Wednesday, September 26, 2012

4 O'Clock In The Morning!

When I was a young kid - starting around the age of 7 or 8, my Dad would take me fishing or hunting or camping or shooting in the back country of Northern Utah.

This was fairly common for me. Usually once a month, sometimes more during the summer. Dad took these opportunities to teach me about nature. He'd teach me to build a fire or set a snare or to erect a tent. He'd teach me to fish and hunt and shoot a gun, how to find or catch something to eat in the wilderness. It was a great way to grow up!

I learned a lot from my Dad during these outings. I learned to appreciate nature and to have a sense of the world around me. I learned to get up early in the morning!

Whenever we'd go out on one of our trips he'd always tell me: "You have to go to bed early, Steve. We'll be getting up at 4 O'clock in the morning."

4 a.m. took on an almost magical meaning for me. It was the time that something special would begin. It was the time that we would begin our adventure!

We'd get up and have a quick breakfast of cereal and toast with a big cold glass of milk (Dad would have coffee). We'd pack a few sandwiches that we'd made the night before and fill our canteens with water. We would always stop at the service station and fill up with gas (at 15 cents per gallon) then we'd take off to our destination.

As I said, sometimes we'd go fishing or hunting. Sometimes this would be an overnight or even a weekend-long trip. Those were the best!

One of our favorite destinations for a camp-out was a place called Tony Grove Lake north of Logan, Utah. This was a remote mountain lake set in the pines and aspen high in the mountains surrounded by primitive camp sites. Usually nothing more than a ring of rocks for a fire left by the previous campers. To get there we had to travel a single lane dirt road that wound it's way up a narrow canyon. The trip was an adventure in itself. 

The last time I was there, the single lane dirt road was now a two-lane blacktop road and the lakeside had restrooms and "improved" campsites including a firebox on a pedestal, a picnic table and designated tent areas. You now have to pay to camp there!  It's still beautiful but it's like camping in the parking lot at Disneyland.

I remember one fishing trip we went on. We were just a few miles from our town along the banks of the local river. After a day of catching fish we'd caught our legal limit and it was time to go home. We went to get into the car and Dad discovered that he'd lost the car keys! Upon checking he found a hole in the pocket of his trousers that the keys had dropped through! We had been fishing both sides of the river and had worked up and down the bank on either side. The keys could have been anywhere.

Dad managed to get under the dashboard and hot-wire the ignition and was able to get the car started and we made it home safely. I remember him hot-wiring the car and was startled at the amount of sparks that resulted from the contact with the wires. It scared me! I didn't know much about electricity.

Once we got home we changed into clean clothes and I heard Dad laughing from his bedroom. He'd found the keys! Dad usually wore Wellington style boots and the keys had dropped from his pocket down his leg into the top of his boot along with a handful of change.

Another time I went deer hunting with my Dad and Uncle Ted. We went high into the mountains in my Uncle's 4-wheel-drive truck. It had snowed the night before and there was a few inches on the ground where we started. 

After a while it became obvious that I wasn't going to be able to keep up because the snow was up to my knees and it was difficult for me to make much headway. Dad and Uncle Ted asked me if I wanted to wait in the truck. 
I certainly did not! 

Dad had taught me about staying warm and not to be afraid in the woods so he asked if I thought I could just stay where I was until they returned. Sure! I could do that! At least I could see whatever sights there were to see.

I sat down at the base of a big pine tree and was sheltered from the snow by the overhanging branches. Dad left me a couple of sandwiches and a small thermos of hot chocolate. He told me to be quiet and not to move around too much while I waited and they'd be back in an hour or two.

I waited and watched several deer cross no more than twenty yards in front of me. I could hear them walking behind me, too. I stayed still for fear of spooking them in case Dad and Uncle Ted came back and wanted a shot at them.

Around two hours later, here comes my Dad and Uncle and no deer. I had not heard a shot at all. Dad said, "There's no deer on this mountain or we would have seen them. We're going home."
     "I saw a lot of deer!" I said.
     "No if there were any deer, we would have seen them." he replied (grown-ups know everything!)
     "Really! There were a bunch of them over there and behind me, too!" I said, pointing to the tracks.

Dad and Uncle Ted started looking and found tracks from about thirty deer all around the tree where I had been sitting.
     "Next time, we'll all just sit under a tree with you and get us some deer! Either that or leave a gun with you!"

It was funny but Dad and Uncle Ted would get mad every time the subject came up in conversation after that. At least I think they got mad, good-natured mad. Probably just to make me feel good. I did, too!

Now that I'm a Geezer, I remember these trips and outings with a wistful longing to do them again. It's not to be, though. As we get older, things change. Look at the before and after pictures of Tony Grove Lake above. Nothing stays the same! It's too bad ~ I could go for some more 15 cent per gallon gasoline! Maybe if I got up early - say, 4 o'clock in the morning?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Funniest Thing I've Seen in the News Lately

This may be the funniest thing I've seen in the news lately... of course this is just from this humble American's viewpoint:

In Lahore, Pakistan Mr. Abdullah Ismail died from smoke inhalation following his burning of an American flag during a protest demonstration.

After the demonstration he complained that he didn't feel well and was taken to the local hospital where he died from breathing the toxic fumes from the burning of the American flag which was made from synthetic fibers.

As an American, I can't tell you how sorry I feel for Mr. Ismail and his family. I'm sure that he was a good friend to many and a good son to his parents.

Perhaps his time would have been better spent minding his own damn business.

The Geezer thinks that sometimes, just sometimes justice is fickle. It's about time.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Okay. What's Next?

As I was growing up one thing has remained constant: I enjoy listening to music on the radio.

We have had quite a few singers over the years who have been popular enough to have made their mark for the ages. Some good and, well, some not so good.

When I was a kid, I remember listening to music on the radio. Back then the radio was about the size of a small refrigerator. They were usually in a wooden cabinet that had been handcrafted and polished. The dial would glow like something not of this earth. 

It was a modern piece of equipment and we would all sit around it to listen to music in the evenings.

One of the first singers that I can remember was Frank Sinatra. He was a young guy then and I can remember my Mom and my Aunt Helen gushing about how very sexy his voice was. Yeeccch! 

His songs were okay but he didn't do much for me at that age. I was in my sub-teens, well around five or six.

The next singer that I can remember that made any impression on me was Pat Boone. It seemed that he was always on he radio.

 He was easy to listen to but again, not much there for a young boy to get excited about. (Me being the young boy).

Then. THEN came Elvis Presley. Now there was an exciting performer! I remember my Mom and my Aunt Helen listening to a 45 rpm record of "Love Me Tender" on an old record player. The kind that closed up like a small suitcase, with a carry handle and everything! The i-Pod of the 50s! 

Mom and Aunt Helen would play it over and over and giggle and swoon like a couple of young girls... wait. They WERE a couple of young girls! 

My Dad and Uncle Ted would grumble and grab their guns and walk out the door. "Let's go kill something" they'd say. I think they might have been a bit jealous of Elvis - or disgusted - or both.

As I grew a bit and made it to my teens, television was more common and about 70% of the homes in America had one. Families that had two were wealthy. They were not cheap items to buy! 

These were black and white pictures only. At that time there were only 3 networks to be found: ABC, NBC and CBS. So you could watch anything you wanted, as long as it was on one of those three channels.

There were a lot of programs that featured singers and bands. American Bandstand and the Ed Sullivan Show were the favorites. 

One of the most innovative groups of that time were Sonny and Cher. You remember Cher?

Sonny became a US Representative before his early demise and Cher became (and still is) a Diva with a capital D.

Fast forward to the seventies. There was a child singer named Michael Jackson who was quite the rage. He later grew up to become the so-called "King of Pop" and an alleged pedophile. 

As he grew up and was sitting on more money than God, he decided that he wanted to look like a white Dianna Ross. 

So, just to prove that money CAN buy happiness... He became a white man. It was quite a transformation, you have to admit. One has to wonder if he would have had the success he did if he had stayed black. I think he would have but I also believe that there was something not quite right in Mike's head. I think that I'm not the only one who believes this. 

Female singers were also popular pop icons. If you're thinking sexy, trashy and young, then you have to be thinking Britney Spears

She had wonderfully wholesome hits like "Oops, I Did It Again" and "Do It to Me One More Time"

After Michael Jackson's success it became apparent that different, eccentric and strange would make you a hit. 

Suddenly it seemed that actual talent took second place to image. Enter Madonna.

Madonna seemed to have no boundaries when it came to live performances. 

She'd wear outfits featuring cone-shaped busts and on occasion, she'd wear her underwear on the outside of her costume. 

This was quite sensational and believed to be just a performance stunt until pre-teen girls were going to school wearing similar outfits. The girls were sent home to change and Madonna eventually started to tone it down a bit.

The next performer to try and capitalize on Madonna's technique was Lady Gaga.

Where this person came up with that name is beyond me. If you ask me it should be Lady Gag-Me.

Gaga seems to be in a never-ending effort to become more and more outlandish in her costumes or in finding more ways to wear less and less during her performances.

Not surprising to anyone is her complete lack of singing ability.

Singing, or in her case, shouting out words in time to the music with the occasional shriek or two is what passes for talent these days.

What or who will we see next? Your guess is as good as mine. I hope that the pendulum starts to swing back the other way and we begin to hear people with true singing ability back on the radio.

The Geezer sometimes wishes that performers like Lady Gaga would limit their performances to the radio only. 

Looking at her makes my eyes bleed.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Computers: A Double Edged Sword!

Yesterday I attempted to upgrade the RAM memory in my computer. I purchased a 500 mb memory board from Amazon and installed it last night.

I turned the computer on and it ran great! The speed was faster. I could load videos and watch them in real time. I could upload stuff much faster that before...

Then the entire system CRASHED!

I had to do a system re-format and lost about 95% of my saved files including photos and a book that I have been writing! Arrrrgghhhh!

I worked for about 6 hours last night just to get things back together to a point that I could operate again. AFTER removing the new board!

I discovered that I had saved my book on a memory stick and only lost the last 3 chapters which I had printed out so I only have to copy the last 3 chapters and I'll be back in business, so to speak. (I'm writing a book - More about that in a future post).

This unfortunate incident reminded me how technology has saturated our lives. How dependent we are on computers, remote control devices and other things we now take for granted in this day and age. e-Mail, Banking by computer, data storage, Internet news etc.

30 years ago we didn't have this stuff and we lived happy and productive lives. How did we do it? Could we get along now without cell phones and computers? If we were forced to, we could but what a drag!

When something goes wrong with my computer I get the cold sweats and my hands start shaking. I wonder if I'll have to go to WalMart and put out another $500 for a new system. It's scary!

If your computer is running well - don't screw with it! Leave well enough alone! It's what I plan on doing!

I spent the better part of last night re-building my files and setting up the sites that I visit as well as my e-Mail accounts and online pharmacy, etc. It was nerve-wracking and tedious! I swear, I swear that I'll ALWAYS back up my files from now on! I can't afford not to.

Geezers like me can't take this tension! If this ever happens again, I'll go next door and just borrow their 9 year old. I'm sure she can fix it in nothing flat!