almost Arthurian sense of gallantry. So, as is my prerogative here are some hints for stress-free living:



1. Email your father more often, he would appreciate it



2. Save as much money as you can now and keep saving it throughout your life



3. Brush your teeth three times a day



4. Learn to appreciate old black and white movies



5. Relationships thrive on the little things; think of little things every day to make someone happy



6. Come up with a hobby, or several: when the world no longer has use for your skills, you'll always have something to do



7. Read books



8. Take lots of pictures, they will comfort you in old age



9. Savor friendships, they are so hard to find



10. Keep in shape, it's the best way to stay out of doctor's offices and pharmacies



Come back soon and see us, we love you, we miss you, and wish you the gift of health, wealth and love.

Happy Birthday,

Dad

PS I sure enjoyed your two visits to BFE.



PSS I love you.

Father and Son painted in 1990

Part 1 - Views From The Bike Path...The Other Way

Interesting menu. Sorry, full up on those.


These little buggers are all over the place. They puff out their throats and remind me of those neat old movies I saw as a kid.



This is where i want to stock shelves, just behind this complex. It is brand new and the ground level is parking, while the shopping takes place on the 2nd floor. There are elevators that take you and your cart down.


What appears as gravel along the curbs around here is actually sea shells.



These ditches were full of water a couple weeks ago. Now they are dry. When full they look like gator swamps.

This is Feola's, a pizza and pasta joint. We're going to try it this weekend. I have an admiration for the small neighborhood places that remain open when franchise joints are built all around them.



Strange looking house in kind of a can.



Another view.



An oasis of green along the path.


Friday, August 7, 2009

St. Petersburg Can't FInd BFE

I sent in a bill I got from the BFE water department. I used the same address that was on the bill, namely: Village of North Henderson, North Henderson, IL 61466.


It just came back today. Now what do i do? Think I'll send it to Jen, one of the city honchos. Hey Jen, tell Gary to relax, his money is on the way...maybe.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Heat-Induced Inanity

1. Joined "Lifestyle" a family fitness center just a block away. Wanna look good for the Beach Bunnies.


2. Finished reading "The Art of Racing In The Rain" by Garth Stein on the recommendation of Karen after Missy died. It did everything it was supposed to do, and thanks Karen. This book is very sad. But it is also humorous, and filled with love, devotion, philosophy and hopefulness.





3. Because of the heat a few days ago I decided to go 'Floridian' and ride the motorcycle in my shorts. It was going to be a short ride and I didn't need to go full biker. However, I burned my leg on the tailpipe so I have learned an important lesson. Regardless of the weather wear jeans. Anything else goes, but wear jeans!











4. I don't know what they trying to do here, but some of it was staged. Look at the kid on the right holding his pogo so the other one could land on it or perhaps they were working on a double-pogo jump.

5. Checking out Carrie's blog, http://northhendersoncommunitycenter.blogspot.com/, and noticed they have filled a giant pothole in front of my house in North Henderson. She made a comment about upgrading the town after the riff-raff left. I am reminded of Robert Mitchum's remark to a reporter when asked how his stay in jail was (marijuana usage): "It was like Palm Springs without the riff-raff. "


6. Old Blue seems to have been saved. A local company, Tire Kingdom has promised to fix it at a far lesser price than a new or used truck payment. Yippee! From 4-5 year payments on a new or used truck down to a small bill for fixing things. Blue is back and looking better than ever - no more bike hauling.


7. The trip across the Skyway Bridge has been postponed till next Sunday due to transportation needs and my truck in the shop.


8. I get this feeling that everyone is having fun at NHCC (I have photographic evidence) and I'm missing it.


9. Man, I want a 40" HDTV.


10. I was telling Mark, my new barber, that I wanted to be here at least through the winter up North. He said this was Florida's winter - the heat it makes this place kinda tough, but it really gets nice in October. Interesting perspective.


11. My neighbor here has offered me a job, sort of. He wants to see my resume but talks a lot about passion, devotion and commitment to the job. Wow. Not sure if I'm up to that. I just want to stock shelves at Publix grocery store.


12. I have a chance to get reduced tickets to the Rays game against Toronto or Texas. Gonna go to one of them. Can't wait. Its been years since I've been to a major League game.


13. Starting to plan a WEEK-long visit back to Illinois in September. Cold beer, stimulating conversation, loose women, riding bikes like bats outta Hell, dew in the morning, and maybe climbing the grain tower in BFE.

14. Mets are out of it this year. Another disappointing season. If we can't do it, then go Cubs.

15. I have been given the green light to start looking for another canine companion. Not sure if I'd ever pull the trigger on it, but nothing hurts to look, does it? Could there be another Missy out there? No. But a reasonable facsimile may be possible.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Present To North Henderson

I see it is going to get about 90 degrees or hotter this weekend up North. Welcome to my world. I grab a cup of coffee at 8:00 am here and slip outside and immediately get a sheen of sweat. Enjoy the heat, it's my gift to you from the Sweatbox State.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another College Picture

Came across this picture that was actually put into an Iowa Wesleyan financial assistance brochure. Ivan Ewing is on my right and Mark Neish has his back to the camera. I'm chowing down on a hot dog that they were giving out for an all campus lawn get-together. Apparently I could have used some financial assistance to get a haircut. Damn subversive hippie freaks.
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The End Of The Line For Old Blue?

The other day we were riding on a brick street down her and we heard a big thud and the truck would make a nasty noise over every bump. We took her to Sears to get an alignment and have them check my suspension cave-in. Their report was they dis the alignment but hey don't do leaf spring work. I asked if it was OK to drive the truck until we got it fixed and he said, yeah, the work shouldn't be too big of a deal and yeah, you can drive it.

We then went to Hummel Auto Service and had a conniption thinking we were on the road with it and that the only thing holding the truck together was a shock absorber and that is rusty as all get out. They even offered to drive us home. Oh, and by the way, a fellow we know has this great Toyota pick up for sale if you'd like his number. Well, we nursed it home, and will get a third evaluation hopefully today.

Mind you, this truck runs great and only has 83,000 miles on it. But now suddenly, it seems its days may be over. Guess hauling the bike in the back of it really took its toll.

Options if truck is indeed done:

1. New truck (least favorite idea,as I don't want 4-5 years of payments)
2. Used truck (the one offered by Hummel is a 94, has 53,000 miles and only a couple thou)
3. Go without. Its not like I have a job right now, and besides I have my bike.
4. ??

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Looks Like a Rainy North Henderson on Saturday






.....So, here are some pictures to take your mind off having to stay inside all day.

Planning First Major Bike Trip







I am hoping to get a nice long ride in on Sunday or Monday. Plans are in flux, but a nice trip out of the city might be nice. The Skyway Bridge is a popular run for bikers and I haven't used the bike much. I just picked Parrish as my destination and for no particular reason, except it is a small town and I might find a nice small town bar. By the way, my truck is in the shop: out of alignment and I had a major suspension cave-in due to hauling the bike down.

Actually I need to get a nice compass because I never seem to know which direction I am going. They tell me that if I travel East I'll get wet. And if I travel West I'll get even wetter. If I miss the Skyway I'll get wet, too. So my options are to go North or South via the bridge. Down here I don't need to watch the weather to see if Sunday will work. Everyday is the same. Sure wish I could meet up with the North Henderson Mild Ones.