In which Southern Man will awake in his hotel room and geocache some more and visit with family and then meander back home with possibly with Southern Father (who had hitched a ride down earlier in the week).
Southern Man was up before the sun to get in some geocaching before meeting up with Southern Father for the ride home.
The main event was a long series of twenty caches along Highway 380.
Then Father and Son hit the road. We were in no hurry and took a scenic turnout in the mountains (or what pass for mountains in Southern State) that Southern Man remembered as a child - it was on the route to Marshall before the Interstate was completed.
If Southern Man looks this good at that age he'll be a happy camper indeed.
Then we arrived at the Ancestral Manor for a dinner of eggs and sausage with Southern Mother and Southern Son and then Southern Man made his way back to The Land, tired but happy. It's still Thanksgiving Weekend and we have not yet begun to feast!
In which Southern Man will depart from work at five-ish and, rather than drive an hour in the wrong direction just to sleep and wake up and come back this way will begin a long, meandering journey to East Texas to join the rest of the clan for Thanksgiving Day.
The journey began with a nice relaxing steak dinner - a rare treat for Southern Man - and then a couple of movies to while away several hours. Ender's Game was a decent, if superficial, pass at the book - heavy on battle scenes, light on the subtleties of Bugger-Human relations and Wiggins-family drama. Hardly hardly any of the training sequences made the final cut. If you read and enjoyed the book, the film at least makes sense and even throws a few bones our way (not to mention forshadowing Speaker For The Dead); if you have never read the book it's a standard sci-fi B movie. Gravity was just plain awful (apparently Newton's Laws are applied only to the extent that the plot requires) and its generally favorable reviews are an indication of just how far the science-literacy bar has fallen.
Then it was midnight and time to hit the road. Southern Man spent a couple of hours geocaching (most of that time spent poking around an old caboose with flashlight in hand and not finding the cache allegedly hidden there)...
The caboose in daylight. Several freight trains came by on the tracks in the background while Southern Man searched for the elusive cache. Photo stolen from Flickr.
...and then got on the turnpike to head south...
I know you're out there, somewhere,
somewhere you can hear my voice
and I will find you, somehow,
and somehow I'll return again to you.
Nothing quite like the Moody Blues to make you a little wistful for lost loves. Another is here, posted while thinking about that same lost love...
Southern Man has always permitted his children to see midnight premiers of their favorites so after work today he made the two-hour (actually three-and-a-half this time due to a spectacular wreck on the rush-hour interstate) to fetch Teen Daughter and (with her mother's blessing) bring her back to Southern City for the midnight premier of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and a day off from school on Friday.
This is Teen Daughter's favorite book of the Hunger Games trilogy and the film did not disappoint. Solid acting and terrific production values make this one a sequel that is possibly a cut above the original and the cliff-hanger ending left us wanting more. And the entire theme of a powerful central government and oppressed outlying districts seems to strikc a nerve; Southern Man is seeing more and more "Hunger Games" references on well-trafficked political blogs such as Instapundit and while he bears no illusions about the United States being a center-right country any more (center-right voters don't elect Barrack Obama twice) it is still an interesting trend. And the other interesting trend was the number of teen girls wearing their hair braided in a style they call the "Katniss Everdeen."
From Teen Daughter's Facebook page. Her braid for the movie was even better and it was highly amusing to see the teen girls cluster around and admire each other's efforts.
So Southern Man went to a movie expecting to be disappointed (the only part of the trilogy that he even liked was the first book) and was rather delighted to be proved wrong. He's already looking forward to the third one.
Cats are independent. They don't listen or come in when you call. Cats like to stay out all night, make no apology when they come home at three in the morning, and when they are home they like to be left alone and sleep. They cuddle when they want to and ignore you when they don't. You never know whether a cat is going to rub up against you and purr or rare back and hiss. You suspect that they are continually planning your demise.
Girls love cats.
Dogs love you unconditionally, unreservedly, completely. They jump up and down with sheer unadulterated joy whenever you are near and love to be with you every moment. They'll roll over and beg for you to rub their belly or scratch their head. Dogs may get a hurt look in their eye from time to time but they're never angry with you, at least not for long. You suspect that they spend their day waiting for you to come home so they can jump on you. Pretty much everything is more fun when you're with a dog.
Boys love dogs.
There's a lesson to be learned in all this, somewhere, but don't ask us what it is.
A fun-packed weekend kicked off with the monthly bowling group.
Southern Man's new geocaching buddy, young master Shane...
...and his lovely mother Shirley, who did in fact bowl a couple of frames in those boots.
Whoo hoo, that's a strike baby! Photo by Mark.
Southern Man with Shirley and Tiffany.
The Gang went out for Mexican food after bowling.
Southern Man has an interesting confession for someone who is a Southern Man - he hasn't fired a weapon since his teen years. This was remedied on Saturday when a friend dragged Southern Man to a local shooting range for a morning of dakka.
Jonathan has convinced Southern Man that his first handgun ought to be a Glock 23.
Southern Man with the Škorpion 61. He shot well with that one, relatively speaking.
The tight groupings are by Jonathan and the scattered shots are Southern Man, who actually did his best handgun work with a little five-cylinder .38 revolver.
And now for the rifles. From top to bottom: Chinese peasant rifle (Korean War-era SKS) with bayonet, Russian modern rifle (AK 103), Russian peasant rifle (Mosin Nagant dated 1942), and a Ruger 10/22. The guy in the stand next to us had the American peasant rifle (M1 Garand) so we handled a good chuck of the WWII - Cold War arsenal.
Southern Man shoots the SKS.
Jonathan and the AK-103.
Southern Man gets a turn on the AK.
After the fun at the range and a late lunch Southern Man got back to the land at sunset (which is about five PM this time of year) and tried several shots of the full moon through the trees. This one, bad as it is, was the best of the lot.
And then it was off to the Christian Dance...
Jeri and Joy take a smoke break.
Southern Man shamelessly flirts with Shirley but she's Mark's girl. Most of the time.
On Sunday morning it was time for Bible Study, which was actually a surprise birthday party for our discussion leader...
Our leader Eddie and his fiancée Teri.
Jeri and Paul.
Well, that was quite a weekend. Lord, thank you for good friends. Amen.