Thursday, March 31, 2005

Pinto Bean Pie

Bouddica talks about her kids being beans in a pie. Then in my last Carnival of the Campfires recipe I made the comment that I would take requests. Well Bou being the smart alec that she is said she wanted a bean pie. So as an obedient blog offspring I found this:

Pinto Bean Pie

  • 1 lb ground beef (cooked and drain)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 can of whole tomato
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 cup of bisquick
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk

Cook beef, onion and green pepper then drain. Pour beef mix into tomato and pinto beans then put in a 9 inch greased pie pan. Mix bisquick, eggs and milk and beat it real smooth. Pour on top of beef mixture. Bake pie in a large Dutch oven on coals away from main fire. When crust is golden brown, pull off of the fire.

Before you try this, make sure to read Grau's tips on Campfire baking.

What is a Jacobite? Part 3

For today’s Gathering of the Blogs I am going to do part 3 of “What is a Jacobite?” Today’s tale will be different as this will be my own story* and not a recount of past battles. Today I tell my story and what started to be a long journey to here in the Colonies.

The fifth Jacobite rebellion.

Back in 1744 Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart, The Young Pretender), son of James VIII with a significant amount of help from the French, who did a fine job of covering up their involvement after, started working on the next Jacobite rebellion. Charles met with a group of Franco-Irish privateers from the north of France. The privateers, with some Jacobite connections, convinced Charles to raise the Jacobite banner. The French privateers felt that landing in Scotland would distract the British navy away from the merchant ships, which was their income. These privateers where encouraged by the French Government, as it would help give them an advantage in Europe. The French even offered to help and planned an invasion of Britain with 10,000 French regulars. However these troops never saw the English soil due to spies and poor weather again spoiling the plans.

Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland in July of 1745. His first meeting with Scottish at Cladach a’Phrionnsa (the Princes’ beach) was not what he expected. Macdonald of Boisdale told the Prince that there would be no support for this rebellion and he should go home. Charles responded by saying, “I am come home, sir.” The rest of the clansmen were also discouraging. These men were Jacobites, but they were also realists. Charles secured as a supporter Cameron of Lochiel, who had been pessimistic, by gruffly telling him that he could stay home and learn of the Prince’s fate in a newssheet. Shortly after that the rebellion started to flourish. The British government still disregarded Scotland as a threat. They had left the country mostly undefended. Even the Black Watch was moved to the south in anticipation of the previously mentioned French invasion. The Black Watch were Scottish Highlanders loyal to the British government raised to patrol Scotland. They originally were meant to only serve in Scotland. Clan Campbell, strong militarily and allied to the Government, were weakened due to internal organizational decisions by their Chieftain.

Runners were sent with the fiery cross out amongst the Jacobite Clans. The fiery cross was a signal used in the highlands to summon clansmen to gather for war. It was two sticks fastened together with the vertical bar wrapped in cloth and oil. It was then lit on fire. When men would see this signal, they would meet at their clans designated area. It was because of this signal that the Scots were able to raise a fairly large force quickly.

I was a tannist, an advisor, in my sept of Macintosh of Clan Chattan. So when I saw the cross, I grabbed my basket hilted claymore, targe, pistol and the musket I had taken off of an unfortunate member of the Black Watch during a raid. I met with my clansmen and we headed to meet with Bonnie Prince Charlie at Dunbar. We discovered later on that General Cope, of the British, had moved north to intercept us. However he received little help in Scotland and was reluctant to engage thinking we had vast superior numbers then we did. We finally engaged General Cope on the 21st of September 1745 at Prestonpans. We fought for no more then 15 minutes before the Brits broke ranks and ran off of the field. There were approximately only 2,500 men involved between both sides. However after this battle, Charles was now the master of Scotland.

Charles was able to gather more troops due to this victory and with a force of about 5,000 we invaded England. Lord George Murray had advised against this action, however Charles was sure he would receive massive support once in England. The support he hoped for wasn’t there. We only gathered around 200 more men to fight with us. London was in a panic that we were coming, and was calling troops back from overseas. On December 16th we reached Derby, about 130 miles from London. The promised French troops never arrived and word was that English troops from overseas had arrived. We were forced to retreat back to Scotland. Charles left behind around 400 men in Carlisle to garrison the town. When William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, arrived he hung the officers and the rest of the men where transported to the West Indies. On Christmas day we entered Glasgow and stayed there for ten days of much needed rest and food. On January 17, 1746 we again were able to defeat a Brit force lead by General Henry Hawley at Falkirk. After the battle Hawley blamed his men and executed 60 of them for cowardice.

We marched on toward Inverness. We rendezvoused with more troops at Culloden house about 4 miles east the town. We were starving at this point, down to eating a single biscuit or a small loaf of oatmeal bannock a day. The quality of the bannock was very suspect. There were insufficient supplies in Inverness to feed all the troops. The Prince and his generals had decided on a night attack on the British at Nairn. However about a third of our men were absent since they where out scavenging for food. After marching half of the night, the attack was going later then planned and Lord Murray decided to cancel it. So we were marched back to camp. That was on the evening of April 15th, 1746. That was two nights in a row we didn’t get much sleep and where marching. The next day, April 16th 1746, we were assembled on the most horrible fighting ground I had ever seen. It was over heard the Prince rejecting Lord Murray’s advise as to wear to establish our base, and the Prince choose this open moor. We were tired and hungry, exhausted by the march of the previous night. It had been two days since we had received a decent nights rest or had a decent meal. There were only about 5,000 of us, and the Brits, Led by the Duke of Cumberland had about twice as many.

Around one in the afternoon the artillery on both sides opened up on both sides. Our artillery was very ineffective. All of ours was small caliber and nothing exceeded a four-pounder. Most of our regular artillerymen had gone on looking for provisions and had not returned. So we had men that were unaccustomed to working with artillery running the cannons. However the Duke’s cannon were accurate and deadly. We were lined up near the right center. We wanted to charge, but the Prince refused to give the order. The cannon fire was tearing into our ranks, killing the clansmen as we stood there like targets. The wind started blowing into our faces and was accompanied by drifting snow. We’d had enough. Finally the command came to charge. I don’t know who ordered it, and I didn’t care. I was not about to stand there and wait for one of the Brit 8 pounders to take my head off. Shortly after we started the charge, what was left of the line followed us.

Due to bad direction we were bunched together in a dense crowd. The Brits where able to open musket fire, killing many a man before we hit their lines. I fired my musket in response. I don’t know if I killed a man or not, there was too much activity. I pulled my claymore and proceeded to charge again. I watched as the men ahead of me were cut down by musket fire, those that actually made it to the lines perished on the points of bayonets. We finally managed to break their first line. I watched as the Athol Highlanders were gunned down. My clansman and brother-in-law Argus Maclachlan was killed right before my eyes. I took a wound in the arm from a Brit bayonet; it wasn’t serious enough to take me out of the battle. The British troops used a new way of meeting the Highland charge, each soldier stabbed at the man to the right of those they faced directly, so their bayonet would pierce under the man's raised sword arm, and avoid the targe. It was all we could do to keep the pressure up.

The battle lasted for about 40 minutes. The Athol highlanders lost more then half of their men and officers; My Macintoshes lost all but a third of our men. Only three of our officers survived, and our leader, Macgillivray of Drumnaglass was killed as well. We realized that the battle was lost and started to retreat. We tried to save as many of our wounded as possible. The Brits however didn’t give us much of an opportunity. They started killing off any left on the field and continued to fire upon us as we fled. It was then that I took a musket ball to my leg.

Tomorrow I will go into the butchery and slaughter of the Highlanders and their troops.

*This story and the follow up for tomorrow is a pieced together compilation of three different soldiers that fought in Culloden. Their stories helped inspire my re-enacting alter ego.

What is a Jacobite Part 2

Welcome to the next installment of What is a Jacobite for the Gathering of the Blogs. Hopefully after yesterday’s post you have a better idea of what a Jacobite is. Yet, there is much more to come. I’ve only started telling this story. Today we are going to go over the third and fourth Jacobite uprising.

In 1715 the Earl of Mar, John Erskine (Also known later on as “Bobbing John” due to his changing of sides and informing on his previous allies) raised the clans in rebellion. This may have been the best chance the Jacobites had of restoring the Stuart line to the throne. The union with England was even less popular then before in Scotland. Queen Anne (James VII’s daughter and wife of William) had passed away in 1714. Back in 1701 The English has passed the Act of Settlement. This act stated that upon Anne’s death the English Throne would pass to Sophia, Electress of Hanover. This was done because Queen Anne had no heirs. Even though Sophia was the grand-daughter of James VI, she was now of the House of Hanover. There was much animosity for the Hous of Hanover. Since the union, it was ensured that the throne of Scotland would also go to the Hanovers. Mar, an erstwhile politician, only wanted to be in a position of authority. He was however out of favor with King George I who took the throne upon Queen Anne’s death. There was much discontent in England with the non-English speaking King George. The authoritarian Whig party which had gained power since King George’s accession was also chaffing the populous. George I rejected Mar from his court due to misinformation given to him from the Whig party. Mar started the rebellion in order to resurrect his own political career by restoring the Stuarts to the throne. Meanwhile in France the exiled Stuart court wasn’t even aware of what was happening.

The rebellion was widely supported through out Scotland and England. The Jacobite Rebellion was enthusiastically embraced by a large section of the population. A large force quickly rallied around Mar. The Jacobites vastly outnumbered the British forces. However this is where the rebellion starts to fall apart. Mar did not make immediate use of his advantage. If he had, success would have been almost certain. Mar was not a soldier and didn’t have the military background nor experience to lead an army. He also was not quick to take advice from others. On September 14th Mar captured Perth. He did not take advantage of his success. The Duke of Argyll commanded the government forces in Scotland. Instead of taking him on, Mar waited even though he had him outnumbered more then four to one in just his forces. There was a second Jacobite army in the south of Scotland. Again, instead of attacking Argyll, they marched on Lancashire where they where defeated at Preston on November 14, 1715. The previous day, November 13, 1715, Mar finally decided to engage Argyll. The Duke of Argyll was an experienced and knowledgeable solder. Even with his greatly outnumbered forces. Argyll was able to hold off Mar at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. The battle was inconclusive and both sides withdrew. Mar failed to press his advantage when he had it. In December, Argyll received battle-hardened Dutch reinforcements. James admitted defeat and returned to France in February of 1716.

In 1719 the Jacobites, after the exiled Stuart court was removed from France, received assistance from Spain. The Spanish were using the Jacobites as pawns in their own power plays with the British just like the French had done earlier. Spain wanted to invade England and felt a two prong attack would be better. The Spanish sent a fleet including 5,000 soldiers to England. However England had heard of the pending invasion and was able to prepare for it. The fleet of 29 ships was summarily destroyed during a storm at sea. A small force of two frigates and about 300 Spanish infantry reached Scotland. This was a diversionary force used to distract the British from the main Spanish Force. These 300 soldiers where joined by exiled Jacobite troops from France. When they found out the main force would not reach England, they decided to stay and fight anyway. There was little support from the Clans; however the legendary Rob Roy Macgregor was one of those that did show up with some men. On June 10th the Jacobite forces of about 1,000 men faced off with an equal number of government troops. In an eerily foreshadowing event of what will happen 27 years later, the English troops hammered the Jacobites with artillery. The clansmen disappeared into the Highlands and what remained of the Spaniards surrendered, thus ending the rebellion.

Tomorrow we address the 5th and final Jacobite Rebellion best known for the Battle of Culloden. Again remember this is a very brief summary of the battles and history. Many details are being left out in order to keep this post as short as possible.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What, no kidneys?

It is time for the Carnival of the Campfires and Gathering of the Blogs nightly recipe. I have an extensive collection of Scottish recipes and many campfire recipes. If any of you are looking for a hard to find one and or would like me to convert your favorite recipe to campfire cooking, just say so in the comments. I’ll be all over it like plaid on a kilt.

Tonight’s Highland delicacy will be:

Barley with Mushrooms

  • 8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced. (Avoid the peyote)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Butter (you can substitute margarine, but butter tastes much better)
  • 1 ¼ cups water.
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth. *
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ head of cabbage, torn.

Okay, this one has tough instructions; so make sure you pay attention to what you are doing. Cook mushrooms and onions in butter for 5 minutes. Place all ingredients in large Dutch oven. Try to keep at a slow boil. Cook until barley is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as any other herbs you would like. Serves 6. See I told you it was hard.

*You can use 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon instead of stock or broth. You will then have to add an additional 2 cups of water.

What is a Jacobite?

In order to tell this story properly, Contagion has let me tell it. Let me introduce myself, I’m Seamus MacPhail, Contagion’s alter ego from 1756. For the Gathering of the Blogs he needs to make various posts regarding and related to Scots and their history. He thought it would be best to do a “What is a Jacobite.” Well since I am a Jacobite, this was probably one of the smarter decisions he has ever made.

When King Charles II of England died, his brother, James VII of Scotland and II of England succeeded him to the throne. King James was a firm believer in the Divine right of kings. More importantly he was a Roman Catholic. Catholicism was the religion of France and Spain. Both were the traditional enemies of England. Therefore being Catholic was considered unpatriotic in England. England had its own religion which had as its head the English monarch. Any individual that would follow any other religion was thus suspect and considered a traitor. Scotland, which had strong ties with France in the past, didn’t have as strong of a dislike of Catholicism. Their disdain for it was more of a spiritual nature, not political. Both of these issues made James very unpopular with Parliament. The Parliament, in 1688, decided that William of Orange and his wife Mary should rule. Mary was King James’ daughter by his first wife. His first wife was a Protestant. King James VII of Scotland and II of England was deposed in 1689, ending the Stuart line on the throne. Over the next 60 years there where 5 separate attempts to restore James, or one of his descendants, to the throne. Those that supported King James and his descendants in these rebellions where known as Jacobites. The word Jacobite comes from the Latin for James – Jacobus.

In 1689, after the Scottish Convention had accepted William III as king, Bonnie Dundee, John Graham, Earl of Claverhouse withdrew from the convention and raised a small army. Bonnie Dundee was a cavalry commander and based his small army around his own unit. He won a spectacular victory against the Williamite army at Killiecrankie. The price for this battle was costly; Dundee lost his own life at the moment of victory. After his death the rebellion started to fall apart. The rebellion was fought to a standstill at Dunkeld. Ironically, the commander of the English forces that defeated the Jacobites died at the moment of the English victory.

James VII & II died in 1701, his son James Francis Stuart became the legitimate king of Scotland in the eyes of Jacobites. James (VIII) was called the “Old Pretender” by those loyal to William III. In 1707 came the union of the Scottish and English parliaments. This was very unpopular in Scotland and gave Jacobites a much needed opening and additional support from the public.

In 1708 James VIII left for Scotland from France. He had the support of King Louis XIV. The French were having problems with the English in Flanders. They felt that a Jacobite rebellion may relieve some of the pressure off of them and onto the Scots. James VIII never landed in Scotland. The French naval commander of the expedition was forced to flee when a much superior English naval force appeared. There is speculation that if James VIII had landed he would have been able to take Scotland with his force of 5,000 infantry. The English politicians of the time, which dominated parliament, had little to no interest in Scotland and left it mostly defenseless. If James had landed and taken Scotland there was a good chance he could have used it as a launching point to also take England.

This concludes Part 1 of “What is a Jacobite” Part 2 will come tomorrow. Remember this is a brief summary of their history; a lot of details have been left out due to space and time constraints.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Time for another Carnival of the Campfires and Gathering of the Blogs cross post. I’ll be making these all week so I hope you all are ready for some good Scottish cooking!

In my post about Minced Callops I mentioned how I thought it was best with Colcannon. Well, so as to not be a tease, I decided I would post it next. Now this one takes more time to make, but trust me it is worth it. It’s easy to do and hard to burn on a campfire.


  • 1 ½ - 2 pounds green cabbage
  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • Small bunch of spring onions.
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon mace. (The seasoning, not the medieval melee weapon)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons of butter

You will need 2 8+ quart Dutch ovens or cauldrons as well as a separate mixing bowl.

Cut the cabbage into quarters and cook in salted, boiling water until just tender. Drain and let cool. In a separate pot at the same time boil the potatoes until tender, drain and mash them. REMEMBER: if your pot is running low on water and the cabbage or potatoes are not done you may add more water, just make sure that the water is warm and not cool. Adding cool water may damage hot cast iron. Dice the spring onions, discarding the green. Simmer the white part in milk until tender. Add to the mashed potatoes, beat until smooth. Dice the cabbage and add to the potatoes along with mace. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately after making.

The word “Colcannon” comes from the Gaelic word cal ceannan literally meaning: white headed cabbage. Sorry, had to add the history bit in there.

The Interrogation of Contagion.

Oddybobo decided she was going to tag me with this interrogation meme that is going around. I keep telling everyone I’m shy, thus I have problems answering them. However she decided that I had avoided this long enough and captured me. I was going to hold off posting this for a month or two in order to see if it would be forgotten. But then that wouldn’t be nice of me, and apparently she really wants to know about me… or realized that everyone else has already done this thing and I was part of the dregs at the bottom of the barrel. So with no further hesitation, here is the interrogation of Contagion:

(Oddybobo wheeling in a portable generator, jumper cables, some sea sponges and a bucket of salt water as Contagion sits wearing only boxer shorts strapped to a chair)

If you had a time machine and could travel backwards in time, when and where would you go and why?

That’s tough; I can only go one place? Eh, this sucks. I’d probably go back to the 1750’s in frontier America. It would be interesting to finally get the answers to some questions I’ve had for a long time that books don’t address. What exactly was the French and British (remember the US didn’t exist at this time) impact on the Midwest at this time, particularly Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Exactly how many of Le Compartiment Companie De Hudson (Hudson’s Bay Company) was comprised of displaced Scots after the battle of Culloden. As well as what kind of influence these Scots (both with the French and the Brits) had.

(Oddybobo applies wet electrified sponges to Contagions chest. Contagion starts flopping around in the chair)

OKAY! OKAY! I’d really go back to this part of the country in 1750 because they hadn’t found the mineral deposits yet and I know where they all are. I’d be able to secure my rights to them and make a fortune before anyone else found them! Are you happy?!?! Just quit with the shocking already!

Do you ever consider participating in reenactments outside of your tri-state area?

Tri-state? What you trying to imply? I’ve never had intercourse with another man, let alone an animal! What the….

(Lights dim as Contagion is hit with sponges again)

WHAT?!?!? Oh... you mean tri-state like in a region of three states. Ahhh, I see. Well I actually live in a two state region, or bi-state (See original answer Harvey, no smart arse comments) region, just Illinois and Wisconsin. But to answer you question, yes I have and I wouldn’t mind doing more. I used to do the Heritage Festival in Piqua, Ohio and the Davenport, IA Highland games. I wouldn’t mind finding some events in Michigan, Iowa and Indiana to do. But the problem is distance and with two kids, the longer the drive the more problems you have. My youngest hates riding in cars. I did do the Kalamazoo Michigan Living History Show about a week and a half ago and I’m planning on going back next year.

What trait, most like yours, do your children exhibit?

Well that would be my charming personality, good looks and of course my…

(Smell of burning bacon as Contagion is once again hit with the sponges)

Enough already! Okay, my youngest is just like me, in just about every aspect. (My wife should be answering this one; she’d give you a long list) From temperament, to personality, to everything. To narrow one down would be like me asking you to pick your favorite strand of hair. There is a reason I call him Clone. My oldest, he doesn’t have too many of my traits, if any at all. Boopie is more like an anomaly he just kind of exists to push the limits of my temper. I have all kinds of stories I could tell, unfortunately most of them I don’t dare put on the internet in fear of a visit from the government. :)
Describe your ideal Saturday.

That’s not a question, that’s more of a….

(What hair is left on Contagion’s head is now smoking)

WELL IT’S NOT! I guess my ideal Saturday would be the Saturday out at the Trail of History in Ringwood, Illinois. It’s the third weekend in October. I’d wake up in my wall tent to a nice brisk autumn morning. There would be frost on the ground and you could hear the geese. My wife and I would get up and start our day nice and relaxed. The day would warm up as the sun came up over the Kames, however the day would only reach a temperature high of 61. I’d do my demonstrations and play in the battle. Go on a walk-a-bout with the wife looking for the latest “Must have” in re-enacting gear from one of the vendors. For dinner we would have a nice traditional frontier meal. Maybe rabbit stew, Maybe Grau’s Blam, Maybe just buffalo or deer steaks. But it would be campfire made. After dinner we would sit around the campfire with all of our friends and listen to songs being sung or stories being told. Just socializing with people we really only get to see out at these events. Then when all was said and done my wife and I would go to bed and we would proceed to…

(Contagion’s fingernails are starting to turn black)

HEY! Too much info??? All right… I love my boys, but sometimes I just want alone time with my wife. Trail is a no kids weekend for us. If they can’t drive themselves out there, they can’t come. We both love it and even though my wife would like it warmer she does really enjoy it.

If you could be a character from a book who would it be and why?

That’s a tough one. I’ve read too many books to pick just one person. I guess I could try to pick one, but my choice changes based on my mood. Right now I wouldn’t mind being Harry D’amore from Clive Barker’s Books of the Art (The Great and Secret Show and Everville). However at other times I would like to be Nathanial Poe/Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans. At other times I would like to be Matrim Cauthon from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Also….

(Contagion’s limp body sits in a chair… Oddybobo realizes she put too much electricity through him and he may be dead. She lays down the sponges and slowly walks out of the room casually looking over her shoulder and taking off her rubber gloves)

(Contagions incorporeal soul)
I’m supposed to pas this in to how many people I want to. Well unless any of my readers really, really, really want to be subjected to this I don’t plan on passing this meme on. If for some masochistic reason you want me to ask you five questions, volunteer in the comments. I’ll warn you now, my questions may be a little… unusual.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Gathering of the Blogs and Carnival of the Campfires

I have to make a post for each and I thought to myself, "I'm a Scottish re-enactor, I can do both on the same post." This was a favorite in our group for a long time. However to feed a group of 16, you need to make a lot of this. This is some of the most delicious and filling dishes I've ever had. So much to my wife's chagrin I'm giving up a much sought after Highland Recipe.

    Minced Callops

  • 1 pound beef, minced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 cups Oatmeal, plain. (do not use any flavored oatmeal, if you decide to add flavored oatmeal, eat it at your own risk... Mmmmm Beefy, oniony maple and brown sugar. Drool)
  • Worcestershire Sauce, to taste
  • Salt
  • Pepper

In a well seasoned and oiled Dutch oven brown the beef and onions together. While browning sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste. Once browned, pour in beef stock, Sprinkle in oats and add Worcestershire sauce. Simmer slowly until oatmeal is cooked. If more liquid is needed, add it a little at a time. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. (Yes this will stick, think about it, you're making beef flavored oatmeal in a pot). Serve with a bottom layer of Mashed potatoes, colcannon, slices of toast or hard boiled eggs. Personally I recommend colcannon or Mashed potatoes. Serves 4

Clean up:

For quickest and easiest clean up. Scrape and wipe out as much of the left over Minced Callops out of the Dutch oven. Use wooden spoons and paper towels. Get it as much extra out as possible. Then turn the Dutch oven face down and throw on top of a well burning fire. Walk away for 2-3 hours. Pull off of fire using a Dutch oven tool or welders gloves. Using a straw whisk brush ash off of cooking surface. Re-oil, preferably with canola or vegetable oil. Try to avoid crisco as it will fester. Instead of using oil, try using bees wax. It's perfectly edible, it wont harm the metal AND it is completely tasteless. Make sure it is real pure bees wax and not synthetic/artificial.

I hope you all enjoy! Later this week Colcannon!

If you have Scottish blood, or just want to support your local Scotsman. Go join the Gathering of the Blogs! Duna' be a whussay l'il Anglishman. Gew gawther oop yer kilt 'n claymore and answer yon' fiery cruss. (No offense meant towards any English that visit. I know you're nice people. I can't blame you for your ancestors! :) j/k. )

Marketing M-pire Strikes Back!

Okay, I thought Darth Vader as a spokesman for Cheez-its was brilliant. Today, however, while at the gas station I see these! That’s right folks. Darth is now selling chocolate, M&M’s to be precise.

They had two different varieties of M&Ms. there was the Jedi Mix and the Darth Mix, The Darth mix having a dark chocolate inside instead of milk chocolate. The best part… the tag tine for the Darth Mix: “M&M’s goes to the Dark (Chocolate) Side.” I can’t remember what the Jedi one was, because I didn’t care… I HAD DARTH VADER SELLING ME CANDY! I was like a kid in a candy shop… or gas station candy isle. I was giddy as all get out. I was showing complete strangers the package trying to convert them. So picture me in a shirt and tie waving a bag of M&M’s around yelling, “Come to the dark side!”

Of course I was kind of disturbed by the yellow M&M dressed up as Darth Vader and holding a light saber. That’s only because the Yellow one is a big bumbling idiot. I think the red one would have been better. He’s a tad meaner, AND Lord Vader’s light saber is red. See the connection?

I wonder what the commercial will be like:

(Opening: the interior of a ship. You see two blast doors. Suddenly there is smoke and sparks and the doors fall away and storm troopers come rushing in. Fire fight ensues, Storm Troopers win)

(Darth Vader comes stepping through)

Vader, “Has anyone found the young Jedi?”

Storm Trooper, “Yes Lord Vader, he turned himself over with out a fight.”

Vader, “Fool! Bring him to me.”

(Storm Trooper makes hand Jester, two other Storm Troopers bring in prisoner in manacles)

Vader, “We don’t need those. I’ll take him from here. Leave us” (Waves hands and manacles fall away, Storm Troopers leave)

Young Jedi, “You have no right to detain me, I am an emissary to the Felzion System. The senate will hear about this!”

Vader, “You’re senate has no power over me. Once you’ve converted to the dark side it won’t matter anyways”

Young Jedi, “I’ll never convert!”

Vader, “Sure you will, but before we get started on your training, would you like some M&Ms?” (Darth holds out bowl of M&Ms)

Young Jedi, “I want nothing from you!” (Turns head, looks back quickly) “Wait! I’ll have some. Who could resist the sweet milk chocolaty taste inside a candy shell that melts in your mouth, not in your hands?”

(Young Jedi takes a handful of M&Ms and pops them in his mouth, all of sudden his skin goes pale and you can see veins popping out all over face and hands)

Darth, “Ah, you’re transformation to the dark side is complete.”

Young Jedi (Wide Eyed), “By only eating a handful of milk chocolate M&M’s?”

Darth, “HAHAHA that is where you are mistaken. They were DARK chocolate!”

Young Jedi, “ NOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo!”

Darth, “No one can resist the power of the Dark Chocolate M&Ms, no one.”

(Fade out to a shoot of a bag of M&Ms on a space back ground)

Tag Line: M&M’s goes to the Dark (Chocolate) Side.

The weekend in review.

What a long weekend. Saturday we had a birthday party for Clone. I’m glad he only turned two and it didn’t mean a lot to him. Most of the kids invited either didn’t show or got sick and had to cancel. Grau showed up with his spawn (as he refers to them). Other then that it was my oldest boy Boopie, my parents, grandmother and sister. At the age of two, Clone didn’t really know what was going on, so he was more interested in ice cream and playing. Although he can tear into a present like a pro now.

Grau found the coolest gift for Clone, A toddlerized X-wing Fighter from Star Wars. I didn’t even know they made such a thing. What is really funny is that on the box they have Luke Skywalker on it looking like a total red-neck. I tried to get a picture of it, but it didn’t turn out.

Then Karma came back to bite me on the arse. When Grau’s eldest was growing up I made it a point to buy him toy power tools. I didn’t skimp out and get the knock offs, only the best power tools for this boy. Well this year my sister, hence forth known as the nameless one as I’ve disowned her (j/k), gave Clone a Home Depot weed whacker toy just like one I gave Eldest Spawn years ago. I swear on all that is good and right in the world that boy weed whacked every damn inch of our living room and office Saturday and Sunday. Karma sucks.

Boopie was the model/ideal older brother on Saturday. He took Clone up and down the big play land slide for a couple of hours. He’d help him climb up the ladder tube and then would help him slide down the big tube slide. He’d chase him around the upper levels of the play area while playing with Grau’s eldest. There are times I swear that Boopie is not going to reach the age of 12 (in just over a month), and then there are other times when I’m rather proud of the boy. (More frustration of late then pride). On Saturday I was pretty proud of him.

My father was giving me grief over my hair on Saturday. I had just gotten it cut. I like it pretty short for easy maintenance. About a quarter inch on the sides and a half inch on top. I know there are shorter hair cuts, but they make my head look funnier then it already does. Plus it’s fun to tell the public out at re-enactments that my hair is so short because I had lice and it’s just starting to grow back. My father however likes to get the old 50’s style military flat-top hair cut. I keep telling him it’s “an old man’s cut”. He was teasing me about mine being an old man’s cut and the conversation went something like this:

Dad, “I remember you telling me that hair style is an old man’s cut.”

Me, “I put product in my hair and style it, you just leave it all fluffy and brillo pad looking.”

Dad, “That doesn’t make a difference.”

Me, “Sure it does, my hair is spiky and looks good… yours makes you look like an old man.”

Not-so-supportive-wife, “You don’t need to put up with that dad, you can take him.”

Dad, “Yea, I’m sure I can. I bet it’s been a while since someone bent him over their knee and gave him a spanking”.

Me, “Now that you say that, it has been over 12 hours” (Looks at wife).

Nameless one (AKA disowned sister), “Oh god! I didn’t need to know that!!!!”

(Grau and Contagion laughing, Ktreva shaking her head. Father looking on in disbelief. Sister looking mortified by the mental image).

I love when I can get one off like that.

As for Easter, eh, some people like spending time with their extended family. I’d rather stay home and do yard work. And I hate yard work. So I’m not going to post on it, as it was a long three hours.

[help]What did I do wrong?[/help]

Okay, I obviously have played around a LOT with my template. Well I was bored and checking out various things last week, when I noticed I've received very few search engine hits. So I thought I'd play a little. I wasn't expecting a lot since I am a new blog and all. Well when I googled "Miasmatic Review" everyone else that has mentioned or linked to me showed up. I was nowhere to be found. So I submitted my site for their crawlers.

When I yahoo'd my site, I came up as "Blog". Now I don't know what I did to my template to get it to do that, but I know that is wrong. I've sat here for a week trying to figure out what I need to fix that, and I can't seem to find the problem. So if any of you kind people out there would be so helpful as to point me in the correct direction, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Your conversion to the Darkside is almost complete!

Okay, I was at the store the other day and saw these:

Darth Vader Cheez-its

Who'd'a thunk that the greatest Movie villain of all time would be the perfect spokesman for a snack cracker? I mean c'mon this is great stuff! You can get your cheesy yummy goodness AND converted to the dark side all at the same time!

I also like how on the box it looks like Darth Vader is using the force to propel the tiny snack crackers at you like some kind of deadly shuriken. This speaks volumes to me, "Eat these crackers or I will kill you!" YES, OH LORD YES! THE ADD EXECS HAVE FINALLY FOUND A SPOKESMAN FOR ME!

I can just see the TV commercial now:

(opening: A Star Destroyer passing through space. Close-in on the bridge. Darth Vader is talking to one of his minions)

Vader: Admiral Vesta, have your obtained the cheez-its yet?

Admiral: I'm sorry lord Vader. The last imperial supply depot we stopped at in the Hoth system was out of them.

Vader: That is unacceptable. Captain Theron, please go to my quarters and get my emergency box of cheez-its.

(Captain goes running as if his life depends on it, and we all know it does)

Admiral: Lord Vader, I'll make sure that we pick some up at the next supply depot.

Vader: It's too late for that Admiral, I've had enough of your incompetence.

(Captain comes running in out of breath, sweaty and carrying a 1 pound box of cheez-its with Darth Vader on it)

Captain: Here you go lord Vader.

Vader: Thank you Captain Theron.

(Vader takes box of cheez-its from captain and turns back towards the Admiral)

Vader: You have failed me for the last time Admiral. (Choking Admiral using the force.)

(Vader turns to Captain)

Vader: Admiral Theron, take us to the nearest imperial supply depot quickly. We must get more cheez-its!

Newly promoted Admiral Theron: AYE, AYE! Lord Vader. (Even more sweat rolling down his face now that the realization that his life expectancy just got shortened to less then 6 months as no Admiral under Darth Vader has lasted that long)

(Fade out to picture of box)
(End commercial)

Ahh, That's my kind of advertising.

Those that gnome, do. Those that don't, complain.

It appears my blog momma-sis, Boudicca, is up to it again. This time however she has made it personal. Instead of trying to prove through facts and documented research what I have stated in these posts does not apply to Fredweena, she has started mud slinging. I'm extremely disappointed as I thought she was better then that.

First she wonders, legitimately, if there is college courses on the subject of gnomes. Yes, Bou there is. When In college I minored in Crypto-gnomeology for 2 semesters. Taking such wonderful courses as Intro to Gnomes 101, Gnome Biology 110, Gnome Society and Communities 201, Religion and Mythology of Gnomes 228, History of Gnomes 236 and Gnome Psychology 245. I changed my minor after two semesters to computer science as I thought it would be more beneficial then Cypto-gnomeology. There are even off-shoot groups that follow the Gnomes. This group has some of their information wrong, but has the right idea. Just because Bou was only interested in engineering doesn't mean there aren't other degrees out there. I feel this observation and her comparing it to the class Rock for Jocks 111 as being insulting to all the Crypto-gnomeologists out there.

Secondly she goes so far as to accuse me of being part gnome. I have stated in an earlier post that as far as I know, there is no gnome blood in me that I'm aware of. I find this particularly insulting in that she now, in trying to discredit me, tries to bring my race and upbringing into the picture. I never knew her to be so shallow. If I was part gnome would that be all bad? What does Bou have against gnomes? Is there something wrong with gnomes? No, but Bou wants you to believe this is a bad thing. Then she suggests that maybe I'm a mutant. That maybe, "(Contagion) just became a tiny bit I Gnome." I never knew that my blog momma-sis could be so mean and hateful. I'm cut deeply and I think the counseling that is going to be needed to repair this damage and our relationship will be long and costly. Plus looking at my family tree, if there is any gnome in that blood line, it would have to come from Bou as she is the only one that shows any physical traits towards being a gnome. My blog dad-pa's Grau and Harvey are both well over 5'9 Which would be way to tall for any gnome blood. Maybe her hatred of gnomes is self-denial. If it is, I'm willing to work with her to overcome this so she can feel better about herself.

Thirdly, she accuses me of having sexual relations with gnomes. Again we are back to her hatred of the gnome race. First off, it is physically impossible for a male human and a female gnome to have sexual relations. As the anatomies are just not compatible. If a human male tried to insert himself into a female gnome. The female gnome would explode like an over stuffed sausage casing. Remember gnomes only average about one foot tall. Also again, female gnomes rarely leave their homes so the chances of my finding one would be extremely unlikely. Plus I don't like chics with beards. I'm also happily married to a human female that would rip my "Mr. Happy" off and feed it to the dog if I even thought of having relations with another female, human or gnome.

Needless to say, I am highly disappointed in Bou's mud slinging. I'm also disappointed in her implied racial hatred of gnomes. However she is my momma-sis and friend, there for I will try to assist her in overcoming this ugliness. :)

Friday, March 25, 2005


You are Neal Page (from Planes, Trains &
Automobiles)! Short-tempered and cut to the
chase, you like things done your way. But
you're also a devoted family man who lives up
to his responsibilities.

Which John Hughes Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

When I was a kid I really loved John Hughes movies. As an adult they are still one of my guilty pleasures, mainly for nostalgia reasons.

Explaining the great ungnome.

Apparently Blog Momma-sis, Boudicca, is still delusional regarding the nature of gnomes and tried to rationalize how her Fredweena is a female gnome. First you have the problem that we have multiple documented pieces of evidence that Fredweena is nothing more then Fred with a make over. Second, she does this by trying to pull some smoke and mirrors delusion over on us with her misinformation and pure speculation. Plus she likes to do transference of traits between humans and gnomes to find similarities.

I will now, as apparently the blogosphere gnome expert, refute her rather suspect facts:

First Boudicca wants to compare her birthing of three children to that of a gnome. The first thing that I find wrong with this is that Boudicca is not a gnome. The last time I checked I have no gnome in blog bloodlines. Humans and gnomes are completely different species. There is no relation. It would be like me trying to compare Boudicca giving birth with that of a frog. If we were going to do that, then we know that Boudicca should have approximately 3.785 children broken into three ages as she was only pregnant three times. Well she’s not so there for Boudicca is not a frog. Well I don’t think Boudicca was pregnant for 6 years each time. If she was, then her oldest child would have to be at least 18 years old, and we know he is not. So her trying to find similarities between Gnomes and Humans is completely asinine. Plus she can’t even get her facts straight. She says:

They are NOT pregnant for all of 5 months out of their lives.


Males and females don’t interact… females tend the home, men play.

When in all actuality we know that it is common for a female gnome to not be impregnated for only a combined 5 months of their mature life. Gnomes are not born pregnant, and until the female reaches maturity, around the age of 48 they can not get pregnant. Gnomes are known to live to about 307 years. Also male and female gnomes do have to interact. If they didn’t how would there ever be child gnomes? They generally do not interact. It’s like a cast system, only involving gender and not social status. I just needed to clarify that before going any further.

So let’s get into the logistics of a gnome pregnancy. Gnomes don’t carry their children like humans do. Baby gnomes are usually around 1.5 ounces at birth and about the size of a pencil eraser when they are born. Female gnomes, unlike human females, do not get uncomfortable and miserable. They truly enjoy being pregnant. There is no, to quote my own wife, “feeling like a beached whale”. The only way you can tell a female gnome is pregnant is the constant swelling and shrinking of her feet.

Boudicca also states:

They sit around and do NOTHING and since women want sex ALL THE TIME, they
get it whenever they happen upon one.

They don’t have to be pregnant... let alone pregnant virtually their
ENTIRE LIVES! (Man, that would totally rot.)

Since females and males NEVER interact, they don’t even have to be
supportive during this horrible 6 year gestation period with severe feet
expansion. They have to do NOTHING.

They get to party all the time, while the women raise the kids.

I will address these point by point.

1) She missed the male to female ratio of 23.4:1. She did however acknowledge that the female gnome generally stay home. If a lazy/sober gnome is exiled from her community, the chances of him finding a female Gnome are rare to slim. That’s why they hide out in gardens and around bushes waiting for females. I never said female gnomes, so ladies be careful out there. Especially if you find a drooling, dain, bramaged, cyborg, gnome that is craving bacon.

2) A transsexual gnome still wouldn’t be able to get pregnant because they wouldn’t have the uterus and ovaries to be able to conceive and carry the baby. This is true even with human transsexuals. Medical science is not that progressed yet.

3) All men have to help support any female they find. If they don’t then they won’t be able to scratch that 7 year itch. So they provide the female gnome with what ever she desires.

4) Women get sex all the time!!! That is why a lazy/sober gnome would want to be a female. They get to do nothing but have sex and NOT take care of any kids because they can't have any.

So now you look at this list and you have to admit it looks pretty sweet. Why wouldn’t a lazy/sober gnome want to be a female? He/she couldn’t get pregnant, would have sex when ever they found a man, couldn’t get pregnant so there is no feet swelling and any guy they come across is going to give him/her what ever he/she needs.

Based on the totality of all this information, and especially since we have documented proof that Fredweena was once Fred. How can we deny that Fredweena is a pre-operative transsexual? I believe I have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt of what is going on here. Sorry Bou, you'll just have to face the facts.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Clone learns to Drive.

We had the first of Clone's birthday parties tonight. In my family you always have a party for the family and one for the friends. Tonight was the family party.

I had decided that Clone needed his own car this year. He has a little John Deere Gator he likes to ride on, but it's not the same. He needed something with more power. Something that could haul more. Something that moved itself. So I went on a shopping trip, and I treated it like anytime I buy a vehicle. I compared prices, packages and warranties. And decided on the vehicle I thought he would like. (And one he would be able to reach the peddles. I found a corvette racer that was really cool, it even came with a real working AM/FM radio. It also had a cup holder, I'm all about the cup holders. However it was way too big for him). Unfortunately there was some assembly required for the model that I bought.

Last night after Clone went to sleep, I started assembling his new vehicle. I wanted him to be able to play with it today. While my wife and Anathematized1 watched survivor, and some really nasty cosmetic surgery show afterwards (That's for a different post), I assembled the vehicle. It wasn't too bad to put together. I only had one mishap and I was able to rectify it.

This morning, when my wife brought him down to get dressed. He saw the new vehicle. He instantly wanted it. Chanting, "Car, car, I want car!" He nearly out muscled my wife, leapt off the changing table half naked and tried to run for the vehicle. He was only half successful. My wife was able to get him dressed, the whole time he kept staring at the vehicle. Finally, she was finished, he hit the ground running. He climbed up into the vehicle and was happy. The battery was still charging so he couldn't go anywhere yet. He didn't care, he was just happy with his new toy and pushing the forward/reverse buttons. The problem came when we had to leave. I had to pry him from his new toy and he was not at all happy. All the way to my parents house he cried "car, car, I want car!!!" and he gave us the look that only a small child can give their parents. That "Why must you torture me? What have I done that is so horrible that you deny me this simple wish. All I want is (insert item). You gave it to me and then took it away" look.

When we got home tonight, he was so happy to have his new vehicle. Here is getting ready to drive it for the first time.

Clone's wild Ride

Click to enlarge

I figured Machelle would be happy since it is a Ford. So he now has his very own truck. Grandpa has a truck, I have a truck and now Clone has a truck. (See the pattern? I'm not kidding, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.)He was truckin' around the back yard. He hasn't quite managed to figure out how to steer it and he is just a little too short to reach the peddle. He drove it for about 5 minutes before he got into his first accident. He plowed right into Boopie, his older brother. He did however master the art of the burn out. He would get those tires to spin and kick up dirt pretty easily. He'd be burning up the backyard and I'd have to run along side to turn it. He kept his hands out the side. I tried to get pictures of that, but they all turned out blurry. Plus the weather went south and it was starting to rain.

I'm still trying to get him to call it a truck, not a car. I guess it doesn't really matter... But it's a truck!

Then there was cake and Ice cream. He loves his ice cream. What? You don't believe me? Let me enter into evidence peoples exhibit A:

Kitchen box

Click to enlarge

He had ice cream all over his face, in his hair, between his fingers, all over his clothes, IN HIS EAR. He started off eating the cake, but once he got a taste of the ice cream it was over. He didn't touch the cake anymore. He only wanted that frozen sugary sweet kiddy crack that made him feel oh so good.

Oh, don't try to take the fork away from clone when he's eating ice cream. He will stab you with it, even though I did try to distract him with cheesy poofs. Now you'll have to excuse me while I go to the ER to have stitches and explain how I was shanked by a 2 year old with a fork for trying to take his ice cream.

Truth about gnomes.

Boudicca over at Boudicca’s voice captured the gnome from this post. She decided to turn Fred the Gnome into Fredweena the Gnome. In the comments I accused her of turning Fred into a pre-op transsexual Gnome. She did not like my assessment and made the statement that maybe gnomes where like worms and could change their sex. So I did some research in order to respond properly to my Blog momma-sis.

I'm sorry Bou, but you are once again misinformed on the nature of gnomes. Gnomes are NOT like worms. There are male and female gnomes; to be precise there is a ratio of 23.4:1 male to female gnomes.

The male gnomes, unlike humans, do not have an overly active sex drive. They feel the need to procreate only about once every 7 years. Thus the term “7 year itch” was created to describe this cycle. The cause of this cycle is due to the extreme amount of mischief and drinking that they do which kills the libido. However on the rare occasion that a lazy and sober gnome is born they are known to be in a state of sexual arousal 21 hours a day. Which makes sleeping rather difficult, thus they are cranky. The other male gnomes will shun the lazy/sober gnomes and drive them from their gnome communities so as to not flood the gene pool with their lazy/sober seed. These exiled Gnomes tend to show up in gardens and around bushes in people yards. They tend to be very still and are often confused with cement figurines. They are however waiting for an attractive female to pass by so they can satisfy their needs and possibly get some sleep.

The female gnomes however are about insatiable sexually and always feel the need to procreate. They however have a 6 year long gestation period. During pregnancy they continue to procreate believing wrongly that there is a chance of getting the elusive gnome twins by doing so. Gnome twins are prized as they are always female. It is common for a female gnome to not be impregnated for only a combined 5 months of their mature life. Most female gnomes tend to die at an old age while giving birth.

It is because of this phenomenon we get the term “barefoot and pregnant”. Since when a female gnome is pregnant her feet swell and shrink constantly through out the day. Their feet can swell as much as twice their regular size. They are unable to wear shoes during this time. So they go around barefoot as to not be uncomfortable in shoes that would be either too tight or too small.

Male and female gnomes generally do not interact. The males tend to go off causing mischief and drinking. While the females stay home, take care of the children and procreate when they find a man that needs it.

So based on this information we can deduce that Fredweena is actually a lazy/sober gnome that wants a sex change in the belief he will have more sex.

Facts in previous post may or may not be true.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Good Lord, what have I done?!?!?

I finished my powder horn last night. I’m impressed with myself. Pretty good for a first try. It took me longer then it should have, but seeing as it was my first time doing it, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I had a nice powder horn, I liked it a lot. It held about ¾ of a pound of powder. But I wanted one that was mine and could hold more. I liked making it, it was fun. I know what I did wrong and if I decide to make another, I know what to do differently. I’m even thinking of trying to make another just for the heck of it. It only cost me $15.00 in parts (I have some pretty fancy hardware on mine, with out those it would have been around $7.00) and it kept me occupied and busy for 3 days. (Not counting travel and work hours). I thought about doing scrimshaw on mine, but I think I’m going to wait to do that until I get some practice on some other items first.

I also finished burning the Celtic knotwork crescent moon designs into the door of my wife’s new kitchen box. They didn’t turn out as nice as I was hoping. Okay, they didn’t turn out anything like I hoped they would. Now you have to understand I have no artistic ability what-so-ever. I am so void of artistic ability that I act as a black hole for artistic ability, sucking away the creativity from others around me. On numerous occasions I have been around various artists (painters, carvers, musicians, etc.) and all of a sudden it’s like they forgot how to do their art. Painters will make glaringly wrong brush strokes, carvers will remove too much material, and musicians will forget how to play their instruments. I’m not kidding I’m that bad. I have a musician friend that says I have to stay 15 feet away from him when he plays.

So when I decided I could burn in this knotwork, I actually felt I could do this. I was surprised. I never feel that way about anything artsy. So I had confidence that I could do this. My wife picked out the design and I started working on it. This is how it went; Okay, this isn’t too bad. Oops, made a mistake, eh no-one will notice. Okay, I think I’m getting the… damn, another mistake. That’s not too bad, I can cover that up. Why won’t this pen turn the way I want it to? Why the hell did it do that? Ah crap, that’s not good. Okay, that’s better. This looks decent. CRAP! What the hell was I thinking? Argh, my two year old could do this better then I can! WHY GOD WHY? WHY WOULD YOU TORTURE THE POOR INNOCENT KITCHEN BOX THIS WAY?!?! Etc. The kids are screaming in horror at my creation, my wife is crying since I turned her lovely kitchen box into an aberration of nightmarish proportions. All I can do is say, “I thought I could do it.”

Anyways, so now my wife has a kitchen box that looks like a drunken three year old started scribbling on it with a very hot magic marker using their feet. Luckily I think I can sand off the “design” so it looks normal. Then to make matters worse I tried to burn a design in my Clone’s new chair and it turned out even worse. I don’t know what I was thinking after the debacle that was the kitchen box. I don’t feel too bad about the chair since it the wood was so dark I had a hard time seeing the design I drew onto it and I ended up free-handing most of that design. No good comes from my free-hand drawing anything, let alone with a wood burner.

The next time I get the idea to try to do anything artistic, I need someone to remind me that a monkey fetus has more artistic talent then I do. Maybe I won’t try to scrimshaw on my powder horn after all.

If I get brave later I’ll post pictures of my disaster. But I need to work up the courage before I do that. And since I cut back on drinking, I can’t turn to liquid courage either. Although I need some to face that kitchen box tonight. The thing gives me nightmares.


Here's the pictures I was talking about.

Powder Horn

Kitchen box

Click to enlarge at your own risk!

What does a kiss taste like?

Since VW is out taking care of her sick child, I thought I'd help cover with some "Humor for the Dreaded Wednesday".

One day a teacher had a taste test with her students. She picked a little boy to do the first test. She blindfolded him, put a Hershey kiss in his mouth and asked, "Do you know what it is?"

"No, I don't," said the little boy.

"Okay, I'll give you a clue. It's the thing your daddy wants from your Mom before he goes to work."

Suddenly, a little girl at the back of the room yelled, "Spit it out! It's a piece of ass!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Roaming Gnome!

I was at Harvey's when I saw this post. I'm always up for a little mischief, as long as it is harmless and only includes minor property damage. So I decided to help steal the gnome. And I did!


So now that I have it, I'm supposed to leave trackbacks to Nick of NickQueen and Chuck of Chuck's Chat at Class Mishaps. Well I can't find the trackback for Chuck so I sent one only to Nick. That'll have to do.

So now that I've stolen it and done my deed, someone else needs to steal it as well. Go be good little petty criminals now! Make your parents proud!

Being artsy and crafty.

Yesterday I got most of my new powder horn done. I got the horn plug fit, the quick measure attached, and the filling stopper installed. I had to let the epoxy dry for 24 hours before I moved onto the next phase. Tonight I should be able to finish it up and start on the strap for it. I started working on it Sunday afternoon forming the body and drilling most of the holes. If it wasn't for the fact that I had to run to the hardware store to pick up a special drill bit, I would have been done yesterday. Maybe I'll take a picture and post it so you can see my work. I'm pretty proud of myself I think it looks good, but I'm kind of biased since I made it.

Graumagus came over last night to visit and to return some rebuild disks for an e-machine. I also think he partly came by to see one of the new toys. However the toy he wanted to see was one I had to order. So I don't have it yet. Once I get it, I'll post pictures for everyone.

Due to the social interruption I didn't get very far into the other project I had set aside for me to do last night. That was to start wood burning a Celtic knotwork crescent moon into two of the doors of my wife's new kitchen box. I was getting started when Grau made his appearance. I don't get to see Grau too often so it was nice to visit with him and it was worth the interruption. However I'm thinking I may have to quarantine my house until all projects get done to prevent further interruptions.

Tonight I'll probably, hopefully, willingly be able to get both designs carved and burnt. I only have 31 days left until the next re-enactment. That means I only have 26 work days left to get all my tasks finished for the season opener.

I have a lot of stuff to do too; I have to find/make paper cartridge tubes so I can make more rounds for my musket. I have to order cannon fuse for the Howling Jezebel. I have to repair the damage to furniture from last year. I need to repair my Murdoch pistol, the frizzen won't open properly. I need to burn/engrave our initials into our new plates, cubs, bowls and flat ware. And I need to help my wife with the costuming.

Now for my obstacles; Easter, Clone's birthday, Two social events I'm committed to, going live fire black powder shooting with one of my friends, work (belch, I wonder if they'd let me take a one month leave of absence :)), playing with the boys and of course taking time to woo my wife so she doesn't realize she deserves better then me. (She really settled when she said "I do" at the church)

I'll get it all done, I know I will. How do I know? Well I do this every year. This year I gave myself a month to work with, not the normal week that I usually give myself. All this work is worth it because I really enjoy my hobby and I'm actually enjoying doing the artwork/craftwork. I've never been good at arts and crafts so this surprises me.

As I wrote this I started thinking, you all know about my hobby. But I'm not sure what any of your hobbies are. No one really posts about them, and I find that kind of strange. So if you all would be so kind as to share what hobbies or crafts you do I would appreciate that. Just put it in my comments, or if it's long, post it and track back to this post. That is if you don't mind sharing a little bit more of yourself with me.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bow Before Your Master!

I saw this over at Grau's and he got it from Tammi's. So I thought, oh what the hell. My Minions already think I'm evil, lets see how this would work. So I clicked on this link and answered a few quick questions.

Evil Plan (tm)!

Your objective is simple: World Domination.

Your motive is a little bit more complex: Power

Stage One

To begin your plan, you must first incinerate a wealthy heiress. This will cause the world to give one another worried looks, frightened by your arrival. Who is this ripe bastard? Where did he come from? And why does he look so good in a corporate suit?

Stage Two

Next, you must destroy United Nations. This will all be done from a corporate tower, a mysterious place of unrivaled dark glory. Upon seeing this, the world will tremble, as countless hordes of cultists hasten to do your every bidding.

Stage Three

Finally, you must send forth your armies of destruction, bringing about the destruction of the masses. Your name shall become synonymous with slaughter, and no man will ever again dare cross you. Everyone will bow before your unbreakable will, and the world will have no choice but to elect you dictator for life.

It's like a dream come true... NOW BOW AND SERVE YOUR DARK OVERLORD! What? It's only a joke? You mean it didn't happen? Crap, that means I have to release the hippies from the basement doesn't it?

Random Thoughts

Have you ever just been sitting around doing something, when all of a sudden a door opens up in your head and you realize you are not the person you thought you where going to be? (Yes, that is one long run on sentence; no I’m not changing it because that’s how I talk). Well that just happened to me. I just finished working on a project, stopped to take a drink of water and wham. I realized I am not who I thought I would be.

When I was younger I thought I would be the eternal bachelor. I never thought I would marry, let alone have kids. I always pictured myself as single. I don’t know who was more surprised when I got married; my parents, my sister, my friends or me. Yet today I have a wife that makes me smile by just being in the same room as me. I also have two boys that simultaneously drive me crazy and bring me so much joy. I can’t imagine life with out my wife and kids.

I thought I was going to be either a Chief of Police for some medium to small town or a Sheriff of some rural county. A position high up in the chain of command of a department at least. I actually started working in my field of choice and I loved it, but not more then my family. Right now I sit here at my desk, in a managerial position with a fortune 500 company. This is not what I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike my job, it offers me the freedom and opportunity to do many things that I would never be able to do in Law Enforcement.

I thought I would be living in either upper Wisconsin or possibly the upper peninsula of Michigan. After this last weekend I want to live in western Michigan. I always liked it cold, I never liked warm weather. I can’t imagine living in the south. In the summer it still gets a little too warm for me here. Here I am at 31 (yes I’m 31 years old. Shut up, it’s not that old) and I can not move due to various legal and custodial reasons. If I could move, my wife wants to go where it is warmer.

I never thought I would be doing historical re-enactments. I didn’t even know the kind of living history I do even existed. I knew of Civil War, but not the period I do. My life revolves around my family and re-enacting. I never had any artistic ability. I was never good at music, singing, sculpting, carving, painting, etc. I also was never very good at crafts. Today on lunch I picked up the rest of the tools I need to Carve/burn two Celtic Knotwork Crescent moons into my wives new kitchen box, make a possibles bag and to make my own powder horn by hand. I think my grade school art teacher rolled over in her grave when I typed that.

Up until last December I told myself I was never going to have a blog. I had no desire for one. I didn’t want to have to worry about what to write and to make daily posts. I was worried that people would read what I put down and just hate it. Then, last December, I started this blog. I’ve been enjoying it. It’s a nice outlet for my mental energies. I sit here now writing and not caring if anyone actually reads it, or if they actually like what I wrote.

I am not the man that I thought I was going to be, but I am the man that I need to be.

I like my life, the only thing I would like to change is doing more re-enactments. However I already do 85% of the local ones and the other 15% fall on the same weekend as ones I currently do.

There’s no point to this post, it was just a random thought I wanted to put down.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm baaaack.

Well as many of you may remember, I went to Kalamazoo, Michigan this last weekend for the Living History Show there. If you want to read about the show itself, go over to The Spoon and Blade's Review of it. I had a lot of fun, and there is some great 1756 gun pr0n in the review.

As for the trip, we had a great time. We left work an hour early to try to beat a lot of the traffic in Chicago. Mission accomplished! That one hour caused us to miss most of the traffic problems. We only had one real bad stoppage and that was where we had to get off of 290 to get onto 294. However once we got onto 294 we never slowed down to below 50 MPH. Also thank god for I-pass. We saved a total of $5.10 by having it this weekend. Which isn't all that much, but hey, $5.10 saved is better then $5.10 lost. The real benefit was being able to go through the toll booths with out having to stop or wait for traffic. Except at the very first toll booth we went through in Belvidere. Some guy in a "Black Gold Septic Systems" pumping truck came to a complete stop and was waiving his I-pass around out the window. That irritated me to no end.

Once we got into Indiana, all the tollbooths disappeared, and so did most of the traffic. And the roads where much better. Nice and smooth, 6 lanes, long on/off ramps. It was a nice system.

However, their roads were nowhere near as nice as Michigan's. I kid you not, it was like driving on glass, and the speed limit was 70 MPH. The countryside was beautiful, lots of trees and just really tranquil. It felt really rural, even when you where in an urban area. My wife and I decided that we wouldn't mind moving to Michigan. However their idea of clearly marked road and street signs needs some work, especially in Kalamazoo itself. It was easy to get confused on where you where going with the funky stop light arrays and the one way signs on divided roads. Plus it was hard to find street signs at times, so we weren't always sure if we made the correct turn.

We stayed at the Clarion hotel in Kalamazoo. We have some issues with this hotel. First off, Friday night my wife had an allergic reaction to the bleach they used in the sheets (She had this problem back in December in a local hospital so she knew what it was). So she called the front desk to get some hypo-allergenic sheets. The night clerk said she didn't know if she would be able to get them, but she would check and leave a message with the day shift. My wife ended up sleeping with one of my t-shirts on the pillow and in one of my button downs in order to keep the sheets away from her skin. The next morning we checked with the desk clerk about the sheets. She told us she hadn't heard anything about it, and she would check into it for us by the time we got back to the hotel that evening. When we returned from the show we asked the afternoon clerk about the sheets and he tells us, nothing was left for him advising about any sheet issue, but he'd get it taken care of right away. (no checking, he was just going to do it). With in 15-20 minutes there is a knock on our door and there is a guy with hypo-allergenic sheets. Yes, they do exist, and this guy knew where to find them. So Saturday night my wife was able to sleep comfortably. What burns me is that the evening guy was able to do something about it in 15-20 minutes easily. But the night and day shifts had to check into it and then never passed the information on nor got back to us. Grrrr.

Then there was the restaurant in the hotel. It took them 5-10 minutes to acknowledge we needed to be seated. There was a "Please wait to be seated" sign , and we were only the third party in the place. The other two had been there a while and were already most of the way through their meal. The food was kind of nasty. We had the breakfast buffet Saturday morning, and the eggs where runny reconstituted eggs, they didn't have the coffee labeled regular or de-caff, we had a hard time finding anyone that worked there, to ask which was which. They didn't check on a regular basis if anything went empty or to refill drink containers.

There there was the TV in the room that kept making funny noises anytime there was a scene with a bright white light in the picture.

Also they give you a coffee pot with complimentary coffee, however they don't give you spoons or stir sticks to stir in sugar and creamer. That was only a problem on Saturday as my wife broke the coffee pot Sunday morning while trying to make some.

On the way up to Kalamazoo we had to stop to use the restrooms and decided to get something to eat. We stopped in this little town called Paw Paw(exit 60 on I-94) (Yes there is small town in Illinois with that name. No, I did not drive in a circle). We choose to go to this restaurant there called Gallaghers. This was an Irish Eatery and Pub according to the sign. Well the sign did not lie. You walked in, it smelled like a pub, it sounded like a pub, it looked like a pub. I was waiting for the soccer hooligans to come out of the bathroom. They had Guinness, New Castle, Murphy's, Bass, and some other Irish/Scottish/English beers on tap. They also had a wide selection of Whisky, including my favorite Glenmorangie. There was also your standard Jameson, Bushmills, and Glenlivet. Needless to say I was in my drinking heaven. If I wasn't driving another 20 miles, I probably would have had a drink or 2. The best part about the place however... The food. They actually had Irish cooking on the menu. I had some of the best corned beef and cabbage I have ever had in my life there, and my wife had this wonderful shepherd's pie. We were impressed. Trust me, the next time we are through that way, we'll probably be stopping in there for dinner again.

I picked up some much needed items, and a couple must have items. We met a lot of new and interesting people and Needless to say, I had a great time. We hope to get to tod (Stupid typos) do it again next year.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Saying Goodbye

This is the last day of work for one of my minions. He's a good, hard worker and I shall regret his leaving. He is not leaving to go to a different company, he's not looking to start a new career. He's been called up to active duty and will be shipping to Iraq next week. Today we are having a big party for him and they are going to be taking him out tonight for one last celebration.

He's not thrilled with the idea of going, but he is not complaining as it is his duty as being a reservist. I guess saying he is not thrilled with the idea of going isn't 100% correct. He's not thrilled about possibly getting injured or killed. He wants to do his part for his country. He knew this time was going to come sooner or later, so he was not surprised when he received notice back in November.

Many of my minions have children, brothers, sisters or cousins that are serving. But this is the first time it is one of my minions. I know there are anti-war people that work here, but you couldn't tell that today. Nope, not today. Today the entire office is done up in red, white and blue. Today there are balloons, banners, streamers. Today there is a banquet table with food. Today everyone in the office is wearing red, white and blue. Today everyone is wishing him luck and giving him "survival gifts". (calling cards, prepaid shipping for packages through a local company for his parents, etc.) Today the entire office pulled together to make this man's last day of work special. Today we say good bye to one of our own, we hope he comes back safe and sound. Today the women in my office are teary eyed as the possibility of this man not coming back is realized for the first time. Today the men in this office look at him and give him knowing nods. Today we are not republicans, nor democrats, nor libertarians, nor independents. Today we ARE Americans supporting our friend, coworker and employee.

Hopefully he will come back uninjured. I wish him and the rest of his unit the best of luck.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

What I really learned in College.

Bacardi 151
Congratulations! You're 153 proof, with specific scores in beer (80) , wine (50), and liquor (156).

All right. No more messing around. Your knowledge of alcohol is so high
that you have drinking and getting plastered down to a science. Sure,
you could get wasted drinking beer, but who needs all those trips to
the bathroom? You head straight for the bar and pick up that which is
most efficient.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 91% on proof
You scored higher than 88% on beer index
You scored higher than 85% on wine index
You scored higher than 99% on liquor index
Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on Ok Cupid

I spent many hours drinking heavily, I guess it finally paid off.

Gathering of the Blogs

I was doing my normal lurking today when at Absinthe and Cookies I found this:

Gathering of the Blogs

Now of course since I'm a Living Historian that portrays a Scot and I'm big time into my Scottish heritage I had to join up. So any of you bloggers interested in celebrating your Scottish heritage and don't want to wait for Scotchtoberfest, go check it out! I have the banner and links on my side bar.

However me being me, I didn't like the buttons to choose from, so I made my own. I hope this doesn't get me in trouble with the chieftan. Yes, I'm still using Microsoft Paint. Yes, I know there are better programs. No, I have not gotten any yet. Yes, I know I have issues.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have some, very minor, Irish heritage in me. I'm mainly Scots/Norwegian. My wife however is Scots/Irish. I always tell her I forgive the Irish. (she loves that little joke of mine, in that "she hates it" kind of way)

Anyways, today we Americans celebrate the day by wearing green, eating green food, drinking green drinks and in some cases, puking green puke.

So if you haven't already; forgive the Irish, go put something green on and wish someone a happy St. Patties day. OH! And women remember, if you want to score free drinks today, just wear a tight green t-shirt to the bar. Many a guy will buy you a drink. However, if you are married or have a live in boyfriend, don't be surprised if you get woken up at 2 in the morning by your spouse/boyfriend reeking of beer wanting you to have sex. (You should have put on a tight green t-shirt and gone to the bar with him so he would have bought you drinks and not the other women!)

My wife will hate this post.

I actually got to catch an episode of South Park last night. It was one of the funnier ones I had seen in a while. Probably because it hit on one of my pet peeves. Hippies.

Cartman ran around gathering up the Hippies like some kind of exterminator. I thought this was hilarious as all hell. My wife found my mirth of it less then amusing. Especially the "Hippie Smashing" Dance I was doing when Cartman played Slayer to drive the hippies out of town.

See, my wife is the child of two hippies. She views my dislike of hippies as a dislike of her back ground and some what of her. That's not the case, if my wife was a hippie, I'd probably have nothing to do with her. However I've explained to her, she grew into whom she is despite of having a hippie upbringing, not because she had a hippie upbringing. Trust me, there is no inner-hippie there when it comes to shoes, jewelry and clothing. She also has some very non-hippie beliefs and politics.

Even though my wife was this >< close to being named Starbeam. (just kidding) I love her very much. I guess what I'm trying to say, parenting doesn't always make the child. If it did all the kids that have parents in prison and addicted to drugs should be written off now. I however know of too many cases where a child turned out to be a productive member of society even though their parents where scumbags.

So to close this post, I must use my standard hippie joke from GWAR.

How do you hide money from a Hippie?

Put it under the soap!

Vitamins and nutrients

Okay, back in this post I was complaining about leg cramps. Even though I took vitamin supplements everyone said I needed more potassium. So I went back and checked my vitamins to see how much they contained: potassium 3% of daily recommended allowance... What? 3% that's all? I bought vitamins that only had 3% of the daily recommended allowance of potassium.

So I thought I had found my problem. I went to the store to pick up just a potassium supplement. Guess what... EVERY GOD DAMN BOTTLE OF POTASSIUM SUPPLEMENTS I PICKED UP ONLY HAD A MAX OF 3% OF THE DAILY RECOMENDAD ALLOWANCE!!! (deep breath) okay, so I start reading the bottles to see what they have to say, and all of them said not to take more then one potassium vitamin a day with out a doctors orders.

Well, I'm not a doctor... But I like to play one in the tool shed! (bada-bum-bum) Anyways, I'm not a doctor, I did have EMT training and I figure I'm going to take my regular vitamin and a potassium vitamin and see what happens. I had a cramp last night again, but I'm going to give it another day or two before I go to my next phase of taking 32 potassium pills a day on top of my regular vitamins. Either that or consult a doctor.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

uhhhh, WTF?!?!

I was out surfing the net. And I came across this page. Now, I didn't go to this school, however I was just looking at some of the programs they are offering this month. When this jumped out at me:

• Wed, March 23, 3-4:15 pm—How to Raise a Non-Heterosexist Child—workshop with Laurie Puchner and Linda Markowitz; Founders Hall, Room 0111

Now, before I go any further let me state for the record. I have no problems with homosexuals. I don't agree with their beliefs, but it is their choice and not mine. The only problem I have with homosexuals is their need to flaunt it. I don't have hetero-pride parades, and I don't go around with symbols on my car or jewelry or shirts telling everyone I'm a heterosexual. So having some guy is assless chaps tell me he's gay and proud is something I don't need to see nor do I care to know it.

I also was unable to find more into what this class is actually about. I couldn't find any class description. So I have to draw my own conclusions. And I've decided I do have a problem with this.

1) I don't believe child are born a homosexual. I believe it is a choice the individual makes as they get older. When I was 6 I had no interest in girls. It wasn't until later that I discovered that they made me feel good in my special places. I now have a hard time keeping my hands off of my wife. That doesn't mean that when I was in first grade I was gay.

2) If this is a class that teaches how to raise a kid to not hate homosexuals, do you think the parents that really need this class are going to go? And I'm not talking about the people that have issues with homosexuals for religious reasons. I'm talking about the parents that are just plain haters. They hate people for different reasons; race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. These parents or future parents aren't going to take this class.

3) This class is being offered at a State University. MY tax dollars are going towards (either directly or indirectly) to the support of this class and the promotion of something I don't believe in.

Number 3 is what really kicks me in the nuts. I'm pretty sure there are others out there that feel much stronger about this then I do. But I will tell you this, if I was sending my kid to this school, I'd be rather pissed off that I was putting tuition towards this on top of my tax dollars.

I'm just hoping that my first impression is correct and this isn't a class about raising a child to be homosexual. I think that would cause my brain to implode from my blood pressure increasing.

Getting ready for Michigan!

As many of you may recall I'm going to the Kalamazoo Living History Show in Michigan this weekend. I've been mapping out my trip this morning and I've run into a snag, a snafu, a complete Charles Fargo if you will. There is NO way for me to get from my house to Kalamazoo, Michigan with out going through Chicago unless I want to add 4 hours onto my trip.

I don't like driving in Chicago. It is the only thing about Chicago I don't like. But I can see no way of avoiding this hassle on Friday. My blood pressure tends to start rising and my temper flares up. The people in there drive horribly. They all jockey to get one car length ahead of someone else. By them doing this, it slows everyone down because the person they just cut off has to slow down or in a lot of cases, slam on the brakes, to prevent getting hit. I hate driving in Chicago.

To make matters worse, I'm going through Chicago during rush hour on a Friday night. Just the thought of this is making my heart rate increase.

Well there is no way around this. If it wasn't for various legal reasons I would (cue A-Team music) start welding steel plating to my van and a plow to the front. This crash cage would give me greater ramming durability to push my way through the traffic. I could also make a home made flame thrower, and I have enough black powder to make for some interesting "grenades" (End A-Team music). Hence all of that is illegal, thus I shall not be doing that.

Well tonight I start packing. Tomorrow is St. Patties day, I wont be in any condition to pack. I'll be sure to pack my antacid and ibuprofen for the trip.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fending off the Clone!

In this earlier post I talked about how I feared for my life from my Clone while doing house work. However today I found the solution to my problem!

First you have to understand that Clone Loves cheesy poofs (The generic South Park reference my friends and I refer to any type of puffed cheese flavored snack as). When ever friends come over to the house and they are eating them, Clone will beg and mooch off of them said cheesy poofs.

So today, I was walking through the local Sam's Club and I see this container of cheesy poofs. My wife and I looked at each other and she said, "Clone would love those". A light went off in my head. I must buy Clone the container of cheesy poofs. So I added the container to my cart, pick up the rest of my items, and check out.

As soon as Clone saw the cheesy poofs he decided he must have them, there is no force strong enough for him to not get the cheesy poofs. The next thing I know, here comes Clone carrying the Barrel o' Poofs!

Click to enlarge

He then proceeded to tear into them (with help from distract-a-dad(TM)) and start eating on them.

Click to enlarge

Needless to say, I was able to get my kitchen work done with out a knife in my leg and Clone using my blood to summon a greater demon in my kitchen.

Taste my Boom Stick!

I saw this over at Snooze Button Dreams and I HAD to take this test. I couldn't pass it up. So I did. I think I'll survive, althought apparently I might take one or two of you out with me! Sorry in advance.

Official Survivor
Congratulations! You scored 79%!

Whether through ferocity or quickness, you made it out. You made the right choice most of the time, but you probably screwed up somewhere. Nobody's perfect, at least you're alive.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 97% on survivalpoints
The Zombie Scenario Survivor Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid

UPDATE: I retook the test and changed a couple of my answers and I got this:

Armed and Dangerous
Congratulations! You scored 94%!
You made it out, alive and well supplied. You probably even kept most of your party alive too. You know what to look for, what to take, and when to just run. You even feel a strange inkling to go back. If you did, you'd probably do just fine.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 99% on survivalpoints
Link: The Zombie Scenario Survivor Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid

I'm not sure which one better describes me, but I did answer honestly both times. there where just 3 questions that I was torn between the answers as to what I would choose. Probably the first one. Also if you do the cut and paste code, prepare to have to alter it some.