Southern Man

Friday, July 30, 2010

Southern Man Catches A Fish

Well, first, some background.

Southern Man turned in his final summer grades a few days ago and now has ten glorious days with no academic duties. Given the sorry state of The Land he's going to spend most of that time out there. Now, by "sorry state" Southern Man means that (a) he's way behind on any number of projects and (b) he hasn't done much upkeep for a few years and (c) he hasn't had a working mower out there for at least that long. The front five acres and the strip down the property line with the neighbors are open and flat and the Brushhog Guy keeps that under control (thus keeping the homeowner's association at bay) but much of the area around The Barn and the still-under-construction Workshop, not to mention various woodpiles and stacks of bricks and other assorted construction material, and all the back-of-the-lot hills and gulleys are badly overgrown. So in preparation he went to Sears and bought a high-wheel string trimmer and a new push mower, got them out there, and began his assault on Mother Nature.

It has been a little frustrating. At the same time Southern Man is trying to get siding up on The Workshop (a project on which he's over a year behind, and which is nearly unapproachable due to the high grass and weeds) and re-organize his many stacks of construction material and so on and so forth and in the process of jumping from job to job managed to run over his good 100-foot heavy-gauge extension cord with the trimmer. Well, not a total loss (he bought replacement ends later and converted it into 60- and 40-foot cords) but still annoying as he had to relocate his work area closer to the nearest outlet. The trimmer itself is great but the brush is so thick that it's chewing through $20-per-spool string at an astounding rate. The wasps are incredibly bad this year - Southern Man has a live-and-let-live attitude with most critters but something about wasps gives him the shivers and he wages unrelenting warfare upon them. And then he noticed a low tire on the truck and quickly determined the cause as a big piece of bailing wire sticking out of the sidewall, so there went the rest of the afternoon and $200.

But on the other hand it is flat beautiful out there - the wild southwestern kind of beauty that Southern Man dearly loves. Even while working he stumbles across wonders daily - clutches of quail eggs (they're delicious in salads), giant garden spiders hanging inverted in their webs, dragonflies mating in flight, birds and snakes and lizards of every kind. At sunset he grabs a beer and sits by the lake and just watches and listens and thinks. Sometimes he works past dark just to lay back and gaze at the stars. And he fixed up one of the old rods and leaves it by The Barn and every now and then sticks whatever is handy on the hook and fishes for a bit.

Now, Southern Man has owned this property for twelve years now and has yet to catch a fish in the lake, nor has he put either of his two little boats into the water. That's mostly because he hasn't really tried due to lack of time and too much work. But there's something very, very wrong with a life that includes owning a waterfront lot like this and not fishing or boating on a regular basis and that is going to change Real Soon Now. But, anyway, today Southern Man took a break when he saw a particularly large and juicy grasshopper just begging to be impaled on a nice big hook. And much to his surprise and pleasure after just a few minutes the bobber went down and Southern Man had himself a plump, eating-size catfish.

The hook came out fairly easily and the cat went back into the water and Southern Man went back to work. But he has finally caught a fish at The Land. The first of many, many more to come.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Wil Wheaton!

Yes, that Wil Wheaton, who overcame Wesley Crusher to become one of geekdom's favorite sons. His tales of life on the Star Trek sets always bring a smile. Southern Man remembers with great pleasure his cool handling of a bitchy Roxann Dawson on a Trek-themed episode of Weakest Link. Happy Birthday, Wil!

And, yes, this is a shameless attempt to get a trackback on the "happy birthday to me" page on Wil's blog. Did it work?

[Added Later] Nope, it apperas that doesn't support trackbacks. Dang.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Movie Review - Inception

How can you know what is the dream, and what is reality? Without giving anything away, let's just say that Inception is part The Matrix and part Mission: Impossible! stirred with a healthy dose of Philip K. Dick. But even with those comparisons Christopher Nolan has given us something quite unlike anything you've ever seen before - an original, daring and elegantly cerebral entry into a relatively unexplored genre that will demand multiple viewings to grasp its intricate details. Given a chance, Inception will haunt your thoughts - and your dreams - for a good long while.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Festivities

Relatives from 'way up East were in town for the weekend so we had a grand BBQ feast out at the family manor tonight. Pretty much everyone was there and it was great fun. Especially since we ended with a massive Texas Hold'Em tourney. Southern Man isn't much good at poker and is usually the first one out but managed to be second out tonight, which is an improvement. We'll all gather for lunch after church tomorrow afternoon as well. Having a large extended family is one of the greatest blessings in Southern Man's life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Small Step...

Image of astronaut Neil Armstrong taken from the slowscan television camera mounted to the Apollo 11 descent module as he prepares to step onto the surface of the Moon, forty-one years ago today. That is, if you believe in that sort of thing.

If someone had told Southern Man back then that in forty years he'd be teaching astronomy to students who had never lived during a time when astronauts traveled further from Earth than low orbit, he'd have said they were crazy. If someone had told him that at that time that a priority at NASA would be outreach to Muslim countries he'd have laughed in their face.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Week With The Girls

Southern Man's eleven-year-old daughter is here for a week, which is a big deal now that she and her mom live six hours away. So Casa Southern Man is a busy and noisy place as both girls stubbornly insist on listening to their own electronic entertainment; teen daughter is spinning newly-acquired Lady Gaga vinyl on Southern Man's turntable and eleven-year-old is dividing her attention between videos on YouTube (at a volume designed mainly to annoy her sister) and whatever is running on the Disney Channel on TV. The younger will spend the next few days at her grandparent's house (while Southern Man puts in his rigorous four-day summer workweek) and then she'll be back for another weekend of fun. Multiple movies, a day at the local water park, and a trip to the zoo may be in the offing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Concert Review - Ted Nugent

Two and a half hours of high octane rock. It was a huge crowd and we had excellent seats (front row of the general admission section) which were not used for the duration of the concert. It was loud. It was really, really loud.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Return of the Hyundai

After a record-breaking twenty-three days at the dealership (mostly waiting on insurance adjusters and faxes and approvals and such) Southern Man finally has his little commuter car back. The dire predictions of the service manager did not come to pass; very little work was actually required. Southern Man declined all of the labor-intensive cleaning (he has more time than money and will do that work himself) and actually ended up covering all of the actual expense with the insurance check. And while it was fun to drive the pickup for three weeks, it did pretty much exhaust the gasoline budget for the next two months.

2007 Nissan Titan

X Fun to Drive
X Hauls Lots Of Stuff
O Great Gas Mileage

2008 Hyundai Accent

X Fun To Drive
O Hauls Lots Of Stuff
X Great Gas Mileage

Disclamer: Actual vehicles may differ in appearance from those pictured.

[Added later] And lest readers think that Southern Man must be really in the money to have two shiny new toys like these, let him remind readers that they replace the '91 Explorer on which he put a quarter-million miles over fifteen years. And, yes, that Explorer is still sitting behind The Barn while Southern Man decides whether or not to find a trannie for it or just send it to the scrapper or give it away on Craigslist.

You Know You're Southern If: Every vehicle you've ever owned is on cinderblocks out in the back yard. Well, Southern Man isn't quite that bad but here's a link to an old post listing Cars Southern Man Has Loved. But another: You Know Your Southern If: You're mowing the back forty and find a vehicle you forgot you owned has actually happened to relatives of his. More than once.