Well, it's summer...and time to start making those vacation plans!
I like creating memories with my kids, and It had been in my mind for some time to take the kids on a trip I did when I was very young. They're both 'coming of age' as far as the early years go. Charlie is 9, and Theresa is 7; they're becoming their own people...and so it was with that spirit I decided it was 'time' for the trip.
Destination: NIAGARA FALLS, NY
When I was a kid, my Dad loaded us up in an old car with tents and blankets and we camped out near the falls. Even though I was very young, I can still remember that sound. You never forget it, the sound of millions of gallons of pristine water crashing to a misty wonder hundreds of feet below that creates one of the Wonders of the World.
However, this time...older myself and having saved since 2008 for this trip, our journey will be slightly different. Meet The Doud Family RV I have rented for a week this August.
This is the C-Class RV...complete with 2 queen sized beds, 2 full sized beds, a galley, bathroom, shower, fridge, and microwave. I asked them to take the TV out and they obliged. It's powered by a V10 gas engine (not diesel) and is capable of up to a week of "boondocking" with no campsite. We however, rented a campsite with electric and water just to not have to ration water and electric supply when needed.
This will be remembered as "THE TRIP"...and I'll keep you updated on the progress as things get closer.
My eyes well up as I type this...I did it...a middle aged man's dream of creating a trip so unique in travel and experience that Clark W. Griswold would approve.
Niagara...The Doud's are coming...See you this August!
Tis the season for those flying blood-sucking little bugs we love to hate....MOSQUITOS!!!! RUN!!! So what do you do? Sure, ya can call an exterminator...and really, ya should before you go dousing your yard in ANY chemical. However, you might not know...there are several readily available "all natural" and "non-toxic" ways you can keep those mosquitos under control in your back yard...
No, I am not paid to say this, I am a customer and wanted to share as this time of the year, I get a good amount of friends who know me as a guy who keeps his back-yard 'bug free' ask "what do I do for Mosquitoes?"
As far as environmentally friendly (I get nervous recommending anything chemical as you should consult a pro)...this product is something you spread on the lawn and it confuses the mosquitoes quite well with scents of lemon-grass, peppermint, and garlic....so they can't smell YOU. Works well for parties and lasts about 2 weeks in my experience. Good for backyard camp-outs too. Hope that helps!
It doesn't kill em...it just confuses them...like a man in a shoe-store. ;)
So check out some Dr. T's and follow the directions...it works great!
Enjoy your grilling, and back yard adventures... --Chuck
So there I was, the social iconic figure I am...a Saturday night with my allergies on fire from this pollen in the Hampton Roads area and the TV on....
I get it, reality TV is here to stay. It's quick to make, cheap to produce, and if it doesnt 'work', network programmers can dump a show and plug in another "TV SHOW" someone is producing in their bedroom after they get off their day-job. It makes sense financially and programming-wise with 200 channels on TV, too. So, you can understand probably 'why' when I turned on the TV and saw this picture I said "MAN, THEY'LL GIVE ANYONE A TV SHOW..."
Yes, this is a show on Animal Planet...and when I first sat down to watch it, I was ready for the visual equivalent of Walt Disney throwing up in to a garbage can. I mean, AN EXPERT CAT-TAMER?!?! So I poured a beverage and settled in for a laugh.
The host is quite the diabolical dude. A musician by night, cat expert by day, Mr. Jackson Galaxy. (seen here with a dog and not a cat). Complete with devilish goatee, manicured facial hair and inked up both arms...he's not what you'd expect 'normally' as a cat expert.
Two hours later, I was still sitting there on my couch watching "My Cat From Hell" and finding myself liking this Jackson Galaxy guy more by the episode. He's 'real', and I dig that...and frankly, he's really GOOD at the taming of the cat thing; he's legit. In a day of 'reality TV', where, the reality becomes more and more scripted on network shows, "My Cat From Hell" seems pretty honestly produced with minimal product placement being shoved down our throats...
Confession time: I now really like this show and even hit the DVR to "Record This Series" so I could catch up with Jackson and what feline excorcism he has lined up this week.
It's Baseball Season! The thing I love the most about watching my daughter, Theresa, play is
just that; watching her play. She does this thing where she sways back and forth like a little flower who is "Baseball Rock & Ready"...this past weekend, at the field, I got it on Camera.
Also, every time she plays and does this little maneuver, I always hear this song in my head...
click play to hear what song.
I have two kids, Charlie (who is 9), and Theresa (who is 7). They, like every kid it seems in that age bracket, are plugged in to MINECRAFT as often as possible.
Though I did not furnish them with the Iphones and Ipads they arrive to my place with, I've allowed them to play their games on rainy and cold days when we can't go outside or we've been to the museums to the point that we are on a first name basis with the front desk. I get it...when I was a kid, we had ATARI for those days. But to my point.
This Minecraft game is all the buzz. Kids everywhere are playing it...it's a freaking religion. Minecraft's parent company made like 800 million their first year out of the box...and yet...IT LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING WE'D HAVE PLAYED IN 1984...(which made me think....WHAT HAPPENED TO ATARI?)
REMEMBER THIS JANK?!?!?! IT'S STILL ALIVE!!!
Well I did some googling...and it turns out, some college kids with some spare time
got hold of the old code from ATARI and have an APP that runs on your Mac or PC called STELLA ATARI EMULATOR (install at your own risk...but I did anyway).
Also, on this page, after you download and install the Atari emulation app...they have 375 ORGINAL Atari 2600 titles. Games like RIVER RAID, YAR's REVENGE, DONKEY KONG, and even that low-rent version of PACMAN. I was 12 years old again and had forgotten about Iphones, Ipads, and Minecraft....I was in my glory.
"HEY DAD...WHAT'S THAT?!?!" peeped a voice from behind my head. It was my daughter.
"IS THAT A GAME?", she asked.
"Baby," I said, "This is PITFALL and I first played it on a Wednesday afternoon in 1984 when I was your age."
Within a minute or two, my Son, Charlie, came over to join the conversation. "That looks old," he said. "Can I try it?"
I sat them down and in about 3 seconds they had gotten the object of the game. JUMP OVER STUFF, KEEP MOVING TO THE RIGHT.
...they played for about 30 minutes...laughing...cackling...and smiling...just like I did that Wednesday afternoon at Joel Marcue's house in Oswego, NY as a kid. It was the first time I got to Play ATARI...and through my kids it had all come back to me. This was a magical moment...and it was something I did not have to buy...it was FREE on the internet.
Usually, in my line of work, people are afraid to admit how old they are...why I'll never understand. I mean, age is just a number...like Cholesterol Level, Betty White, and Blood-Alcohol Content. Why fight the truth?
This past 3/24, at 2:49pm...I turned 39. I made it...another full revolution around the sun. In a struggling economy, world where no one is your friend and weak men die like dogs...I MADE IT!!! And you better believe I made a list...
I decided to write an ANTI-Bucket list....yes...ANTI-BUCKET LIST. These are things I'm fine not doing as I already know what I would LIKE to do. I figured it would be best to make sure I stay on target with what I want by reminding myself what NOT to get wrapped up in...it's dangerous out there...and I am 'getting on' in years. ;)
ANTI- BUCKET LIST...Thing's I'm OKAY never doing...or doing again. 1. Skydiving 2. Hosting a Swimsuit Party at a local bar for a 500.00 cash prize. 3. Posting pictures of myself with mustaches drawn in on Photoshop. 4. Going Alaskan King Crab Hunting. 5. Riding a bicycle in a race with a GOPRO Camera attached to me. 6. Start a petition to end anything. (petitions never work) 7. Make Mozzarella cheese again (trust me, it's cheaper to buy it) 8. Have a long debate on the phone about why Shea on MTV's Buckwild isn't as smart as she looks. 9. Use the hashtag #bestniteeverrrrrr
I'll add more as it becomes relavent...but for now, that should keep the hounds at bey....
Many people talk of good parties. Hosting the Knights of Columbus St Pat's after parade party let me see 5000+ people crammed shoulder to shoulder who truly were just hanging out, having some beverages, and having a good time. Nothing was out of hand, everyone had a smile and a hug to offer...and I can't wait for 2014!
As a guy who gets to talk with a good amount of people...those in blissful relationships, those going through divorces, and those who have yet to "Love", I hear a LOT about this "Unconditional Love" thing.
Now, also as a man who knows LOVE...Loves Love...and shares it however he can, if there is one thing I have learned about "Unconditional Love" from each of these folks it is this:
It's what present and involved parents have for your kids, it's what your parents (if present and involved) had for you, and what God (if you choose to believe) has for everyone...even crack-heads...
But for everyone else who is not the almighty creator...it comes WITH CONDITIONS. This is not negative, this is not a downer, this is reality.
Lets say you were in love with someone...and day in and day out, they came home, punched you in the mouth, cleaned out your bank account, and slept with your friends...if you truly loved them "Unconditionally", you'd be cool with that...correct? You'd just laugh it off as a quirk, kiss em on the cheek, and call it a night with an ice-pack.
Therefore, unless given factors present..ALL LOVE COMES WITH CONDITION OF RESPECT...EVEN BEFORE TRUST...RESPECT is the fertile soil in which love's seeds grow!
So, while the concept of "Unconditional Love" is a great one...I think the world needs to take another look at this one...because...well...out of respect comes honesty...and honesty, trust....and I respect someone enough to say unless there is mutual respect...it comes with a condition.