Sunday, January 29, 2012

Increasing readership, compliments and a sick dog

I am seeing an uptick in readership and followers of this ever evolving, twisty tale that is my blog. I am grateful for that and the compliments I have received. I probably would have continued either way, but perhaps without as much quantity or motivation. I always wanted to write a book-I have the complete outline of a western set just after the Civil War. I just can't seem to sit down and finish it. So thanks everyone!
Now to the hound. I was very hesitant to adopt another 4 legged perennial two year old. I had invested so much emotion in companion animals, that I thought I had no more to give. My last dog lived thirteen plus years and suffered from hip displacia. She was much loved and Cosequin eased her pain enough that she lived a full life. She was always obedient and loyal. I miss her terribly and have kept her ashes. One day I saw an ad from a local rescue agency and the hound looked like Missy. Our first meeting did not go well, Kenai as he was called, acted very aloof around me. However Missy bonded right away and we ended up with a neutered Husky mix. That small to medium dog has grown into a 70 plus pound bundle of energy and love. Over time he has bonded just about equally with both of us, but he is my dog. I will probably not have another dog (at least that's the plan) but I will definitely not have a male. I have always had females and they have mostly been easily broke and trained. This male is very willful and is determined to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. However, he has many other behavioral attributes that have endeared him to me. Recently Kenai has begun to suffer from seizures and we have started down the path towards either treating them or ending his suffering. It is a process similar to treating for allergies in that it evolves over a period of time. First we had to get him off of any medications to see if that was the cause. Next will be a battery of blood tests. All the while the poor dog continues to suffer from these seizures while we monitor their frequency and duration. For me it is an extremely difficult thing to witness. I have always had an affinity for animals which has had its good and bad points. I find the killing or abuse of animals in any form difficult to accept. I realize the necessity of slaughter to survive, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. My father was an avid outdoors-man and this behaviour drove him crazy. What can I say, I'm a pushover for animals. Anyway, we continue to care for Kenai and hope time, patience and a good vet can make his life tolerable. I cannot contemplate the alternative right now. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Real Heroes Again

I just had to comment on the rescue of two hostages in Somalia yesterday. Kudos to the special forces for a job well done. The Seals were again a major part of the operation. We can't allow a rogue state like Somalia to get away with harming or kidnapping our fellow citizens. As a veteran brother I send a Marine salute-OOH RAH!!

Offshoot of a previous Rant

With a title like that my dear readers know to expect just about anything, One of my favorite topics that I write about with distaste is the deterioration of America in all of its forms. And, boy does it manifest itself in so many different ways. Do you ever wonder how we got here? I really feel for my parents generation and those who came before them. Especially since it has affected me so much.Yes I know!!! I digress again. It's just that I came from the generation that saw us ease over the precipice in the 60's. Yikes, what a slippery slope. Anyway the Garth Brooks lawsuit is on my mind today. In case you haven't kept up; he sued the Integris health system for reneging on a handshake deal he made with the CEO. You have to understand he is a "good old boy" and relied on verbal/handshake agreements all his life. He prevailed and hopefully some of you saw that the jurors awarded a maximum punitive amount to send a message of hope to those who don't have the means to pursue such a case. Whoever said "Money is the root of all evil" was very prescient. It definitely is the WD40 of politics. And, in the case of the judicial system, it has permeated and twisted the meaning of justice. If you think funerals are expensive, just try taking somebody to court. Hopefully the majority of us won't have to defend ourselves anytime soon. On the flip side, if you have the money, you can just about get away with murder.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My dear readers know I have written about sanity before. This time I thought I'd  address sanity in regards to gate guarding. Anytime you are restricted  in both your abode and movement; plus have your sleep affected, you are going to go a little wacko. One of the most asked questions about this gig is about how we can handle sitting on a gate for weeks and months at a time. I have posted previously how this job is a true test of a relationship, Being at odds with one another just won't work in a tight place. Having satellite television and Internet are indispensable. Engaging in hobbies also helps keep the mind motivated. Wrapping those .hobbies around your work is even better. My good friends at taught me that. We smoke meat now and again and it provides sustenance,  keeps us occupied and is a good conversation starter. Missy stays busy with her crocheting and texting. She is also the one that gets out the most. We both have worked on getting a little socializing going amongst the guards and it looks like there is going to be a luncheon for the ladies soon. I love my Kindle, DVDs and cooking of any kind. The Kindle is also great for keeping the mind busy with the games it provides. We are also having a blast with radio controlled vehicles. You have to remember the rig workers are stuck out here too. We have gotten to know quite a few of them and established some friendships. We exchange food and Missy likes to bake sweets for them. This has the added benefit of us recognizing who is coming and going at the gate. Finally, we have worked out a deal where we take some time off between gate postings. We get out and about and check out the the local offerings. Hopefully this gives everyone an idea how to keep the old brain active!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Predictions and Sports

A little off the topic of workamping and maybe a little on topic about gate guarding. Specifically, -thank the Lord for satellite-how would I get by without it! Downtime without it would be excruciating. And; before you pounce, yes we do have other pursuits that keep us busy. But, I digress. Today is the day we find out who will go to the Superbowl. A lot of sports fail to capture my attention, especially with the seemingly endless seasons. With the exception of the meaningless sub 500 match ups, football is better than most. I like watching the playoffs in most sports because of this. That said, I'll cut to the chase. I think the Giants 49ers match up provides the best entertainment factor. I believe the 49ers and their defense will prevail. As far as the Patriots Ravens-well, let me say that if the Patsies don't prevail I will be very shocked. Just like I was when the Packers failed to show up last week. Coincidentally I believe the Patriots quarterback is on a mission to prove that he is as good or better than Aaron Rodgers ever hoped to be. So there it is sports fans-the 49ers and Patriots will prevail and meet in the Superbowl.
Well, I'm back to admit that I was wrong. However you have to admit they were very evenly matched teams. To show I am not cowed, I predict the Patriots will win it all. I'll edit yet again to eat the egg off of my face or to crow about my victory. ( -:
OK!, I was wrong-pass the salt and pepper. At least it was a good game. Now, bring back NASCAR!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Real Heroes

These days with the advent of an often unknown, sometimes unseen enemy, much has been made of the men and women who make up the quick response element required to combat and defeat it. They fight in any kind of environment imaginable. They live and fight thousands of miles away, often in the backyard of the enemy. I believe their courage and dedication to this country is second to none. Even so, throughout the ages many others have answered this clarion call. I was blessed to live amongst more than a few. My father was a thirty plus year veteran of the United States Air Force. From a hardscrabble youth, which served him well, he joined the Air Force as an airman (the lowest rank) and worked on B-25's and 26's as a mechanic. His mechanical aptitude and dedication led to his being accepted into the "Bootstrap Program"; a career path which would allow him to transition into a commissioned officer. He was one of the last to be offered this opportunity. From there came flight training at Lackland AFB near San Antonio. What little I know of those early times is a story of someone using his assigned aircraft and crashing it. What remains is a control wheel; they didn't use joysticks then, that my father recovered from the wreckage. The Korean war followed and us kids soon after. A tour in England was next, with tours of Europe and all it offered. Then came a tour in Brazil where a world of wonderment awaited me. My father took me along on trips to the interior of Brazil, where we intermingled with natives, hunted and explored. My father then served two tours in Thailand amassing over one hundred sorties over Vietnam. Somewhere amongst all the travelling he managed to complete his education and rose in the ranks till his retirement as a full Colonel. In his travels he had befriended Frank Borman, the astronaut, and a post military career in the airline industry followed. (Frank was then the President of Eastern Airlines.) He never lost his appetite for exploring and became a medalist with the Explorers Club and a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. In my travels with my father I rubbed elbows with astronauts, explorers, royalty and more.     Very few were braggarts or blowhards. They let their achievements speak for them. My father recently passed and, according to his rank and many awards, was accorded a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery with the requisite honors. I feel privileged to have joined him in his life's journey, both as a son and a admirer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Extra Mile

The world of gate guarding can at times become a routine. Even a dull routine now and again. Do you set aside the tedium and react professionally when things spool up again? It could just be that lone "hotshot" that appears out of nowhere at 2 in the morning. I have friends and peers that remind me of the importance of putting on a cheery face and greeting the vehicle/person professionally and politely. You do all of us a disservice by doing anything less. Work is not always about the monetary reward. Pride in what you do should be at the forefront. I read something that went sort of like this-find something you like to do and it won't seem like work when you're doing it. The flip side of all this is that you give yourself the high ground should something go south. You command a lot more respect by appearing alert, dressed appropriately and having your vest and/or hat on. My purpose here is not to "preach" at you. It's to provide a friendly reminder that the job we do is supremely important. You may not get an "atta boy" from your company man or supervisor, but they do appreciate the service you provide. Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to some of you. For me it serves the double duty of keeping me motivated and preventing me from slipping into a rut.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Road...Yet Again

It had been my hope that our little Santa Fe would see us through for some time. It has been a remarkable automobile, with no significant mechanical problems for almost eight years. I am extremely fond of it. Now it appears that it has met its match on the back roads of Texas. It can get out on our road until it rains and then we are stuck here. Even when it's dry it is a real teeth rattler. I had previously written that I wished we could have brought a four by four (four wheel drive) with us. Andy at (a really good and useful blog) once wrote that these same roads had tore up the underpinnings of his Suburban. So I kind of knew the Santa Fe would have a tough challenge. Anyway, we have been searching around for a four by four for a while. In Texas it seems if a pickup or jeep will run it is valuable. Once they thrash the living daylights out of them they come up with all kinds of unique uses for them. Retirement for a four by four in Texas means being utilized as a hunting platform, ranch truck or just an errand truck for the oil business. Hell, some Texans keep them around the property for kids toys or projects. A half decent Jeep Wrangler that runs goes for over $5000, no matter the vintage. Missy found one that barely ran and they wanted that much. We really don't want to make car payments for a while, so we're trying to find something reliable (appearance obviously doesn't enter the picture here) that won't cost an arm or a leg. That is proving tough down here. Amongst the many things I recommend for gate guarding is a good four by four. Even the best of us has to get out every once and a while.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The road, pigs and a winter cold

We have been enjoying Chamber of Commerce weather-40's at night, 60's to 70's during the day. After a tremendous amount of hand wringing, arguing, begging, threatening-you name it-they are FINALLY working on the road! They have not convinced anyone that they know what they're doing, but they are driving all kinds of heavy equipment around. Hopefully they have taken advantage of the aforementioned weather-Sunday the heavens are supposed to open. We have a plethora of wildlife out here; from endangered birds to pests, like wild hogs. Nature likes to treat us to an occasional show and we get to enjoy Whooping Cranes, foxes, coyotes and deer. Anyway the wild hogs are threatening to over run the area and we see literally piles of dead hogs along the back roads here. Today, the owner had a bunch of hog hunters come in to cull the population. I won't get into the gory details; but Texans like to hunt them with dogs, restrain them with ropes and then dispatch them with a knife. I don't know about you, but I have hunted hogs and I am not getting anywhere near them. I like a slug in a shotgun. They are very ornery when cornered. Missy has blessed me with a cold, so we are both sniffling, coughing and sneezing. Time seems to be the only reliable cure, as nothing else is working. Finally, someone PLEASE tell me why Pittsburgh has to travel to Denver for the wild card game-The  Steelers have a record of 12-3 (or thereabouts) and the Broncos are 8-8. And they had to back in by losing their last game and Oakland doing the same. GEEEZ!