Friday, February 28, 2014

You don't know your own strength...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folk!

Sitting in Belle tire with Mama Bear, tires for her car and brakes for mine...
Really I don't know why, I rarely use them!!! Lol.

Went to the doctor yesterday, got drops for my eyes,
MUCH better!!!

When Kathy and I first got married we rescued a little mixed breed puppy we named Suzy.

She was abandoned when her family moved and just left her behind to fend for herself.

Not sure of what her exact lineage was, but long haired dachshund played a major roll in her makeup!

Anyway, like most rescued pets, she was a real lover.
She always he'd to be next to or on you wherever you were.

The one place she was NOT allowed was on our waterbed.

Not just because I worried her nails might sometime puncture the mattress, but also she was little and I didn't want her hurt if I rolled over on her.

Well, that lasted as long as it took for Kathy to come down with the flu.

I went back into the bedroom where Kathy was resting, and there was Suzy curled up against her chest.

"What's this?" I asked as Suzy tried her best to be invisible.

"It's just while I'm sick....she's comforting me..." Kathy said.

"You KNOW she's gonna want to be up here all the time now right?"

"No she won't....she's a good dog.."

Well, she was!

From that point on Suzy would wait until I was asleep before jumping up onto the bed. As, if I was awake I'd shoo her down.

Now let me say up front, I am not against dogs sleeping on the bed...

What I objected to mostly was Suzy's habit of coming all the way up and curling up on the pillows between our heads.

And I always got the ass end of that deal.

Suzy had a long feathered tail, and the fan would inevitably blow that hair across my face...ticking me and waking me up. Being a light sleeper anyway this annoyed the shit out of me.

Now anyone that has ever slept in a waterbed with another person knows, the heavier person sinks deeper in the bed, elevating the lighter persons side.
And seeings how I had 150 lbs. on Kathy, she always slept at the top of a "hill".

One night I was awakened...again...by dog hair to the face.

As I reached up to brush the hair away, my hand brushed Suzy's butt. Angry at being awakened again, I cupped her butt with my hand and pushed, she didn't move! Now REALLY pissed off, I shoved her...harder than I should have...as I said:

"Suzy, get DOWN!!!"

Except it wasn't Suzy's butt...

It was Kathy's head!!!

I shoved her right down the other side of her "hill" and right out of bed and onto the floor!!!

She sat up looked around bewildered and said sleepily.

"What happened?!?"

Figuring now was not the time to tell her I just shoved her out of bed by the head....

"Aw baby, you must have fallen out of bed....come on back in, I'll put my arm around you so it doesn't happen again." 

She came back to bed, snuggled in and was out again.

The next day I came clean and told her the whole story...

She said "It's a good thing that wasn't Suzy, you'd have killed that poor dog shoving her that hard..."

"Well she didn't budge when I was gentle...and in my defense I was half asleep!"

"I keep telling you," she said "you don't know your own strength!"

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sorry, not interested...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Ah what fresh hell is this?!?!
Viral conjunctivitis, caused by my head cold claims the Doc.
I look like an albino bunny my eyes are so red!
Itchy, crusty, scratchy, burny, sensitive to light!!! 
Yay what fun! 
Left work early last night(which I rarely do), amid a chorus of "Jesus, you look like shit!" to get a first thing this AM appointment.

Got a prescription for drops, hope they help!

Saw this sign here No Soliciting signs
I'm seriously thinking of buying one...

I swear these people don't know the meaning of the word "No"! Oh how I envy those that live on a mountain top, or so deep in the boondocks as to be unassailable by these nitwits!

Honestly, when the first thing I say to you when I open the door and see "Weatherguard Windows" on your jacket is "I not interested, thanks!".

Understand that there is NOTHING you can say to me other than "I'm giving this shit away for free!!!" that will entice me to listen to a word you have to say!!!

I once fell for the "We'll give you a free carpet cleaning if you'll allow me to demonstrate our new household appliance."

Not knowing what I was getting myself into, until he grabbed the Kirby Vacuum cleaner box he had surreptitiously hidden around the corner until I agreed.

So instead of a certificate for a carpet cleaning he used the Kirby to do it right then.

When he was through with his Demo, he asked if I would buy it, "No," I said " I'm not interested"

"Ok," he replied " let me set my box on your front porch so my boss will know to pick me up."

So his boss shows up, an attractive woman in her late 20's or early 30's and asks what we thought of the demo? Were we impressed?

Yes, we assured them but still don't want it, can't afford it, won't be buying it.

"What if I told you it could cost you as little as .33¢ a day?"

"I'd say I still don't want it..." I said

OK OK, I understand....could I use your restroom? I'm afraid my coffee went right through me."

"Sure" says Kathy "let me show you where it is.."

When Kathy comes back she's laughing and shaking her head. Evidently this was can ruse to get Kathy alone to try to get her on their side. With the "Who's really in charge here?" And "You can get him to get it for you can't you?"

She replied with "You obviously don't know my husband!"

When she came back she again tried the hard sell.

Said she could reduce the payment to .17¢ a day...
When I told her it was still too much for something I don't want.

Then she says "Well what are we supposed to do with this machine? We can't sell it as new NOW!!!"

"That is really not my problem, you came to ME asking if you could DEMONSTRATE an appliance...not try to force me to buy something I don't want. Now I've been more than patient and polite, and I have places to go so I'll have to ask you to leave now."

"But sir you..."

"LOOK, you've got to the count of 5 to get your shit and get out of my house or I will physically PUT you out, understand me?"

"There's no reason to..."

"1" I said standing up.

"This is ridiculous..."

"2" I walked to the door.

"You wouldn't..."

"3" I opened the door

At this point Kathy offered.
 "I suggest you hurry, he IS serious"

"4" 

They made a mad scramble to grab everything between the two of them and rush out the door

"5" I said as I slammed the door behind them!!!

That was 25 years ago, and no less than 5 more times have Kirby people tried that same scam on me...

Except now before they even get started I say "Kirby?"

They nod yes.

"Sorry, not interested..."

Be Well!

Beastly Bear








Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tears and rolls...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Gonna be brief today...the head cold from hell has returned! Head is clogged and bleary eyed!

Back in the summer of '91 Mama Bear was pregnant with our soon to arrive Princess Bear.

It was a hot August day, a l-o-n-g hot August day!

The baby was due in a month or so and Kathy was more than ready to be done.

I had done a local run that day and got home just about the time Kathy did.

It was heaven stepping into the air conditioning after humping boxes off a 48 foot easy bake oven of a trailer all day. And being pregnant, Kathy no longer complained that it was "too cold" in the house...

She changed out of her work clothes into more comfortable loose fitting clothing.

We relaxed a little and discussed what we had that would fit within The "Rules" for dinner.

Once a menu was decided on I went to the kitchen and started cooking...

As I went along I called into the other room:
"You want some rolls with dinner?"

"Sure," she replied "but I think we used up the last of them Sunday night. I'll run up and get some."
(We had a store just a couple blocks away)

"I don't want you to have to go to the store...we can do without."

"No, now that you got me thinking about them I WANT rolls!" She said.

And off she went.

Ten minutes later she was back, put one tube of rolls in the fridge, and the other on the counter.

Having already preheated the oven I set to popping the tube, arranging them on the cookie sheet and sliding the into the oven.

As I cooked, I kept up a steady stream of conversation with Kathy telling her about my day....when I realized she hadn't answered me in a while.

I stuck my head around the corner, no Kathy!
I walked into the soon to be babies room, no Kathy!
Down the hall I went, not in the bathroom...I was running out of trailer!

As I walked into the bedroom, she was laying on the waterbed.

"Hey, I was talking to myself out there...what're ya doing?" I asked.

As she turned to face me I could see she was in the middle of a good cry.

"What's the matter Babe?"

"I don't know....I'm just SAD! WAAAAaaaaah!"
She answered

"What, was there a REALLY long line for rolls??"
That got a chuckle out of her...the worst was over.

"Well stay back here as long as you need, I'll call ya when dinners ready..OK?"

"Ok" she sniffles

"Unless you want me to stay...."

"No, go ahead...don't ruin dinner over me" she said.

So I went back and finished dinner, by the time it was done she had nodded off and I had to wake her to eat.

We still chuckle today about the "Sad Rolls"...
thankfully there are no more tears!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Old habits...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Back before Princess Bear was born, it was just Mama Bear, Tasha the wonder dog and I.

Along with help from a friend I had converted my gas grill to use Natural Gas, so I never had to worry about running out of propane.

As a consequence we cooked on the grill all year long!

In fact it was our preferred method of cooking. 
One thing that always annoyed me (and still does) was how hotdogs, bratwurst, and kielbasa always came 6 or 10 to a package, yet buns always came 8! I've never been able to decide who perpetrated this conspiracy upon the American people...but if I could get that guy alone in a room for just five minutes....but I digress.

Because it was just the two of us, we were able to get more than one meal out of, say kielbasa. I'd have 2, Kathy was good with one and we'd have baked beans with them. A pack of ten was good for three meals!

I had grilled up a package of kielbasa, warmed up the beans...and put dinner together on our plates.

We seldom ate in the dining area of our trailer, as it doubled as my reloading area, and later as my computer room, as well as housing our dining table and chairs. So TV trays were the order of the day most nights.

So as I dished dinner and got drinks, Kathy had set up the trays and gotten the silverware and napkins. 
The remainder of the kielbasa went on a diner plate to cool, and were pushed to the back of the counter well out of reach of Tasha.

Kathy took her plate and drink, I did the same and we set in the family room to eat and watch the news.

Tasha, who had been laying in the front bay window surveying her domain padded into the room to see what she could mooch. She made a circuit of the room, then uncharacteristically went back to her window like she heard something out front she needed to check out.

Tasha, as well as being way too smart for her own good was also quite athletic. She could leap straight up in the air, to be caught in my arms at chest level! So jumping up into the bay window was no problem for her.

After a minute or so I heard her jump down, go to her water dish to get a drink.

She then jumped up on the couch and sat next to me.
I looked over at her, sitting at about my height and said:
"Decided to join us, eh?"
I had leaned towards her when I was talking to her and she gave me a quick lick.
"Quit," I told her "I'm eating here!"
That is when she looked at me, and burped.

Not a dainty, ladylike burp either...a big old frat boy burp that smelled suspiciously like....KIELBASA!!!!

"You didn't?!?"

I jumped up off the couch, and rushed into the kitchen. What I was in such a hurry for I don't know, if my suspicions were true it was already too late.

There sat a perfectly clean, and empty dinner plate where once rested 7 perfectly grilled kielbasa.

I swear to God, her recon trip through the family room had probably been to count how many we had...and calculate there were some left!

As I came back around d the corner, she looked at me and knew...the quasi smile vanished, she hung her head and slunk off the couch and back to the bedroom.

"How many did she get?" Kathy asked

"All of them..."

"No way...how did she reach them?"

"She must have leapt up onto the counter, that's the only way!"

From that point on, whatever didn't go on our plates went into the microwave until it was cool enough to put away.

She's been gone nine years now, and it's still a habit ingrained in us. We did have her for 16 years...those old habits are hard to break!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear





Monday, February 24, 2014

Carry on ladies...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Howdy Folks!

*heavy sigh* Well, it's Monday again....
And once again my retirement numbers did not materialize so it's off to work again today for me.

Ladies, today's blog is aimed mainly at you.
Every day on the news I see women attacked, raped, sometimes killed...and my blood boils.

Men that prey on women are cowardly pieces of shit, period.

Ladies what I'm asking you to do today is to arm yourselves!

"But Bear," you say "I don't like guns!" Or  "I don't have time to train" or "I have small children in the home" or "Don't I need to go through a lot of red tape?"

Well calm down ladies...I'm not talking about a gun.
(Though I think you should get one!)

The first thing you need to do is to arm yourself with:
AWARENESS.

Be aware! As you leave a store...pay attention to who walks out when you do. If you're getting a hinky "vibe" off somebody, TRUST IT! That's your sub conscious warning you that you are on a predators radar.

Have your keys in your hand BEFORE you walk out, don't stop at your car to dig through that suitcase you call a purse to try and find them, while you do you are vulnerable.

Pay attention to the cars/people near your vehicle. Are people lingering when they shouldn't be? The vehicle parked next to yours, is it empty? Are the doors not fully closed?

I see so many women leaving stores and restaurants, walking head down talking on their cells, oblivious.
Heads up! Look around! Be aware!

Second: carry a knife...ON YOU!

I am constantly amazed how few women even OWN a knife, let alone have one close to hand.

WHY, WHY, WHY?!?

There is no more useful piece of equipment when the shit hits the fan than a knife. 

Yes, a gun will keep you from being abducted...and I fully advocate carrying, but once you have been taken a knife will allow you to cut your bonds and defend yourself up close and personal.

The first thing an abductor will do is separate you from your purse, because he knows that is where you keep your phone/mace/whistle whatever might help you.

This is why you must carry it on your person!

As very few women do, you will then have the element of surprise.

"But Bear," you ask "where will I carry it? Some of my pants don't even HAVE pockets!"

True, but you all wear a bra! There are very light weight, thin knives available with a clip on the side that will clip right between the cups. Resting there unobtrusively until needed.
Or with the removal of three screws, ultra thin to slide into a front or rear pocket.

In defense of your life, a hard deep slash to either side of the neck to sever the Carotid artery, under the arm blade facing up cut deep the inside of the arm severing the Axillary artery. Or deep cut to the inner thigh to sever the Femoral artery.

When not in defense of your life, you can cut ropes, tape, electrical wires, or zip ties. It can be used to jimmy a door. Loosen dirt, dig through walls. Cut clothing for bandages. Sharpen a stick/broom handle into a makeshift spear.

When you carry a knife for self defense, use it only for that purpose. Make sure it's razor sharp, and keep I that way by not opening boxes etc. with it. Buy an everyday knife for that.

Before you carry, check your local/State laws as everywhere differs on length of blade allowed to be carried concealed on your person, but even an 1½ blade is useful! Of course carrying on a plane is forbidden so you'll have to pack it in your checked baggage if flying.

There may not be a sheepdog around when the wolves show up, defend yourselves ladies.

Carry one!

And carry on Ladies!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Movie Night...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

REALLY late today...

Kathy and I went to see "3 Days to Kill" today, the new Kevin Costner film.

If you are an action film buff, and I tell you it is based on a story by Luc Besson...you know what you're in for.

For those of you less "in the know" let me explain. You have all probably seen a Luc Besson film, you just don't know it...examples? Ok...
"The fifth Element"
"Léon: The Professional"
"The Transporter" 1, 2, and 3
"Le Femme Nikita" movie & TV series
"Point of No Return"
"Columbiana"
"Taken" 1 & 2
"The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc"
"From Paris With Love"
"The Big Blue"
These are but the English language films he has been a part of...not to mention his French film credits.…

Check any of them out, to get your "action" fix!

Getting back to "3 Days to Kill"!
Kevin Costner plays aging CIA operative Ethan Renner, who has abandoned his wife and daughter in an attempt to insulate them from his violent life.

Forced to retire, and given but a short time to live due to illness he is determined to spend what time he has left with his family, who are now living in Paris.

As you can imagine his reception is frosty at best...
He convinces his estranged wife(Connie Neilsen) to let him back into their lives once she learns he's dying.
With, but one caveat...that he is done working

Assuring her he is, he sets out to reconnect with his now teenage daughter(Hailee Steinfeld).

Enter "ViVi"(Amber Heard) a top CIA operative that offers him a deal...help her find and kill "The Wolf"
in exchange for an experimental drug which may save his life.  

The scenes between Costner and Steinfeld are alternately frustrating and touching...as he slowly wins her over.

Of course car chases, gun fights and explosions ensue.
Every time he almost achieves his goal, victory is snatched from his hands.

Another mark of Luc Besson films is humor interspersed amongst the violence...cheifly between a mid level crook Costner needs info from...as well as advice on how to handle his teenage daughter...as the crook has teenage twin girls!

Paris itself is as much a character in the films as the actors. From the cobblestone streets to the Eiffel Tower, the city of lights is on full display.

I won't spoil the movie for you, but if you're familiar with the formula I'll bet you can figure how things turn out.

As with most movies of this type, it's not the destination so much as the journey to get there.

We enjoyed it, and I think you would too...
Come date night, you could do a lot worse.

Happy viewing!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Askholes...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Askhole: a person that asks you advice, then completely ignores it.

I used to have a friend, "used to" being the operative term, we'll call him Mr. A.

One day Mr. A gives me a call to ask my advice.
"I want to buy my wife a gun so she can go shooting with me, and for home defense."

Mr. A sought out my advice, I believe for two reasons.
1) I used to work at a sporting goods store, and sold weapons for a living.
2) I'm a Concealed Weapons Carrier, and shooting enthusiast. I shoot, have competed with, and hunted with handguns.

So, my advice to Mr. A was this:
" Most women that are inexperienced in the use of guns are best served by getting them a .22, either a revolver because they are dead simple to work with minimal moving parts or if she can handle something a little more complex .22 auto's are a great choice!"

"Well, I want her to be able to defend herself and the kids with it if need be... isn't a .22 too small for that?"

Ah ha, I've seen this COUNTLESS times before.
The boyfriend/husband brings the girlfriend/wife in to get a gun, except she is just the "excuse" he is using to buy himself a new gun. When they want to see a double stack magazine 9mm she can barely get her hand around, let alone be able to shoot accurately without HOURS of training and hundreds of rounds of ammo, despite recommendations otherwise...I'm sure!

"Not at all," I explained "more people are killed every year by .22's than any other caliber. A hit with a .22 is far better than a miss with a .44 magnum she's scared to death of."

"What about a .380 or a 9mm?"

"Of course larger bullets are more effective, but the blast, recoil, and action of one of those will scare her and then she won't want to shoot...which is what you want. The small size of .380's compounds the problems by concentrating the recoil into a smaller area of her hand, and the smaller grip makes the harder to hold onto, and because they are designed to be concealable the generally have crappy sights which makes them harder to shoot well. 9mm's are larger with better sights but the size of the grip is too larger for most women as most 9's these days have double stack magazines. I'm telling you, get her a .22 she'll love shooting it, ammo is cheap, she'll be more accurate with it, which will build her confidence...which is what you want."

When we ended the conversation we had discussed different models, in different price ranges, and the pros and con's of different action types. With my final admonition to have her handle the guns herself, and pick the one that feels best in her hand. Easy breezy.

So a couple days go by and he calls me to ask if he and the wife could come over? I said sure, come on...

When they came in his wife was carrying a pistol size gun case.

"Well, we got her a gun...show him honey."

She unzips the gun case and pulls out a Ruger Blackhawk with a 7½" barrel, in .357 magnum!

WTF????
This is a gigantic pistol!

The antithesis of EVERYTHING we discussed! This gun was wrong for her for more reasons than I could count, the biggest being it is a single action. That means that every time you want the gun to fire you must cock the hammer, first....every...time...
Put yourself in a self defense situation where time is measure in tenths of a second...high stress...even if she remembers the first time...will she have time for another?!?

He looks at me, gives a shrug and says "It's what she wanted.." Yeah, right...

Well, done is done...
"Ok," I tell him "if you don't want her terrified of that cannon, do this:

  • Do NOT take her to an indoor range! The concussion inside will cause her to flinch, and jump. Take her to an outdoor range.
  • Do NOT buy magnum ammo for that gun!!! .357's can shot .38 specials. Buy 148 grain wadcutter ammo. It is VERY light noise/recoil and will get her used to shooting it. Then you can gradually increase the power of the ammo if you want, but the wadcutters will suffice for home defense.
  • Make sure you make her wear shooting muffs, not just earplugs. 

So a week or so goes by...when I get another call.

"Well, I took her shooting...or tried..."

"What happened?" I asked feeling sure I already knew.
"Where'd you guys go?"

"Bass Pro Shop"

"So an indoor range, like I told you not to....what ammo did you buy?"

"158 grain .357 magnum Jacketed hollow points."

"Why in the HELL would you do that?!?"

"The guy there said it was the best self defense ammo..."

"Well, #1 it's not...though I'm sure it WAS the most expensive! And #2 it's the exact opposite of the power spectrum from...oh never mind, what happened?"

"She took one shot, put it down and said 'FUCK THAT'! Took out her earplugs and left the range."

"EARPLUGS?!?! BUT I..." Oh screw it...

Why even ask if you're going to do the opposite of everything I tell you?

WHAT AN ASKHOLE!!!





Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear










Friday, February 21, 2014

Wouldn't it be great...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Well our big "warm up" and rain was a big disappointment!!! Didn't even melt the little bit of crap left on the driveway.

Wouldn't it be great to be a Weatherman?
I mean think about it...
In what other job can you be consistently WRONG, 
and still keep your job?!?

If you're a truck driver, and you keep delivering to the wrong place...fired!
If you work in billing, and you send the wrong people bills...fired!!
If you're a waitress and you keep screwing up orders...fired!!!
If a car salesman tells keeps telling people their car will cost $30,000.00 "out the door" but when you sign the paperwork it's $45,000.00...fired!!!!

But if you're a Weatherman:
"Gonna be sunny today folks!", and it rains...."oops".
"It's gonna rain folks, bring an umbrella!", it snows..."oops".
"We expect a light dusting of snow!", 12" later..."oops".
"It's gonna be the "Storm of the Century" folks!!!", nothing happens..."oops".

Is it any wonder nobody trusts them?
Why nobody listens when they issue evacuation orders??

They might as well just throw their hands in the air and say "Beats me folks!!!" at least that would be honest!

Meteorologist? You might as well get a degree in Philosophy, at least then you could ponder that there are really no wrong answers!!!

Be careful out there...it's gonna be windy....or not!

Well that's my 2 cents this Friday morning!!!

Be well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How do you know that???

Den of the Beastly Bear

Howdy Folks!

I am constantly surprised and amazed at the differences between the memory of men and women.

I am a trivia encyclopedia...not intentionally, it just seems I know at least a little bit about a lot of different things.

Whenever I go to a bar/restaurant with the trivia games on the TVs, I play along and often win...

Recently Kathy and I were at Buffalo Wild Wings, the question came on the screen:
This common term for a
Flat bottomed boat is
also the name for a baby 
carriage in England

"Easy," I said "a Pram!"
Kathy just gave me a look the said "That can't be right"
When it was revealed that 'Pram' was in fact the answer she set her food down and in disbelief asked,
"How do you know that?"

I had no answer...guess I read it or heard it somewhere once. That is the way my memory works...

Like, if I asked you to name this symbol ---> ∞
You would likely answer "Infinity"
You would be wrong!
That is what the symbol "represents"...the name for that symbol is a "Lemniscate".

How do I know that? Read it in a book and committed it to memory, by: picturing lemmings rollerskating off a cliff into the ocean.
Weird? Yeah, but I know it...and you can't take that from me!

For this reason, no one will play Trivial Pursuit against me, or in teams everyone wants me on theirs.

Yet my wife's memory blows mine away....but in different ways.

For instance: I know the date my Father died.
My wife will be able to tell you: what day of the week it was, what the weather was like, what every person in the room was wearing and what we had for lunch that day.

She says I make her feel stupid...
Because I know so much.
She makes ME feel stupid,
Because of all the things that she knows.

I tell her it's not that one of us knows "more" than 
the other, we just "know" different things.
Which is why we make a good team I suppose!

As often as I can pull out some obscure piece of trivia knowledge she can whip out an everyday memory that makes me say:
"How do you know that???"

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Surprise...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Back in '86 Kathy and I had been dating for months.

I got it in my head that we should go on a vacation together. Now I hadn't been on a lot of vacations in my life...it was work, work, work!

One memorable trip from my childhood involved my family driving to Florida when I was 5. 

A big part of what I remembered was stopping at Rock City/Lookout Mountain in Georgia. I had also wanted to see Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

So I asked her if she'd like to take about a 7-10 day trip down south with me? She said she'd never been and would love to!

So a date was set, put in for the time off...and off we went! We didn't stay more than a day anywhere...seeing one attraction, driving to the next getting a hotel room near our next stop, and repeat.

In retrospect, we tried to do too much. We should have just picked a destination, driven there and enjoyed!
But we were both new to this vacationing as grownups thing, so what did we know?

We saw Nashville, and some of the museums there. Chattanooga, Mammoth Caves, Rock City, Lookout Mountain, the Blue Ridge Mountains...you name it!!!

One of the ways that we saved money was we took a big cooler and put it in the back seat of Kathy's Sunbird, and kept it full of ice, Pepsi, cold cuts, cheese, fruits anything that traveled easy. So during the day we snacked out of our cooler, at night we went out for dinner.

By the end of our trip, we were about out of cash so we made one last trip to the store to grab some stuff for the 14 hr. drive home. Including a favorite of both of ours, good old Ding Dongs!!! Now depending where you live in the country you may know them as King Dons, Big Wheels or Ding Dongs.

Anyway who didn't love those foil wrapped, cream filled, chocolate covered, chocolate cakes?!?

And COLD??? Get out!!!

So we stocked up, fueled up and headed home.
Being Sept.,it was WARM...even in the car with the air on. We left around 5 in the afternoon, planning to drive all night to get home and have a day off before going back to work.

I did all the driving...as I drove for a living, I didn't mind. Kathy tried to stay awake, but about 1:30-2am she nodded off.

I was driving along, jamming to a Billy Joel cassette when I thought "I'll grab a pop" reaching back into the cooler, the first thing my hand hit was a Ding Dong.
"Oooh, cold Ding Dong! I'll grab one of those too!"

So I opened my Pepsi took a big sip...ahhh refreshing.

I unwrapped the foil from my Ding Dong....man I couldn't wait. I took a big bite and....OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL?!? When I broke through the chocolate shell, my mouth was filled with ice cold chocolate mud!!! The chocolate shell did not cover the cake 100%, and the foil was not waterproof so when the ice melted to water, the Ding Dong absorbed it turning the cake to ice cold goo, while making the cream filling rock hard!!!

Folks, I've got a strong stomach...but the sudden and unexpected splash of goo into my mouth....I almost lost it!!! Gagging I rolled down the window and chucked the nasty thing out.

Around about 3:30 Kathy woke up, asked what state we were in, and turned to grab herself a Pepsi. As she settled back in her seat I noticed she had grabbed a Ding Dong as well....

"You get a Ding Dong?" I asked
"Yeah, they're good and cold!!!" She said "You want one?"
"Naw, I had one earlier..."

Yes, I should have warned her...I know it...but there was a chance the one she grabbed had not been sitting in water like mine. HEY, it' possible!!!

She unwrapped half the foil...being a dainty girl, and took a big bite!

Her eyes widened to the size of saucers, a look of horror covered her face, and the gagging began.

I of course found this just hilariously funny, and was laughing my ass off as she spit what was in her mouth back into the foil and pitched the whole thing out the window...geez I had at least swallowed mine!

"Why...UGH...didn't you...UGH...warn me???"

In between laughs I tried to answer...
"Haha...Surprise...bwahaha...!"

"God...UGH...you're such...UGH...an asshole!"

To this day, all I have to say is "Cold Ding Dong!" and she'll gag again!

Hope your surprises are better than that one!

Be Well!

Beastly Bear





Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't meet your heroes, unless your hero is George R.R. Martin...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Howdy Folks!

About May of 1990 I came across a book called "The Eye of the World" by Robert Jordan...and it rocked my world! I LOVED this book!!! So when I finished it I loaned it to my best buddy Dave, and his reaction was the same!

Little did we know we had started on a journey of 14 books over 23 years!!! Around 1997 I found out Robert Jordan would be attending Dragoncon, (an East Coast Comiccon) as a panelist, discussing his books. He would also be doing book signings.

I got a hold of Dave, reservations were made, tickets bought, and off to Atlanta we went!!!

Back then the event was held over three days, over Father's day weekend in June.

We got in a day before Jordan was to speak, we stayed at the Atlanta Hyatt just a couple blocks from the convention center.

We were beside ourselves getting to meet our literary hero!!!

We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant before heading to the convention center. I needed film for my 35mm camera and went to buy some at the hotel thrift shop while Dave waited in the restaurant. 

As I got to the thrift shop there was a sign on the door "Back in 10 min.", so I set about waiting. As I did a man stepped up beside me, I paid him no mind...just another guy waiting for the store to open.

After a couple of minutes the guy says to me "How long you been waiting?"
"Oh, about 5 min. or so, they should be open any minute."
I was still doing the "elevator" wait...you know just standing, looking straight ahead, but I'd turned my head slightly to respond to my fellow waitee...when I noticed his walking stick. A very distinct walking stick. I'd only seen one like it once before...in the hands of the man I'd flown to Atlanta to see.
  
"Hey, you're Robert Jordan...aren't you?"
I asked.

Instantaneously he went from just another guy waiting for a store clerk to return to....
Super Diva Asshole!!!

"I don't have time to TALK!" he snapped at me "I have a million things to do...and I don't have time for THIS!!!"

At which point he spun on his heel, stomped over to the poor security guard and began berating him about the store being closed and that he was an important man and he had places to be and they were wasting his valuable time etc.,etc.!!! Complete Diva meltdown!!!

About this time the clerk returned and opened the shop.
"Mr. Jordan? They're open..." I offered.
Without even breaking rant, he waved me off turned and stomped off. I gave the security guard a sympathetic look, he just shook his head. I purchased my film and made my way back to Dave to fill him in. He was incredulous to say the least.

When we got to the convention center Dave and I split up, he entered a card game tournament...I headed to the convention room where Jordan was to speak.

As they introduced each author I was in the front row taking pictures. As Jordan stepped out, he made eye contact with me and literally stumbled. I just smiled and waved. Through the whole panel he kept eyeing me like he thought I was going to "out him" in front of everyone.

The book signing wasn't scheduled until around 5 pm so I had plenty of other panels, exhibitions, demonstrations to see. What's funny is I kept running into Jordan all over the convention center.
He might have accused me of stalking him, except that I was always there first, he never said a word to me, but recognized me each time. Also, I never happened to be with Dave when I ran into him...

When we finally got in line for the book signing, it was announced he would sign a maximum of two books, his name only, on the title page no personalization!

His wife Harriet(who also we later learned was his editor) helped by making sure the books were turned to the right page. He was brusque and borderline rude to most everyone. Dave, ahead of me got his books signed...and then it was my turn.

Jordan looked up: "Oh, uh hey...uh sorry about this morning. I always start my day with a newspaper after breakfast...and well, I was in a bit of a rush."
"I understand..." I said
"What's your name?" He asked.
"I'm Joe," I said and pointed to Dave "and this is my buddy Dave...we flew down from Michigan to see you."
"Well, enjoy yourselves..."
As I looked down at my book he'd written:

Joe
Hope you're having a great time at Dragoncon!
Robert Jordan

Wow, he personalized my book! Yay me!
But it kind of left a bitter taste in my mouth, yeah it turned out good for me...but the guy was a jerk. Well maybe he just was having a bad day.

Except:
Over the years I saw Jordan two more times for book signings, once with Dave once on my own and he was an ass to the people at the book stores every time! Without exception he was rude and dismissive of his fans as well. Like he really couldn't be bothered.

Jordan died in 2007 of Cardiac Amyloidosis. Brandon Sanderson was chosen by he and his wife to finish the last 3 books in the series from Jordan's notes.

In 1996, I found another great book! "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin.

Yes, THAT "Game of Thrones"!

But in '96 nobody had ever heard of it. The ONLY author to have ever really supplanted Jordan as a fantasy author!!!

So I gave it to Dave to read, he loved it as much as I did!!!

Christmas was rolling around so I thought I'd get a copy for Dave. First editions were by then sold out everywhere...so I went searching online.

I came across George R.R. Martins website, offering signed first editions for $38! So I sent the website an email about purchasing one.

The next day I got a reply.....
From the man himself!!!

He told me the process, thanked me for being a reader...asked me how I wanted it personalized?!?

What???? You're asking me what I want? Not telling me what you'll do and I can like it or not? What a difference!!!

So I sent him an email explaining it was to be a Christmas gift, and that Dave was my friends name and he had already read my copy and whatever he felt appropriate would be fine.

He wrote me back saying if I really wanted to blow my friend away, book 2 was being released in the UK Dec. 1st.! 3 full months before it would be available here, and Amazon UK would guarantee arrival worldwide by Christmas. So I got Dave both!!!

I maintained an email relationship with him for a couple years, before his popularity necessitated he no longer personally answer correspondence. Dave and I have seen Martin in person twice. Friendly and jovial at EVERY event...chatting with everybody he signs for a couple minutes...what a classy guy!!! He even remembered me, and when I had him sign my foil cover first edition...he said "You know what you've got there don't ya Joe?!?"
I just smiled..."Yes sir I do!!!"
Current signed copies are going for around $1,600.00
You're welcome Dave!  ;-)

So if you must meet one of your heroes, make it George R.R. Martin!!! You won't be disappointed!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear