1000 Tiny Things I Hate

My latest favorite blog is 1000 Tiny Things I Hate. Each post is some bizarre pet peeve of the author’s, hilariously written. He’s currently up to #84 (Trying to take a photo when your camera is set to video mode) and I plan to read backwards until I reach #1. I’m about halfway there and none of them have been too disappointing yet. He’s an awesome complainer!

This weekend was filled mostly with Geocaching and bike riding. Gotta love free entertainment. I bet we rode about 5 miles. (More for the kids, since they’ve been riding by themselves every day.) Most of it was riding to Geocaches. We found one in the woods by the park and then one right next to our apartments. We also biked to the college to try and find a couple near there.

This is my first time Geocaching with my Blackberry. When I first switched to a Blackberry for my cell phone, I purchased a program called Spot. I paid $50 for it and it’s never worked right. I exchanged a few emails with them, hoping to get it going, but no luck. I thought it would be the perfect program for Geocaching since I’d gotten rid of my PDA. This weekend I learned that GPS coordinates could be entered into the Google Maps application for the Blackberry. So screw Spot, I’m just going to use Google Maps for free. It worked out great for us this weekend.


Last weekend I traded in my Blackberry 8830 for a Blackberry 8310. It’s even better with better GPS and a camera. I also switched to AT&T. I spent over an hour standing in the Verizon store to return my old one, then another hour in a Cingular store to buy the new one. And it was $75 cheaper! It was pretty amazing how many account names, numbers and passwords I heard thrown around just by hanging out near the counter for 2 hours. The lady at the Verizon Wireless store yelled my number and password into the phone in front of two different sets of customers. So if anyone needs account names and passwords from any wireless carrier, just hang out around the counter on a busy day.

Been selling tons of DVDs. More than $300 on them so far. And today I finished transferring them all to my hard drives. It’s nice being rid of them all. Netflix is working out really well too.

Emily had a friend spend the night last night. Today we went Geocaching. Ended up going on a long walk that took us to a cemetery that we just happened to be looking for earlier. So we found another geocache there. Supper at Wendy’s yesterday. It’s been a pretty full weekend so far. Oh yeah, had teacher meetings yesterday and the kids haven’t had school for 2 days. I’m hoping to find some good haunted houses or maybe a maze to go to this weekend.


Kids and I did some geocaching yesterday. Failed at our first one but it’s at a park we visit often so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to figure that one out later. Did a bunch of hiking around in the woods on one and came across a homeless man sleeping. Tiptoed around him and continued on.


In picture #1 you’ll see that I left a pink cell phone with stickers all over it. Picture #2 shows a cool find I got from that same cache – a Geocaching sticker which I placed on my car. And picture #3 is one of the more interesting “hides” I’ve ever seen. They spray painted a tin box (Sucrets? Altoids?) black and attached it to the side of a lamp post with magnets. It’s in a park in full view of the hundreds of people that must walk by there each day, yet no one ever notices it since it looks like it’s a part of the post. Payton spotted it immediately.

Surprise visit

No kids over the weekend so I planned to just hang around the house a bunch and work on boring miscellaneous projects which would mostly involve sitting on the couch and using the laptop for a few days straight. Saturday afternoon, while I was talking to Jammie on the phone, there’s a knock at the door. In an annoyed voice I tell Jammie to hold on while I see who it is, thinking it’s probably going to be my neighbor asking for weird stuff as usual. But it’s not. It’s Jammie!

Jammie flew across the country and then managed to find her way to Albany using a bizarre combination of Amtrak, Greyhound and some taxi service. All without me knowing until she showed up at the door. It’s probably the most surprised I’ve been in many years. Saturday is also what we consider our 1 year anniversary. So holy shit, Jammie shows up for the weekend. And she brought me gifts! 4 containers full of Malted Milk. The kind that I can’t seem to find anywhere in Albany.

jammie and brad geocachingOn Saturday we ended up going on a hike a mile into some woods to retry on that geocache that me and the kids failed on the previous weekend. And we succeed! It wasn’t my fault that last weekend was a failure – the coordinates were a little backwards. Hiked even further into the woods after that, until the trail ended. I think we went to Abby’s pizza on Saturday too. Or maybe that was Sunday.

On Sunday we went to Blockbuster Video, then Hollywood Video, in search of X-men. Neither of them had it. I’ve never seen it and Jammie wanted to prep me for the upcoming X-men 3 movie that’s coming out next weekend. Walked to Fred Meyer and found a copy there for $8.00. Then walked to Rite-Aid to buy lots of Pez. Then Big Lots, then back to the car. I forget the rest of Sunday. Applebees maybe? Watched some X-men on TV? Half an episode of Knight Rider?

Today I woke up first and Jammie slept in for another 3 hours, which gave me plenty of time to get work stuff done. Went to BTH for lunch, took it to the park by downtown to eat. Then explored the woods in that park. (There was a trail through the woods from one side to the other.) Stopped by Rileys to play a few video games, browsed at a couple of stores. Watched X-men 2 later in the day. Hrmmm, what else. That might be it. Left for the airport this evening, stopping at Denny’s for dinner. Hung out in the airport with Jammie for 30 minutes before heading back home.

Bedtime. Thanks Jammie, you’re the best.

Spider/Ant Battle

It was a long weekend so I’ll start from today and move backwards. Today we hung around the house mostly. I showed Emily how to make paper airplanes (what 10-year-old doesn’t already know how to make a paper airplane??) and she went nuts making lots of airplanes. They were all colored with patterns and stuff like “Delta” stuff on the wings. And she made a few for Payton too, which he colored. Plus they made mothers day cards for their mom.

We went to the park for a little while but didn’t stick around there too much, mostly because it was dead there. I’d brought my Flash book, too, all ready to spend hours there. The other day Payton got this battery powered “bug vacuum cleaner” which lets you suck up small insects and then look at them through a built-in magnifying glass. Kind of neat.

Well today I found a spider by the front door so I grabbed his bug vacuum and sucked it into the magnifying chamber. We spent awhile on the internet trying to identify the kind of spider it was but had no luck. On our walk to the park, Payton brought it with him and along the way spotted an ant and sucked him into the chamber with the spider. It was so great. They had a great battle while we watched. The spider lunged at the ant and we thought the ant was loosing. After while, Payton started arguing that the ant was winning the battle. He was right, because as we got to the park he released them both and the spider was dead. The ant ran circles around him and once even went up to the spider and drug him on the sidewalk about a half inch. I’ve never watched an ant kick a spider’s ass before.

Yesterday, after Emily’s piano lesson, we went geocaching. I wouldn’t call it a particularly successful day of geocaching, but we definitely had fun. We found one small cache which was magnetically stuck to the underside of a bench in front of a downtown bank. Another cache took us to a park that I’ve never been to where we watched a ton of ducks for about an hour. And yet another geocache took us into the woods for a very long hike. We failed at that one, mostly because the submitter did the long/lat coordinates stupid, but it was a nice deep woods hike. Countykid called during the hike from some airport and told me about some movie star he was hanging out with. Oh yeah, after the bank geocache we went to the Albany Museum across the street which was entertaining for about 15 minutes.

Hmmmm, guess I did Friday already. That was the wasp day.

Wasp nests

I kept noticing wasps around my car everytime I started to go someplace. Finally Emily noticed a nest being built on the inside of the door. Not inside the car, but kind of inside the part of the door that’s not visible from either the inside or the outside when it’s shut. But when the door is open, there it is. So we knocked it down with a stick and went on our way.

A couple days later, I’m opening the trunk to put groceries in and I notice a wasp hovering around the back of the car. Sure enough, I open the trunk and in the little hollow space around the edge is a new nest. I think I managed to ditch that wasp at the grocery store. Later we knocked that one down too.

Then today, we get in the car to go somewhere and notice another wasp nest, this time on the passenger side! And then, yet another one being built on my side again. Each one with a wasp crawling around on it. They are determined to make their homes in my car. So we were at the park at some point during the day and I took the pictures below before once again knocking the nests to the ground.

wasp nest on my car!wasp nest on my car!wasp nest on my car!wasp nest on my car!

We’ll see how long it takes them to rebuild. I don’t get what is so appealing about my car that they want to make their homes in it.

Found a Geocache today that was less than two blocks from our house. We walked towards it but my GPS wasn’t working at all. Most likely because I hadn’t charged it in several months. So we gave up and got in the car to go other places and I noticed that it started working once I plugged it into the charger. So I drove 2 blocks to the geocache spot and Emily managed to find it stuck to the underside of a fire hydrant with a magnet.

Went to a park, rented some movies, blah blah blah.


Went Geocaching with the kids. First one was by the airport and we found it within 15 minutes of being there. The 2nd one was in/near a golf course and we failed at it. I’m pretty sure it was in some trees that were surrounded by water. We’ve had so much rain in the past month that things are a little flooded. Gonna try that one again maybe in the Spring. Below: Some abandoned building that I thought looked cool so I snapped a picture. We thought a geocache was there but we ended up having to drive to the other side of the river. Then there’s me and Payton. All that water behind us isn’t supposed to be there. Darn rain…

August 2004 – Cal, Spessa, driving back to Oregon

Sunday, August 1st, 2004: My kids are going camping for a few days. Cal and Anita are visiting me so we found a theater playing Napolean Dynamite and went to see it. We all agreed that it ruled. After that we went to downtown Saint Louis to take Anita to the Arch. We didn’t end up going into the Arch since the wait was too long, but we did a lot of nothing instead. That was fun. Then we went to the Alton Belle Casino for supper and gambling.

Monday, August 2nd, 2004: Me, Cal and Anita drove to Fairview Heights to attempt some more Dash For Cash fun. It was a lot of fun but we didn’t get any really great footage. Instead of making people run, we tried to get them to dig through a trashcan to look for a secret code on a soda can. We also had some lunch, looked around Slackers for awhile and drove around town for awhile. Later that night, we finally got around to putting the new McDonald’s prank sign up. My neighbor drove us there and I installed the sign. Then we drove around the building and took a picture of it on our way out.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004: I woke up at 6:30, quickly got dressed and ran downstairs so I could go to McDonald’s and check on the sign’s status. Anita was downstairs and told me that she just got back from there and it’s still up. We drove there again so I could snap a picture of it. An hour later my neighbor calls me and tells me that it’s still there. Another hour later, Cal and Anita go there for breakfast and give me a call to let me know that it’s still up. I think it’s 9:00am by this point. Then at 11:00 we stop by there on my way to the post office and it’s gone! At least it lasted longer than I expected. Both the posterboard and the wooden sign are gone, leaving the original sign showing again. But the really weird part was around 6pm, my neighbor calls me and tells me that the entire sign is gone! It’s just 2 posts sticking out of the ground now. Either they’re sick of the fake signs being put up so they’re just going to take it down forever or they’re putting a new sign up.

We went to Applebees for lunch today and then to Jamestown Mall. Fun fun.

Sunday, August 8th, 2004: Today I was gonna take the kids to the zoo but they outvoted me and we ended up going to the Magic House instead. We took Braden with us and stayed there until about 5 or 6pm.

emily and braedon at the magic house

Monday, August 9th, 2004: Finished up work by noon and took the kids to the swimming pool for the day. Stayed there until almost closing. Then stopped by Blockbuster for some movies. Mowed most of the yard this evening while they watched movies.

Saturday, August 14th, 2004: Ryan and Allison were over all day and then they ended up spending the night. Ryan and Payton were quiet when I put them to bed but Emily and Allison kept me up until 1:30am with their giggling and talking. They claim they stayed up until 4am but I doubt that. Around 5pm, I left them all at Ryan’s house and drove to Hamel to pick up some bed matresses for the guest room. We’ve got company coming this week and I thought it’d be nice for them to have something other than a futon to sleep on.

Sunday, August 15th, 2004: Today I was tired all day. Besides staying up until about 2am, I woke up a lot during the night. Then my brother called me at 8:30am with a pointless phone call. I put the kids to bed early tonight. I used the excuse that they were fighting too much so they needed to get some sleep. I’ve been letting them stay up until 11:30 just about every night this summer to watch Family Guy, Futurama and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Those are some great shows. Overall I really hate TV, but cartoons just get better and better every year. I can’t believe I didn’t watch Futurama when it used to be on Fox. And I never saw an episode of Family Guy in my life until just 2 months ago.

Friday, 8-20-2004: Took all the kids to the city museum today. We stayed there from about noon until 5 or 6.

Saturday, 8-21-2004: We went to see the Robert Wadlow statue and chair today. Then to the cemetary to look for a Geocache. Then to the smallpox memorial.

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004: Me, the kids and the Spessas drove to Evansville, Indiana for the day. We visited some science & art museum, then went to Kentucky for supper. It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had much time to write about anything we’ve done. Probably on Wednesday I’m taking the kids back to Oregon.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004: Got up early, got everything ready to leave and was on the road by 10am. Drove all day, stopped for awhile to eat at Taco Bell, drove some more and then stopped in a South Dakota Motel 6. I forget which town, but it was a few hours before Wall, SD. We had planned to make it all the way to Wall, but wimped out around 9:30pm because of the heavy rain.

Thursday, August 26th, 2004: Got up at 6am and managed to get back on the road by 7:30am. Drove a few hours to Wall Drug and had breakfast there. We stayed there for another 2 hours, just looking at all their shops and kids stuff. Drove the rest of the day, stopping only for gas. I’ve got the TV and Xbox hooked up in the car again so that’s helping keep the kids entertained. Drove until 11:30pm and stopped in a motel in Butte, SD. I got separated from the Spessas a few hours ago so I assume they’re still driving. I should get there before noon tomorrow if we don’t sleep in too late.

Sunday, 8-29-2004: Got up early, packed the car, got the kids up and headed for Oregon. We started driving at 9am and got to Colleen’s house at 5pm. Me Colleen and the kids went out to eat at Red Robins, then I started driving to Portland. I went to Dignity Village to visit Jack but he wasn’t there. So now I’m in a Econo Lodge, watching 16 Candles and writing this.

Driving to Oregon to pick up the kids

Thursday, June 10th, 2004: Got up at 7am to leave again for Oregon. I’m picking up Emily and Payton and bringing them back to Illinois for the summer. It’s a 3 day drive back which is a pretty long drive for the kids so I’ve removed the passenger seat of my car and I’ve built a table and bolted it into it’s place. This table will hold a TV and Playstation 2 so the kids can play games and watch DVDs on the way home. Hopefully this will make the drive a little easier on them. They seemed to really hate the drive TO Oregon, but that one was 5 days long with no air conditioning so this one should be slightly better. We’re also going to make a pitstop in Montana for a few days which they should enjoy. Here’s a picture…

My drive didn’t get off to a very good start. I got about 90 minutes out of Alton and got a flat tire. Apparently I ran over something and it put a big gash in the side of the tire. This happened just 2 minutes before a Wal-Mart so I’m thinking that Wal-Mart is probably throwing spikes on the interstate in front of their store to help out with business. Curiously enough, Cal got a flat tire on his way to Texas last year and that was in front of a Wal-Mart as well! I pulled into Quiktrip and put the spare tire on and then drove to Wal-Mart. They told me it’d be more than a 2 hour wait to get a new tire. So I found a tire shop nearby and they had it done in just an hour. In the end, I lost about 2 hours of driving time and $70 for a tire.

Otherwise, the day was really boring, as expected. I ran into a lot of really bad thunderstorms. The radio kept warning of hail, tornados and damaging winds in Kansas but I managed to somehow miss all of it. I made it to about Cheyenne, Wyoming before stopping at a rest area for the night. I think that was at about 1am.

Friday, June 11th, 2004: It was cold last night! I wasn’t really expecting it to be cold since it’s June. The radio said it was in the 30’s so I had the heat on for a few hours. At least my car wasn’t covered with snow like last time, though. I got up at 5am and started driving again. Once again, a boring day. I’ve been listening to a lot of mp3s and a lot of talk radio. Before I left yesterday, I wrote on my back window with window paints which seems to be becoming a tradition with me. This time it says, “HAPPY NEW MONKEY!” and it’s causing nonstop stares as I drive. The stares are more of the “What in the hell…” variety this time. My window from last month simply confused people but I think the confusion this time is much more intense.

Happy New Monkey

While I was getting gas this morning I noticed a guy staring at my window. I said “hi” to him and he said “hi” back to me. I said, “Happy New Monkey.” He didn’t reply and avoided eye contact with me. Nobody has actually asked me what it means yet. They just stare and/or laugh as they drive past me. Right now I’m sitting in a truck stop diner outside of Boise, Idaho, eating waffles, bacon and writing all this. Maybe I’ll add something to the side window before I take off again. Or maybe not. I should reach Bend, Oregon by 8pm tonight which is where I plan to stop and spend the night. I don’t know what I’ll do all day tomorrow. Maybe visit the Saturday Market again or just play around on the net all day. My plan is to pick up the kids at some point and then leave early on Sunday morning. I think Kalispell, Montana is 10 hours away which is where we’re going.

Saturday, June 12th, 2004: I got to Bend last night. There were no rest stops that I could find and I didn’t feel like finding a good truck stop to sleep at so I just got a cheap motel for the night. I ended up waking up and leaving the motel at 6:00am or so. In the morning there was some kind of hot air balloon race happening. I sat outside of a Starbucks and played on the net for awhile, then started driving to Albany. I got there around 10 or 11am and picked up the kids. They wanted to get started on the drive so we ended up driving all day instead of hanging around Albany. We made it to Idaho before getting a motel for the night. The kids added some new drawings onto my windows – Payton put some Pac Man ghosts on each side window and Emily wrote “Beep Beep” hoping to make people honk at us. As I was driving through Portland, some guy honked and I looked over. He took his hands off the wheel to give me the peace sign which made his car just about swerve into the next lane. His wife grabbed the wheel to stop the car from going anywhere.

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004: I haven’t written much this week because we’ve been busy. We got to Montana on Sunday around 2pm and have been here since then. It’s been cold this week so we haven’t done a whole lot of outdoor things. Yesterday we went on a Geocache in Hungry Horse which involved about an hour of rock climbing. We’ll probably be leaving for Illinois tomorrow morning. Today we went to Norm’s News for lunch, a pottery shop to paint pottery, another geocache in Whitefish that we failed to find and then swimming in the lake by the geocache.

Thursday, June 17th, 2004: Me and the kids left The Spessa’s house around noon and drove all day. Right now it’s 11:00pm and we’re in a motel in Hardin, Montana. I went into the office and asked how much a room was and the lady told me $48.00 but she didn’t take credit cards. So I checked my pocket and only had $43.00 in cash. The lady told me that would be enough – she said she would just take the cash and not claim it on her taxes so it’d be like free money. Good thing I’m not an IRS agent! This motel is the worst I’ve stayed in this year…there are extension cords tacked all over the walls instead of receptacles built in, there’s no thermostat on the electric heater and I have to turn it on by turning on the circuit breakers (it’ll probably get really hot tonight!), the paneling is different colors every few feet, the light switches are all in bizarre places and extension cords are running out of my porch light to power my air conditioner and all the other porch lights. At least it’s clean and has cable!

Today I drove about 10 or 11 hours which is 1/3 of the trip. Tomorrow I’m hoping to drive from early morning until late at night. I doubt I’ll actually make it to Illinois tomorrow night but I’m a little hopeful. It’s slightly more than 22 hours according to my Street Atlas program but I always seem to do it a little faster than the program suggests. Maybe I can get there at 3am or something. I’ll probably end up in a motel in Missouri though. The kids have been really good in the car today, mostly just watching Futurama DVDs. Let’s hope tomorrow goes well too.

Friday, June 18th, 2004: It’s 11:00pm and we’re sitting in a Motel 6 in Mitchell, South Dakota, watching Johnny Bravo. We’ve still got 12 hours to go so I guess I’ll get home around 10:00pm tomorrow night, hopefully a little earlier. I’m tired of driving. Today we got a late start and made a lot of stops. We stopped at a cool place called Wall Drugs in Wall, South Dakota and wasted about 2 hours there.

Saturday, June 19th, 2004: We made it home at exactly 8:00pm. The drive was much easier today than it was yesterday. Payton’s quote of the day: “Daddy, how much Pokemon can you read before your head explodes?”

Crack Kills

Sunday, May 16, 2004: Did lots of nothing all morning. I never sleep good so I’ve just been tired all day. Did some video editing and website work. Around 2pm or so I went on a bike ride to Commons Park to place a travel bug in a cache that I’ve already been to. From there I went to Riverfront Park, downtown Alton, Target to buy new headphones since my current headphones are painful and then back home. I think I was gone about 3 hours. Yesterday me and Tricia drove to Carlinville for some relative’s wedding & reception and we were there pretty much all day. I hid out in the hotel’s arcade a lot since they were playing a lot of loud and annoying music. Hrmmm, what else has happened this week…we went to see the movie Envy which wasn’t TOO bad. We also watched Duplex on DVD which I thought was pretty good.

Before I went to Oregon I emptied out my entire room into the guest room, intending to completely finish my room before moving back in. I figure being stuck in the smaller, cramped guest room will motivate me to hurry up and finish it all. Plus I won’t get all my stuff paint splattered and dusty while doing it. I originally planned to paint the room green but Spessa’s mostly wooden home inspired me to try out wood paneling instead. So since I’ve been back I’ve been putting up strips of paneling which is going rather quick. I’ve got 3 walls completely done with 5 walls left to do (the room is shaped weird). I guess about half of it is finished and it looks a lot better than green paint would have, in my opinion. After I get all of this done, it’s baseboard, molding and new carpet. Then I can move back in. I’ll be lucky to finish by summer, mostly because I don’t have the money to do all this quickly. Here’s a small picture of the wall progress though:

paneling my walls

Saturday, May 22, 2004: Worked on my walls a lot all day. Also worked on a couple sections of my home page – this one and this one. This evening my brother and I went to Steak N Shake for supper. Here’s the first thing we were greeted with as we walked in the door:

crack dealer

What a good way to lose your appetite! So of course I snap a picture. Customers are giggling at him as they leave. That’s about the extent of my exciting day.

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