Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A friend of mine shared a link to an interesting book this week. The author of this book is a widely known and passionate bird expert from Minnesota. I've added a link to her blog, so feel free to check it out and see all of her adventures!

I was reading one of her posts that had a youtube video of people telling stories about their "spark bird". A spark bird is the species of bird that initially sparks one's interest in bird watching.
I've never considered myself a "birder", but I've had a deep interest them, and all wildlife, ever since I was old enough to go hunting with my dad. My mom likes to tell the story of the time I was in kindergarten and I colored a bunch of ducks on paper different colors to match actual species of wild great detail right down to the speculum. The Canvasback is probably the first duck I remember. They're fun to watch as they sail into the fields and circle. Especially on overcast days when the white backs of the males stand out against the dark wooded backgrounds.

So anywow, stop over and give Birdchick a peep.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Number 1 With a Bullet Weight

Last Saturday the bass club had its final tournament of the season. Going into the tourney I was still on top in the point race with a slim 2 point lead over one of the club's best Fall fishermen. Along with him were about 5 others who were within 5 points of first place.

The day didn't start off too well. My motor quit on me about half way to my first stop. It was looking like I would have to change plans and fish closer to the launch area if I couldn't get the motor working. After several tries it finally worked well enough to get me where I wanted to go. For the rest of the day I had to be careful to not push the motor past its limits. I decided to stay longer in my 3 main spots and be patient instead of running to some secondary locations and risking more mechanical problems. That made for a long day as it took me nearly the entire tournament time to catch a limit of 5. I was about a 15 minute drive down the river at my last spot with 45 minutes left. I decided to start heading back and hopefully I would have enough time to stop and try one more place before calling it a day. The motor had other plans. It never would go to full throttle when I tried to take off. I was desperately trying to call my dad, other club members, and even my mother to tell her to try to call a club member's spouse to see if she could get his cell number. Not having any luck there, I tried the motor one more time and it worked....just barely. I cruised home at 40mph and arrived with just a few minutes left before the end. I figured I had about 10 pounds and expected several of the others to have at least that and the winner to have 15 pounds or better. I was ready to accept that this year's goal was about to be lost. As it turns out I came in 3rd place with 11.10lbs, only .1lbs behind 2nd place and a little over 2lbs out of 1st place. But that was more than enough to keep me in first place for the year. Angler of the Year!

So that's the end of this year's fishing for me. My tackle box and rods are back in my closet and there won't be much to do except save up for the next 6 or 7 weeks. Then I'll be hunting innocent, defenseless waterfowl through the end of January. Then it will be back to preparing for another fishing season, putting out brush piles, saving GPS coordinates, etc. Until then I will have to think of other topics to write about. Any ideas?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hangin' On

Updating my status in the bass club, as you can see by this picture taken right after the tournament, I'm still hanging in there. That reminds me; I'm gettin' a little too fuzzy.....need to shave soon.

As I mentioned before, going into August's tournament I was having a pretty good season and had high hopes for doing well at Barkley Lake. As luck would have it my partner turned out to be my dad, which is also good. We've fished a lot together the last few years and we share similar approaches to conditions. I took a look at the standings before we took off that morning and saw that I had an 8 point lead over the next best angler. But alas, August still remains my nemesis. Despite having several factors leaning in my favor we failed to weigh in a single keeper fish. We caught about 10 short fish throughout the day in the places we expected them to be but the bigger fish just weren't home.

With 2 more tournaments left I am sitting in 2nd place, only 3 points behind the new leader.
September should be a good tournament if the weather can cool off enough and I'll have to draw a good partner who knows where to go. I'm still in a good spot but there's little time left to stay where I am.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Saturday Night Fever

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Following up on last week's blog about my ongoing battle to the top of the bass club ranks, last Saturday's night tournament went well enough. I guess you could say I'm "Stayin' Alive".
The fishing was tough for everyone. My partner and I only caught 3 keepers weighing 8.05lbs, but that was enough to get 3rd place. I was hoping to do better but 3rd place is still ok. It keeps me within reach of where I want to be and it beats this.

The next tournament is August 11. If I do have a nemesis it's the month of August. For some reason I've never been able to do well in that time of year. The only positive so far is that this tourney will be held near Dover, TN on Lake Barkley, Kentucky Lake's sister body of water. The positive is A.) I've always loved this lake and B.) The only time I've won an August tournament is when I fished on Barkley. So I got that going for me.

More to come.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm Back?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This year I decided to rejoin the local bass club back home. I first joined the club in 1995 and became the youngest member at age 19. I did fairly well and finished in the top 12 a couple times and even made the state team(top 6) my final year. I left that club to join another so I could partner up with my cousin as a buddy team. We became the youngest team in that club as well and finished as the top team 3 out 4 years until the members decided to dissolve the club. Perhaps they were tired of losing to the youngest team with the smallest boat and figured it was time to go our separate ways. Now once again, I'm back in the club and to my knowledge I am still the youngest member. The night I joined I wasn't able to attend the meeting but according to my dad there were a few comments from the members joking how they weren't sure if they should let me back in because they remembered how well I did before. It's still too soon to toot my own horn, but halfway through the season I have managed to do pretty well.
In March I placed 7th, in April-3rd, in May-2nd, in June-2nd. We fish 9 tournaments in a season and each member is allowed to drop their 2 lowest scores. If I can hang in there and stay consistent for the next 2 tournaments I should have a good chance at being number one. This month's tournament will be at night on the 28th, 10pm-6am. As best I can remember I haven't been night fishing on this lake since 2000. It's going to be tough to compete with these guys, many of whom have 20+ years more experience and have the liberty of living near the lake and going out whenever they please. These guys are as close as I come to having peers and although there aren't any nemeses in the club, nothing else would make me happier than to come out on top this year. I'll have an update after the next tournament.

P.S. Go see the Simpsons movie July 27!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Is it Hot in Here or Is it Just Me?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Good question, Ernie. It seems like we Americans are divided on so many issues these days. You've got your Mac loyalists and your PC people. You've got those who love crocs and those who hate crocs. (which if you ask me, that blogger just doesn't get it. they're not supposed to be worn for fashion!) You've got red states and blue states even though we really are just one big purple country. There's them what love American Idol and there's them that don't. And it goes on and on and on.

Tonight, talk radio show host Glenn Beck will air a special on his tv show on CNN's Headline news channel. He'll be discussing the global warming debate; specifically how it has become a one-sided dogmatic belief. Before long, this will be Al Gore's campaign motto.

I urge all who can to watch this show tonight. There's no doubt there is some sort of climate change happening-but the cause isn't completely understood. As it should be with any topic, I believe it's important to do my own research and consider all the evidence before I form an opinion.

This year you will see how environmental awareness will effect our economy. With the rise in funding for new ethanol manufacturing plants comes the rise in demand for corn crops. This year we will have the largest increase in corn crop acreage in the last 60 years. Because so much land is being used to plant corn that means there is fewer land available for produce contracts, primarily vegetables. We'll see some supply problems and price increases as the year progresses as well as an increase in imported vegetables. Since the government offers subsidies for corn and soy bean growers, the farmers are looking at a guaranteed income amount in case of a drought, flood, cold snap, or other weather or pest related events. As a result the price of corn has begun to rise steadily also. This has a ripple effect reaching out to beef cattle, milk farms, and poultry farms. Chicken prices have been up the last 2 months and there's evidence that trend will continue for at least 3 more months.

If we're going to decide to finally do something to help preserve our environment and change the way we function, we're going to have to be willing to accept the economic consequences.

Remember, we all can do our part.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Phools

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I've been expecting these guys to bloom any day now and they finally did. So, when I saw these babies along the backroad on my way to I 40 at Bucksnort I had to jump out and snap a few shots. They're called Blue Phlox; my favorite wildflower. Hey, even a man can appreciate flowers. Besides, I'm an outdoorsman; I'm entitled. There are more than 60 species of Phlox native to North America and by far Blue Phlox is the most abundant in Tennessee. Even its species name divaricata is derived from Latin meaning "widespread". The name Phlox comes from Greek meaning "flame"-due to the flowers' striking brilliant colors.

I usually like to have original, unique blog ideas and although phlox is very common, I think it's worth writing about because of its characteristics.

As far back as I can remember I've always associated this plant with spring. I can remember walking through the woods along logging roads while turkey hunting and seeing patches of phlox sprouting up above the dead leaves. It would stand out among all the drab brown understory; full of life while most other plants are still slow to peep out from under the leaves. Just like the daffodils who burst out at first hint of a warm spell, phlox takes advantage of this heat wave to do its thing. I'm afraid they too are in for a chilling surprise later this week when a cold front moves through projected to give us a few nights in the 30's. Oh phoolish phlox, won't you ever learn?

But it's that brevity that I appreciate. As well as the simple design. Five simple petals....
I reckon this is my version of giving a "stop and smell the roses" message. What's the moral of the Phlox story? Show up early-Look good- Keep it simple-Do your Thing.

So I'll follow along with that and end it here. If you would like to see a few more of my Phlox photos you'll find them here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A New Place to Wait

Not a bad photo for a cell phone, eh? It's called Apple Pie. Hot apple cider with caramel syrup and cinnamon. I got it at the coffee shop down the hill called Bongo Java. It's your typical college neighborhood cafe. The patrons are early to mid 20's. The music playing is from bands and musicians most people have never heard of. Those bands and musicians who gather followings through word of mouth, cafe concerts and iTunes. I think it's part of the whole package of being a college neighborhood cafe patron. It's a rule in an instructional book-probably titled "College Cafe Patronage for Dummies".

Rule 1: Be different and nonconforming, less mainstream. This goes for clothing, hair, and taste in music.

Rule 2 is probably something like: "If you're going to have a laptop it must be made by Apple.

Such a patron would find it serendipitous if he/she stepped into the back room and find the book on the shelf titled Macs for Dummies. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Mac users are dummies. However, the book seems to accept that there are some- indeed the success of the book depends on the existence of dummies who own Macs. As does all the "____ for Dummies" collection. There's also a Macintosh Bible -for those who seek spiritual guidance?
"Thou shalt not Control+Alt+Delete"?

Topics of discussion at Bongo Java are mostly centered around college classes, term papers, professors, and the occasional punk bohemian gossip about new world orders, The Man, UFO's,
and Star know-those old chesnuts. But no one is talking about fishing. Back home coffee shops are very different. Patrons are usually of retirement age. They're up early at 5 am and huddled around one or two tables. They'll look at you when you walk in-trying to figure out whose kid you are. No iPods, no laptops, no apple ciders with heaping whipped cream. Just plain black coffee and creamer and sugar. They talk about fishing. What's biting, where they're biting, what bait is best, and the weather. The small town coffee shop partons aren't in any hurry. They're patient. Patience learned from fishing. You go out, throw out your line, and you wait to get lucky. That's what fishing is, patiently waiting to get lucky-and enjoying it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For the Record...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Speaking of ample breasts, I'd like to officially announce that I am NOT one of the ever growing number of possible "baby daddy" candidates in the Anna Nicole Smith saga.

Happy Traditional Gift Giving of the Amorous Nature Day!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Snow Day

Finally the weatherman got it right. I woke up this morning to the pleasant sight of snow. I got out and took a little walk around the neighborhood and took a few photos before the snow had a chance to disappear.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The Bernard Ave house. If you look closely you'll notice it seems to be leaning just a bit to the right....just like the photographer.(haha).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting As I was walking across the Belmont campus yesterday I noticed a group of buttercups that obviously didn't get the memo about the forecast. Today they pay the price for being so foolish and impatient. Many things in nature will take advantage of any opportunity to live and grow and our mild winter certainly teased these early bloomers out...much earlier than normal. DAMN us Humans for creating this Global Warming and El Nino! Thanks to us these poor blooms will never survive!! Oh woe is meeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!*sobs*

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Another example of Mother Nature surviving wherever she can. Just a small crack in this stone wall is enough room for this little weed to take hold and survuve. Facing the southeast, it gets a good bit of sunlight this time of year.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I was able to walk right up underneath this mockingbird. I wondered why it would let me get so close and not be too frightened.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Then I saw these. To us humans they could be poisonous but to the mockingbird they're the easiest meal to find. And because it's so easy to find these holly berries the mocking bird has to defend his territory from robins and cedar waxwings. So no wonder he didn't move when I walked up. Always on guard.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting This is one of the buildings on the Belmont University campus. Even with the yellow tape and orange & white barrels it looked nice.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I drove over to the Parthenon to snap this picture.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting And finally, my car. This could be the last time this winter to see it covered in snow. When I was growing up in the early to mid 80's we used to get frequent "heavy" snows. Enough to build snow forts in the drifts. Enough to sled down the big hills. Enough to tie some rope to our bikes and pull a friend behind us on a sheet of fiberglass mobile home underpinning.
As adults, many of us complain about having to drive on the slick roads. We complain about how poorly our fellow citizens drive. I complain about having to be an adult and not having the time or opportunity to enjoy this rare treat.....Curse you Americans for being the main contributors to global warming!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Jim Gaffigan

I came across some nature videos narrated and commented by Jim Gaffigan. I thought I'd share a couple I thought were the funniest. I laughed myself to tears watching these.
Our Massive Planet (monkeys)

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Our Massive Planet - the wonderful world of whales

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

All Evil Things....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Boy, the way Gentle Giant played. High Scores that Chris put on the arcade.

Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.

Didn't need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.

Gee, old table 7 was great. Those were the days.

And you know who you were then. Girls were Gilmore and men were men.

Mister, we could use a round with sports again.

Our rivals never were content. We marked our bills to represent.

Freak host teams we did resent. Those were the days.

Take a little Tuesday spin, go to watch Evil Petting Zoo win.

Have yourself a dandy meal that cost you under a fin.

Filmwise was easy and audio rounds were long. Roy Acuff really sold a song.

We raised the bar for O so long. Those Were The Days.

In just about 3 and a half years of P&H trivia tuesdays Evil Petting Zoo racked up 18 3rd place finishes, 20 2nd place finishes, and 33 1st place victories.

They accumulated $4863.50 and a $30 P&H gift Certificate.
Placing in the money a total of 71 times.

All records that will stand the test of time. And we did it all without Human Growth Horomone or Steroids.

It started when Kenan and Chris decided to create a team that would, in Kenan's words, "dominate and destroy". And that they did.
Kenan, Chris, Greg, Jeanine, Brian, Stacy, Katherine, Dan, John, and myself all did our part to carry out Kenan's mission.

Some of the best memories I have are shared with these friends at table 7.
The number 1 rule at table 7 was "no moisture". If anyone observed moisture on the table you must "wick away!".

Brian was daring enough to brave the garbage heap in the adjacent parking lot to aquire 2 yellow chairs which we used each week to fill out our table. To this day those chairs remain in the back of the P&H pool table area....marked with "EPZ".

One night Chris, Kenan and I took on the other teams alone...and nearly put up the perfect score. We correctly answered 59 out of 60. Our knowledge of the Trevi Fountain was the only thing standing in our way from certain immortality. I still say we subconsciously missed that question on purpose as to show mercy on the other teams. Even evil has mercy, right?

There wasn't much we couldn't tackle. Geography? No problem; Stacy, Brian and Kath were on it.
Movies? Greg the cinemapprentice is on the case. Presidents, TV sitcoms, comic book characters, the brady bunch, baseball-- Chris is there. Literature, Gilmore Girls, music...Jeanine and Kenan would knock it out. Politics, current events, memphis news....John was all over it. Shakespeare?....Dan's the man. Football, sci fi, filmwise, potpouri...that's me. When we couldn't come to a concensus the sweet-n-low ballot was there to make the tough decisions.

I'll never forget Greg's birthday cake. I've never seen corn dogs like that!

Chris and I would celebrate a victory or ease our pain of losing with a post trivia Galaga romp. One night we witnessed some dude make our exploits seem bush league by scoring over 500,ooo points and going over round 50. The gentle giant felt small that night.

Like any "good" evil team member would do, Dan branched out and started up his own evil team. The Fresh Prince of Darkness. Alas, its life was short and its sting only brief.

If we didn't know an was probably William Shatner....or Roy Acuff.

So if you ever are in the midtown memphis area at a gas station and the clerk gives you some change and the dollar bill as "EPZ" somewhere on the'll know where it came from. Good fortune will follow you.

Evil Petting Zoo has retired. Feel free to check out the legacy we left via my links.
All evil things must come to an end? Someday we'll get together and ride again. Every great group does.
May the Tiki man bless you!