March 9, 2014
Continued from …Left foot first…
“They” say that the first step in a difficult journey is the hardest one. I would like to go on record and say that I can positively attest to the fact that “They” are living – and smoking something – in Colorado (or maybe Washington State), because they are hallucinating.
It may be just my rigorous Navy Boot Camp “how to start walking” training, but the first step was definitely not the hardest on this particular trip. In fact, with the exception of the last step, which was not actually taken by me, but by the people who carried me to my tent and poured me into my sleeping bag, it was, by far, the easiest.
But enough about that. I’m running out of commas and I don’t want to get caught short later in my story.
Walking in the last position in the single file formation, head lamp in the “off” position, Man of Action made it to the trail head at Happy Isles without incident. And, after a quick final equipment and “Chicken*” check, we proceeded.
*Chicken Check: A last ditch effort to separate the wheat from the chaff – one final chance for a coward to say “Oh wait! I just remembered! I have an appointment with Madame Lulu for a pedicure in the morning and I’ve already rescheduled four times and I can’t reschedule again because if I do they will just cancel me forever so I can’t do this hike with you guys. Sorry for the inconvenience. Have a nice day.”
This is where the actual assent begins. The first major segment of the the trek is about 1.5 miles to the top of Vernal Falls, with a footbridge about 8/10 of a mile into the hike. It’s about 1000 feet of elevation gain.
We started upward. We continued upward. We kept going upward. We briefly stopped going upward after about a quarter mile to get some night shots of the moon, and take in the view of the Merced River, roaring along a hundred feed, or so, below us.
I took a couple of shots with my Android…
View of the full moon
View looking down at the river
It must have been spectacular. It certainly sounded spectacular. I really couldn’t tell because, it was one O’Clock in the morning and it was dark out. And the moon was hidden behind a thick layer of clouds. And trees. And giant rocks.
We continued on and, after about another half mile, came to the foot bridge below Vernal Falls, the water screaming below beneath our feet as we gazed up at the falls reflected in the moonlight.
We pushed forward, soon coming to the first relatively tough part of the journey – The Steps…
I took a picture…
The Mist Trail and Vernal Falls are famous for many things, three of which stand out…
One: There are a lot of granite steps involved – that’s steps as in ‘stairs’ – around 400 of them, in fact. They are not in the least bit even. Some are a foot tall, some are nearly three feet tall. Not easy on the knees.
*I once ran up these steps – 25 years ago. In the day time. Alone. When I got to the top, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I promised myself that I would never do that again.
So far, I have kept that promise.
Two: Mist. That’s why they call it the Mist Trail. If the falls are running well, it’s really, really wet. Not “umbrella” wet. Not “light rain” wet. Think “I’m standing in the middle of a storm cloud” wet. Bring a rain poncho. And be prepared for slippery footing.
Three: Death. A lot of people die in Yosemite. Most of them die by not being careful on the Mist Trail or by being carried over the top of Vernal Falls because they ignored the warning signs and got into the water above the falls.
Fortunately, all of us on the hike are well experienced in the art of getting to the top of Vernal Falls and not getting into the water. We arrived there without incident.
I took a group shot…
Donna, Brian, Megan, Lauren, Shawn, Nicole (standing next to the tree) (I’m not in this one – I’m taking the picture)
Once at the top of the falls, we regrouped, which is my way of saying that they waited for me to catch up (Once again, I was my own group for a few minutes). We discussed our progress so far, carefully reviewed the next segment, took our bearings and, resuming our walk, headed out.
In the wrong direction…
March 8, 2014
“Roses always made her cry, or rather, softly weep, tears of emotion turned to substance that emanated from the deep turquoise-blue pools that were, are and forever will be, her eyes; perfectly situated somewhere near the middle of the excruciatingly nearly perfect rectangular orb that she called her face.
“As each drop of the salty fluid fell toward the Earth, only to have its descent cruelly and prematurely halted as it struck her precisely cut slice of lemon meringue pie, it became progressively clearer to her that all of the roses in the world could not change the fact that she had ordered, not lemon meringue, but banana cream pie.”
February 27, 2014
February 3, 2014
While I haven’t officially received any request to summarize my Superbowl experience from last night, in anticipation of that request coming in from one or more of my dozen Facebook friends, I am going to go ahead and do so by gathering my comments into one place.
I will also include some explanation, so you have a sense of what was happening to elicit my thoughts on the game.
After the first 4 seconds of last night’s game, I thought to myself, “maybe if I’m not watching, it will get better,” so I put up the following status on Facebook and went into another room to read some more of my Clive Cussler novel.
After what seemed like an inordinately few minutes, my curiosity got the better of me and I picked up my iPhone and asked Susan Bennett (more commonly known as Seri) to please tell me the current score.
Imagine my surprise when she responded that the score was 22 – 0 in favor of the Seahawks…
It was at this point that I realized that I was missing out on an historic opportunity to engage in the art of Snark, and, as befits one of my personality, I decided to go watch the rest of the game.
And report my findings via my cellular telephone.
Let’s pick up where Troy Aikman asks Joe Buck, ”What do the Denver Broncos have to do to get back into this game?”…
Then, the Bronco special teams made a “nice pickup” off a bad bounce on (yet another) Seattle kick off (something for which they are paid millions of dollars to do, by the way), and the Fox announcer declared in amazement “That was a nice pickup!”…
And then something happened that defies imagination… Somebody in a blue uniform got the ball, walked directly (and successively) into the arms of FOUR (maybe more) guys in orange uniforms and then walked out of them again and ended up running 4,000 yards for – wait for it – wait for it – wait for it – a touchdown.
By now, we were starting the 4th quarter, and I began what I will refer to as my countdown to final obliteration…
And then – something completely expected occurred – Seattle got another touchdown. Ho hum… How did that happen?
I continued with my countdown…
And then, lamentation began to creep into my soul…
So, for the sake of my own sanity, I resumed my countdown. Again…
At the 2 minute mark a bit of desperation began to slither its way in, but I pushed forward with my countdown…
And with 6 seconds still left to go…
It was over. Done with. Finished. The annihilation was complete.
So, in my own inimitable way, I moved on to post game commentary…
Stage 1: Try to think of something else to celebrate. Well, in addition to it being my Mother-In-Law’s 100th birthday, it’s also Groundhog Day…
Stage 2: That was pleasant, but I had to get back to the game. So I found this…
It was sadistic. It was awful. It was mean.
I loved it.
But in the end,
1. I have to give the Seahawks their due…
2. I have to be grateful for the blessings I have…
3. I have to do something for the Broncos…
I figure it can’t hurt.
February 1, 2014
Friend: “So, Bill, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?”
Me: ”You mean, ‘who do I want to win it’?”
Friend: ”Yes, who do you want to win the Super Bowl?”
Me: ”The 49ers.”
Friend: ”Uh… You do realize that they aren’t in the Super Bowl this year, don’t you?”
Me: ”Yes. But you didn’t ask me who was in it, you asked me who I wanted to win it. The fact that the 49ers aren’t playing doesn’t change the fact that I want them to win it.”
Friend: ”OK. Of the two teams who are actually playing, who do you want to win?”
Me: ”The Broncos.”
Friend: “Seriously? The Broncos? They are AFC! If you’re a 49er fan, you should be rooting for the NFC team – the Seahawks!”
Me: ”I’m also a Chargers fan, and they are AFC.”
Friend: ”But they aren’t playing, either.”
Me: ”That’s right. And if they were, they would be horribly massacred.”
Me: ”So that makes them the underdog, and I like rooting for the underdog – unless the 49ers are the overdog.”
Friend: ”But -”
Me: ”And since the Chargers aren’t in it to get massacred, and the 49ers aren’t in it to massacre them, I have to go for the next best thing and root for the surrogate underdog.”
Friend: “But the Broncos are favored by two points – they aren’t the underdog.”
Me: ”But they are AFC along with the Chargers.”
Friend: ”That makes no sense. It’s illogical.”
Me: ”It’s football. When did football fans become logical?”
January 17, 2014
I refuse to acknowledge even the remotest possibility that a fitted sheet can be re-folded the way it was when you bought the thing. In fact, I don’t believe it was ever folded that way in the first place. I think they inject some sort of drug into the package that makes you think it’s folded.
There is a reason they call them “fitted”, and it’s not because they “fit” onto the mattress. It’s because folding them gives me fits.
When I was in the Navy, I learned how to fold my laundry correctly. I can fold socks, shirts, pants, underwear, towels and sheets. Yes, sheets.
The problem is that, in bootcamp, we didn’t have fitted sheets. We had two un-fitted sheets, and you had to be able to bounce a quarter off the bottom sheet in order to pass inspection. It is clear why they didn’t have fitted sheets - you couldn’t bounce an idea off a fitted sheet, especially after you have tried to fold it.
You can do lots of things with a fitted sheet. You just can’t fold it neatly. I’ve decided to try to list a few of the things that you can do with a fitted sheet.
- The first, and obvious, thing you can do with it is make it the first thing you put on your bed.
- You can shoot it with a shot gun (skeet-sheet shooting). This will give you “holy sheet”.
- You can hide your cat in a fitted sheet (nobody will notice because a “folded” fitted sheet has no actual standard form, and any lump(s) – even moving ones – look natural. This will give you “cat sheet”.
- You can probably also do the same with your dog, horse, or cow, depending on the size of the fitted sheet. This will render “dog sheet”, “horse sheet” or “cow sheet”. And if you bring your fitted sheet out into the woods, you may get lucky and end up with “bear sheet”.
- But, most likely, you will end up with “bull sheet”.
You can do many things with a fitted sheet. You just can’t fold it.
But, not to worry about that because you can also use it as a sale on your boat. However, you will want at least three of them. This will make you “three sheets to the wind.”
Once you’ve reached that goal, you won’t care about folding it.
December 15, 2013
Well, hello again friends and neighbors! Time for another journey into the mechanical world of me. This time, we’re going to explore the use of the following implements:
- Screw Driver (Phillips Head)
- Picture (Diploma) Frame
- Albino Flee
As many of you know, I learned the difference between a hammer and a ladder in our last episode (The Gazebo Project). Well, now I’m going to put that knowledge to good use by helping the long suffering Judy (my beloved wife in whom I am well pleased) frame some of her various college degrees and professional certificates, so that she can properly display them in her new office…
Many of you know that Judy started a new job in October as the founding librarian and assistant professor of information sciences at a brand new university in central California. She is very excited to be a part of that project, and the faculty, staff and and administration are excited to have her there.
One of the things that Judy has noticed around the campus is that the Administrators, Deans and Professors all have their office walls covered with their various degrees, certificates, etc., and she has decided that it would be proper to display her degrees, certificates, etc. on the walls of her office, too.
Fortunately, most of that stuff survived the fire, so she still has it to frame (or re-frame because most of the frames were lost to smoke and/or water damage, as the case may be). We went out yesterday and, after several months of going from place to place – at least it seemed like months yesterday – we found suitable frames into which she can place her diplomas, etc.. The one caveat is that the store didn’t quite have enough to cover the number of documents she has to hang, but she said that she would work around that.
And, at long last, this brings us to the point of this post: I got to use my mechanical talents once again…
And you get to be a part of that experience…
Prepare to be amazed…
No – really!
Let us begin…
While Judy and I settled on just the right frames for the project, they were lacking one item – Attached Hangers. Yes, the frames came equipped with wood, glass, backing and all of the things required to install the documents and put them on the wall with the exception that the hangers were were all in plastic zip lock bags, attached to the back panels of the frames.
disclaimer: Bag shown at 17 times actual size.
Normally, this would not be too much of an issue even for me, because all of the parts were, at least, present. However some of the parts were of unusually small size and that made assembly a bit more difficult for someone whose hands are populated with a quantity of ten big toes (specifically, me).
One of the smaller items in the bag was the required screws. I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but those screws are really, really amazingly teeny-tiny-inky-dinky small, small. In order to give you some idea exactly how minute they are, I plucked a baby albino pigmy flea from one of Murphy’s eyelids, stuck it under a microscope alongside one of the screws and photographed them side by side. (I originally wanted to use its mother, but I couldn’t get all of her into the picture without panning out so far that the screw completely disappeared from view):
Well, as it turned out, I needed to drill some pilot holes into the back of the frames in order to begin to think about being able to drive the screws to attach the hangers to the frames that would hold the diplomas as they hung on the wall in Judy’s office. Again, normally, this wouldn’t be a problem…
Except that I don’t own a drill bit small enough to create a hole that would allow the screw to grab onto something solid (not air) and be held in place. However I am not without imagination, and I figured out a way to overcome this handicap. I just needed a really small nail and a hammer…
Fortunately (mostly), I have each of those requirements. I fetched them. I used them. And I successfully attached all of the needed hangers. And they are perfect.
Except for one…
I seems that I was a bit over zealous in driving the pilot holes in this one, and I inadvertently drove a bit too far:
Aparently, the holes are not supposed to go all the way through to the front of
the frame because it detracts from the intended focal point of the presentation.
Also fortunately, I am blessed with an extremely patient and forgiving wife.* And even more fortunately, those qualities lasted through today because she came up with a great idea for how we can still use the frame and give my ego a tremendous boost in the process:
I thought that was really sweet of her, and I was really feeling pretty good about the whole situation (other than the fact that she is now down three frames instead of two) – that is until I hung my “Certificate of Achievement” on my office wall…
I am wondering if Judy caught this before I hung it on the wall…
* We have been married 42 years, and when people ask how we have managed to stay together so long, Judy says “It’s easy… I have a really bad memory…”