Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learn from my Fail

I hit an old lady today.

I rear-ended her, to be exact. There was a yield sign, I was checking over my shoulder, I thought she went....and she didn't.

Whose fault was it? I'm glad you asked. It was MY fault.

Luckily my friend and esteemed colleague was there, camera rolling, to document the ensuing events for you all to see. Thanks, Bart! I owe you one.

 I fought the law, and won.

 Hope is a fading rose

 He hangs his head as his accusers dance upon the ruins of his life.

In case you can't tell from the photos, I got completely owned by this lady and the backup she called. Her daughter came up to me, very suspicious, and demanded the reason that someone was taking pictures. Again, thanks Bart, for helping me win friends and influence people.

If I were to play basketball with her, one-on-one, and I went up for a shot, there is no doubt in my mind that she would block my shot and give me a "rejection," a "stuff," or a "facial." That's why I won't be challenging her to a game.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Not Me" Monday

I did NOT just start driving away from the gas pump, with the nozzle
still inserted into my vehicle. Not me!

There was also NOT a man that used to work on gas pumps watching as
this happened, who looked at the pump and let me know that it was OK,
I did not break the hose.

Also, I did NOT afterwards pump some gas directly onto the pavement to
make sure that the nozzle was still operational. Not me!

Go, Mordecai!

This weekend I randomly went to a falconry convention. It was ultra-nerdy, in the best possible way. My vet is a falconer, and he told me about it.

I had no idea how awesome it would be! Did anyone else know how wicked cool falconry is?

Well, trust me, it is WICKED cool. Way cooler than R/C planes. Flying something that you have complete control over is easy--but these birds are completely free to do whatever they want. The combination of their instinct to hunt and their will to come back to their owner is absolutely amazing.

Harris' Hawk, the only bird-of-prey that will hunt with another bird, working as a team.

The coolest thing is, these birds are by no means tamed. A bird-of-prey used in falconry loses none of its wildness, or the ability to leave its owner and fend for itself. At any point during free flight, the bird is free to fly off and disappear (and sometimes they do)!

But most of the time, it simply realizes that its owner is a sure source of constant food, which is the one and only reason that it chooses to keep coming back. They're very intelligent--I could see that much from the way they flew ahead of people, waiting for prey to be jumped up. Some can even learn to work with a hunting dog.

Dave's Golden Eagle (rare in falconry)!, after hunting jackrabbits. Huge wingspan!

I got to go out hunting with Chris, a guy from Lubbock and his red-tailed hawk. We didn't catch anything, but the hawk narrowly missed a shot at a jackrabbit (normally way too big for that type of bird). He said that what he's been able to do with his red-tail--sending it after prey twice its own weight--is pretty unusual in falconry.

Cameron's Red-Tailed Hawk letting me pet her

On the way back to the truck, Chris gave me his leather glove and some raw meat of questionable origin. He whistled to call it in. As the hawk glided silently towards me, flapped its wings to slow itself and flared out, I began to brace myself for its landing. But when it dropped onto my wrist and and began tearing at the meat, I was amazed at how light it was, and how lightly it had landed.

What a great sport. I'm a fan. It's a tremendous time commitment, so I can't do it right now. Maybe when I retire. Hopefully falconry will still be legal by then.

For now, I'll stick with R/C planes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

DIGRESSION: A Harrowing Tale of FAIL

I suppose I should offer some explanation to the theme, nay, the SPIRIT of this blog.

I'm kind of an awkward guy.

However, I have learned to embrace it as a special ability given to me. It's a kind of spiritual gift, I think.

No matter how distressing an awkward moment may be to the people involved, it can serve as a source of entertainment and joy to spectators everywhere. In my relatively short life, I have given many memorable performances of epic awkwardness that will live in infamy for all time.

For example, see this awesome tall bike constructed by the legendary James Barcroft, my brother-in-arms (and in law)? Notice how EXPERTLY he rides it, causing random, adoring young children to jealously flock to his venerable shadow?

Well, when James left Abilene, somehow I wound up in possession of this extraordinary piece of machinery. One Saturday, I went riding. I'll admit it--I was hoping to attract some attention. To make a few people think that I was pretty frickin' awesome and unique for riding around on such a contraption.

All was going well, until I actually rolled into the presence of an actual audience. A wedding, dear readers, had just gotten out, and a large crowd was exiting a church and walking across the street. I thought I'd hit the big time. Yeah, that's right. Point and stare. I'm on a tall bike and I'm THE MAN.

Well, unfortunately, there was an old man, probably the only person of about 100 whose attention I did not have. He shuffled towards his car, lurching into my path, completely oblivious to the fact that a towering mass of steel was bearing down on him.

It's time to mention that this bike did not have brakes. And I was on a sidewalk, with cars parked in the street on one side, and a parking lot on the other. "'Scuze me...'Scuze me..."I lamely called out. All this served to do was to ensure that EVERYBODY ELSE was watching.

Right at the moment of collision, I reflexively did the only thing I could. Which was to swerve off the sidewalk and crash into the front bumper of a large SUV. This catapulted me over the hood, onto which I crashed like a fallen tree.

Well, needless to say, the old man didn't even know what nearly hit him (actually, I don't think I avoided him entirely). He looked at me in bewilderment as I blurted apologies, still tangled up in my bike. He was actually kinda pissed at me. Who knew?

Somehow I avoided leaving a Bret-shaped dent in the hood of the truck. But since approximately half the population of Abilene had just witnessed my spectacular crash, I decided to stick around and wait for the owner. I sheepishly waited as the crowds dispersed, whispering among themselves and undoubtedly thinking that I was pretty frickin' awesome and unique. When the owner finally emerged from the building, I uncomfortably explained that I had used his truck as an emergency old-man-avoidance-barrier. He took it with style, which is to say that he was mainly too alarmed and surprised to really say much of anything. I gave him my business card, but he let me off the hook.

The bike has brakes now. Sort of.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Making a Big Splash on the Internets--Yes, it's Launch Day.

So. I'm going to give this whole blogging thing another shot.

When I was golfing (er...networking) with my esteemed colleagues Brian and Bart, we decided to set goals for what our score would be. And the person that was furthest from his goal would have to shave his legs for the next sales meeting. Well...

A couple days ago when the three of us had to stop by Target before lunch, I found myself in the cosmetics, blankly contemplating an entire wall of razors to choose from. I have no experience with razors. I use an electric. I couldn't bring myself to purchase one that's actually designed for legs. Because, hello, I've got to draw the line somewhere.

While I was there, I also bought a Nerf gun. I'm probably going to take it apart and make some modifications so it will shoot further.