Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I was invited to go out with a group of friends tonight, but I was informed, "You have to dress up." One of the girls is going to be Little Red Riding Hood, so I volunteered to be the Big Bad Wolf. I hit walmart late last night and no wolf masks. I wasn't about to start Halloween shopping at 6:30 at night so I remembered a Halloween many years ago when my nephew Rabbit was a freshman at ECU. He and I designed and built a dragon costume for him out of green and yellow posterboard and some green felt. It was held together with glue and staples. I remember finding Rabbit later that night with a group of kids dancing around him singing Puff the Magic Dragon.
I pulled up a Tex Avery cartoon wolf image in my mind and designed it from the outside in. For $10 I bought some fuzzy material, a piece of pink felt, a piece of black felt, some white spray paint and a new pair of scissors... Oh, and a 20 oz Pepsi. I had at home cardboard, spray adheasive, a big plastic cup, sewing machine, some black leather and popsicle sticks. I hadn't used the sewing machine in years and ended up sewing it all by hand. Trish, if you're reading this I need a refresher course.

First I made the muzzle. I cut the cup in half vertically, one side slightly larger than the other, cut a notch for my nose in the big half, sprayed it with glue and covered it with fuzzy material. On the bridge of the snout I wrinkled the material to give it a more natural look. Then I glued a piece of black leather cut to look like a dog nose to the end, and trimmed some popsickle sticks to look like teeth and glued them in. The bottom of the snout was easy, spray glue and fuzzy stuff, then sewed a flap on for the front of my neck.
Next came the hood. I folded and cut some fuzzy stuff in the shape of a crescent moon with a collar. I sewed up the forehead peak and discovered I cut the crecsent too small. It worked out well though because I cut a diamond shaped piece for the back of the head and it has a more "head shaped" head than it otherwise would.
For the tongue I cut the pink felt into a narrow rectangle with one rounded corner, sewed the cut edge, turned it inside out put the seam in the middle and ironed it flat and glued it to the inside of the bottom jaw. Then I sewed the bottom jaw to the hood and attached the neck flap to the collar sides. Damn, the jaw is way too low. That's what happens when you design on the fly. I sewed pleats in the cheeks of the hood to look like jowels and fixed the problem and added a dimension to the face. I attached the muzzle origionally with a rubberband, but wasn't really happy with the results. I sewed it to the hood and a couple of stitches to the jaw and it looks much better. I left the rubberband attached, just in case it needs to be fixed in a hurry. ( did the whole thing in just a couple hours including design, revision, and construction... I bought the materials at 6:30 and was done by 1am including eating out)
The ears are pieces of cardboard sprayed with adhesive, black felt on one side, fuzzy on the other, then sewn to the sides of the hood.
To complete the whole Tex Avery idea I may put on my tuxedo shirt and black tie, but that idea is pending.
Happy Halloween!

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Excuse Me, Miss?

Game day.
Today the Pirates travel to Hattiesburg Mississippi
East Carolina @ Southern Miss
7:30pm Eastern.
I'll be watching them at the pub,
Where it will be a...
First Down... PIRATES!
I got to the pub and got settled in front of a TV just in time to see the end of the 2nd quarter and watch the Pirates miss a 41 yard field goal to end the half 10 to 10. The second half was an absolute nail biter. Just when you thought the boys were pulling it out Pinkney throws an interception for an 87 yard touchdown return. Damn, damn, damn. The game settles into a 4 down and punt slogfest with the occaisional interception. the end of the 4th the pirates are making a good drive and... FUMBLE! Crap and Damn. It was a fumble. I watched it over and over. Knees not on the ground, butt not on the ground, ball- on the ground. Pirates retain possesion, why I don't know. Maybe because every other call in the game went against the Pirates, desesrved or not and the officials started to feel bad. Pirates punch it in with 12 seconds left to go after four tries down the center and we go into OT 17 all.
Pirates get the first drive in OT and after 5 or 6 plays inside the 10 yard line kick a field goal. 20-17 ECU. Southern Miss's turn. First play of the drive, pass over the top to the endzone. Intercepted! Pirates win! Wait... Under review. Shit. These are the same officials that gave us the fumble call in the 4th. It's clean, and ECU wins. We are officialy 4-4 for the season. I can live with 50%. Final score...
20-17 East Carolina


Monday, October 23, 2006

In Gear

I read Kim DuToit's site pretty much daily. Even when I don't agree with him (Which is rare) it's still a good read. Over the years he has posted about "grab and go" gear. The things ready to roll for when the fecal matter comes into contact with the rotary cooling device.
I grew up in the "Red Dawn" era, a time when attacks on American soil were probably less likely, but more dwelt upon. As a pre/young teen my buddies and I would talk about hiding in the woods, picking off Russians with our hunting rifles. Where I grew up was rural, but close enough to Norfolk (north) and Ft. Bragg and Camp Lejune (south) to be strategic.
We all had guns, and at one point most of us had compound bows. We would gather at somebody's house or farm and shoot, shoot, shoot. We were all pretty damn good, we had to be or the ridicule was ruthless. I could at one time in my life hit a quarter at 40 paces with an arrow, not every time but often enough. I love the outdoors, and love to camp. I almost never get to, but I have all the equipment just in case.
For close to five years of my life I didn't own a car, just a motorcycle. I kept a backpack packed all the time. Change of clothes, a hammock that would ball up to the size of a fist, ground tarp, spare cash, trash bags and duct tape. I could get home from work, pick up my helmet and my bag and be a hundred miles away in less than two hours.
I also lived in the Carribean for almost a year. We had to leave the island in a big hurry (long story for another time) and that's when I learned about "bug-out bags". A folder with important papers such as passports birth certificates, and ownership titles. I learned too late that time.
Mr. DuToit cites natural disasters as his biggest reason for this practice. I have lived through hurricanes, a flood, numerous ice storms and an ex-wife, so I'll buy that. Kim also has a wife and children to think about, so my goals and his will be slightly different. My family are all 1500 miles away, so I'll probably want to move and move fast.
After having to abandon my DC apartment to my ex, I have grown to like the idea of being able to hit the road on short notice again even if my 70 hour work week won't permit it.
Most of my "GNG" (grab and go) gear stays in the Jeep all the time. Hidden in pockets, strapped to roll bars, under seats and in various hidey holes are a big portion of my GNG stuff. (click the pics for a better look)
Doesn't look like much does it? A rod and reel, a pocket tackle box with bobs, sinkers, hooks and lures, a compass, 2 cans of sterno and a sterno stove, a collapsable mess kit (not pictured), a mini mag light, a Gerber pocket knife, a Gerber camp saw, a Gerber camp axe, a rechargable/cordless spotlight, cell phone charger and a first aid kit. Also not pictured are things like rope, tow straps, tiedowns, and tools that always stay in the Jeep anyway.
The first aid kit is my own collection of stuff. It's in a steel box that I found in an abandoned building years ago instead of one of those cheap plastic things they make nowadays.

Open it up and it is full to the brim. One item that used to be in it was a half pint bottle of Wild Turkey 101, but they changed the size of the bottle since I drank the last one and it won't fit in it's proper order.

Contents include: a pocket pack of kleenex, a rain poncho, a survival blanket, band aids, krazy glue (bonds skin instantly) Cloraseptic mouth/toothache reliever, antibacterial spray, razor blades, gauze pads, gauze wrap, Ace bandage, iodine, assorted asprin and ibuprophin, lipbalm, blistex, strike anywhere matches (waterproofed), medical tape, 30spf sunblock, Hooters handy wipes, lightsticks, a good grip x-acto knife and 3 non lubricated condoms (good for waterproofing injured extremities)
All that is already loaded up. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAside from that I have a duffel with extra clothes, a small sleeping bag and nylon blanket, a two man dome tent, a twin air mattress, a big Mag light, binoculars, freeze dried and canned food and the like, not counting firearms and ammo that can be loaded up in two trips to the driveway.
I'm not a survival nut, I'm just not as somnambulatory as most of the general populace. I saw the poor bastards rolling into Austin after Katrina. Most of them had nothing. Some of them still do. Not me, baby... Not me.


Saturday, October 21, 2006


Holy crap! I havn't posted for a week?
Anyway... Game day again.
3:00 eastern time @ Dowdy-Ficklen, where it will be a...
First down... PIRATES!
21-14 Pirates at the half, Woo-Hooo!
38-21 East Carolina...
And the Pirates creep back towards that 50% mark
C'mon purple, give me some gold!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tulsa Time

Game day!
Let's see if the Pirates can pull out two in a row.
Tulsa at ECU 3:00 Eastern,
Where it will be a...
First Down... PIRATES!
My buddy Sean is at the game today, so if we lose, he jinxed it.
14-7 Tulsa at the half. Damn it Sean.
31-10. And the Pirates are officially 2 and 4. Crap.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday The 13th...

...Chipmunk Style

Oh, Errriiiccc...

...and I was afraid this chipmunk gag was getting old.

On second thought, Eric wasn't the only one in on the chipmunk gag...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Virginia Is For Losers

Game day. I have been asked why, instead of "Go ECU" or "Go Pirates" I always put instead "First Down... PIRATES!" It's tradition, and I'm not sure for how long, the announcer will give the play information and end with, "Where it will be a First Down..." and then this pregnant pause before shouting "PIRATES!" The crowd would try to anticipate that pause, and never could. Now, it's part of the Dowdy-Ficklen East Carolina Experience. Today is UVA at East Carolina, where it will be a...
First Down... PIRATES!
24 - 7 East Carolina at the half.
Now that's more like it.
31 - 21 final. Woo-Hoooooo!


Friday, October 06, 2006

Wisdom Of The Ancients

I used to be a dumb ass. I am now a smart ass. Someday I hope to be a wise ass. Anyone who even remotely knows me knows I can be sarcastic, snarky and flip... Many times in the same breath. I love a good double entendre, a decent pun, a play on words and phrases. I like my wit like I like my martinis: Strong and dry. I love being at a party and making an aside that only one or two people get, it's a special feeling.
I present you with two stories today. Two stories set twenty years apart, and the only real commonality is me and that fact that the other active character was a senior citizen... An actual Wise Ass.

When I was a tender teen I stocked shelves in the grocery store. Back in those days employees were urged to be helpful and interact with the customer. You NEVER pointed and said "over there". At the very least you were as descriptive as possible. "Middle of aisle 7, third shelf from the top, next to the disposable enemas" or some such. Normally you would take the customer to the item, take it off the shelf and hand it to them... but, I digress...
This gentleman, a septagenarian at the youngest, was shuffling down the main aisle of the old A&P. He would stop at the end of each aisle, bend forward, look around the corner and call out "Crisco! Crisss-cooo!"
Being the good little stockboy, I hurried over and said "Sir, Crisco is on aisle 4, bottom shelf, middle of the aisle. (strange what you remember after twenty years) I'll show you if you'd like"
He looked at me kind of oddly, blinked a few times, and then broke into a great big grin. "No son, you don't understand. I was looking for my wife." He leaned forward, placed a wrinkled hand on my shoulder and continued, "Around the house I call her Lard-Ass, but you just can't do that out in public."

The second story happened just recently. I was doing some work for a lady 86 years young. I was putting some things together for her, working on the floor. I assumed she was watching TV while I worked. I squatted down to tighten a bolt and ripped my pants. "Damn." I grumbled "Now I have to walk around all day with a hole in my crotch" Her voice came from right behind me at the door of the room where I was working, "Honey, I've been doing that all my life." (she had to leave the room, I was laughing so hard if she hadn't walked away I would have blacked out from lack of oxygen)


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Who, Me?

I think I've been bitch-slapped.
And from the Dark Continent, no less.

Austin Evolution

North from 8th and Congress - Austin, TX1920's?




Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The news today said he would have been 52.

Live at Austin City Limits

Immortalized at Town Lake in Austin

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just A Taste

That story about Dave made me think of my old roommates. After Dave & I became friends we hung out a lot. We'd go out drinking and crash at his place. I always slept on the couch in the living room and other hangers on would sleep wherever. Saturday morning I would wake and quietly watch TV until Ren & Stimpy would come on. Then I would crank up the volume as Dog Pound Hop (the theme song) played and little by little everyone would come out and get coffee, watch Ren & Stimpy and then go to Golden Corral for brunch buffet.
That's how I met Mike, Dave's brother. At the time Mike lived in Fayetteville, NC. Think Fort Bragg. We called it Fayette-nam, and with good reason. Dave and I went to see his folks down there one weekend. One of Mike's college friends, Patrick, was visiting and staying with him.
I have to say a little about Patrick. Nervous, skinny, uptight and slightly anal. Mike, Pat and I shared an apartment later in life. Patrick would come home, still wearing his tie and start to vacuum. You just wanted to smack him with the remote control. If he hadn't been such a nice guy I probably would have.
Anyhow, the four of us dressed up in our silk shirts and baggy pants (Shut up, it was the early '90's) and went out on the town. We hit all the nicest places (both of them) but ended up on Hay Street at midnight. Red light district in a military town. You do the math.
We stopped at a place called Rick's Lounge. You could tell it was classy by the marquee over the door... "TONIGHT ONLY- STEPHANIE EVANS & HER SNAKES"
Just inside the door Dave stopped me. Mike and Patrick kept walking. "Wait" was all he said. Up on stage was a huge champaign glass filled with (I'm supposing) water and a naked girl. She climbed out of the glass and proceeded to shoot water across the stage... Across the floor... Across the bar. She was NOT using a water gun. Yeah. That. Ohhhh-Kayyyy.
She left the stage and out came a girl with a 15 foot python. Dave and I then made our way to the bar where I found Patrick. Sweet, quiet Patrick.
He was banging on the bar like an angry gorrilla, yelling "GIVE ME A BEER. A BEER... I DON'T CARE WHAT KIND OF BEER, GIVE ME A BEER! GIVE ME A BEER, NOW!" Now, I had just met Pat, but I could tell this was way out of the ordinary. So I asked him, "What's the matter, Pat?"
He just turned to me with a crazed look in his eye and said, "I got some of that water in my mouth."


Sunday, October 01, 2006


I forgot a friend's birthday last month. I forgot her birthday last year too. I think the year before last I tried and missed by a week. It was a milestone birthday this time though. Sorry J. Really. Happy birthday late.