Hikes and other equally boring nonsense that you’ll hate reading about so don’t even bother

When I first moved to Oregon in late 2005, I wanted to explore all the woods around here, so I did lots of Geocaching and hiking. There were no hiking groups in the area, so I signed up on meetup.com and set up a hiking group. Within a year, there were over 100 members and I was leading weekly/bi-weekly hikes to a dozen or so people, sometimes dragging my kids along and sometimes by myself. I think in the end there were over 150 members.

I ended up shutting down the group because a friend of mine set up her own hiking meetup and I was getting kind of bored with it since I’d already explored all of the woods and we were just going on the same hikes we’d already been on. I introduced a lot of new people to the game of Geocaching. Soon after I killed my hiking group, my friend killed HER hiking group (damn her) so the whole hiking thing just died.

I miss all the weirdos I met there, though. My favorites were Dan, who had this stereotypical Canadian way of speaking (he sounded just like one of the Moose in Brother Bear) and he spent an insane amount of time biking places. And this really old couple, George and Shirley, were a lot of fun to talk to. I usually don’t click well with old people, but those two were awesome. And a bunch of other ones that I’ve completely forgotten by now. I don’t miss hiking at all, but just the odd assortment of people that I met during the hikes and the few strange things that happened during some of them that I don’t even know how to explain here. And it was kind of cool, causing lots of people to wake up early on Saturdays and Sundays just to hang out in the woods.

Last weekend, Evie and I drove around Mount St. Helens which was the first time I’ve seen real snow in several years now. I don’t miss the midwest, but I really miss the awesome snows and the sledding. I need to visit Illinois one of these Christmases and hope they have snow.

Today I went skating for the first time in awhile. Me and the kids drove to Eugene, where my friend Kate told me about the skating rink there a few days earlier. It was lots of fun. Each of us wiped out a few times. I’m good at roller blading until I need to slow down or stop, then things turn bad. Some little kid cut me off and I crashed. Before that, we went to a flea market and I ended up buying a mid-1990’s Motorola flip phone, hoping to use it for nefarious purposes, but instead making this video:

Speaking of videos, I’ve put a lot of them on PLA’s YouTube channel lately. Just this past week, I’ve uploaded one of our pizza shenanigans, where we demonstrated how easy it is to talk pizza employees out of customer data, and another of mine and Evie’s adventures at Target this past Black Friday, where we tricked Target employees into registering our own telephone on their phone network. Both of these videos also demonstrate that I’m a huge jerk. There’s also this video of a lady who hates PLA. I hired her from fiverr.com, which is a site I’ve been completely addicted to for a few weeks now that lets you blow $5 to get people to do ridiculous things. Like this girl who danced around in a dinosaur costume for me.

I went to an improv comedy show on Friday with Kate and Cameron at the Reed Opera House in Salem. I’m only mentioning this so I’ll remember to go back there one of these days and explore the stores and restaurants inside there. The comedy was standard improv stuff and they were really good.

My car stereo got stolen again a couple weeks ago, so I’ve been driving around with a giant glob of duct tape over my back window that was broken out. So far the cheapest replacement window I’ve found is $65, and that’s without the rubber/adhesive stuff that goes under it. I’ve never replaced that type of window before and I’m having a hard time finding YouTube videos or other information on how to do it, so I might end up paying over $200 to just have a shop do it. If anyone reading this has any advice on that, please share! It’s a 2000 Ford Focus hatchback non-door window – it’s just triangle-shaped part in the back. No idea why they broke THAT window since it seems like it’d be hard to reach through that one and get the door unlocked. At least with the door windows those are easy to replace since I’ve done it several times before. So car thieves, please be nice and do that next time. I’m officially giving up on owning a nice stereo.

In other exciting news, our house almost burned down! When the kids and I got home that afternoon, we smelled something burning. I was super proud of both of them for immediately knowing that it smelled exactly like a soldering gun. (I bought them both electronics kits for Christmas.) I Googled the smell and read about how that’s usually what people smell right before their houses burn down. It was less than an hour before smoke started coming out of our electric wall heater and we could see fire behind it. Luckily, it’s all enclosed in metal, so after the rubber insulation burned off the wires, it stopped.

We were at Goodwill a few weeks ago and I spotted the tape recorder in that video. I bought it for $3.00, just to use for making this video, then returned it for a refund. Before you yell at me for being a bad person, you should know that it was broken when I brought it home, so I had to take it apart and fix it. (The belt had slipped off the motor.) So really, Goodwill should be paying me whenever I buy stuff from them just to play with for a few days before I get a refund.

That’s the exact same model of tape recorder my parents bought me one Christmas in the late 70’s or early 80’s. I would assume that I’d somehow come across the actual same tape recorder that I owned as a kid, but my old tape recorder ended up like most electronic items I owned back then – in pieces because I needed to salvage some random part from it. I remember being stealthy about throwing the casing of the tape recorder away because my parents wouldn’t have been happy to see it in pieces. To bring things full circle, the red tape from the video was used in my original tape recorder in the 80’s and still has some 80’s weirdness of mine on it, including a mid-80’s version of What’s Your Bid? and other live radio pranks, and a 1986 recording of me and a girl I babysat for programming my TRS-80 to make prank calls to Dominos and then dancing to hits of the 80’s.

It’s 1:12am and I have to wake up at 7:30 to take the kids to school. I can’t sleep, which is why this post is so long.


  • You need to write a nice autobiography that encompasses the phonelosers stuff and beyond. You could use the last book as a source of material but expand it and make it one long narrative.

    I’d buy a copy and probably stop digging through your garbage and following you in my van when you leave the house.

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  • i want to hear that tape!

  • Legend, did I ever post the What’s Your Bid stuff from the 80’s? It’s not that funny, really, but it’s pretty much the exact same thing we did 20 years later and it’s the same show.

  • Brad, I live in Oregon and have been to Reed Opera House a lot. There’s a really inexpensive, but AMAZING authentic Mexican place on the top floor. I highly recommend it when you visit Salem.

    If you hate Mexican food, you’ll hate this place.

    You are doing the work of God.

  • wicc, we actually ate at the Mexican restaurant right before the show. It was good stuff. Praise the lord!

  • the 740 guy you hung up on during PLA Radio

    Just wanted to let you in on a couple secrets about your car’s window. The reason they broke the small quarter window (you called it the triangle window) is because it is quieter and harder to see compared to the other windows. If they really wanted to be douchebags, they could have ruined the lock cylinder trying to force it open and then busted the window like someo0ne did to my niece’s 03 focus. It’s much more of a PITA to replace and a lock than a quarter window. A week after she had the window replaced by a shop, the moulding disintegrated and the window fell out because they didn’t do it right. So a trip to the junkyard and $20 later, she learned how to replace it correctly with the shop manual I found for her. Not one of those lame-ass haynes ones, she’s got the dealer’s shop manual for free :D

    Ford has been trying very hard to keep owners from doing any sort of work on their cars since the late 90s, and that effort is clearly visible on the Focus. Ever tried to find where to recharge the A/C at? But if you’re good with information like I am, finding things like shop manuals and parts catalogs should be easy. Email me if you stuck. Took me 20 minutes to find it.

  • i once estimated the value of how many quarter tones i recorded on a cassette for every 2-3 seconds.
    i don’t remember the value, but i could make a lot of calls in just the first few minutes of the recording.. then for some reason i was compelled to rewind it with 40+ minutes left..

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