Who Ya Gonna Call?

Saturday in Seattle

This Makes Me Feel Good For some reason, I was tired and slept in a while again on Saturday.  After a light breakfast and a game of Harry Potter Clue.  Unlike the clue I plaid as a kid, there were secret wheels that opened and closed doors, hidden passages, and dark mark cards to wreck havoc on the players.  In a close, close game, I squeaked out a victory over Cora, her mom, and her daughter.  I thought that her daughter was going to solve it one turn before I could make my final accusation.  But while she had the WHO, and HOW, she was missing the WHERE that I had lucked in to.

After the game, it was time to literally hop on the bus, Gus and head to the city for some sight seeing and for a little ghost busting.  Cora and Gwen and I started off with a little shopping. And then a trip to the fortune telling Elvis.  And then a comic book shoppe.

We ended up back the Gum Wall.  This was Gwen's first visit to the wall, and she loved it.  I opted to give the Smiley Guy a pink toupee.

Old Baldy

Bald Smiley headed ball

Pink Toupee

Toupee'd Smiley

But, we didn't go to the Gum Wall just because we are fans of mastication.  That is also the meeting place for the Ghost Tour.  The tour It didn't cost $5.75provided nice value (an hour and a half for $15) and provided some nice history of Seattle.  I didn't see any ghosts or catch any ghost orbs.  But that doesn't mean I didn't see anything weird.  Back in 1985, Pike Place Market sold tiles as a fund raiser.  (Cora has one, somewhere, but she has never found it.)  A little group bought one.  A dozen years later, Heaven's Gate would become infamous.

After the tour, we headed back to the 'burbs and met up with Cora's mom for dinner at The Olive Garden.  After a nice, tri-generational dinner, it was time to take Cora's daughter to her father's (they'd split the weekend, so Gwen could join us) and for us to head home.

Sunday in Seattle

No sleeping in today.  This is my last day with my BFF (Beautiful Future FiancĂ©e) and it was not to be wasted.  We planned her next trip to visit me in October, and we just hung out and talked.  (Okay, we necked on the sofa like a couple of teenagers.)

Unfortunately, due to the 4 hour flight and the 2 hour time difference, the "last flight" is actually pretty early.  So we made it to the airport, and had a bite of lunch before getting in the agonizingly slow security line.  Agonizing in the fact that you stand there for 15 minutes inching forward.  Each half shuffle taking you that much further from your lady love.  While I cherish the opportunity to keep looking back and seeing her, the sadness in her eyes is also torture.

I guess I got on the plane and made it home.  I was in a funk.  I don't remember, and before I knew it, I was back on the phone with Cora again.  And then it started to pour here. Like the sky waited for me to get home, but then the sky started crying for me.

Wow.  That was a bit of a downer.  But it was a great weekend.  Going shopping with Cora was amazing.  A 43 year old bachelor should have been terrified stepping foot in a jewelry store, but with Cora's hand in mine, it felt like the most natural thing in the world.

And with that, welcome to the 80's


It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Ring

As you may have guessed, I flew out Thursday after work to visit Cora in Seattle.  My 7:25 pm flight was a little late taking off, but landed a little early.  Neat trick, that.  The flight was a little bumpy, which made it hard to sleep.  Also, every 15 minutes, they would come on and tell you that in 10 minutes it was GOING to get bumpy.

Needless to say, I was not overly rested when I landed.  But Cora was wearing a stunning red dress and and these awesome black boots.  I would show you a picture, but my camera melted.  My heart melted.  Other things didn't melt.

Friday morning, after allowing me to sleep in a little (she has a heart of gold, that one) Cora and I headed out to do a little shopping.  And we discovered an interesting tidbit:  Cora is out fashion.

When did golden gold fall out of favor with engagement rings?  Most everything was in white gold or platinum?  But, while nothing was purchased, I view the expedition as a great success.  We have narrowed down the parameters on the ring, and I now know what I am looking for.

Other things learned on the shopping excursion:

  • While not for the wedding ring, rose gold looks AMAZING against Cora's skin.
  • Bailey, Banks, & Biddle is going out of business.
  • There are some pretty cool wedding rings for guys, but while the tungsten and carbon fiber one looked cool, it just wasn't serious enough to shout, 'MARRIED'.

After out little shopping excursion, we needed to head back and be there for when Cora's daughter got home from school.  (I won't mention that while we were out looking at the tree that crashed through the neighbor's fence, the angel though of locking us out of the house.  Wait, I just did.)

Before dinner, Cora and I decided to get a little exercise.  No, by heading up and walking some laps up at the track.  As we walked, I was always looking up at the amazing cloud formations.  And then I realized that it was actually Mt. Rainier.SEA-RAINIER

SEA-SHADOWBut after about 45 minutes of power walking hand in hand, the shadows started growing long, and our bellies started growing hungry, so we headed back, picked up Cora's daughter (who stayed home to do her homework) set off for dinner.

The ladies treated me to a nice meal at the Rainforest Cafe.  And after dinner, we had their signature Volcano brownie and ice cream dessert.


Little Help Here

300We interrupt our regularly scheduled post with a quick plea:

This is my 290th post.  For those of you whose math skills have atrophied  over the years, that means that my 300th post will be coming up soon.

For those of you who were around 190 posts ago (and thank you, by the way) I did a 100-4-100 post where I told 100 facts about myself.  If you think I'm doing 300, then you must be seriously stoned this morning.

But, part of that was a Q&A where I would answer (most) any question sent to me.  So, do you have anything you've wanted to ask me, but it has seemed off topic, or whatever, so you haven't?  Send your questions to me now (and face it, if you don't do it today, you'll forget) and I will answer them.  You can put them in the comments, but I would prefer you use the email address scope65 at gmail dot com to send them in, so then people don't see your questions ahead of time.

With only 9 posts between now and then, and the need to cover my most recent Seattle visit, I think it will be the end of next week before the post goes up.

So, what do you want to know?


If You Like It Then You Better Put A Ring On It

What, this isn't what you expected?  But you still laughed, right?  Thanks to 'Heidi' for showing me this video yesterday at work.


Simple Request – Epic Fail

A Simple Request

I think the sign above is clear, concise, and to the point.

Epic Fail

Obviously someone else didn't.

What we got here, is … failure to communicate.

Let's just hope this has nothing to do with Sassy Britches's 'Wipe the Weiner' campaign, because then I would be totally grossed out.

Listen folks, I'm flying out to Seattle this weekend, so ya'll behave yourselves for the substitute teacher, okay?

(I lied, there is no sub.  Go crazy.)



Old New. Played Out. Total Irrelevant.

Oh my God!  They killed Kanye!

Oh my GOD!
You Bastards!

Yeah, I know this story is old news.  Like Kanye.

Yeah, I know this story has no social significance.  Like Kanye.

But I just couldn't resist doing a little PhotoShop work.  And if you still are quite done kicking Mr. West, click HERE to take him for a spin. Probably not too safe for work.

(Yes, I know Candy and God have already blogged this, so I hope they forgive me for jumping on the bad wagon.)


20ish Questions

A while back, ~E @ ~E Deconstructed tagged me with a meme.  It's not that I forgot about it, It just that I was in the middle of doing my road trip stories last week, and didn't want to break my flow.  But now, I've got a second, so here we go.

20 Questions:

  1. What can you not leave the house without?  My keys.  I have to get back in.
  2. Favorite brand of makeup?  I don't use makeup.
  3. Favorite flower? Lilac
  4. Favorite clothing store? Men's Warehouse
  5. Favorite perfume?  Jessica McClintock (it smells like Lilac)
  6. Heels or Flats?  I'm 6'4".  I don't need heels.
  7. What were your grades like in school?  Mostly A's some B's.
  8. Do you drink energy drinks? No.  Never have tried one.
  9. Do you like swimming?  No really.  But I prefer it to drowning.
  10. Do you like juice?  No.  High sugar is not good for a diabetic.
  11. Do you eat french fries with a fork?  I am not a communist.
  12. Favorite moisturizer? Jergens Original.
  13. Will you get married or are you? I will be engagement ring shopping in a few days.
  14. How old are you?  43
  15. Are you into ghost hunting? No, but I will be doing a ghost tour in a week.
  16. Any phobias?  I have a healthy respect of heights, but hate needles.
  17. Do you bite your nails?  Yes
  18. Do you drink coffee? Nope
  19. Describe an animal that describes your soul mate? A FOX!
  20. Last concert that you attended? Sytx & Boston
  21. Next concert you will attend? No plans in the works.
  22. Random thing on your desk?  A brass pencil sharpener.
  23. Favorite movies?  The original Star Wars trilogy, Princess Bride, Road House, Next of Kin, The 300, Sin City.
  24. Book you're currently reading?  The Blue-Haired Bombshell.
  25. Favorite lipsticks? I love the berry flavored lip gloss that Cora wears.  :-)
  26. Favorite piece of art in your room?  I would think it is this painting done on an old wooden desktop. Desk the Walls...
  27. Favorite jewelry?  I don't wear any jewelry.  Yet.
  28. Favorite YouTube channels and/or Videos? I don't really have one.  But I like the funny videos people send.



Ahoy!  Today be September the 19th in the year o' our Lord 1 Score Aught Nine and it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, ya scurvy curs.

Bizarro-Larry This treasure be from the curs at Bizarro.Com.

A co-worker (and saucy wench she be) asked me if'n it be appropriate to talk like a pirate in Temple (Rosh Hashanah).  "Yarr," I told her, "if she sees 'Long John Silverman' to tell him I said, 'oy-hoy'."

According to this SITE, some of us have very interesting pirate names:

Real Name

Pirate Name


Scowlin' Seamus Jones

Eric John Cap'n Quincy Bloodbeard
Eric Collins Pirate Bruno the Infected
Eric John Collins Cap'n Stu Golddigger
Scope Cap'n William Peckerwood
Scope Collins Cap'n Bernard Bloodbucket
Cora Gurglin' Blair Smythe
Cora Denise Rancid Helga Sparrow
Candy Pirate Julia the Well-Tanned
Cowguy Lazy Eye Palgrave
Dr. Zibbs Reeking Daryl Slasher
Gwen Pirate Carolyn the Sword Test Dummy
iNDefatigable mjenks Pirate Joe the Cash-Strapped
Prunella Jones Jelly Legs Misty
Sass Scowlin' Ursula Smythe
Sassy Britches Cap'n Aurora Swiftknife
Soda & Candy Decayin' Nadine Napier

Now if that thar don't shiver ye timbers and put some pep in ye hornpipe, arrr nuttin' shall.  Sorry I couldn't do ye'all, but figure what ye name be, and scribe it in yon comments.


Road Trip 2007 – Part 4

Saturday, T-Bone and I headed into Houston for the day.  We drove around and saw the sights:

The Houston skyline…

Houston Skyline

A statue for George the First…

Scope & The Prez.

Some topiary doing Kung-Fu… (River Oaks Plant House)

HOU-Kung-Fu Beer is a gateway drug...
Then we stopped at the "Beer Can House".  Oh my lord.  This has to been seen to be believed.  Besides the flattened beer cans serving as aluminum siding, there are pull tab linked curtains, marbles and stones set in the concrete.  It was closed when we were there, but it is now open on weekends for tours.

Next time I'm in town, I am so checking this out.  And you have to love that some people, we'll call them "idiots" built brand new condo buildings on either side of this tourist destination.  Too bad there wasn't a "gift shop." We were thirsty.

Amazing what BEER CAN doIt's a sign...HOU-TEXASHOU-SAN-JACINTOThen we headed out to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site to see the World War I/II battle ship USS Texas (BB-35), one of the few surviving ships to have served in both big wars, and the San Jacinto Monument, the world's tallest memorial column in the world.

But Sunday came and it was time for me head home.  I wasn't going to try to do it all in one day, I had taken Monday off, too, so there was no hurry to push all the way.

Up through Texarkana.  I then picked up the Interstate, a steady rain, and Sporting News Radio's 'Around the NFL' to help me pass the drive through Arkansas.  I finally stopped for the night in the "bootheel" of Missouri in the town of Hayti.  The thrill of driving the road trip was long over, and I just wanted to get home.  Monday, I met my parents in Tuscola, IL.  They were taking off to visit my brother in Virginia, and so we planned to meet somewhere along I-57 and did.  From then on, I was on familiar ground, having driven on this road a few time, and things kept getting more and more familiar.

Finally, around 5:00, I rolled back into my parking spot, and the adventure was over.  Except for the counting.  Yes, I'm a geek, and I had my PDA with me, and every gas stop, I plugged in the mileage, gallons of gas, price of gas, etc.   As you can see, the PT Cruiser is not the world's most fuel efficient vehicle.

Starting Odometer


Ending Odometer


Total Miles


Total Gallons


Total Cost


Average MPG


Average Price

$ 2.72

Cost Per Mile

$ 0.11

Since Ellie Mae asked, I just inched over 43,000 miles this Labor Day weekend.  So in two years, I put about 9,500 miles on my car.  Like I've said, I don't really drive all that much every day.

Hope you all enjoyed this little road trip with me.  What was your big road trip?


Road Trip 2007 – Part 3

If it's Wednesday, it must be Texas.

While I hadn't ever been exposed to "swamp" growing up, I would be lying if I called the drive between New Orleans and Houston "exotic" just mile after mile of swamp.  Except when you looked up, and a 10 story mountain was in front of you.  Okay, not a real mountain, but on occasion the road shot at a startling angle up (and likewise down) to bridge a navigable waterway.

Later, I would learn that is also the way that you build interchanges in Texas, 10 stories tall.

I arrived in Houston, and scooted on over to the northwest edge of town where T-Bone works by early afternoon, and just chilled out (and helped the support desk answer a few questions via Blackberry, when I could get signal).  T-Bone led me back to his house (his wife, Mrs. Ivy, was actually back in Illinois, taking care of her terminally ill mother.)

The next day, he had to work, and I hopped back in the car and headed to the neighboring city of Galveston.  I'm a "Love the beach / Hate the water" guy.  I spent most of the day exploring driving around the city, and enjoying the post-Labor Day quiet.Wildlife along the coastI wandered around the north end of the Seward Beach Park for a while, watching the ships off in the distance.Eric On A JettyThen I played with the timer setting on my camera, so I could run out and get in the shot.  Like this out on a little jetty,GALV-04or this one out on the beach.  (Like I said, it was a Thursday after Labor Day.  There was no one around.)Sea WallI watched as the wave crashed on the seawall, and then walked along the seawall until I ran across this:And Johnson with the finger roll.
This is a memorial (there are a few) to the victims of the 1900 Hurricane (Isaac's Storm).  If you don't know much about this storm, you should do some reading.  Even post Katrina, it is still the deadliest natural disaster in the United States.  And since I was there, Hurricane Ike plowed through.

One very cool thing about Galveston, is that even though it's only like 14 feet above sea level, that doesn't mean that people didn't take pride in their architecture.  It's almost like even though they knew they were in harms way, they weren't going to let that force them into ugly or bland houses.Sacred Heart Catholic ChurchThis is the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.Bishop's PalaceGALV-BISHOP-01And this is the Bishop's Palace.  It's as impressive as it looks.  Really.GALV-HOUSE-01And here are just some random houses. GALV-HOUSE-02  Next time, Houston, and some not so grand architecture.


Road Trip 2007 – Part 2

It's the Tuesday after Labor Day, and I am heading into terra incognita.  I had been to Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama before, but Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas were all places I had not been.

It's about 350 miles between Birmingham and New Orleans.  I decided that while I had never been in Mississippi before, I certainly hadn't missed much based on the from my windshield.  Pine forest.  Pine forest.  More pine forest.  But as I got further south toward the gulf, I started to see more sections of the forest that damaged by Katrina.  This was effectively the 2 year anniversary of the storm.

Crossing into Louisiana, I stopped at the visitor's center and browsed the rack of fliers looking for a place to stay.  While I wanted a chain, I didn't want a big chain.  The Ambassador Hotel seemed to fit the bill nicely with a mid-week special and free valet parking.  Now I had a plan.

As mentioned earlier, I'm not the biggest fan of bridges, so I-10 over Lake Pontchartrain was not my favorite, but things got worse.

As I drove into town, the devastation of 2 years previous was everywhere.  You drove in past the empty amusement park that used to be a Six Flags, and now looked straight out of Scoobie Doo.  You looked left and right, and all you saw was abandoned buildings as far as the eye can see.

But every couple of miles, you would see a big banner on a apartment building or strip mall shouting that they were open.The PT-Cruiser At The HotelI turned down Canal St. and pass the entirely joyless Joy Theater.  But things did get better as you reached the river.  The Ambassador is converted old warehouses with beautiful hardwood floors and sections of exposed brick, just a couple blocks from the French Quarter.Hotel lobey It was a Tuesday afternoon outside of the normal tourist season, and things were pretty dead.  I struck out on my own, to walk down Bourbon St., have some dinner, and see the sights.  As I was walking around, it felt like about 40% of the things were open, 20% were being worked on, and 40% were just sitting abandoned.  These two buildings were side-by-side:
Devisated Rebuilt
And passing this joint didn't fill NO-Dev-02me with a whole lot of "good mojo", either.  But I don't want to focus so much on what was wrong.  This was my first trip to New Orleans, so I don't know what it was like before.  Walking down Bourbon Street at 5:00 on a Tuesday was a bit like seeing an aging southern belle under fluorescent lights: there was no hiding the flaws.

I stopped for a nice big plate of jambalaya at the Gumbo Shop.  For dessert, I thought I would try the brownie and the ice cream.  With a big ol' glass of milk (I didn't think the Captain and NO-FoodCokes I had been drinking would work as well.)  Man, was that a HELL of a meal.

After dinner, the light was fading fast, so it was rush time to get out and get some pictures around the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, before heading back to my room.  No, I didn't hit the casinos or anything.  I was tired, and knew I had another 375 miles to drive in the morning.

French QuarterJackson Square & St. Louis Cathedral  St. Louis Cathedral - Detail St. Louis Cathedral Mmmmm-minty! I actually want to get back there soon, and see how it's doing.


Road Trip 2007 – Part 1

With Labor Day rapidly disappearing in the review mirror, I think it's time to start off on a tale that involves both Labor Day and rear view mirrors.

Labor Day Weekend 2007, I set out on a little road trip.  Or not so little.  It turned out to be about 2,700 miles over the 10 days.  In the car, alone*.

The plan for the trip was to first drive from Chicago to Birmingham, AL to visit MFF and her daughter for the weekend, then on to New Orleans for a day, then on to visit my old roommate and his wife in Houston before cutting diagonally across the midsection of America back home.  All without GPS or Google maps on the Blackberry or anything.  Just me, Rand McNally, and some printed maps.

I took that Friday off, and was wheels turning on my way to Birmingham at 5:00 am to beat the traffic thru Chicago and thru northern Indiana.  It's actually a pretty straight shot down there on Interstate 65 thru Indy, Louisville, and Nashville.  But it is an 11 hour drive.  Good thing I loaded up on CDs before taking off.

Just out of "the region" of northwest Indiana, I passed one of those little Geo/Chevy Tracker deals that was top down with a bike in the back that had a plastic grocery bag wrapped around the seat.

NASA-01I blasted around Indian-No-Place in no time, white knuckled a little on the high bridge over the Ohio River that was filled with construction, and made it to Nashville for a late lunch, and called MFF.  She was at work, and wouldn't get home until about 5:30, so she told me to stall a little.

When I entered Alabama, the first rest stop had rockets.  (NASA is just over in Huntsville)  INASA-02 stopped, stretched my legs, and took a few shots.

After burning off some time there and in Nashville, I got to the north side of Birmingham at 4:30, just as all the traffic of people heading down to the gulf coast hit the road.  That's when I looked over and saw it.

There was that Geo/Chevy Tracker with the bike in the back, about 9 hours after I first saw it.

TOOTH-00I had a great time visiting MFF and here daughter Sydney ("the Beans") that weekend.  We went to the local water park / amusement park, Alabama Adventure on Labor Day, and that evening, the Beans lost her first tooth, so I got to help play tooth fairy.

And here are some pictures, because the kids is so dang cute.

But time ticks on, and Tuesday, they headed off to school and I headed off to New Orleans.  (To be continued)

TOOTH-03  Showing the gap.

TOOTH-01MFF would kill me for posting this picture if she read my blog.  We had been at the water park all day, so she is covered with sunscreen and has been drenched all day.

TOOTH-02 The special tooth box.

* Probably 200 miles of it I had someone in the car with me. 


Feeling Artsy Fartsy – Art Attack II

Ya'll might remember the post I did a while back about my stint in the industrial arts class where I made the lamp?  Well, my junior year, I signed up for Industrial Arts II, hated the teacher, and along with Kyle Wallace, dropped the class and took regular Art I instead.

The class was fun.  We got to go outside a lot, and the teacher, Lee Henneberry, was a pretty lax grader.  So that was good, too.

Now, I've always been a doodler, and this class REALLY helped out my doodling.  But, senior year, I had too many college prep classes to take to burn a period on art, so Mr. Henneberry and I parted ways.  Too make up for it, I dated his daughter Maria, so he wouldn't feel like I was shunning him or anything.

While going through a box when I moved a year ago, I ran across some of the old artwork from that class.  For a kid who had never held a paint brush, I think some of them turned out pretty good.

Like back HERE, when I gave you the original "Art Attack" and challenged you to show me what was on your walls, now I'm challenging you to show me what you made in high school.  (And yes, Cowguy, shop class is art as much as sculpting is.)

(Confession – Some of these pictures have not done so well in storage, so there have been a few digital restorations done to get them looking right.)

Sunset-Barn-CropThe purpose of this exercise was to practice blending.  We did sunsets.  That's supposed to be an old corn crib we had out at the farm where I grew up.  The building is long gone now, and I realize now, too, that the sky at the top should be blending in some darker hues with a little purple dropped in there, but what's a guy to do?

Originally, this was longer, but I cropped it a little and moved the signature up.  Ah, Photoshop.

Sunset-MediumThis one is Cora's favorite.  I brought them out when she was here.  I like it myself, too.  Again, the sunset study.  Don't know why I chose to silhouette the people instead of putting in a windmill or something, but I'm sure glad I did. 

Parking-Lot-MediumArtistically, this is my second favorite.  It's the parking lot behind the high school.  Like I said, we got to go outside in the nice weather, and the class was an after noon class, so I remember this a beautiful spring day under the blue Central Illinois sky.


Here's one for Cowguy.  Did you have that deck of card growing up?  (For the city slickers, Furadan was a very popular pesticide in the 80's, but is effectively banned in the US, now, nematodes aren't toads, they are round worms, and 'yes' it appears that the corn stalk is growing fire dildos.)

Shapes-MotionThis is my favorite.  It is actually 4 bits that when assembled form three sides and a top.  Go figure I would like the technical one the most.

Here is what it looks like put all together.

Now, I've shown you mine.

You show me yours.