Thursday, December 30, 2004

Post Christmas Wrap Up

It was a good christmas at the Thorpe family household. I got some nice gifts from my family and some really cool ones from my girlfriend Emily. We even had some snow left on the ground from the few inches we got that week before. Whats this, a somewhat white Christmas in Texas??

It was nice having a few days off from work. And as a bonus, when i came back to work this past Tuesday, I realized I only have a short 3 day work week this week because we're off Friday for New Years Eve. How cool.

It hasn't been a too eventful week, but I figured I had to post something about the holidays.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Toto, We're Not in Texas Anymore!

It seems to happen at least once a year here, and yesterday it did. I woke up to a snow covered landscape! It was great, giant flakes were falling and gave us about 4 inches of snow cover by the time it was done! Around 3pm the snow died down, but I could tell the temps were falling. About an hour later, more snow began to fall! Moving around during the day made me feel like I was back in Chicago. I had my heavy coat and gloves on, scraping off my windshield and having to drive slow over the side roads. It was awesome! haha By the time I left my buddy Doug's place at night, temps were definatly in the 20's and things were really freezing solid. This must have been the cause for all the wrecks I passed as I drove home. You see, most Texans dont have a clue how to drive when snow and ice hits the ground. It seems like their theory is, "If I drive really really fast, I'll just glide over the snow". Yeah... you will, and into anyone stopped infront of you!!
Anyhow, I took a picture with my camera phone from my back porch. You can see the size of the large flakes as they started to fall yesterday morning. And as a bonus, its still below freezing out today so the snow isnt melting away! Woo Whoooo!!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Roger Wilco!

Yesterday was paintball Sunday and time to finally test out our new Foxfire Paintball Tactical Throat Mic's. These nifty little devices fit like collar around your neck, with a sensor like pad resting on the side of the adams apple on the throat. This pad picks up vibrations from the throat to transmit, without picking up any background noise. You also can talk very quietly and still be heard by the other person you're talking to.

On this day, Ken and I were the only ones to have them with us. So we figured we'd give it a test by playing me and him against the other two guys playing that day. To say the least, it was a slaughter! haha Being able to communicate with your team from anywhere on the field was a HUGE advantage over the other team without comm's. Ken and I were able to quickly out flank and ambush the the team with ease. While he laid down in some heavy brush near a creek and watched the other team patrolling for us, he would radio to me their exact position and direction of travel. I was able to work my way behind them and set up our ambush. On a verbal que, Ken and I opened fire on them. Confusion and panic took over. Mark, not knowing where all the fire was coming from, ran into a position between Ken and myself to take "cover". He was quickly hit and eliminated. His teamate, Courts, also paniced. He fired a few shots at me and took off running the other direction for cover. He dove inbetween an old matress that had been propped up for cover and a large tree. I quickly radioed Ken his position and we re-positioned ourselves to advance from both sides of him. This is where it became rather comical. Now keep in mind, Ken and I have paintball guns that fire almost fully automatic. Courts' on the other hand is a semi-auto gun and sometimes malfunctions when he tries to fire too fast. So he is sticking his gun around the corner of the tree and over the matress, firing blind shots in our general direction. All Ken and I see is an arm reaching around a tree with a gun firing up into the trees and into the ground. We are firing paintballs at him in a steady stream. If he was to even peak around the tree, he'd be hit. Suddenly, I hear his gun jam and he starts fidling with the bolt trying to get it to fire again. I quickly step wide around the tree and fire off a fast 6 shots at him. They almost all hit him, starting at his leg and running up his body to his shoulders. Instead of yelling hit, Courts just slumps against the tree and slides down it to the ground. I assume he was hit.

It was a fun day of paintball despite only being the 4 of us. The throat mics worked great and I cant wait to use them on a full field of players.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Gear Talk

I almost forgot to discuss the hiking gear I was testing out on this last camping trip. As I gather up the gear needed for use on the Appalachian Trail, I'm trying to get it all tested first before I get out there and things fail.

First item on the list was the Coleman Sleeping bag Compression bag. The idea behind this item is to take that large, warm sleeping back and compress it down to a managable size for carrying on a backpack. So, I roll up my sleeping bag and begin to cram it into what seems like a nylon bag that is a bit too small. After a few minutes of stuffing, I fit it in! Now all I had to do was wrap the 3 nylon straps around it to finalize the compression. This is where this product turns to crap. As I lace each strap thru its buckle and pull, I hear a snapping sound and a small piece of plastic goes flying into the air. The PLASTIC buckle isnt nearly strong enough to withstand the force of the straps once tightened. So I ended up using an old fashion half knot to keep things snug. It worked, but not like advertised. I give this item a 5/10. I expected better quality from Coleman camping gear.

Second item were these little white cubes that are advertised to either power heat to a one burner stove, or to help start camp fires. They are about $5 for 12 per box. They claim the cubes will burn at 1400 Degrees F. for 15 minutes. I didnt have the one burner stove so I just wanted to use them to help start our fires. When we had our firewood gathered and stacked correctly in the Tee Pee style, I inserted the small white cube into the base of our wood and lit it. Not only did it burn easily, but it quickly lit our campfire! It was just about the easiest campfire ive delt with in a while. Product rating, 10/10! I'll be carrying these on many future campouts.

Both products tested on this trip were useful. But only one really excelled. Try them out yourself when camping. The compression bag was helpful and keeping a large sleeping bag managable. But the plastic buckles were a disapointment. The fire cubes were great though!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A No Show

I say a "no show" as was my Tuesday night Division A soccer team last
night. Physically we were there. But we played like we mentally
weren't. Poor passing, lack of hustle and overall sloppyness cost us
the game 4-2. Hopefully we can rebound next week and get back on
track. This wasn't the way I wanted to start defending our league
title from last season.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Here is a picture of the restaraunt Meers, taken with my phone camera (mentioned in the post below). I highly recommend it if you are ever up in the Wichita Mountains!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hide the Food and Zip Up the Door!

Saturday morning was the big day. For a month Craig and I had been planning a campout in the Wichita Mountains. We would be staying in a campground called Camp Doris, which sits low in a valley between two mountains, near a small lake. I spent three days planning and packing to make sure I had everything I needed. We had a group of four going... myself, Craig, his girlfriend Becci and Brotha James. We would be making the three hour drive North to South Central Oklahoma for this short adventure.

Although we were supposed to meet up at 9am sharp, Craig and Becci were almost an hour late getting to the meeting point. I knew this would make things tight since it gets dark so early and we had so much to do still. But once they got there, we were on our way. Two hours later, we were in Wichita Falls Texas to pick up Brotha James. He rode in my car and we communicated with walkie-talkies between cars.

We arrived in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge around 1:30pm. We stopped at Mt. Scott for a quick tour and some photo Op's, then it was off to Camp Doris to claim a camping spot. Four miles down the road we rolled into the front gate and found a camp site towards the back of the campgrounds near a small lake. It was perfect; no one around us, a lake infront of our tents and clear skies overhead. We quickly had our tents set up and began collecting firewood for our firepit. This was our first obstacle. The campground had almost been picked clean of anything worth burning. So Craig and I jumped into his Jeep and took a drive around to see what we could find. We quickly hit the gold mine! We came across an empty campsite where someone had left a pile of neatly stacked and cute logs. Large ones too! We loaded up all we could in his Jeep and headed back. Around 5:30pm we started the fire and began cooking our food. Diner was rather simple, we cooked hotdogs and had chips and juice on the side. Becci brought pears and they were juicy and delicious! After dinner, Brotha James broke out graham crackers, marshmellows and chocolate bars to make Smores with. That was a great dessert!

The rest of the night we spent gathering some more firewood and hanging out at the fire telling stories and talking. Occationally we would hear people yelling and talking. This was coming from another campsite about 200 yards from ours. A group of boyscouts had set camp and were getting rowdy as it got dark. A bit later we start to hear loud "ku-plunks" out in the water. We figure its the kids throwing large, bowling ball sized rocks into the lake. So we thought.

Around 10pm the fire was dying down and we all decided to call it a night and head to our tents. This is where the night began to get interesting. First off, on a funny note, I had seen the forecasts and seen that the temperature was going to drop into the upper 30's later that night. I came prepaired with warm clothes, thick sleeping bag and an extra blanket. My tent mate, Brotha James, did not. James being a person who stands 6'5", brought a sleeping bag made for a child. Once in it, it barely came up past his shoulders! HAHA! He also forgot to bring his pillow and didn't bring any other warm clothes. I instructed him on how to make a pillow by stuffing a shirt with extra clothes and tieing it off at both ends. This seemed to be working for him as he began to dose off. I sat up with the lantern on, reading a magazine until I got sleepy. About 20 minutes later I turned off the light and layed my head down to drift off. I could feel the cold air moving in off the lake and the temps begining to drop. I got in my sleeping bag and pulled the blanket over the top of it to help insulate me. I turned off the light and lay quietly listening to the wind in the trees. Thats when I hears a high pitched chattering noise. I quickly recognized this as the sound racoons make when talking to eachother. But its not a loud sound, which means they are close to our camp site! I wasnt worried because we had made a special effort to hide all trash and food from dinner. The chattering noise stops and I began to hear leaves crunching, clearly something walking thru them from the left of our campsite. So I knew the racoons were getting braver now that the fire was gone and we were out of site. Suddenly I hear those loud "ka-plunks" again in the lake. But this time its over at the shore where our camp borders! I knew this wasnt kids playing this time. And it wasnt a fish jumping, this was something heavy hitting the water hard. A few minutes later, our group is awoken by a large pack of yelping coyotes chasing something just across the lake cove we are at. It was loud and clear and they were close! I really liked that because it was exciting to hear them do their nightly routines with us out there. These noises continues all night. I woke up a couple times to the sound of brush crunching and limbs snapping just outside our tent. But surprisingly, I wasnt a bit worried. Its just the little night animals doing their thing. My only concern was a larger animal like a deer or buffalo getting spooked and accidentally running into our tents. But odds are thin that would actually happen.

By midnight it was really feeling cold. I was so glad I had brought the clothes I did. I was now sunk down into my sleeping bag, with the blanket pulled up over my head and tucked into my pillow on top. I had created a warm cocoon. Brotha James on the other hand wasnt fairing so well. I kept hearing him say things like, "I cant feel my toes!", or "Im so cold, my nose is frozen!" I would just respond with, "Man, Im sweating over here." LOL He wasnt amused. As morning came, Craig and Becci had an intersting event happen. They are just laying there when they hear a rather larger animal sniffing around the edge of their tent. Becci was a little un-nerved, but stayed cool. Most likely it was a couple curious coyotes.

Everyone got up and we had a light breakfast, then packed up the camp. After all our stuff was up, we went for a hike climbing a nearby mountain. There was no actual trail up the mountain, so we just made our own. The mountain was mostly granite rock also. The only problem was the wind was blowing at gusts of 40mph! This was the strongest wind id ever been in up there. As we got higher on the mountain, the wind became so strong merely standing up straight was almost impossible. When we got to the last ledge before the top of the mountain, the wind was so strong that Becci and James decided to find a crevase to take shelter in while Craig and I climbed the last leg to the summit. I stepped up on to the highest rock and was almost blown off my feet. I wish I knew the exact speed of the wind because Id guess it was close to 60mph.

After the hike, we came back, got cleaned up and went to the famous Meers restaraunt for burgars and onion rings. Meers has been open since 1901 and is built into the side of a hill. It defines "rustic". After lunch we headed back down to Wichita Falls to drop off James and make our way back home. Three hours later I was back home and getting cleaned up. It was an exciting, fun and exhausting trip. I cant wait till the next one! I took lots of pictures and hope to have them up on soon! Hopefully next time Emily can go. She had to work that day which kept her from going. :( So now that gives me a reason to plan another trip. hehe

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Worth Mentioning

A few weeks back I posted news concerning my buddy Roger and the new job he took in Kabul Afganistan. Well he's been posting to his blog and his stuff is fairly interesting. Have a look at it. Its some interesting reading!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

"It Could Very Well Save Their Lives From Negative Orgone!!"

Remember how the famous boxing promoter Don King used to get up on the podium and be know for putting his filthy rich hands up in the air and yelling, "Only in America!"? Well now I am convinced to how right he was. Take for example, my good buddy Rodney. Rodney is an interesting fellow, to say the least. He's one of my work buddies and biggest conspiracy theorist I know. But thats a different story.

Rodney recently started up his own side business called "Spiritual Stew" and after extensive research into what lengths some people will go to buy good health and happiness, has come up with a product to deliver such wishes. I present to you the "Orgone Vril Radionics Prana Pyramid Generator + FreeCD". I have provided a link to his auction at the bottom of this blog post. You have to finish reading first, to truly appreciate and beleive the scope of this endeavor.

Now, Rodney himself is a bit of a spiritualist in his own off beat ways. But don't kid yourself, he in no way believes in the healing, faith-providing powers these pyramids are known to provide. He simply keeps building them at home and selling them on Ebay with a smile. And thats the kicker... they are ACTUALLY selling!! One for as high as $75. While other websites rip people off with pyramids priced as high as $125, Rodney offers believers value and quality. Yes, im also shaking my head at the people buying these.... home decorations. When asked what word he would use to describe his customer base, he quickly replied... "dumbasses". Yet the funniest of all things is his auctions don't lie about what it is. He clearly posts, "DISCLAIMER: All radionics instruments are to be used for experimental purposes only; no claims are made. It is not intended to replace a doctor's care in any way shape or form". But they are still selling! This thing is nothing more than a plastic 3 inch high pyramid, filled with steel BB's on a bed of crushed rock! Some would call Rodney a scammer. But its hard to call someone a scammer when they tell you up front what your buying. Only in America Rodney, only in America...


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Wearing the Crown

What has been denied to my Tuesday night soccer team, was achieved last night. We won the "A" Division championship game against our tough opponents, the dreaded 5 time champion, IMEG. It was the toughest game played all season for our team but we fought back from being down 3-2 with only 3 minutes left in the game. Now, read on for the play by play.

The game started out with IMEG scoring first and early. My first thought was, "oh no, here we go". Luckily our team woke up after that and we began to defend our net better. We also began to put together somewhat of an attack. About midway thru the first half, I made a run down the sideline for a thru-ball. Their keeper was quick to come off his line to collect the ball. I started to turn and head back downfield to defend, but suddenly he rolls the ball out to his defender just 5 feet from me! I quickly charged at the defender as they recieved the pass. A well timed tackle and I had stolen the ball! The keeper was still off his line so I hit a quick shot hoping to score. The ball was just wide and bounced off the wall. Lucky for me, the rebound came back out at center goal and had bounced around the scrambling keeper. I met the ball in stride and carefully shot it into the net with the outside of my right foot. Goal!! Tie game, 1-1.

A few minutes later, IMEG struck again. A defensive miscue left one of their forwards open. He met a perfectly placed pass on the back side of our net and despite several of my teams defenders collapsing in on him to stop the shot, he scores, making it 2-1. He pulled himself out of the pile of people on the ground and jogged back high-fiving his teammates. Time was running out in the first half, but we figured only being down by a goal to them at half time was great. Suddenly our goalie steve, who had just made a nice save, throws a long ball down the field to an on running Tyler. The ball took a high bounce and the IMEG keeper charges out of his goal to make the save. Tyler leaps up and flicks a header right past the on-rushing goal tender. Goal!! The buzzer sounds and its 2-2 at the half. This was great!

The second half starts and both teams come out playing fast and aggressive. I could tell IMEG really wanted to step up the pressure on us, hoping to open the flood gates with a few quick goals. But we held strong, stopping shot after shot. Our passing wasnt as pretty as theirs, yet we seemed to get the ball down to their end and get our share of chances. There had been a number of hard fouls already, everyone was tackling the ball and the other players hard. Then again, a series of quick passes and finding a defensive mismatch and IMEG had scored again. It was now 3-2, with time running out.

Now the clock seemed to be counting down faster than ever. We were down by a goal and they were begining to kill time off the clock. Finally we began to really press our attack. Partially because the dropped back into a defensive shell. Suddenly out of nowhere, one of our defenders (I cant remember his name at this moment) steals the ball about 15 yards from their goal. He quickly spins around a fires a low hard shot that beats their keeper in the low right side of the net. The score is tied 3-3!! Just 1 minutes left on the clock.

Quickly, IMEG came out of their defensive shell and went on the attack. We dropped everyone back to defend and blocked a series of shot as they went desperatly for the win. I was coving the right side of the field when their midfielder crossed the ball over to the forward on that side of the field. I ran at the striker to cover him but right as i get there, he hits a one time shot at our goal. My outstretched right foot catches part of the ball and redirects is straight up into the air. I shield off the forward then spin around a volley the falling ball out of the air and down the field, safely from our net. With seconds left, they quickly bring the ball back down the field for one last attack. Again they couldnt get thru to our goal and the final buzzer sounded, ending the game in a tie. This means it was on to a penalty shootout!

IMEG's 1st shot: Steve stops the shot!
U Wish 1st shot: I fake a hard shot, freezing the keeper then put an accurate shot to the far post for our first goal! 1-0.
IMEG's 2nd shot: Steve stops the shot!
U Wish 2nd shot: Rocky tries to put the ball thru the keepers legs, but he saves it.
IMEG's 3rd shot: Steve stops the shot easily!
U Wish 3 shot: Cody tries to go wide and then flick it over the keeper head. He easily stops it.
IMEG's 4th shot: Their top player quickly touches the ball to his left and blasts it into the net. 1-1, tie game.
U Wish 4th shot: Tyler does almost the exact same thing. Pushes the ball left and uses his natural left foot shot to power one home. 2-1! IMEG must score on their last shot or its over.
IMEG's 5 shot: Their player pushes the ball wide right and blasts a shot. Not a problem for Steve, he easily blocks it away.

ITS OVER, WE WIN!!! Champions!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

As mentioned in the Post below, here's a phone cam shot from a night out at Kirks place. It was fun times and good food with the guys! I dont like card games, but still had a blast and a lot of laughs!

Pass the Turkey

I haven't had the chance to post in a few days because of the recent Thanksgiving holiday. So I'll rewind a bit for review. The Monday before Turkey day, my buddy Dan flew in from L.A. for a visit with family and friends. I picked him up at the airport, like usual. From there, we drove out to the Hooters resteraunt in Lewisiville. He was craving to go since there is not a Hooters near him in L.A. He's a big fan of their greasy chicken wings. I can eat them on occation, but not very often. I took him home around midnight and I was headed home to crash, since it was still a worknight.

Wednesday came and the end of the work week was here! Gotta love a 3 day workweek. I dont know why but that 3 day week felt like a 6 day work week for some reason, I guess because of the anticipation.

Thursday morning it was off to the parents house for the big meal. We had a bit of a light turn out this turkey day. It was just me, my brother Courts and mom & dad. Macey was sick from something so didnt make it there until after the meal. Emily headed down to see her family, but lucky for me she came back the next day. :) Shortly after we finished eating at my families house, I packed up a bunch of leftovers and headed south again to my home. Not a very eventful Thanksgiving Day, but a fun one.

Saturday night my buddy Kirk held a little get to gether at his place out in Allen, TX. Dan and I headed WAY up there to Kirks house for some burgers and poker. Although I have a strong dislike for poker, or card games in general, I was the official "dealer" of the night. It at least kept my interest and kept me being social at the table with everyone. Also in attendance were my buddies Dustin and Robin. I dont get to see these goofballs very often, so its always good for a night of laughs. I dont even know who won the game of poker, but I had a lot of fun just eating and lauging with these guys I hadnt see in so long. Kirk did make the announcement that he and his girfriend Jennifer, who was there helping with things, recently got engaged. Congrats to Kirk!! I hope things go much better for you this time buddy. :)

Sunday was pretty uneventful. Emily and I went out and started our Christmas shopping. Which I actually enjoy because while im out shopping, I keep getting ideas for things I need. haha So far Ive got my dad and brother checked off my present buying list. This is actually the earliest ive ever started shopping. Perhaps I'll actualy get everyone a decent gift this year? lol

Monday, November 22, 2004

He Shoots a Perfect Game!

Yesterday (Sunday), was the seasons first paintball game out in the woods for me and some of my buddies. At first it looked like we werent going to be able to play. It rained all night and was still drizzling outside when morning arrived. But after talking to all the guys, they were gung ho and ready to play. We all arrived at that game field and suited up in our cammo's and gear. This was the first time I was getting to try out my new paintball gun, a Tippman Custom 98. As I took my gun out of my gear back to show Ken, he noticed something I was unaware of. He immediatly says, "Oh, you have a response trigger!". Upon further inspection he was correct. Whoever sold this gun on Ebay didnt know this item had been upgraded or they would of tacked on $80 to the original price! What a response trigger does is pretty much turn the gun from a semi-automatic paintball gun to FULL automatic. :) I was ready to play now.

There were six of us so we divided up into teams of three and headed off to our starting bases. We were playing "elimination", meaning the goal was easy... shoot everyone who's not on your team. It didnt take long for the action to start. We were walking down a trail spread out about 15 feet apart, looking and listening for signs of the other team. All of a sudden, I hear the pop of a paintball gun and the hiss of a paintball narrowly missing me! I hit the groud for cover while Ken and Paul return fire into an area of thick brush near a creek. I dont think they could see who was shooting, but only knew the area it was coming from. I stand back up to see one of their team running back up a creek enbankment. I fire a couple shots but he disapears into the foliage. By this point, Ken and Paul had moved down into the creek to engage our enemy. He quickly turns to me and gives me the hand signal to flank back around the trail and come up from the other side. I hustle down the trail to where to bend sharply left and down into the creek. I stop and wait, watching. Suddenly, I hear a loud snap! Then I see movement. I point my gun and fire off a quick 6 rounds. "Im hit, Im hit!!" someone yells. My first "kill" of the day!! Its Chris, Ken's brother. I got him in the butt of all places and he comes out of the brush rubbing his left butt cheek complaining about it stinging. LOL Well, this is what happens when you're shot running away from the enemy. hehe

The rest of my day continues to go this well. I end up tagging out the other two players (Mark and Todd) in the first round... then killing all 3 players on my own again in the second game of the day we played! I finished our third game with only one kill, but went the full day without being shot. Although I had a few very near misses zing by me. My new gun performed perfectly and I played really well. I look forward to the next time we get to play, which will probably be right after Thanksgiving. I will be ready!

Later that day, after paintball, Emily and I met up with my family at the local Red Lobster for my brothers Birthday dinner. The little guy turned 30! I felt bad for Emily because she doesn't eat sea food, but yet when my family wants to do a "family dinner" they will only eat at Red Lobster. Luckily, they have a chicken and rice dinner that she doesnt mind getting. And lucky for me the rice and chicken does not taste like fish from their kitchen, or she wouldnt be a happy camper! :)

Tonight my buddy Dan fly's in from L.A. I pick him up from the airport around 9pm. Im looking forward to seeing him. I havent seen him in months. It should be fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It's War

There is a term known to the techie world called "Wardriving". You get in your car with a laptop, equiped with some special network scanning software and you drive around neighborhoods searching for "open" home wireless networks. Once you find one you could connect to the network and surf the internet for free, hack another pc on the internet or wreak havoc on the persons pc who owns the wireless network. You see, new wireless routers such as those sold in Best Buy, Circuit City or even Wal-Mart come out of the box, wide open with security turned off! Most non-techies do not know this. They get their new shiny Linksys home wireless router, come home, hook it up and assume thats all there is too it. Wrong.

To prove my point of how common this is, listen to what I did recently. I was sitting on my couch about to watch some Monday Night Football and I decided to get out my laptop. Its handy to surf the net, check stats and stuff while the game is on. My laptop was taking its time finding my own wireless network, so I had it do a Site Search again to find my connection. I quickly found it and began to authenticate thru the WEP security I have setup. All of a sudden, my software detects 3 other wireless networks nearby. They have to be within 100 feet or so to my location or I wouldnt be picking up their signal. Most of them are fairly weak signals, ranging from 5% to 15% strength. Two of them are named "Default", which means they are still on their default settings right out of the box! And one of them has its name changed to "UcMe". So clever, yet it was still unsecured and open for any public connections! So I thought, I wonder just how many are turned on, unprotected in my apartment complex? I threw on some shoes, unplugged my laptop and decided to take a little walk. I went down the stairs and started walking along the row of apartment buildlings. All of a sudden I now have 8 wireless networks showing up and NONE of them are secured! Incredible... just amazing what these people dont know. I selected the wireless network with the strongest signal and clicked "connect". My wireless network card lights flickered and the software on my screen showed it was working on making a connection. Bingo! I connected to this unknown persons wireless network. If I was up to no-good, I could have begun a very destructive hacking lesson. But I walked on to see how long I could hold the signal. About 15 feet later, it dropped and I lost it. As my friend Craig put it, "Would this be Warwalking"? :) I began to get a bit cold from walking around in a t-shirt and shorts so I headed back to watch my game, happy to know I had proved a point to myself. A secure wireless network pays off!!

As Predicted...

The Cowgirls were routed by the Eagles 49-21 last night, just as I predicted. Ha! I was loving every second of it, while Brother James was hating every second. I was sure to remind him of the score and the highlight plays everytime something happened. I must have sent 45 text messages to his phone with taunting words. He wasnt a happy camper. Awwww... too bad cowgirls.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Tonight is the game ive been waiting for all Football season. The Philidelphia Eagles vs the Dallas Cowgirls (cowboys). Eagles are 7-1 and the cowgirls are 3-5. My buddy James has bet me a lunch on this game. Despite how bad dallas sucks, he insists they will win by 21 points. The Eagles however have scored easily on every team they have played. Kick off has just finished and the game is on. Its showtime. Go Eagles!! I predict a 24 point victory for Philly.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Fat Lady... Has Sung.

Well, sorta. For the first time in my life I attended a real opera. I promised Emily long ago that I would go with her to one and the chance arose when my friend Craig and Becci asked if we'd be interested. It was an interesting experience and a lot of fun. The evening started with Emily and I meeting at Becci's place in downtown Big D. From there we drove over to Fair Park where the opera house is to get out tickets. We were about an hour early but didnt want the even to sell out. Lucky we did. We got the last group of 4 seats together. They were located way up on the balcony, on the far right. But thats ok, we were in! We go upstairs to take our seats and hang out. Ive learned one thing; the average opera fan must be a tiny person! The seats are so close, that our knees hit the back of the seats infront of us. This later lead to many a cramping legs. But we settled in and showtime neared.

At 7:30 the lights went down and the curtains came up. We were there to see "Carmen". An opera which takes place in Spain, but sung in French with English subtitles scrolling on a screen above the stage. Interesting. I soon learned that the opera Carmen lasts 3.5 hours! Luckily, there are 3 interemission breaks. Whew! Surprisingly once I began to watch the story and follow along, the breaks came quickly. I was very impressed by the singers voices and how loud they could sing... and in French to boot! Most all of the performers were american, except one of the female performers who is from Russia. The set design on stage was very well done. Between acts, they would completely redesign the stage to make it appear to be a totally differnt setting. I was impressed. I guess I had expected the set from a junior high play I was in as a kid. Thank goodness I was wrong. haha

Overall the opera was a very enjoyable evening. My girlfriend Emily looked very beautiful, as it was the first time Id ever seen her in a dress. That sight alone was worth getting dressed up in my suit to go to the opera with her. :) Craig and Becci were dressed up very nice also, but Craig always dressed up the exact same for work. So he loses snazzy points. lol I cant say I'll go again soon to the opera, but I could see myself doing one or two a year. Like my mom said, it does me good to take in some culture. Hhhmm.... I supose mom.

The night before the opera, we caught the new movie "The Incredibles". I'll have to admit, normally I hate those Disney, Pixar... whatever, animated movies. You know, the ones that try to appeal to kids but still squize in some adult humor to keep us awake. But this one was actually very entertaining and hilarious. I caught myself laughing outloud many times during the movie. I was surprised at a couple things. First, the movie was a tad over 2 hours long... with previews. That might wear a little kid out. Secondly, the bad guys in the movie actually get killed. Normally they try to protect children from seeing anything about death in a kids movie, but im glad they didnt try to spare us this time. Anyhow, good movie, 2 thumbs up from Thorpeland!

Last Saturday, before the opera I went on a really fun hike. My brother Courts and I drove up to Lake Texoma and hiked a couple miles of the Cross Timbers Trail. This is a winding trail that follows a ridge running along the lake. It goes thru a series of gorges and hills and was a lot of fun. I hope to go back one weekend and hike the trail further. In total it stretches along 28 miles of the lakes shoreline. I doubt I'll do all that. I got to take some good photos and do some cool exploring. I hope to get some of the pics up on my site or in the blog soon.

Now on to more recent events. All this week ive been driving down to Dallas each morning to attend a class for work. To be more specific, im being "officially" trained in "Novell Desktop Management with Zenworks 4". Yes I know... after merely reading the title you are bursting with excitement. Well its a fairly interesting class. Ive learned a lot and im looking forward to getting back to work next week with my new knowledge. Its kinda cool that my work will send me to these training classes. Normally I couldnt afford to go to them, as this one im in this week cost $6500!

Last Tuesday my Division A soccer team did it again, pulling off a last minute win! This time, I got the assist on the winning goal which was really cool. One of my teamates comes dribbling down the center of the field with me on his right. As the defender comes at him, he dishes it off to me, but another defender was waiting for that pass. He stretches to reach ahead of me and barely tips it away towards the wall. But he trips over my outstretched leg. The referee doesnt blow the whistle though because the ball is headed straight back to their keeper at the side of their penalty box. I charge forward to challange him and I guess he panics. He freezes and the ball bounces off the wall and back to me. I pull the ball back, spin around and knock it to the center hoping my teamate stuck around. I look up and there he is!! The hits him right in stride as he calmly traps the ball with his left foot and flicks it with his right over a diving goal keeper. GOAL!! We hold them off for the last 45 seconds to win, giving us a 5-1 record and a 5-4 win.

This coming weekend is looking like it will be fun. Emily and I are going to catch the movie "Saw" friday night and Saturday my buddy James is coming into town. That night he and I are going to my buddy Eric's ice hockey game and Im going to take some action pictures. Im looking forward to that! Then, Sunday, after having the summer off... PAINTBALL is back! Time to dawn the camo's, assult gear and have some war in the woods. Should be fun!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


In a last second grasp, my tuesday night A Division team pulled off an incredible victory over our dreaded IMEG opponents. Normally by the end of the first half we are losing by a couple goals but we fought hard and things were all tied up 3-3 at the mid-point. The first half was an exciting one! Although I didnt get a goal, I had a big part in our 2nd and 3rd tallies. The first of the two goals came late in the first half. IMEG fouls one of our guys right outside the red line on their end of the field, about 12 yards from the goal. They set up a defensive wall to stop the shot but its only 2 of their players in it. Their goal keeper can still see the shot easily to stop it. I take off running in front of him, hoping to screen his view of the play. It worked perfectly! Right as I get infront of him, he reaches out with both arms to shove me out of the way. I look up to see the ball in mid-air on its way to an open net! Goal!!!
On the second goal, IMEG's best player had the ball in their end of the field and was looking to pass it out. Cody, on my team, pressured him so he cut the ball back to dribble away from him. He didnt realize I had snuck up on his blind side and saw him about to turn around towards me. I quickly got a foot in and stole the ball deep in the left corner of their end of the field. I look up to see Cody, now completely unmarked, calling for the ball again. I drop a pass back to him and he easily blasts it home for a goal!

In the second half, they came out attacking. Within a few minutes they got a goal making it 4-3. We began to worry. This is normally when the flood gates open and they score a flurry of goals on us. But we hung in there and fought back. Sahal broke down the right flank and found Rocky on the back post of the goal for an easy pass shot in and a goal! Tied again, 4-4! The game battled back and forth for the rest of the half, until the last minute of the game. They threw everything they had at us. Forwards attacked and so did their defenders. Even their goal keeper had come up to half field to be open for a pass back. We had everyone back defending, blocking shot after shot. Suddenly, with FIVE SECONDS left, Cody steals the ball at the top of our goalbox. He spins around and quickly lobs a deep shot downfield. The IMEG goalie can only watch as the ball sails over his head at midfield. Luckily, the ball lands just inside their red line, avoiding a 3 line fould and the end of the game. The ball bounces over the red line, 3 seconds... bounces again... 2 seconds... starts to roll to a stop.... 1 second.... and slowly crosses the goal line. BUZZZZZZ!!! END OF THE GAME!! GOAL! Our bench clears as we rushed onto the field to pile on Cody. IMEG, disgusted, could barley come out to say good game. Most didnt even leave the bench. This is our first victory over this team in almost 2 years. They have been undefeated in 5 seasons. We know now, we will meet them in the championship game at the end of the season. Im sure they will want revenge badly. We will be ready.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Boo! Happy Halloween to all the gouls, goblins and ghosts out there tonight. Its a rainy, dreary night here in Dallas Texas. Perfect for guys who look like this dude. Ha!

Preparing For Life On The Trail

As plans gear up for a 2005 hike on the Appalachian Trail, I needed a resource to help my team of hikers colaberate and organize our efforts. After searching the web for what I was looking for, I can up empty handed. So, I made my own. Introducing . Originally I set up this forum site for myself and the 3 others accompanying me on this adventure. But I thought, why not open it up for all hikers who want a place to share their favorite hiking and trekking spots, stories and gear opinions? So, I extend a welcome to any thorpeland blog readers who want to create a free account on my new site and share their stories and information! Check it out!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Getting On With It

A few months ago in this here blog, I spoke about a number of places that were on my "list to visit" in the future. One of those such places I listed was to hike, at least a portion of, the Appalachian Trail. Well to update everyone, plans are moving forward. I have officially got a comitment from 3 of my good buddies who are now just as pumped as I am to begin this adventure. We have begun assembling gear, supply lists and the information needed to tackle this adventure. As of now it's looking like we will be on the trail in late spring of 2005. We have a date, but im not ready to officially announce it here. I've just about worked out the logistics of transportation to and from the trail and how to get all our gear to Atlanta airport and to Springer Mountain (the trailhead).

After a ton of research on the A.T. I'm realizing what a challange lies before us. We plan on hiking the first section of the trail, which is Springer Mountain to Neels Gap. We'll be covering about 15 miles a day, carrying 40lb packs and climbing a series of mountain ranges with altitudes of up to 8000ft. Believe me, we've already started training for this. Although challanging, I believe this will be a very rewarding adventure and I will return with some incredible photographs and some incredible stories. Stay tuned as the trip nears for more progress reports!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

This weekend we were honored with a visit from me and Emily's old friends Mike and Cheryl. It was great to see them! They drove up from Galveston Texas for the weekend to catch a Beastie Boys concert in Dallas and say hi to everyone. Cheryl is in medical school down there and Mikey works for the local Big Brothers organization.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Uhh... I Like Toast?

Its the small things that entertain me during a day at work. Dont get me wrong, I enjoy my work. But sometimes I encounter people that can be a bit frusterating or a bit slower than I would like them to be. Allow me to humor myself by retelling an event that happened to me on Wednesday. Currently we were doing an inventory count on all the PC monitors on the network. I go around with a little infra-red scanner and scan in the bar code on the back of the monitor and record who sits there and what department they're in. So I go into an office and start scanning a monitor. Suddenly, the guy who sits there comes up and asks what I'm doing. I explain thoroughly about our inventory project and how I have to recored each monitor. Sticking very specifically to describing it only concerns the monitors. He looks at me with a blank stare for about 6 seconds, then points to his desk and says, "Ive got a new printer". There's another long pause as I try to think of an answer to this totally non-related statement. He's got a new printer? So what? The only response I can muster is a forced smile and a quick "thumbs up" hand gesture. I then go back to my scanning and he walks off. For the rest of the day, I keep replaying the event in my head. What possesed this man to tell me he had a new printer? And why to tell me after I explained why im there? Im just baffeled. It was humorous when I look back on it. Perhaps the correct response to him should have been, "Yes, and I like toast!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Gimme My Money.... NOW!

I had a rather funny thing happen to me this past weekend. Let me first set the stage. I play the weekly Texas Lottery, but I get my tickets thru a site called . This site purchases the tickets for you and if you win, they mail the paper ticket to you. Very convenient! So, I match 3 numbers and win $5. Ive won small cash before and each time I get a ticket, its on a strangely smooth paper. Not the normal lottery ticket paper. I walk up to the lady working the register at this rather rural gas station and hand her my ticket saying I think I have matched some numbers and i'd like to cash the ticket in. She takes my ticket and quickly notices the different paper. She looks at me with a confused look and then back at my ticket. Here's where the fun starts. She runs the ticket thru the official lottery machine. Which then prints out a legit cash-in voucher for them to pay me. She shakes her head and says, "This isnt right... it cant be". Then she looks back at me and says, "I dont think this is a real ticket, where did you get this?" I start to explain, but she quickly turns away and starts whispering to the lady working with her. Although I can hear her loud and clear, I stand patiently, waiting for my cash. I hear the other lady mumble something about, "... well if you arent sure, dont pay him". I wanted to say, "Hello, im standing right here!" Thats when i forcefully make them listen to the story of where the ticket came from. Still, she doesnt really believe me. Reluctantly, she cashes the voucher and pays me my money. I then say to her, "what did you think, i print these things off on my computer?" She doesnt answer, just starres at me. Ppphffftt...gimme my money country bumpkin!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Hello from the State Fair of Texas! Emily and I headed to Fair Park and Big Tex (in the background) this past Saturday. It was a fun day. I thought the big crowds and high prices of everything would dampen our day, but it didnt! It was my first time to the state fair and overall I'd recommend it to others. Just go prepared to spend about $50 per person!

Friday, October 15, 2004

For my annual Jack O Lantern, this season I choose a Clockwork Orange theme. Isnt he just the scaries pumpkin on the block? Ha!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

You've Been Downgraded, Thank You.

About six months ago, the managers in my office come back to my departments work area and tell us, "Good news!! We've got approval to renovate the entire department. Everyone will have new large work areas!" This was great news. Granted I had a large desk and work area, it would be nice to not be packed in so close to my coworkes.

As each month went by, I noticed people coming and going with maps, floorplans and tapemeasures. The time was nearing and I was excited to one day move into a spacious office work area. You see, my desk never has fewer than 4 pc's stacked up on it. Not to mention various cables, mice, keyboards, ect. I need more space!!

So, August comes along and the construction begins. But I notice something odd. They are only knocking down and building walls in a fraction of the area I thought they were supposed to. This cant be right? If they build the new area the size that this is looking like, we'll have a tiny work area! I must be mistaken. So I ask my boss a few days later, whats the deal? He tells me, our budget got reduced so we are getting a much smaller work area that previously planned!! NO!! Now, we are into October and the new office is almost complete. I hear they have just installed the new cubicals and I want to have a look. I walk into the new office area, round the corner....... NOOOOOO!!! SMALLER DESKS THAN WE HAD BEFORE!!! Ive gone from having a spacious 3 sided desk/work area, to a smaller 2 sided desk. I quickly see I'm not the only one shocked. My co-workers see this new office and are just as insulted and horrified as I am. My boss is so far sitting on the fence. He hasnt really said much of anything either way. The disgusting part of all this is, I just know the upper management cant wait to walk into the new office when we get moved in, throw their arms up in the air with a huge smile on their face and say, "Well, what do you guys think!?" The scary thing is, I truly do not believe they are ready for the answer they are going to hear.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Saturday night me, Emily, my friend James and her friend Shannon went to Medieval Times. It was a blast watching the knights fight it out while eating a feast. A bit expensive but worth it to do once in a while. Like my crown in the picture? Everyone wears them while there. That is a real suit of armour behind me, with a price tag of $3000 on it. I'll take 5 please! :)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Finding the Touch Again

After taking a couple seasons off from playing on multipel soccer teams I began to feel my ball control skills and my scoring touch slide a bit. So now I'm playing 3 times a week. Twice on league teams and once with a group just playing casual pick up. Its already having good results! My endurance is improving along with my touch. I scored 1 goal on tuesday nights game and then scored 2 of my teams 3 goals in a 3-0 win Thursday night. I'm back!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My view from Row 11, Section 4, Seat 10. This is a wide angle shot. The zoom lens was able to capture some decent action. No, I didnt catch any homeruns. :(

Batter Up!

After neglecting my blog for about a week, im back. This past weekend, Craig, Becci, myself and Emily went to a Texas Rangers baseball game. It was an exciting day because the Rangers were closing in on 1st place. As the game started, we soon realized this wouldnt be the day they took first place. The game ended 9-0... Seatle Marlins. Ouch. Our seats were'nt too bad. In the 11th row of section 4, we were in the left side of the outfield. The bad thing was the heat. Although the temps were only in the low 80's, there was no wind inside the stadium and we quickly began to cook. Then luck struck our little group. We went back into the tunnel to take a break from the sun. Suddenly, I notce my buddy Houston standing next to me. He asks where we are sitting and I tell him. Then he asks if we want their seats! They are leaving and have 4 seats that were closer to the action and in the shade. We quickly made our way there. The last 3 innings were much more pleasant. I was able to get some cool photo's which I put up on my photography hobby site. ( ) It was good to get in one more baseball game before the end of the season.

Monday, September 20, 2004

A day at Texas Stadium to watch the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders...... oh, and the Dallas Cowboys too. Read the blog entry below for complete scoop!

Behind the Velvet Curtain

Alright, so I tempted everyone to "stay tuned" for some interesting events. The weekend is over and the events took place. Last week my buddy Eric (EVP) comes to me and asks if I would be interested in going to a Dallas Cowboys game with him. I paused because, first off, I hate the cowboys. Secondly, they were playing the Cleveland Browns and I don't really have any emotion for them either way. But then he said the magic words. The seats are in a luxury box suite. That translates to a great view, comfy seats and tons of free food. Sold. Im in.

Sunday arrives and we leave about 2 hours early for the 3:15pm kick off. This turned out to be a good idea. Despite being only 30 minutes from Texas Stadium, traffic would be bad near the field. As we aproach the exit for the stadium, we see traffic already backing up onto the highway. It actually wasn't as bad as we thought. From the exit ramp to our seats, totalled 30 minutes roughly. When we entered the stadium is where things went from, just another sporting event, to an eye opening experience. Normally, im one of what I like to call the "peasants". The people who sit in the rock hard, tiny, cramped seats in the normal seating area of the stadium. Getting the a concession stand or to the bathroom is a battle and a big event. You never get to see the people deep in the bowels of the building and behind all the glass windows surrounding the field. But on that day, I was one of them. Eric and I ask a stadium attendant how to go about getting to our seats. She points to some back stairs to our left. We approach the stairs and get in line with a bunch of older, well dressed people. A lady carefully inspects each ticket to make sure no one is trying to get up there for a free ride I guess. We get upstairs and walk into what looks like a hotel hall way. Again, there are more well dress people walking thru the hallways, occationally stopping to greet eachother and saying things like "lets have a good game today!" or "Go cowboys!". Ugg It was kind of a surreal world, plush carpet, everyone dressed nice... you'd think you were at a formal banquet or something. As we walk down the hallway, some of the suite doors are open. The view over the field is incredible. You can see every bit of the field clearly. Since EVP and I came in on the oppisote side of the stadium than our seats, we had to take this hallway all the way around the stadium. We come to an end in the hallway and it seems to be some very large banquet room. It has full wall sized windows overlooking the fields and blue carpet and walls. There are tables with people everywhere eating from buffet's with chef's standing at each table. This was definatly, for the most part, a room of "beautiful people". There were told we could cut thru the room but not to stop and eat anything. Bummer. Shortly after, we arrive at our box suite. To our surprise, we are the first to arrive! We quickly pick the best seats, down in the front row and begin to take in the scenery. The host of the event shortly arrives and he introduces himself as "Paul". He then gives us a surprise. He says that although he was told dinner would not be served to us, there was a change of plans and we all get passes to go eat in the "blue room" we had earlier passed through. We quickly left our stuff in our seats and headed back to dish up! We got to the blue room, got our dishes and then got our food. Everything was delicious. Shrimp, roast, vegetables, bread and desserts were ours for the taking. I could clearly tell, from all the people smoozing and talking, this was a normal weekend activity for many of the people in this room. Ive been told it wasn't uncommon for Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, to walk thru greeting people.
So, we finish eating and head back to the box suite. The others are starting to arrive but our good seats remain entact. By now its 20 minutes till kick off and the seats are filling in the stadium and the players are begining to take the field for warm up. As soon as a few Browns players enter the field, the stadium fills with boo's. Then Cowboys come on to the field and the stadium roars. As 3:15 came, the game kicked off and the place had a sellout crowd of 65,000 people. The view was great, but what I found amusing was how many people kept turning around in their seats to look up into our box. I couldn't help but think, "is that what I look like when i'm sitting down there looking up?". With the players on the field and the action starting, I began to snap away with my Canon Digital Rebel. I was able to get a number of good shots of the players... and cheerleaders, from our suite. I'll be posting those on my site soon, since I recently upgraded and now have more disk space! :)

The game was one of the sloppiest NFL games ive seen played in a while. Still, the Cowgirls won, 24-9 (i think). It was time to leave and EVP and I knew we had a LONG walk back out to our car. Coming in, a trolley brought us in from the distant parking lot. But leaving, those trolleys don't run. There were a number of Browns fans at the game dressed in their orange and brown colors. They were walking mixed in with everyone else and were now at the mercy of the thousands of now, drunk, loud Cowboys fans still lined up in the parking lot at their talegate parties. I actually felt bad for the Browns fans. They were just cheering for their team and now they had to be practically assulted by cowgirl fans who would get right up in their face and taunt them while they were still walking. I thought a fight would surely break out, but none did. What's more sad is the cowboys really aren't a good team, nor have they had a good record in recent seasons... and now they get one scrappy win and they feel like they're kings of the NFL. How pathetic.

All in all it was a great time. The food was delicious, the game was entertaining and it was an eye opening experience to see that much "money" socializing behind the "velvet curtain". So many rich, smoozers and their trophy wives talking about who has the biggest Cadillac Escalade or the nicest summer condo. Ah, the superficial life.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Ok, not fathead, but in actuality... fatfingers. Huh? Yeah. If you're an ebay shopper/dealfinder, im sure you've spent at least an hour hunting the site for the best deal on the do-dad of the moment you need. You may find it. The funny thing is, there are listings for your item you won't find. Do you know why? Because the brain that listed it, mistyped the title of his/her item. So, few if anyone finds the thing! This means, zero to slim bids. So, you're asking, how do I find these items if they are incorrectly listed? Easy, check out
Once there, you can enter your item (correctly spelled) and tell it which ebay to search. In searching for an item i will be buying soon, I was surprised to find about 35 listings mispelled and barely or not at all bid on. Oh I placed my bid sure thing! I hope I win. Enjoy the new secret weapon you have on ebay. And yes.... you're welcome. :)

Fall Eh?

So they say on the news that summer is ending and fall is coming this weekend. Suuuuuure. Thats why its going to be 95F today and this weekend, right? Normally, I put the jetski away in storage on the second week of September. Which I did. But the weather is still warm enough to where I could have kept it out one more week at least. Oh well. The jetski may be gone for the winter, but new things are on the horizon for fall. Im looking forward to geting in a full season of paintball this winter. I also hope to expand the section on my web site with pictures and even video downloads of some great paintball action! Anyone who is interested in trying it out or playing with us, contact me ( . I'll be more than happy to shoot you. :)

On a side note, last weekend - September 12th, was my birthday. Yay me. I had dinner with some friends, another dinner with my family. It was a good time. Im now officially 33. Hhhm.... I dont feel any older. Mentally, still 12. Ha!

Stay tuned for some good updates after this weekend. Cool things are afoot. :)

My buddy Roger is in Kabul Afganistan working as a goverment contractor. He was lured by the big time $$ and the urge for adventure, I guess. He recently sent me this picture of him and a base guard. (How many US military guards would allow this pose??!) haha Stay safe Roger. Dont make any CNN headlines!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Long Wait.

Couldn't sleep so I decided to blog for a minute. Not much time to really get into it, but there is exciting news to talk about... coming soon. Very cool stuff. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Live From Terminal A, Gate 18

I'm sitting in DFW airport right now, waiting for Emily to get back from Las Vegas. I never can guess how long it will take me to get to the airport. Tonight, it took me 20 minutes. I'm here like 40 minutes early because I guessed wrong. That's ok, I can people watch. Haha For instance, to my left there is a hispanic family. The father keeps speaking in spanish to someone on the phone but then swiches to english to speak to his wife and kids. Odd. To my right there is an older airport security "guard". The reason I say it like that is because his head keeps bobbing as he fights off sleep. Also because he looks like he couldn't fight off an old woman if he had to. Another observation; some girl, probably early 20's, just walked past me while talking on her cell phone. She was crying and saying to the person on the line, "I can't find my gate!". I live here and know this airport by heart. Should I volunteer to help her? Maybe I could at least...... Ah screw it.... She's too far away now and I'm not chasing. Good luck lady! There I yelled it.....kinda. Well 20 minutes till arrival. Tick tock tick tock. I'm really excited to see Emily. I've missed her while she partied hard in sin city. Haha its always fun when you first see the person you're waiting on, come through the arrival gate from the plane. I can barely contain my excitement. Although my buddy Dan made me promise I would never again greet him at the airport with the 2 minute long hug followed by uncontrollable crying. He said he looked "gay". All I can say to him is, where's the love man?!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A Pack Mule Named Thorpe

Recently my sister bought a house. Its a nice little place about 20 minutes from her currently apartment, in a recently developed part of the area. I knew it was just a matter of time before moving day would be upon us. Behold, today was the day. I show up at her apartment at 10am ready to start. I walk in expecting to see stacks of packed up boxes, bagged up trash and things ready to roll. Wrong. NOTHING has been done. The place is full of trash, most of her furniture is still there and she has done little to prepare for this big day. I couldn't believe it. It was like we surprised her by showing up and saying "Lets move you today!" Totally unprepaired. So the loading begins. Luckily, her boyfriend, Steve was there to help with a truck and trailer also. We got all the furniture loaded up and taken over to the house along with most the clothes and other junk. Then came the refridgerator she had bought and wanted to take with her. Now, her kitchen is tiny at the apartment and I wondered how the delivery guys got that thing in there. We soon found out, it must have been done by voodoo or something. The fridge was too big to get out of the kitchens doorway! We had to remove both doors of the fridge and still barely squeeze it out. Meanwhile, the house is like an oven and we are all sweat soaked while trying to lug this thing out of the apartment and onto a trailer. We finally get it loaded and over to her houes. Now, time to get it inside. Turns out we have to remove her front door from its hinges AND remove the fridge doors again, just to get it inside! This was exhausting. But, now she's moved in and seems to be happy. She has no drapes or blinds yet on any windows, so it feels like you are a science experiment for all the neighbors to look in and watch. I'll have to post some pics when she gets the place all set up.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Do You Understand the Words Coming Out of My Mouth?!

During a normal day in my job, I wear many hats. One moment, I'll be diagnosing a computers failing hardware, another moment I'll be troubleshooting a network problem, or sometimes helping a user with a simple set up type issue. Today in this case, my phone rings and its a user (employee) who can't log in to his email. No problem, right? Wrong. I can't remember his real name, nor can I use it... so he will be given (deserves) the name Bubba Joe. So, Bubba calls and says in a rather rural accent, "I cant log onto my email". I say, "ok, what is your user name?" (this is a abbreviated format of their first and last name used for logging onto the network and email) He says, "Bubba Joe". I chuckle and say, "no, no sir... your username". He says, "ok, Bubba Joe". I say again, "no... your username, the name you use to log onto your pc in the morning". He says, "Oh ok... that would be Bubba Joe". Now I'm getting annoyed. The guy has worked here for over a year and SHOULD know his computer username. So... one last time I ask, "Sir, I need your network USERNAME so I can help you out here". He then says, "Oh.......(long pause)....... Bubba". At this point I want to scream. Im then forced to just look up his username in our directory, the long way. I connect to his pc screen remotely to see, of all things, he's already logged in. Which tells me he had to know his username in order to even be on his computer!! There is one thing I have learned in this line of work, some people do not posess the intelligence to perform even the simplest tasks on a computer and probably should'nt be allowed to use them. But, those are the same people that give me job security I suppose, so I'll continue to grin and bear it. (sigh)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Check out some of my recent pictures in my gallery! These were all taken with the Canon Digital Rebel 300D. What a great camera!!

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Return of the King!

Ok, maybe not "the King", but me at least. haha After a nice vacation from work... Im back. Its Monday morning and Im at my desk being the good little employee that I am. Now, its time to get caught up on everything I missed last week. Shouldn't be too tough.

My vacation ended quietly last night. No big weekend adventures, no exciting events. Just sat at home with Emily and watched the closing Olympic ceremonies. Woo whooo! Exciting. haha The weather for my vactation was great. Sunny and clear almost every day. And I dont know what happened to the summer here in Texas, but its, well.... gone. The 100+ temps seem to have drifted away and been replaced by high 80's and low 90's. Which is bad for jetskiing on the lake but good for every other activity here. Oh well, time to get back in the groove of everday life. At least I had a good hike in the mountains early last week and I got a lot done on my time off. I'll update more when I have more exciting things to say.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Here is the little speedster that I mentioned in my post below. He was nice enough to stay out and let me get at least 10 feet from him. Then like lighting, he was gone. He must live a quiet and peaceful life on top of Elk Mountain.

Climbing Elk Mountain

So far my vacation has been GREAT! Monday morning at 7:30am I was in my car and driving up to Wichita Falls to visit Brotha James and some other friends. That was pretty much a normal stop. Play some pool, hang out, eat at some old favorite places. Tuesday was the day I was really looking forward to.

James and I were up bright and early and on the road by 9am with my brother Courts. We had all our hiking gear ready and were excited to get up to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge an hour North in Southwest Oklahoma. We arrived about 10:15. Before actually starting our hike, I thought it would be cool to drive up the second highest peak in the refuge called Mt. Scott. At a hight of 2,549 feet, I would'nt call it Mt. Everest but once on top you feel like you are on top of the world. You can see for miles over the mountain range and the vast expanse of nothing. Really a cool feeling! We explored a bit and took some pictures. Then it was back into the car and off to the trail. About 20 minutes later we were parked and getting our gear on. Hiking boots... check, water and gatorade... check, sunglasses... check, camera equipement... check, we seemed ready to roll. Then I remember the night before I had asked James to bring sunscreen because it was a hot, cloudless day. So I say, "James you got that sunscreen?". He replies, "Nope, Im good though... put some on before we left!". DORK!! He was supposed to bring it for everyone, not just him. What a team player. Anyhow, we hit the trail ready to hike thru the 1.1 miles twisting, winding, rugged trail to the top of Elk Mountian. About a 1/4 of the way up, two guys are coming down the trail and stop to tell us about 3/4 the way up there is a buffalo resting on the trail side and to just quietly go around him. The reason for this warning is buffalo aren't like cattle. Getting to close can cause them to feel threatend and they can charge. So, we took note and forged on. A little further up the trail we come across a family of 5 coming down. They say the same thing, keep an eye out for the buffalo. No problem. About half a mile further and we are really starting to sweat. We'd been hiking for about 45 minutes and it felt like id been on a stairmaster for twice that long. But we were having a lot of fun working our way thru the rocky terrain.

I do believe my small "Lewis and Clark" crew had come a bit underprepaired. James had brought nothing to actually carry his water bottle in. So he just had to walk with it in his hands. He had tucked a white towel up under the backside of his white hat to protect his neck from the sun. He kind of looked like someone from the French Foreign Legion. He also wore a dark red T-shirt which had to be hot. Courts, on the other hand, was even less prepared. He didn't wear cargo pocket hiking shorts like the rest of us. He wore long pants!! He had to be cooking by now. Also, he wore his glasses and not his contacts. I heard him complian more than once about the glasses sliding down his face. He also brought nothing to carry his water. I was nice enough to stick it into my backpack. At least he wore hiking boots! Although I would'nt have been surprised if he would have shown up in sandles.

Back to the hike. By this point, we were getting near the half way point. We had taken several rest breaks whenever we came to some trees with shade. But we were still soaked with sweat by this point. All of a sudden, we look up on the ridge about 200 yards ahead of us and we see the buffalo we wer told of. He was just up and grazing on a patch of grass. He starts walking off to our right into a patch of trees. Meanwhile, I was snapping away trying to get a good picture of the giant male Bison. But soon, he was gone. Vanished from site. So we pick up our gear and move out. About 5 minutes up the trail, we are walking and talking and all of a sudden... "SNORT!" I hear the loud sound of a buffalo snorting. Which is what they do when startled and they want to smell what they have encountered. I look up, and about 15 feet from me is that very large buffalo looking at us. While keeping my eyes on him, I tell the guys, "Ok, just stay calm and dont run....." I look over my shoulder to see Courts and James in a full sprint back down the trail we just came up!! Unbelievable. I look back at the buffalo and he just, well... looks bored. He starts walking again, and stops at a grass patch and lays down. I get Courts and James back up to where I was and we move on.

About 30 minutes later, we reach the top of the mountain! There was a nice strong wind blowing and the view was incredible. We started exploring and snapping pictures. I went off my own way and found a cool and very large lizard sunbathing on a large rock. I started snapping pic's of him with my zoom lens. Got some good ones too. After about 30 minutes of doing this, we packed up all our stuff and started the climb down. It probably only took half the time going down. We were able to move much faster. We reached the bottom exhausted and quite hungery. Just past the exit of the refuge was a Burger King. Sounded good to us! A quick stomach refueling stop and we were on our way back to Wichita Falls, an hour South. It was a really fun trip and I got to take lots of great pictures. It was a good thing we got there early, so it was still cool and nice out. Later that afternoon the heat index reached 103F! Too hot for hiking.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


Yesterday, Friday, at 5:01pm my 9 day vacation from work officially started. It was such a relief to walk out the door and know I have so much time off to get caught up on things. Unfortunatly, this weekend so far has been kinda gloomy. Which has delayed jetskiing for the time being. The first adventure of my vacation is planned. Monday morning around 10am I will arrive in Wichita Falls Texas to shoot some photo's of interesting places, and visit Brotha James. From there, we get up early on Tuesday morning and drive an hour north to the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. I should be able to get some really great pictures there with my new camera. I can't wait to try it out! I'll return home that evening and prepare for a late 10:30pm soccer game. Should be an exhausting day.

As for most recent activities, Emily and I saw "Open Water" last night. This is the movie about the couple that goes on a diving trip and the boat mis-counts heads on the boat and leaves while they are still underwater on the dive. They come up and realize the boat has left them in the middle of the ocean! Needless to say, the sharks soon find them and its only a matter of time. But suddenly, the boat captain finds their belongings still on the boat and a huge search for them is launched! Will they reach the couple in time?! Will the sharks have scuba divers for dinner!? Stay tuned for the exciting ending! Ok... just see the movie. I wont tell what happends. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It's Official

Just got word late last week that my buddy Roger has found a place to work as a contract worker..... Uzbekistan! It had come down to one of two places, there or Afganistan. I think he got the safer of the two. He'll be doing technical support for the military while living on an Army base for a year. Rumor has it, he could stand to make as much as $120K for his stint in this dangerous part of the world. I guess as long as he doesn't go on long, desolate hikes thru the remote tribal regions of the country, he'll be ok. I guess this is the best time for him to work as much as he can, read books, watch movies, play video games and sit tight while the months role by. Well Roger, if you read this; Good luck over there. You'd better take a bunch of cool pictures and write home often. Perhaps you can set up a blog like this one, and update it for all us safe, boring folk back here at home. :)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Let the Countdown Begin

In four days I start a week long vacation from work. Woo Whoo! Of course, this week will go extra slow because im looking forward to my time off. But I do know that at 5:01pm on Friday I will be a free man. Well, at least for the following week. I have some adventures already planned. People to see, places to go!

This past weekend was fairly uneventful. Went jetskiing on saturday like usual. Sunday, made a run up to my parents house to visit. Like I said, nothing action packed. Ok, enough boring posts. I'll stop now.

Friday, August 13, 2004

All Aboard!!

The time was here and it was time to help Mike and Cheryl load up their U-Haul rental truck for their move to Galveston, Texas. Emily and I arrived about 7 and I began helping Mike carry out peices of sectional couch and the bed. Loading all their stuff into a fairly small rental truck was like playing a giant game of Tetrus. But, we got it all in there. We were later joined by Mandy and her new friend, who I can't remember the name of off hand. But he was cool and he help carry stuff out, so glad he showed up! I have to express my disapointment in one of our friends. Therese, you let us down. Cheryl and Mike kept asking me if I had heard from you or if you were coming out to help or even to say bye. I told them you were coming late. You never showed. =( Im sure you had your reasons. Now they are gone, moved south... and your chance to say good luck and good bye has passed.

Anyhow, they are on their way to a new life on the island in south Texas. Should be a lot of fun for them. I'll be visiting them soon and take lots of pictures to share. It was a nice moving/going away party last night. One of the best parts of the night came when it was time to clean out the refridgerator. They couldnt take all the food with them, so they gave me chips, icecream and other dishes they couldn't take with them! Free snacks! haha

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A Time to Party

This past Saturday, my friend Mike graduated from college. So, of course, we had to party that night! His dad and some other family had also flown into town to attend the event. It was a good time. The evening finished off with everyone heading down to Fry Street (bar district) and Mikey boy getting his fill of celebratory drinks. I heard he gave some of it back to his lawn later that night. But thats another story I suppose. haha

Not too much else happening this week. Im counting down the days till my next scheduled vacation. Im taking a week off soon, so another 9 days of freedom and fun for me! Where will I go? What will I do? Plans are in the works, thats all I can say. :)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

About Time

For the past year and a half Ive resisted the urge to buy a new printer for my home computer. Well I finally broke down and picked up one last night. I got the HP 1350v. It's a scanner/copier/printer combo with front ports for all types of memory cards. Its pretty sweet. Prints out nice color 8 X 11's too! Not bad for $125. Yeah, not a very exciting post. But I just wanted to mention it. :) Im happy I finally got a printer.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Second Time's a Charm!

It's time again for Tuesday night soccer. For the second time this season we were matched up against the Dragons. Now, this is the team we beat 15-0 a few weeks ago. They haven't won a game and we didn't want this to be their first win. Besides, we needed this win to stay in 2nd place. When I arrived at the game, I found out we would be missing one of our better players, Cody. He was out of town. As game time neared, it seemed hardly any of our team was showing up! When the whistle blew to start the game, we had only one subsitute on the bench. Not looking good. Thats when Ken spotted a couple players who are on our reserve roster. I got them suited up and now we had 3 subs. Much better. It was a lower scoring game, but we still managed to come out on top 6-0. Second game against this team where they couldn't score a goal on us. We played some tight defense! Good job team!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Is it the Red Planet?! Nope, just our good old local moon. I took this on the first night of August, while the moon was low in the sky. Nice shot I say! Besure to read the post below this one about my fun trip to Odessa Texas!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Across the Flatlands

This past weekend, Emily and I packed up our bags and drove 5 hours across the flatlands of west Texas to the distant city of Odessa. First off, just let me say that it is totally mind boggling that we can drive for 5 and a half hours, in a straight line practically, and still be in the same state.

We hit the road right after work on Friday evening. By 11pm, we were rolling up in the driveway of her parents house in Odessa. We were so exhausted! But, excited to be there. Emily was excited to be there because it's her home town and she gets to see her family and friends. I was excited (and quite nervous) because I was getting to meet her parents for the first time! After arriving, getting settled in and some drinks and snacks we all sat down at the kitchen table to talk and introduce. I quickly felt very comfortable at her house. Her parents turned out to be some of the nicest people I have met in a long time. It was a big relief. All the scary things she had told me, turned out to be false. Ha! About midnight everybody went to bed and I was out like a light.

Saturday was a busy day. First we all drove over to Emily's grandparents house so I could meet them. Her grandma and grandpa were also very friendly to me. He joked with me about not going too fast on my jetski with Emily riding on the back. I assured him I was very careful while riding on the lake with his grandaughter. ;) Hey... I am! We left their house and went to eat at a local restaraunt called "Taco Villa". It kind of reminded me of a Taco Bell but with better food. Emily had raved about this place the entire drive to Odessa. I ordered a couple soft chicken taco's and a challupa. I'll have to admit, it was pretty good fast food Tex-Mex. Id probably choose it over the local Taco Bell most any time. Although I wouldn't quite rave about it like Emily did. :) From there, the day got really interesting. We followed a poorly drawn map given to her by her friend, to a skydiving place out in the middle of nowhere. Two of her friends were going to be skydiving for the first time. Arriving, we expected to see a sharp, clean establishment with new planes and equipment. Buzzz.... wrong. Although they were professional about the subject, it looked like a crop-dusting business run out of a barn! Besides the owner, the rest of the employee's were barely 21. Even the pilot! I had brought my DRebel with me and I was snapping away the entire time. I probably took 80 pictures during the event. It was really cool to see the both of them jump out of the plane and float down to the ground. Ive gone blank at this moment and cant remember their names! Im sorry!! Wait... .I think it was Shannon and Alisha. haha Alisha went first. She landed picture perfect. Shanon was looking good, then... she just kind of crumpled to the ground. Not hard. Just tumbled forward. She wasnt hurt and it really was kinda funny. They helped her up and she dusted off and was just fine. From there we headed home to relax and have some pizza with her family.

Sunday, we were all up early and preparing to go somewhere I had not been in almost 18 years.... church. I was wrong... the building didn't burst into flames and satan himself didn't break thru the floor to tell me hello when I walked into the church. Ha! The service was longer than I remember. Back in the day when I was a child going to the catholic church, we were in and out of the place in 45 minutes, despite all the sitting, kneeling and standing. This church service lasted about an 1.5 hours. Didn't seem that long though. It was a fairly entertaining service. From there me and her family gathered at another restaraunt she had been really talking up, called "Roses Cafe", I think. This was a Tex-Mex restaraunt that was somewhere in between fast food and sit down food. I got a taco salad and I liked this food a bit better than the Taco Villa place. It was good stuff! Two thumbs up. :) Her family knows how to pick the tasty places to dine in town. After that we headed home to pack, get cleaned up and prepare for the long drive home. This was my first time to Odessa Texas. Although VERY different from anywhere Ive ever lived, it really was a nice town with a vibe of its own. The scenery around the city was pretty incredible. It was flat, as far as you could see... to the horizon. A few tree's speckled the scene, but overall it was flat and barren. Well, with the exception of the literally hundereds of "pump-jacks", pumping oil from the ground everywhere. Most people would say this is boring scenery. To me, it was kind of exciting. This was a landscape I had never seen before. Given more time, I would have gone out exploring across this vast expanse.

The drive back wasn't too bad. We were home by 8pm and tired. I got unpacked, cleaned up and crashed in bed to get ready for work the next day. Ugg

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I found this picture on the web. He's not one of mine. But this just shows how resourceful these little guys can be!

A Week's Recap

Yeah, so my last post was over a week ago talking about Dan's marathon mud run.  I hadn't felt I had anything really worthy of posting on here.  Nothing's worse than posting a bunch of garbage about nothing that has happened.  Well, ok there are worse things.  But I dont want it to get dull here, ya know?! 

So last weekend Brotha James from the big metropolis of Wichita Falls comes for a visit.  It had been fairly cool and rainy outside, so the good old jetski had to stay in its parking place this time.  Bummer.  James brought his Xbox with him.  Id never played an Xbox, so I thought... sure, why not.  He also brought a football game called ESPN NFL 2K5.  I'll have to admit, it was a pretty fun game.  High in detail and lots of plays to pick from.  We loaded it up and within a couple minutes, my Chicago Bears were ready to rumble.  He beat me the first game, 27-14.  Four turn-overs cost me.  But, I now had learned the controls and was ready for a rematch.  Second game... I killed him.   haha  I think the score was like 39-7.  He wasnt happy, so we played again.  Once again, Thorpe wins.  By this time, James is getting upset.  So we switch to Tiger Woods golf.  This was a closer matchup.  I only beat him once out of like 3 skins games.  James was all smiles again.  This went on for most of Saturday night.  He was scheduled to stay until Monday morning.  But then Sunday night came along.  We decided to go out and rent Major League Baseball 2004 for the Xbox.  First game, my Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox.  James loses, but its close... 13-9.  He demands a rematch but "tells me" I cant use the Cubbies.  I see where this is going already.  So I choose the Chicago White Sox.  He, goes with the Texas Rangers.  This is where things got ugly.  In the seventh inning, down 4-3, with the bases loaded, James decided to sub out his pitcher.  The new pitcher comes onto the field.  James looks at me and says, "I hope you're ready for this guys fast ball!".  Here's the pitch.... BOOM!  I hit a Grand Slam so far out of the park, its probably still going.  haha  James finishes the game and decides he wants to go home that night.  So, at 10:30pm, he packs his bags and drives the 2 hours back to Wichita Falls.  James, if you're reading this.... don't be a sore loser and bring your Xbox over unless you're prepared to take a beating.  You got that!!?   :) 

Tuesday night arrives and its another big game in my soccer league.  We played another new, young team of players called "Team Ram-Rod".  They were in 3rd place but we knew they'd put up a good fight.  And they did.  The entire first game was a defensive battle, ending in a 0-0 score.  Both teams had good scoring chances, but just couldn't put it away.  Second half starts and I'm on the first rotation in.  During a scramble infront of our goal one of our defenders clears the ball deep past half field.  Me and one of their defenders race for the ball, which is now traveling down the wall.  Since he was a bit closer, he beats me there by a step.  But, my shoulder charge knocks him off balance.  He spins his body around to shield me off the ball and I begin trying to steal it away fast before he has full control.  I quickly see he is going to use his right foot and pull the ball back and around me.  I reach around with my right leg and sweep the ball away from him as he turns.  He falls the to turf with a heavy thud and screams to the ref for the foul.  I push the ball past him expecting to hear the whistle at any second.  But... no whistle!  Its now a break away with just me and the goalie.  I pour on the speed knowing that defender is going to be on his feet, angery and wanting to stop me at all costs.  I get within about 10 yards of the goalie and he starts to come off his line towards me.  I push the ball to my left foot and quickly flick it to the near corner as the goalie was starting to approach.  He falls to his left, expecting me to shoot to the far corner, while the ball rolls into the back of the net!  Goal!  After that, the scoring opened up.  It was a back and forth game, they matched each of our goals with their own.  Finally, we pulled away and won it 5-3.  A very exciting game and a big win keeping my team in 2nd place and on course for the championship game at seasons end. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

FUNNY MOMENT IN HISTORY #2453 - Dan runs a military style endurance race through grueling mud, water and hills. But for some reason, out of 5000 runners in the event, Dan is the only one who chose to wear full military fatigues! This unfortunatly resulted in Dan having to carry an extra 45 pounds of mud and water in his pants for the entire 6 mile event and finishing mid-pack. Ah, he had so much potential... if only he too had worn his bikini.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Big Game, Big Win!

Tonight my soccer team was scheduled to play a new team to our division.  Although we had not played them before, they already had a reputation as a tough team to beat.  They had already defeated our divisions league champions from last season.  This... was no easy feat.  The team was the varsity players from a local high school.  It was said they had all played together for 3 years and were in top physical shape. 

Well the game starts and in the first 2 minutes of play, I score 2 goals!  Both well placed shots found the back of the net and gave us an early surprise lead.  Our advantage didnt last long.  Late in the first half, they tied it up, 2-2.  But my team continued to fight, scoring 2 more goals just before half time giving us a small cusion.  The second half was much tighter.  They went into an all out attack to even the score, but with each attack, we defended well.  Actually this is the best defense Ive ever seen my team play.  Passing lanes clogged, two defenders infront of them anytime they had the ball and Steve our goalie all over the place making saves!  The night was ours with the game ending 5-3!  At the end of the game, the other team seemed a bit shocked.  Walking around with looks on their faces saying, "what just happened?".  I'll tell you what happend... you got out played.  To give them credit though, it was an extremely tough game.   

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Gotta Go!

Recenly, Emily loans me several issues of a magazine called "National Geographic Adventure".  It's a magazine for the outdoors hiker, camper, canoe'r, rock climber and general explorer type of person.  The issues are filled with "how to's", "how to get there's" and "when to go's".  They are also filled with beautiful pictures of what you will see once at these destinations.  After reading almost all of the magazines in one weekend, I have come up with a list of places in the U.S. that are on my Must See list in the coming years. 
First  Stop: The Appalachain Trail.  This 2,174 mile "walking" trail winds from Northern Maine down into Georgia.  Now, I have no intensions to walk freakin two-thousand miles.  For those who accomplish this, it can take up to a year!  Id be happy to conquor 200 miles of this challanging trail.  For me, this is the most do'able quest.  Im an experienced camper and hiker, familiar with woodland survival skills and have most the equipment already.  After a quick call to my buddy Dan in Cali, he was on board with the idea too.  Plans for a March 2005 trip are slowly begining.  Stay tuned over the coming months as I update how planning progress'.  Odd's are, we'll pick up a third hiker to our party.  You know... someone to use as a human shield for the bears.  hahahaha
Second Stop: Alaska.  This place is a photographers dream!  Where else can you see glaciers, forrests and wild rivers?  Definatly not Texas.  No plans in the mix for this one, but it definatly wont be forgotten. 
Third Stop:  Hawaii.  How can I hit Alaska without going South to see the other remote US state?  For those that don't know, Hawaii was where most of Jurassic Park were filmed.  The mountains and giant waterfalls, lava fields and miles of beaches should make for another great photog location.  When I go there, it probably wont be in for form of wearing a backpack, boots and carrying a canteen.  Most likely I'll be in a colorful shirt, shorts with no shoe's laying on a beach with my shades.  Ha!  So much to see there.  Dan went there this past summer.  His pic's were really great.  Im sure I could talk him into going again. 
Forth Stop:  The Grand Canyon.  Not only do I want to drive up to the edge of this little "creek" and take pictures... I want to go down into it and ride one of those boats down the river.  Every picture I've seen of this place is incredible!  A mile across, thousands of feet deep... what an adventure!! 
Who know's how long it will take me to make it to all these places.  But they are on my check list and on my radar now.  It would be awesome to make it to all of them in the next 10 years.  We can only wait and see.