February 2007

I set up our webcam, which is usually used to check the cat food bowls when we travel, to point outside. The camera pans through almost 180 degrees, so today I panned over to see if I could catch a cat looking outside. Sure enough, there’s my calico watching a raccoon snarfing up bird seed. And if you look just above the cat’s ears, you’ll see a deer coming out of the woods. A few minutes later the raccoon came nose to nose with a possum. Busy day down on the farm.


Later I was bored and started fooling around with some snow pics and MS Paint. Amazing what you can do with no talent whatsoever. 🙂

Our street.

Other way.

Long Live The Chief.

From the nastiness yesterday to the beauty of nature today. Ice on trees can be a very bad thing, but it also looks amazing. The camera doesn’t really grab the myriad sparkles of light you actually can see in person. It’s like having giant lead crystal sculptures everywhere.

Ice trees


And more.

Even the house looks cool.


As most folks are aware, the northern tier of the US is undergoing quite the winter storm. I opted to stay home today as we got mostly ice over night and it was prety slick this morning. The promise of another half foot of snow to deal with on my 50 mile commute was just more than I cared to deal with today. So instead, I stayed home and shoveled. And shoveled. And shoveled. Considering the nightmare the folks in upstate NY are going through, I don’t want to whine too much. But for someone who hasn’t done any serious shoveling for a few years, this was bad enough. My back is toast. And it’s still snowing. After I’d finished shoveling, there was already an inch on the driveway. The University of Illinois has already cancelled classes for tomorrow, so I’ll be home shoveling some more. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Left view out my garage.

Straight out.

Right view out my garage.

Look out Boston. This is coming your way. 😯

Well, sort of. Thirty years ago today I joined the US Army. Just went and did it. I didn’t mention a word of it to my parents until I went home that night. They were….concerned. My parents are two of the finest people I have ever known, but back then I was a naive but arrogant teen chafing to get away from everything I knew. I didn’t want them trying to talk me out of it, so I just went down to the recruiting station with my best friend and we joined up. We even turned down a guaranteed assignment to Hawaii and asked for Korea instead. We figured we’d be two poor slobs in Hawaii. We were already slobs, so the rest was probably not far from the truth. And as it turned out, my time in the Army is what made me the person I am today. I learned to think critically, to lead by example, to act decisively under stress, and most importantly, to understand that there’s a whole big world out there and we as a nation really need to get along with everyone else. I learned what the term “Ugly American” meant by witnessing the same. I also learned to appreciate the freedoms and civil rights we enjoy here by witnessing what can happen to citizens of other countries who do not enjoy the same freedoms and rights. My eight years on active duty were more valuable than all my education before or since. And while I don’t regret leaving the service twenty-some-odd years ago, it didn’t slip by my thoughts that had I stayed in, I could be a retired person today. 🙂

The other shoe has dropped. We’ve gone from a balmy January to this.


First it’s just a couple of punks hanging out.


Then before you know it, they form a gang.


Where will it end? 🙂