Thursday, January 31, 2008

Driving my Life Away & The Number of the Beast

Last week was interesting...

I rented a car from Avis, a nice Chrysler 300- very comfy, and drove the following:

Jacksonville Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. Around 330 Miles.

Later that night I drove back to Jacksonville Beach...
Again, 330 Miles.

The next day I drove to Atlanta... Stopping, of course, at Hooters in Macon for lunch.

Another 300 Miles

I did some time in the barrel at the NHL All Star Game...
Fun fun fun.

After that I was off to look at some wiring in New Orleans...
I departed Atlanta on Monday morning at 4:30am... it was 26 degrees.

471 miles later I was poking my nose about in a dust-filled TV truck bay.

I spent some quality time with David Munoz and the boys from the NBA...
A good time was had by all, including the topless girl riding the mechanical bull.
(Drinking wood alcohol will do that to ya...)

On Tuesday I was back behind the wheel heading down I-10 towards Jax Beach.
A quick stop at Calico Jacks in Tallahassee for their Oyster happy hour-
$5.40 a dozen for awesome Apalachicola bivalves. I had 2 dozen and left with a big smile on my face and the cruise control set for 78.
(As the Highway Patrol says: "At 8 you skate, at 9 you're mine.")

563 miles later I was back at my humble abode none the worse for the drive...

As I dropped off the rental car I had words for the Avis rep as he looked at the mileage total...2500 miles.

"Hey man... Better change the oil in that thing."

While in the Philips Arena we were testing the clocks...
I asked JR to put some random time on the clock and let it sit.
The clock will send the same time packet over and over. A random time will tell me that the data is getting to the clock hardware.
Zeros (0:00) don't work since some software use zero as their default, no-data display.

JR, in his infinite wisdom, chose the unfortunate time of 6:66.
Thus, displayed around the arena on about 100 different displays, was the Number of the Beast.
(JR isn't 100% familiar with the concept, he just knows it's a number that makes some subset of quasi-religious people a mite jumpy.)
That might be okay in Boston, and there is definitely no problem with doing that in New Yawk City... But in Atlanta...?
Yeah. Not a good idea.
In the infamous words of Jeremy the Park Ranger- "We've had some complaints."
It was quickly changed to 6:50- thus quelling the cries of protest from the ultra-religious residents of Atlanta.

Now then... The whole episode got me thinking as I was on the highway. During the long periods of driving the last few days I made a list.
(Gotta love the Voice Memo feature on the Crackberry...)

For your personal edification, here's the Numbers of the Beast

(Learn 'em, memorize 'em, collect 'em, trade 'em with your friends.)

666 - Biblical Number of the Beast

Approximate Number of the Beast (Rounding up)

Roman Numeral of the Beast

Number of the Beast's Older Brother

Number of the Beast's Younger Sister

Number of the Beast's Neighbor

Number of the Australian Beast

Number of the Semi-Beast

Number of the Downsized Beast

6, uh..., I forget
Number of the Blond Beast

Number of the High Precision Beast

Number of the Beast on an Original Fucked-up Floating Point Pentium

Number of the Millibeast

X / 666
Beast Common Denominator (Demon-inator?)

Reciprocal of the Beast

Opposite of the Beast

Imaginary Number of the Beast

6.66 x 102
Scientific Notation of the Beast

Square Root of the Beast

Square of the Beast

Binary Number of the Beast

Octal of the Beast

Hexidecimal of the Beast (Hex. Heh.)

Log of the Beast

Ln of the Beast

1.738 x 10289
Anti-Log of the Beast

Zip Code of the Beast
E-mail Address of the Beast
Website of the Beast

Phone & FAX Number of the Beast

Toll Free Number of the Beast

Live Beasts, available now! One-on-one pacts!
Only $6.66 per minute! [Must be over 18!]

Social Security Number of the Beast

Form 10666
Special IRS Tax Forms for the Beast

Tax Rate of the Beast

6-Year CD Interest Rate at First Beast Bank of Hell
($666 minimum deposit, $666 early withdrawal fee)

Billing Rate of the Beast's Lawyer

Retail Price of the Beast

Price of the Beast plus 6.66% Sales Tax

Price of the Beast with accessories and replacement soul

Wal-Mart Price of the Beast (next week $646.66!)

Monthly Payments for Beast, in 12 easy installments

Phillips 666
Gasoline Used by the Beast (regular $6.66/gal)

Route 666
Highway of the Beast (where he gets his kicks!)

666 mph
Speed Limit on the Beast's Highway

Fertilizer of the Beast

666 lb cap
Weight Limit of the Beast

666 Minutes
Weekly News Show about the Beast (airs daily from
Midnight to 11:06 a.m., on Cable Channel 666, of course)

666 F
Oven Temperature for Cooking "Roast Beast"

Retirement Plan of the Beast

666 mg
Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast

Lotus 6-6-6
Spreadsheet of the Beast

Word 6.66
Word Processor of the Beast

Windows 666
Bill Gates' Personal Beast Operating System

Font Color of the Beast

CPU of the Beast

BMW of the Beast

IAM 666
License Plate Number of the Beast

Formula 666
All Purpose Cleaner of the Beast

Spray Lubricant of the Beast

DSM-666 (rev)
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Beast

66.6 MHz
FM Radio Station of the Beast

666 KHz
AM Radio Station of the Beast

66 for 6
A Beastly Score for an Innings (in cricket)

6 for 66
Bowling Figures of the Beast

Birthday of the Beast (but in which century?)

TBG, tired of sixes, out-

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Throwing in the Towel


I finally left Satan David and Will at the Bourbon Cowboy...
There was a girl riding the mechanical bull topless.


It was definitely time for me to go.
I have a long drive tomorrow.

TBG, heading back to the hotel-

Don't Ask

You really don't want to know.

More shots

LaLa will be happy to serve you a shot or two. Or three. Or four.

More Shots

Will is not going to be worth a shit tomorrow...

Shooter Girl

Wow. 3 bucks for watered-down shots on Bourbon Street....

She likes the Willster...

Bad Will Shooting

Poor Will S from the NBA IT staff being force-fed a shot from one of the shooter girls at Razoo on Bourbon St.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Quote of the Day - NBA-Style

I'm in New Orleans doing a quick site survey for the NBA All Star weekend.

There are a few NBA guys here, including Satan David ...
They will be here through the event week, February 15-17, including Mardi Gras week.
This is what we in the business of events would call a Bad Thing.

During lunch today Robert H came up with an excellent observation that is today's QotD...
"Nothing good happens after midnight. If you haven't found what your looking for by midnight, you might as well just go on home."

A true pragmatist.

Actual Quote:
"Only bad shit can happen after midnight.
No girl you pick up after midnight can possibly be worth a damn... All the good ones are taken by the time the clock strikes twelve. If you haven't found one by midnight, you might as well quit wasting your money and go back to the hotel and jerk off."

TBG out-

Sunday, January 27, 2008

NHL Breakdown Priorities

"We always break down the rooms with food first..."
- Chris W, NHL Director of Applications Development

All the Chicks Dig the Monkey

I don't know how he does it.

TBG, Wondering-

Quote of the Night...

(As JR was served a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce.)

Judie: "Did that come with the kids meal, or did you have to order it separately?"

TBG, enjoying the apple crisp.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another event night is in the books...

The skills competition is in the books- East Conference 9, West Conference 6.

And it's only 9:30 pm...

What to do, what to do?

I'm sure there is some Captain Morgan somewhere in this town... Lord knows there is some CocaCola somewhere too.

BoozeQuest will begin forthwith.

I can has rum now?

TBG- Searching-

IDS Celebrities

IDS VP Of Cool, Paul P. enjoying the skate around
before the Skills Competition at the NHL All Star Game in Atlanta...

"Can you hear me now?"
(Click photo for larger version)

TBG Out-

Quote of the Day

"Well, for everything I have control over, those things are great.
For the things people *think* I have control over, all that stuff is pretty much toast."
- Bill Miller, NHL VP of Events

Friday, January 25, 2008

Eats you must try before you die...

Greetings, Constant Readers.
Time for a little audience participation...

Below is a list of food I have either enjoyed or want to try at some time in my life, and I think you ought to try them too. It's pretty much from a list in a small notebook I keep to jot down recipes and descriptions of foods that I encounter in my travels.

As I was writing this up, I kept coming up with items I've heard about but haven't tried yet; and there are many, many things that just had escaped my eye, so far...
Your task, dear Readers...
Augment the list.
Give me 5 items YOU think I need to try. 5 of your favorites.
Help me out here.

And Luc... No Poutine. Ain't gonna happen.

So, I give you, in no particular order... The List:
  1. A Louisiana crawfish boil
  2. Arancini di Riso in Venice, Italy
  3. A cup of gelato from a little shop on Via Silvio Pellico, near the Duomo in Milan
  4. A Krispy Kreme donut, hot off the presses
  5. Texas Barbeque, see my girl at Homesick Texan for specifics
  6. Chicken Fried Steak
  7. Brie de Meaux, enjoyed in a small town near Chatel France.
  8. Baklava in any little taverna in Greece or Crete
  9. Hunan-style spareribs
  10. Feijoada - Rice, Black Beans, Pork, Dried Meat, Collard Greens, Orange, Farinha and Cachaca.
  11. Nutella crepe from a street stand in damn near any French town or city.
  12. A real Philadelphia cheesesteak. Jim's on South Street is my favorite.
  13. Deep-fried alligator
  14. Gyros from one of those ubiquitous street stands in Greece
  15. Real jerk barbecue, preferably from a roadside jerk hut in Jamaica
  16. Blueberries picked and eaten directly from the bush
  17. First quality Jambon Ibérico de bellota
  18. Angulas (baby eels)... Some good tapas places have them. Try Dali in Boston.
  19. Dim-sum, from one of the restaurants on Catherine St. In New York
  20. Hand-caught Lobsters from off Big Pine Key, grilled over a camp fire with drawn butter.
  21. Dim Sum in Hong Kong
  22. North Carolina Barbeque (Eastern style)
  23. Cincinnati Chili (Skyline is a good representative...)
  24. Praline Pecans
  25. Muffaletta from Central Grocery in New Orleans
  26. Cuban Sandwich from Ybor City in Tampa.
  27. Venison
  28. Spanish tapas
  29. Wild salmon
  30. Really good lox and Temptee whipped cream cheese on a Brooklyn bagel
  31. Peas in their pods right off the vine
  32. Wild Strawberries in North Carolina that grow along the Appalachian Trail
  33. Caramel fleur de sel macaron from Pierre Herme
  34. Fish that you have caught and prepared all on your own
  35. Sun-warmed Tomatoes, Sliced, Sprinkled with Flaky Salt and Drizzled with Olive Oil
  36. 5 for $1 Pork-and-Chive Dumplings at Dumpling House on Eldridge Street, NYC
  37. Beignets and chicory coffee from Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans
  38. Tamales purchased from a street vendor at 2:00 AM in Mexico City
  39. A bowl of noodles eaten whilst standing at a Tokyo railway station
  40. Grilled Sardines served on toasted bread with a mustard spread
  41. Steamed blue crabs
  42. Traditional bulgogi from a good Korean restaurant with a side of kimchi
  43. Fresh squeezed orange juice from a grove near Lake Placid Florida
  44. 'Squeaky' Wisconsin Cheese Curds from a little rural cheese shop outside Kenosha
  45. A cheeseburger from Otto's BBQ on Memorial Dr in Houston, Texas
  46. Parmigiano Reggiano
  47. Tim Tams
  48. Kangaroo Meat
  49. Chili dogs and a frozen orange from The Varsity
  50. Pizza Margherita in downtown Torino Italy
  51. Marides from Greece
  52. Sushi and sashimi at Daiwa sushi (Tsukiji fishmarket)
  53. Fresh (and I do mean fresh) oysters on the half-shell from a reputable source of your choice, served in generous quantities
  54. A runny, perfectly ripe raw milk cheese (like a St. Marcellin or a St. Felicien) with some good apples, some good pears, some nice grapes, and a crisp white wine of your choice
  55. A hotdog on any corner of NYC
  56. A crusty baguette straight from the oven smeared with chunks of butter
  57. Freshly baked chocolate cake with a thick layer of chocolate icing downed with a glass of cold milk
  58. Coca-Cola in Mexico City, from a 10 oz. green glass bottle poured over crushed ice
  59. Prosciutto de Parma with sweet cantaloupe
  60. Lobster Roll from the N.E. Atlantic coast
  61. Crabcakes from the Carolinas
  62. A plate of pork and green onion stuffed Beijing dumplings, eaten in a tiny hole in the wall Beijing restaurant
  63. Funnel Cake
  64. In-N-Out Burger
  65. Butter you have made yourself
  66. Deep-fried soft-shell crab with beer batter
  67. Italian Ice from the King of Corona
  68. Hawaii Pineapple
  69. Belgian Frites from the streets
  70. Any good open air aged cheese, somewhere relatively close to where it was aged
  71. Some kind of meat roasted over an open flame
  72. Lindt dark chocolate
  73. Impromptu picnic in France after exploring the local market
  74. Mystery meat street dumplings in Shanghai for breakfast
  75. Beef Carpaccio or Steak Tartar
  76. Steamer clams
  77. Eat a fish you caught yourself
  78. An authentic salt bagel with a thin layer of cream cheese, thin slices of perfectly ripe tomato and fresh basil leaves
  79. Very fresh buffalo mozzarella
  80. Chicken Wings from Sticky Fingers BBQ
  81. Rodizio Dinner at a good Churrascaria
  82. Tuna or mackeral Sashimi - straight off of the fish while you are still on the boat
  83. Barbecued octopus whilst sitting out on a patio in Neo Makri, Greece
  84. Fresh teriyaki salmon in Vancouver
  85. Crab cakes from Leone's Crabcakes & Seafood on 13th St. in Philadelphia
  86. A Reuben from a Jewish deli (Carnegie Deli or Roosevelt Deli will do)
  87. Fresh bread that you have baked yourself, warm, with lots of butter
  88. Real fried green tomato with shrimp and remolaude
  89. Cassoulet, preferably in Toulouse in southwest France
  90. Jiaozi - Pork and mushroom is a fav of mine
  91. Wild duck in any and all its forms
  92. Grouper, cooked in olive oil and lemon juice within a few hours of catching it
  93. Heaps of pancakes flooded in maple syrup
  94. Char Siu Roast Pork
  95. Fresh ceviche overlooking a secluded bay, preferrably Cruz Verde, outside Campeche Mexico
  96. The shrimp and crab dumplings or korean spare ribs at Roppongi in La Jolla
  97. Stuffed grape leaves (Dolmas)
  98. Homemade Pierogies
  99. Fried Shrimp in Calabash, NC
  100. Lobster bisque
  101. Xiao Long Bao at New Green Bo in NYC or Joe's Shanghai in Flushing
  102. Malpeque Oysters with just a little squeeze of lemon
  103. Irish champ with pools of butter
  104. Bacon from a free-range pig
  105. Boardwalk french fries with vinegar
  106. Good Belgian beer... Chimay is my favorite
  107. Chocolate with cacao content of 85% or higher
  108. Homemade feta with olives
  109. Scrambled eggs made the proper French way
  110. Hot chocolate made with Cayenne pepper powder
  111. Lumpia
  112. New England Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl
  113. Chinese New Year moon-cakes
  114. A really good fish taco
  115. Real wasabi
  116. Mole Poblano- a blend of chocolate, chiles, garlic, onions and so much more
  117. Hairy (mitten) Crabs in Shanghai
  118. Peking Duck (at the Spring Deer Restaurant in Hong Kong)
  119. BBQ Baby Pork Ribs
  120. Some quickly chargrilled fresh-caught squid
  121. Naked Cajun wings from Hooters
  122. Yeast bread
  123. Southern chicken and dumplings
  124. Sardeles pastes, in a coastal town in Crete
  125. Cheesecake in New York
  126. Fresh Hogfish Snapper, dusted with flour and pan-fried in butter
  127. Raw Vidalia Onions
  128. Oysters in Vancouver
  129. Homemade apple pie, with or without ice cream
  130. A great Italian and/or Greek olive oil right out of the press
  131. Ice Wine
  132. Montréal smoked meats
  133. Street Meat in Shanghai
  134. Roasted Marshmallows from a Campfire
  135. Country Ham & Biscuits
  136. Omakase ("putting your trust in the chef")
  137. Latkes
  138. Southern Greens (mustards and collards)
  139. Fresh Sweet Corn right out of the field
  140. Quinoa
  141. Cioppino
  142. Beer in Germany. Lots of beer in Germany.
  143. Panettone
  144. Fresh cheese curd from Eastern Canada.
  145. Gorgonzola Cheese
  146. Cheese Fondue in France or Switzerland
  147. Stone claw crabs that you caught yourself
  148. Boiled peanuts
  149. Blue Mountain coffee
  150. A perfect slice of key lime pie
  151. Jambalaya
  152. A shrimp and oyster po-boy with a side of red beans and rice, with a cold Louisiana beer
  153. White Castle or Krystal Sliders at 2 am after a night of drinking tequila
  154. Spiny Lobster Eggs Benedict at Louies Backyard in Key West
  155. A blood orange sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt (Really!)
  156. A good Monte Cristo sandwich (Bennigan's is a good source)
  157. Vegemite or Marmite LIGHTLY spread on hot toast which is dripping with butter
  158. Fresh sugar cane
  159. Peking duck from Quanjude, Beijing, China
  160. Fried Turkey
TBG - (pigging) out-

Quote of the day...

"Whoever invented cableties didn't get paid enough."
- Dan Craig, The Ice Man

Stolen lines

I was chatting with an NHL guy while waiting for my car this morning.

NHL guy: "Hey- did you go out last night?"
Yours Truly: "STB, man."
NHL Guy: "STB?"
YT: "Straight To Bed"
NHL Guy "Ah got it. STB"

What I didn't tell him is that STB also stands for Straight To Bar, Straight To Beach or even Straight To Brothel.
This way I can be accurate in my comments, and they can infer that I'm boring and no fun and I won't garner an even worse reputation.
No matter how much I deserve it.

(This is not a TBG original.... I lifted it from Boundsie and Skippy, 2 Gearhouse Guys from Shanghai.)

TBG, Straight To Blog-

Only in Atlanta

Building Guy: "The guy with all the keys is stuck in the elevator."

Welcome to Irony.
Population: Us.

TBG, waiting for the Key Guy.

Constant Reader (Poor Bastard)

10 seconds after I put up the last post, I got a message from Luc, looking for details.

Judging from the quick reaction to the post, Luc apparently has waaay too much time on his hands, and we told him so.

"But it's the only way I find out what's going on. They never keep me informed."

Genties and ladlemen, raise your glasses to Luc, the NHL Montreal Mushroom. They they keep him in the dark and feed him bullshit.

TBG out-

Overheard in the hotel lobby

A cell phone conversation:

"A what fell?"
"Anyone hurt?"
(pause- all beverages put down, everyone on feet)
"Did it hit the ice?"
(pause- head in hands)
"How far did it fall."
(long pause)
"How big is the hole?"
(longer pause)
"We're on our way."

TBG out-

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NHL All Star Weekend

It has begun...

The first out of context quote for the weekend has arrived...

Chie: "I like the nubs too."


TBG, hangin' in Hotlanta...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What'll ya have, what'll ya have?

JR at The Varsity...

Mmmmm. Ice Cream when it is 40 degrees outside.

TBG- Chillin' out-

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Phallic traffic control

Barricade with a Subliminal Message....

"No parking, Dickhead."

"That's Mr. Caligula's Parking spot...

TBG out-

Make up your mind, part II

How do we fix this looming recession?

There is a meeting between President Bush, Pelosi and "Key Congress Members" about a big ol' tax cut.

If, however, you listen on the breeze from the Left side of the Presidential election campaign, you will hear all manner of sound and fury about Universal Health Care and other "socialist-type" programs...

Guess what that means?

More taxes!

TBG - taxing your patience-

Make up your mind

I've been listening to the radio all morning, hearing the news about how the world-wide stock markets are going into the shitter.

World economies love it when their currencies rise against the dollar, and of course, everyone (especially Europe) loves to paint the USA as corrupt, ignorant, stupid and/or arrogant. But they sure as hell tie their stock markets and their economies to ours.

As soon as there is a hint of financial stress, the news media starts shouting "The sky is falling!" and starts a false panic. It goes from a hint of speculation of a downturn to some asshole on a liberal media news channel whispering the word "recession"- now the world goes into apoplexy.
And, of course, we have to fix it.

I think Randy Newman had it right in his song "Political Science"

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens-

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me
They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

Look, we are either the Great Satan, or we are source of All Things Good and Proper.
But not both.
You can't talk shit about the USA and still expect us to prop up your crappy economy and buy your crappy products, and come visit your crappy tourist attractions while we are on holiday.

TBG, tired of the bullshit.

Followup to Camping Trip

RL: Wow. Looks like a helluva sausagefest.


CS: Just a second, let me work up a visual of a bunch of girls streaking down at the Dry Tortugas... Wait, do they have to be the same age as you guys?
Yours Truly: I think it's only fair to do it that way in order to get an accurate comparison.
CS: Okay...(Thoughtful pause) Wow. In the infamous words of Jayne Cobb: "I'll be in my bunk."


More to come, no doubt.

TBG out-

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Tale of the Camping Trip

... So one of the (Federal) Law Enforcement Rangers comes out to the campsite.
This is never a Good Thing, especially when it is a) 9:00pm and you know he was off duty at 6 and b) he's open for business- i.e. Taser, nightstick, pepper spray. This is no social visit... he's Expecting Trouble.

We're all gathered around the table.
One of the handles of Captain Morgan's Rum is empty. The other is half gone. The empty jug of Sailor Jerry rum, the empty wine bottles and the bone-dry mini-keg of Heineken are arranged like an alcoholic artist's drinkable pop-art sculpture.
The remnants of the Stone Crab Feast is making the table look like a crab-shell bomb went off, scattering orange, black and white shrapnel everywhere.
The Ranger surveys the carnage. He clears his throat...

"Guys... We've had some complaints."

Maybe I should start at the beginning...?

(Disclaimer: In order to protect the innocent, shield the guilty and avoid embarrassment, some names have been changed, a few identities have been masked, and some events have been completely skipped in order to protect Domestic Tranquility. If you want to know the whole unabashed truth, buy the book.)

December 7th is a day that will live in Infamy.
Not only is it Pearl Harbor Day, but it also marks the 1st Semi-Annual IDS Tortugas Fishing & Drinking Trip.

At IDS we usually have our company holiday party the first week of December on a Thursday, then have Friday off... Some times we'd have a golf outing, occasionally we'd go out to the North Florida Gun Range for a day of skeet shooting and a meal at Hooters to cap it off.
This year was different.

Back in Early September I had put out a RFI to all the possible participants via email and had about 20 positive responses.
Basically- A camping trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park after the Holiday Party, instead of the usual golf or shotgun fest. I would arrange transportation to DRTO, food, drinks, and most camping gear. It would be a relaxing weekend of sunshine, food, drink and fishing to start off the holiday season with a healthy tan or maybe even a case of melanoma... And afterwards a night in Key West to ease back into the work week.

I headed off to London, several NHL cities, then 6 weeks in Asia for some basketball in Shanghai and Macao and the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. By the time I got back, the trip was in jeopardy. Over the fullness of time, many people dropped out, but a good core of folks kept true to the event. We just hoped for good weather and kept making plans.

The schedule was as follows:
We'd hit the holiday party, enjoy the festivities, then afterward we'd head south, probably about 9:00 or 10:00.
We'd hit Key West at 5:00 AM and do some last-minute shopping at the 24-hour grocery on North Roosevelt, and be loading the boat by 6:30AM.

We took two cars- I drove Physalia, loaded to the gills with camping gear, and coolers and bins full of victuals and booze. Jingles drove his Expedition packed with fishing gear, luggage, and most of the passengers.
The participants were Yours Truly (duh), Jim, Alan K -Jim's friend and partner-in-crime (remind me to tell you about the trip to Fantasy Fest sometime), Brad R -a friend of mine from Way Back, we're talking high school here..., Zack -from and IDS ETS Staffer, and Frau- Ex IDS LPGA Staffer and all-around Cool Guy.

(Click pic for full size version)
The Gang of Six. Frau, Alan, Zack, Brad, Jim and Yours Truly.

In retrospect, for a first effort this was the perfect group. Jim had been out to DRTO before, and everyone else was perfectly at home with the primitive camping concept- no one really high-maintenance.

Everything went according to plan- the trip to Key West was uneventful, the weather for the boat out on Friday morning was perfect, the only fly in the ointment was that the grocery store in Key West that is usually open 24 hours was closed that morning. We had to scramble a bit to get the goods we needed but in the end we did OK.

The boat got loaded up with our gear, we secured our cars, and by 8:00 we were headed out of the harbor and on our way for the final outbound leg.

Jim and I both had driven all night, the entire way from Jax to Key West, so we both napped during the 2 hour trip out to the Park.
And except for a certain episode of extremely loud audible flatulence that actually woke up people at a table 10 feet away, we kept a fairly low profile on the trip out.

About 10:15 Fort Jefferson hove into view... By 10:30 the Yankee Freedom II made the dock on Garden Key and in short order we off-loaded our gear and picked out a spot to set up camp. By 11:30 we had made ourselves at home; Our tents were up, gear was stowed, sunscreen had been applied, and the first drinks were poured.

As we sat at our picnic table pondering our next move, another passenger from the Yankee Freedom, a girl from Germany named Tina stopped by.

We had chatted on the boat during the trip out and she knew we were staying a couple days...

"So..." she asked, "What kind of meat do you have?"

A loaded question to ask this group.
She had given the picnic table an appraising glance. There were four 1.75L bottles of rum, 2 handles of vodka, 4 bottles of wine, several six packs of beer, mixers, and ONE package of crackers.
I WANT to believe there was something lost in the translation, that she perhaps meant 'What kind of FOOD?' did we have, since it was obvious we had plenty of beverages, but no food in sight.
Well, the damage was already done...
There were several replies to her question...

"Hot Beef!" was the first reply... Then the answers and comments came fast and furious;
"Yeah, in your case, Vienna Sausage."
" Kielbasa!"
"We've got some seafood too" one smart ass quipped, pointing to another guy "He's packing a shrimp..."

Needless to say, we were an embarrassment.

After the Yankee Freedom and the Sunny Days left for the day there was only park staff and 5 other campers- a couple from Pennsylvania, a guy from Washington DC and another couple from Nevada.

We toured Ft Jefferson a bit, did a little swimming and snorkeling, and then went out to the dock to fish for a bit. It was relatively productive as we pulled in several legal-size mangrove snapper- reserving them for dinner the next day...

Friday night was relaxing and subdued- we put a big dent in the supply of rum and drank most of the bottled beer. There were beef and chicken kebabs for dinner, then we went out to the dock to fish for more snapper.

Saturday was another nice day... a bit windy but sunny, and the water temperature was still in the 70s. More relaxing, catching some rays- more snorkeling, and some more fishing.
The ferries came and went...

We all gathered on the beach for Sunset... We took the mini kegs of beer down to the beach and invited the other campers for drinks.

I had a drink with the guys then went to prepare dinner-
I had arranged some to get stone crab from Deb on the Yankee Freedom; I had lime, tomato, onions, cilantro, salt, vodka and the snapper we caught the night before, so I whipped up a nice ceviche... I also had steaks marinating in mojo crioillo, a few chicken kebabs, and some potatoes to throw in the fire.

By the time the sun was down and the rest of the guys returned, I had prepared a lavish spread.

Chilled stone crab claws, snapper ceviche with pita chips, mango salsa and tortilla chips- the guys dove into the appetizers with gusto.

There was a good deal of banter and apparently some kind of wager had been made while the guys were down on the beach. I'm not certain what the wager was, but apparently some kind of frat house/locker room agreement was entered into...

As I served up the steaks and was just tucking into my dinner, I was briefed on The Plan.
"So... We all have to make a run completely around the fort. Naked." I was told.
"What do you mean 'we', white man?" I asked.
"We all decided."
"Bullshit." I said. "Dude, I work down here... I come back all the time. All I need is for something to happen that would screw up my chance to work out here or over on Loggerhead Key..."
"What could possibly happen?" they asked.
Those are famous last words if I ever heard any...
"Well, just off the top of my head... Running in the dark is dangerous enough. Lots of stuff to trip on, let alone trying to run a half-mile in the dark, on the moat wall, AND naked... one misstep and you are over the edge and you'd have to swim all the way to the north or south beach; besides, even if you weren't injured, there are quite a few toothy beasties that would be glad to give you a taste as you tried to swim in the dark water.
"I can just see it... We have to go inside the fort to get one of the Rangers to treat a broken limb (or worse) and have to carry said injured naked guy back to the infirmary for treatment, let alone having to explain why he's naked."
There was no dissuading them.
Streaking was on the menu.
Ben, the guy from DC was sitting with us, enjoying a tasty beverage, and the couple from Pennsylvania had just headed back to their tent.

It started rather quickly- I had just freshened my drink and sat back down when I saw a flash of white heading across the campground toward the swim beach. Brad had taken off out from behind the tent and sprinted for the moat wall...
I could only shake my head...
An ambush was arranged with flashlights and Zack's camera... As we waited for Brad to make his reappearance from the north side of the fort, Alan shed his clothes and took off for the moat wall...
(About this time, the Pennsylvania couple were sitting in the dark at their campsite watching us...)
We waited a bit for Brad and found he had made his way back to the tent along the shore, away from the ambush and had gotten re-dressed rather quickly...

Alan made it back just after Jim took off wearing only his Tevas and a goofy grin, and Zack took his clothes with him as he made his run.
That left only Frau having to fulfill his end of the wager.
By this time there was quite a bit of sound and fury accompanying the departure and the arrival of Streakers.
Jim got back rather out of breath.
"About.... halfway... around.... I wasn't...worried...about being....naked... I was... worried... about... making it... back... to the... camp... before.... passing.... out." he panted.

By the time Frau got under way, we had another spectator. As soon as he left our campsite he was hit by a large spotlight from the second level of the Fort as he headed toward the beach... It also illuminated the Penn couple as they watched the parade...
We saw the spotlight and started howling.
"Holy Crap!" Frau shouted as he ran back to the campsite to get his clothes, "There are people over there!"
We were dying laughing. We figured one of the rangers or the Campground Hosts (Ken and Peggy-very nice folks) had heard all the noise and were waiting with the spotlight.
We gave it a little time, hoping the furor would die down a bit...Then Frau got his second wind and took off again.
The Mystery Spotlight hit him again as he ran down the moat wall, illuminating him for the full 100 yards of moat wall before the first turn. He just held his arms over his head as he ran with his ass to the spotlight.
He got back without incident... Mostly, anyway.

Moon over Ft. Jefferson

Part two of Saturday night's entertainment was just about to get underway when the fallout from the Streaking Incident hit us...
One of the Rangers appeared at our campsite.
Someone had taken the trouble to go find one of the Rangers at home inside the fort and tell them there was nudity on Garden Key... He then had to get his rig and other Ranger Stuff on and come out and find out what was going on.
Couldn't have been any of the campers since they were all with us out in the campground...We figured it could only be one of the construction crew that was on the island working on the restoration project.
How bad is it, when a construction worker complains about guys running around naked.
Was it jealousy, perhaps?
It was a bit of a double standard... If there was a bunch of girls streaking the moat wall, would there have been complaints?
Something to think about. Then again... It's the DRY Tortugas.. Not the NAKED Tortugas.

"Guys? We've had some complaints."

He looked at all of us to be sure he had our attention.
"Has there been some running around naked?" he asked.
"Uh, define the term 'naked'" one smart-ass quipped "'cause I still had my sandals on..."
I could only shake my head. I knew better than to be funny. Citations from some local Barney Fife are one thing- but this place is a National Park, that means Park Rangers are Federal Law Enforcement Officers, and if he's open for business, it doesn't pay to cut the fool...
"Uh, yes... There has been some shenanigans...but that is all over now. All wagers have been paid and all debts fulfilled."
"Ok...Listen." he said, again, making sure all of us heard him.
"Clothes. Stay. On. "
Dead silence.
"Yes sir. Won't happen again."
Mumbled assent from the others.

Thus chastised, the next few hours were much more subdued.

Now, Constant Readers will know that I don't tend to do things in moderation... I'm going whole hog, or I ain't going.
I had tired of dealing with my hair, the ponytail and hair product routine, so I had kinda decided to cut all my hair off while on this trip.
I had told The Perfect Child of my plans, but she had no faith... This only heightened my resolve.
I wasn't really prepared to do it, didn't have any shears or hair trimmers with me... I thought about borrowing one from one of the Rangers, but since we had gotten the reprimand, I figured we were in the dog house. Best to keep a low profile.

I found my cable shears in my bag...

These orange-handled trimmers are what I use to cut cable and to strip wire on installation jobs.
Not exactly made for cutting hair...
...But they did the trick.

Frau and Brad went after my hair with the gusto of a couple hound dogs chasing after a rabbit...
Zack took pictures of the event, shaking my confidence in my decision with every comment he made.
"Dude- I had a dog with mange kinda look like he did on one of his bad days."
"Man...Is that blood?"

"You look like a chemotherapy patient."
After that one the others suggested his comments might get him...let's say "damaged", he stuck to photodocumentation and left the humor to the professionals.
I didn't care; I was just worried about getting yet another scar on my cranium. (I have plenty from walking into low doorways and ceiling fans)
After all, I had two pretty inebriated barbers working me over, in the dim light of a camp lantern. How hard would it be to slip and clip off one of my ears?

About 10:30 or 11 o'clock we called it a night... They had trimmed me to a bare (heh) minimum, and we figured to start in with a disposable razor in the morning light.

I felt weird the next morning... A bit hung over, and no hair on my head.
I felt around my scalp and could feel a very uneven layer of hair...
We needed to finish the job quickly- I figured it looked pretty bizarre... hunks of hair here and there, and the blinding white scalp.

I lathered up with shaving cream and Brad once again played Sweeny Todd...

"Careful with the razor, Dude..."

Afterward, as we were breaking camp one of the other campers came over.

"You, uh... you weren't bald last night, were you?" he asked.

I got several other great responses...

"How much rum did you guys drink?"
"Did you lose a bet?"
"Holy crap!"
"Dude. Sunscreen. Quick."
"Cover that thing! The glare is killing me."

The good one was when I saw the Ranger from the night before.
He looked at me and got a concerned look on his face.
"Turn around for a sec." he said.
I turned my head.
"That...wasn't...uh. " he shook his head.
"Never mind. I probably don't want to know."

The couple from Pennsylvania stopped by just after breakfast.
"We didn't disturb y'all too much last night, did we?"
"Disturb us? No... It was rather funny- seeing your white asses as you were running by..." the girl, Christie, replied.
"I saw you" she said, pointing at Zack, "and you." pointing at Frau.
"You were very funny." she said.

How emasculating is that? What is the descriptive term you want used when someone sees you naked?
Girls only want one of about 3 or 4 adjectives- Sexy, Desirable, Alluring...


"He was naked, it was..."

Funny is not the adjective I want used in this case.
Oh well...

We broke camp and took all our stuff back to the dock to await the arrival of Captain Rick and the Yankee Freedom...
The rest of the day passed without too many incidents.

We still had most of a handle of rum and a full handle of vodka...
We decided it would be better to drink it rather than carry it back on the boat.
(This was, in retrospect, a bad idea for one of our party.)

We sat out in the shade at one of the picnic tables and drank Bloody Marys, rum and cokes, and sometimes just rum...I suggested moderation because the ride home would be rather rough...Seasick and drunk is not a good combination.
One of us was heavily under the influence as we boarded the boat from Key West.
He was, as the saying goes, feeling no pain.
There were several embarrassing moments when one of the deckhands on the boat came to me and asked if there was anything I could do about our boozy compatriot.
"If'n you don't settle him down, I'm gonna hog-tie him and stuff him in a boat locker."
"Warren," I told him "I have absolutely no control over him. I know he's one of my group, but he's a grown-up, and responsible for his own actions. You do what you gotta do. I won't take offense."
Warren stalked off to find a length of rope... I turned my attentions back to the DVD I was watching on my laptop.
I have found the two or so hours to Key West passes so much quicker when I watch a movie.

We got into the harbor about 5:30, and by 6:00 Jim and I had retrieved our cars and loaded up.
Jim, Alan, Zack and Frau were spending Sunday night in Key West... I had a flight to Montreal the next morning, so Brad and I were having dinner with the boys then heading north...
Dinner at the Half Shell Raw Bar with the boys... We said our good byes then 7 hours later we were in Duval County... No speeding tickets, no problems. It was a bit colder, but we were OK.


With the watchwords from a very tolerant Ranger down at Fort Jefferson as our guide...
"Clothes. Stay. On."
...Who wants to go with us on the next trip to camp in the Dry Tortugas?

Tentative dates for the IDS Spring Fling... Sometime in mid to late April.

Who's game?

TBG out-

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Out of context

Heard at "Time Out"-

"...last time I was here I had vegetables in my shirt..."

Wow. How un-PC...
I thought the term was "learning-impaired."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Back Among the Savages

It was a short but productive stay on the Island this time...

Fortunately, the good folks of DRTO didn't hold our last visit against me...

It's midnight and I'm driving north yet again.

I have a full plate next week.
Meetings, home repairs, office work, things to see and people to do...
I'll leave you with this funny I got from AG.

The Old Dog

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful, elderly poodle named Cuddles, along for the company.
One day the old poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that he's lost.

Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.
The old poodle thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!";
Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.
Just as the leopard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly,
"Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?"
Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!", says the leopard,
"That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!"
Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard.
So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up.
The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.
The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says...
"Where's that damn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

Moral of this story....
Don't mess with the old dogs...
Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!
Bullshit and brilliance only come with age and experience.

TBG out-

Friday, January 04, 2008

DRTO Bound...again.

Hi Constant Readers...

Heading back out to the Tortugas yet again.
Some volunteers bailed and I have a few days in my schedule free...

The weather has sucked the last few days... 25 to 30 knot winds,
seas 5-8 feet and higher (6-9') in Rebecca Channel.
I was supposed to go out yesterday, but the weather has been so bad they didn't head to the Island.

But today- well, they are going. Lots of warnings about high seas and wind.
It's a light day, only about 35 people going out, 6 of them are campers. Heh.
Poor bastards.

TBG, out on the water-

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Google Weather:
Key West, FL 33040
46F, Mostly Cloudy
Wind: N 26 mph
Hum: 63%
Thu: 45F-57F, Clear
Fri: 62F-68F, Mostly Sunny
Sat: 67F-73F, Mostly Sunny

It's cold and windy as hell.
No boat today, no seaplanes.
I'm stuck in Key West where the weather is almost as bad as Buffalo.

At least I'll have a chance to catch up on my blog and get some other stuff (hairs cut, etc) done.

TBG - Film at 11.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Chicks Dig the Monkey

JR in the famous Monkey Hat

Game Day V

It's a wrap!

Game Day IV - The Peeps

Buffalo Off-Ice Officials

(IM in UR stadium, keepin UR stats.)

Game Day III - The View

Our view of the game...

Game Day II

Snow Fall = Cold Noggin

Game day, Winter Classic

The snow has been falling all morning...