July 23, 2016

Did Trump Just Make a Principled Stand for Free Speech?

So, it dawned on me the other day, thinking about the whole Ted Cruz Not Endorsing the Donald at the RNC Thing...

Did Donald Trump make a solid case that he supports free speech, even if he doesn't like it?

Think about it... He knew Cruz wasn't going to toe the party line with his speech... And yet Trump let Cruz get up there and speak anyway.

There's something to be said for that, I think.

I'm still not voting for Trump, but on this issue, I think he was right on the mark.

July 15, 2016

That Was A Good Trip

Monday morning, ran a few errands then headed up north to visit with my Mother.  We had a couple nice steaks on the grill, sat and talked about everything under the sun, and eventually met my cousin Jeff at the local watering hole for a pint or two.

On Tuesday, Mom and I walked around the downtown area, where they have this neat metal sculpture exhibit... Local artists create whatever they want to create, as long as it is 100% made of metals.  The sculptures are displayed in the downtown area, and we went walking from one to the other.  Pretty neat way to spend a couple hours.

Tuesday eve, Cousin Jeff and I started north towards Traverse City, Michigan.  We spent the night in Cadillac, Michigan, simply because the hotel there was about 60% cheaper than one in Traverse City.  And I'm a cheap bastard.

Wednesday morning, we got up to TC for the Paddle for Pints kayaking brewery tour.  This is a VERY neat event... You buy your ticket (and either bring your own kayak or rent one) and as a large group start paddling from one brewery to the next.

I created a simple Google Map that you can (hopefully) view by clicking here.  We started at the Filling Station,  It's the one on the north side of the lake in the middle.  I had a Cycle Club Pale Ale, which was nice and crisp, but slightly flat.

At noon, everyone (all eighty-some) of us launched our kayaks and paddled across the lake to Right Brain Brewery (the one on the west bank of the lake).  These guys are making some seriously creative beers... I had a Fire Starter, which is a Chipotle pepper flavored porter.  The first sip was full and robust, then finishes with a nice heat of that Chipotle pepper.  After the third sip or so, the heat was softening and the rest of the beer was pleasant.  Cuz had a Spear Beer, which is made with asparagus.  Rather different.  I didn't care for it, but he liked it.  There were two ladies that we met and they joined us for drinks and conversations.  One of them had a Cherry Pie Whole, which is a beer that has an entire baked cherry pie added to the primary fermentation vessel (Traverse City is famous for their cherry trees, and has a huge cherry festival every year.)  So, yes, they add a cherry pie, crust and all, to the beer as it ferments.  GREAT beer.  I also had one of their Concrete Dinosaur Rye IPAs.  Yummy.

After about an hour, it was back to the boats.  We paddled north, into the mouth of the Boardman River, and stopped at the dam between Cass Street and Union Street.  A short 3 block walk brought us to Rare Bird Brewpub, where I had a Hopricot, which is a mildly hoppy apricot infused ale.  We also decided some food was in order, so we grabbed a couple appetizer plates.  A meat and cheese plate, some Sriracha Deviled Eggs, and an order of tacos.  After the Hopricot, I had a pint of Show Me What You're Working Wit, a wheat beer that has a hint of tangerine and grapefruit.  Think Blue Moon on Steroids.

The final push was out of the river into the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay, over to Clinch Park, where we dropped off our kayaks with the P4P crew, then walked a few more blocks to The Workshop Brewing Company.  We grabbed a few last pints, including the Ball Peen ESB and a Twenty Pound Sledge IPA.  Said our goodbyes to our paddling friends -- people come from all over for this event, and we met a couple from Glasgow, Scotland -- and started walking back to the original brewery where we piled into the Jeep and drove to one of Jeff's cousins from the other side of his family.  She opened her home to us for the night, let us take a shower, then we went out for dinner.

Thursday morning, we grabbed breakfast at The Omelette Shop, then filled the gas tank and drove home.  Dropped Jeff off in Auburn, then finished the push back to my place.  My batteries are recharged as much as they've ever been.  Given the past month and the roller coaster ride it has been, this was a much needed diversion.

If you haven't been to Traverse City, you should.  It's a really cool city, tons of great food and local flavor, and has so far managed to keep the downtown area very local (all the crappy chain restaurants are on the south side of town) and vibrant.  

Paddle For Pints on Facebook
Paddle for Pints website


July 11, 2016

Headed Out

Gonna be out of comms for a few days, taking a much needed vacation.  Going to see my parents for two days, then a cousin and I are going to Traverse City, Michigan, for a kayak brewery tour.  You start off at one brewery right on the lake, have a pint, get your kayak, and start paddling.  Up the river a ways you stop, tie off, and go into another brewery for a pint.  Then repeat until you've hit four breweries total.

Should be a good time.

At any rate, go read the folks on the blogroll, I'll be back Friday.


July 3, 2016

Still Moving Forward

The last few weeks have been pretty rough, but I'm still alive and kicking and making forward progress.

As mentioned before, I found an apartment.  Nothing fancy, just a one room studio big enough for me and the dogs, but it's a dry roof and a place to shower other than the local YMCA, and I'm settling in.  I've got internet feed into the place, so I have some means of entertaining myself -- thank the stars and Jeff Bezos for Amazon Prime.

Got a somewhat complicated money situation sorted out, finally.  Back on June 2, we wrote a check for cheerleader expenses for $1000 on what was then our joint account.  When we split up the bank money on the 11th, we wrongly assumed (I know, I know) that the check had cleared.  It hadn't, and then it hit what is now my solo account on the 17th... After I had spent money on the lawyer, apartment, utilities, etc., putting me into a negative balance.  She was kind enough to be willing to pay it back, and I was willing to let her do so in installments -- I don't want to be unreasonable during all of this, nor does she; we both care for each other, it just wasn't meant to be, so let's part ways amicably -- so she gave me a few hundred in cash.  Then I found out that the check was returned NSF (so much for overdraft protection, right?) and now I have to pay HER back the cash she paid me.  At any rate, that's done.  July's paycheck is in the bank, and bills are paid.  Money's going to be tight for one more month, but that's life.  Come August, I should be in better shape.

The dogs and I have been walking more.  It's been far too long since I've been getting adequate exercise, and my resting heart rate and expanding waist line are reflective of that.  So Casey and Jake and I are doing a 30 minute brisk walk every morning and evening.  I'm going to make another go at quitting smoking as well.  Time to get back to my mountain climbing shape.

Work is going well.  My bosses have been absolutely amazing during this.  I mentioned the money fiasco above to my boss, and she said "Here's $100... Pay me back whenever you can.  Let me know if you need more."  She and I talked about my desire to move back to Colorado, and she's supportive of that as well, even if it means she loses one of the three Tier III guys in the office.  This isn't me bragging, but she's going to have to work to find another person who can replace me.  But she's on board with that.  Because she wants to help me in any way she can.  I don't have the words to explain how much that means to me.

Week after next is a mini vacation for me.  I'm going to see my folks for a couple days, then a cousin and I are going to Traverse City, Michigan, for a brewery kayaking tour.  You get your kayak (or bring your own) at the first brewery, which is right next to Boardman Lake.  Have a pint, get in the kayak, paddle a while up the Boardman River, then pull to the side, tie up your boat at the next brewery.  Go in for a pint, back to the kayak, up the river again, etc.  Four breweries total.  Should be a really fun time.  Something different, anyway...

In the evenings, I've been alternating between studying for a Microsoft exam, unpacking and repacking boxes in the storage shed, and just getting some sit-and-vegetate time.

Life goes on.

June 24, 2016

On Comments

For the interim, I've turned on Moderation of comments on my blog.  Had a nasty one a few posts ago, accusing me of beating my wife, causing the divorce.

That's completely untrue, and I won't tolerate it here.  I think I know who did it, but I can't _prove_ it, so for now, I'm just going to moderate the comments.

I'm trying to check every few hours, but I might slip up and forget if I'm having a particularly good (or bad) day.

Thanks for your understanding.

June 23, 2016

On the AR-15

This is actually a pretty decent read.

The AR-15 is More Than a Gun.  It's a Gadget.

A couple small points that I would quibble about, but nothing terribly bad.

So, What's Different?

Apparently a bunch of Democrats, pissed off that there haven't been any new gun control laws that wouldn't have stopped the Orlando shooting (or, for that matter, any other shooting) have decided to stage a Sit-In.

Which means we've got a bunch of politicians, sitting around, doing nothing.

And this is a departure from the norm... How, exactly?

June 19, 2016

The Worst Part

I'll never get to hold her again.

That's what hurts.

June 16, 2016

Progress

Well, I've managed to keep moving forward...

Secured a one-room studio apartment, signed the lease yesterday.  It's a short term lease, only 6 month, but that's about all the longer I plan on staying in this town.  I'm going back to Colorado where I belong.  A friend of mine there put me in contact with a recruiter who is going to start looking for jobs for me.

At least I'm not homeless, sleeping in my Jeep any more.  It's gonna be snug, me and the two dogs, but we'll survive.

Hired a lawyer to handle the legal stuff.  He spoke to her lawyer, and we're both on the same page when it comes to who gets what.  My lawyer said that this should be pretty simple, won't cost the full retainer fee, and I should get some of the $1000 back.  That's a positive, because I'm bleeding coin at the moment.  If you're feeling generous, I'm accepting.

Told my boss that I was eventually moving west.  That was difficult, actually, because she really is an awesome boss.  She's always stood behind her people, have their back, and is a really good person.  I can't say enough about how well she treats us, and it's going to be difficult to find a better boss.

Got some stuff out of the old house on Monday.  Was going to go yesterday and get more, but the thunderstorms and rain had other ideas.

It's amazing how many little things you learn you don't have when you move... Stuff like a broom and dust pan, a holder for your toothbrush, shower curtains, etc.  Went to the Mega Super Store last night, picked up the cheapest shower curtain rings and liner I could find, along with a package of TP.  Gotta have some ass-wipe, don't ya know.

Plan is to get the rest of my stuff on Sunday, including the dogs.  I'll wager Casey is going to be happy to see me.

June 14, 2016

Apropos lyrics

Heard on the radio tonight, while sitting in a dark parking lot, waiting for the booze to kick in so I can sleep...

"He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win..."

June 12, 2016

Week the 1th

Well, still alive.

I've spent the past week or so in damage control mode, making sure that I got some cash from the bank account before she locked me out of it, getting a meeting scheduled with laweyer (jeez, they cost a lot!... $125 just to sit and talk to the guy and see if he'll represent me), finding a storage facility where I can put my stuff in the interim until I move back to Colorado, and trying to find a place to live (you'd think that it'd be easier to find a 1 bedroom apartment in a college town.)

In other news, I've nearly perfected the art of sleeping in my Jeep. The duffel bags go there, the phone connects to the charger and sits there near my head, I lay this way, and with the camping air mattress and an old army blanket, I'm actually quite comfortable.

Or maybe I'm just so numb that I can't tell how much it hurts.  Whatever...

At any rate, trying to find an apartment that will let me sign a 6 month lease is becoming a chore... I don't want to lock in to a year, and can't bring myself to live in a motel that I pay by the week.

Mostly, I miss my dogs.

It's funny... You always hear about this male-privilege thing, but when it came time to split, she was left with a house, the June bills all paid, a refrigerator full of food, a pantry full of food, two deep freezers filled with meats and soup and such, and $3000 in the bank.

I've got two changes of clothes, my sleeping bag, and the Jeep.  I pay $5 for a day pass to the local YMCA to take a shower.

Went up to Auburn yesterday afternoon to see my parents. They were supportive, and that really helped.

This sucks so bad...