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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Sabot L'ours' LiveJournal:
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|Thursday, December 8th, 2016|
Yesterday I had a fursuiting gig as Otto Otter. This was one of those events that I love. I was actually asked to perform! Someone had seen my performance at the local wildlife refuge a couple of months ago and later contacted me to see if I would be interested in performing at a children's book fair. Oh hell yeah! I didn't know what to expect, but when I pulled up to the venue and saw buses and buses full of kids arriving, I knew I would be in for something big. The event was sponsored by the local county commissioner. It was in a poor part of the county and kids can't afford books for themselves. Each kid was given an age-appropriate book to encourage reading habits. The mascots were invited to provide a little entertainment. I performed with Smokey, Puddles the Duck (USFWS), and Buddy Bison (NPS). The event was late in the afternoon, so Kitty was able to join me after work to be my handler. And boy! Did I need a handler! Kids everywhere!
All the time I was in suit, I kept thinking about Quasi. I really wanted to dedicate my performance to him. He was a true fursuiter and performer. I think we had a mutual admiration for each other since we were about the same age and here we were, 2 old farts putting on animal costumes. We weren't there to stand in one place and wave. We wanted to bring characters to life! And that's just what I did. We were blindsided by the event sponsors by having us all stand in front of the kids and then wanting us to dance. The other 3 suiters were a bit shocked, but I busted out moves like I was at a con dance. If music was playing, I was dancing. Towards the end of the event I had my own little collection of little girls who loved dancing with the big otter. I was even asked by the real little ones if I was real. Of course! Magic! Illusion...maintained! So thank you, Quasi, for being an inspiration to some of us suiters out there. You had "it" and I shall try to keep that legacy going.
|Wednesday, December 7th, 2016|
I just received a tearful call from Kitty telling me that our good furry friend quasiskunk
was killed in a car crash yesterday. A quick Internet search revealed the news story of the head-on crash just south of Champaign. I'm just numb at the moment. We were quite the team at the few MFFs where we ran con suite. I had lunch with him a couple of years ago when I was driving through Champaign. I think that was the last time we met FTF. I've lost several good furiends over the years and I wish this shit would stop. He was a wonderful person who I loved to sit around and chat with. He was one of the first people I sought out in the fandom since we shared some of the same stomping grounds. You will be missed, dear friend.
|Tuesday, December 6th, 2016|
|Reg Strikes Out
I was surprised to hear that Elton John would be performing in ABQ next March. I didn't think a performer of his caliber would bother with such a second-tier town. He has performed here in the past, however, and I said that I would try to get tickets if he ever came back. Here was my opportunity! I wouldn't care if tix were over $100. I really wanted to see such a big-name act! His music has been a part of my life since grade school. So tickets went on sale at 10 am yesterday. I was ready with my phone and the Ticketmaster app. I signed in and was greeted by a series of anti-bot questions. *rolls eyes* OK. Fine. You're not a bot. Do you want seats? Yes! Sorry. None available. WTF?!? It was 10:02! What I found "interesting" was that an after-market ticket site had 16 tickets per section available for sale at over $200 a pop even before the "official" sale was supposed to begin. Jeez. And I thought trying to find hotel rooms for AC or FC was a fucked up system. So no Rocket Man for me.
|Sunday, December 4th, 2016|
|Big Bad Voodoo Christmas
Back in the early 90's there was a short-lived music trend of a Big Band revival. Bands like the Brain Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin Daddies, and Squirrel Nut Zippers had a quick 15 minutes of fame. Another one was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. They had a hit with "You and Me and the Bottle Make 3." They then hit a niche with putting on fun Christmas shows like Brian Setzer did. We had the good fortune of seeing them both back to back in 2007.
Last night we saw BBVD at a different Indian casino. We had dinner at the casino's steakhouse and then went to the show. We had seats about 13 rows back and dead center. It was a really nice show. We had no idea that the band had been performing together for 25 years with no personnel changes. It certainly showed as they were very tight. Kitty has been in search for the Christmas Spirit, and this was just another piece of the puzzle which will hopefully get her there before the 25th. I'm kinda the same way, but it's not all that important to me.
|Saturday, December 3rd, 2016|
Last night was the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in Old Town Plaza. Last year we did it and parking was a nightmare. We left a little earlier this year and parking was still a nightmare. We parked a few blocks away in a residential neighborhood and while I was suiting up, a little abuela
came out of her house to see what we were doing. She laughed with delight as I stepped out from behind the Furmobile. She wanted a big hug while her chihuahuas barked furiously at the big white monster. We made our way to the Plaza and passed out many hugs and posed for many pictures. We met up with a couple of other suiters and made our way to the tree. We found a nice spot right by the tree where we could pose for pics before the ceremony started. We were joined by the creepy bunny mascot from a local radio station since we were the ones attracting the crowd. The tree was eventually lit and we made our way through the crowds to get back to the vehicle. Of course that took quite a long time since we were stopped every few feet for pics. I do love holiday events so! I can't wait for a repeat performance on Christmas Eve.
|Monday, November 28th, 2016|
Today is Kitty and my 2nd anniversary. We have survived 2 years of marriage! So far so good. We tolerate each other quite well. It's amazing how "typical" our marriage is especially when compared to old sitcoms like "The Honeymooners," "All in the Family", or even "Married With Children." Kitty is a typical woman with her shoe shopping and her constantly being cold, and I'm the typical guy who drinks, farts, and watches football. I figure it has worked for millions of couples over time, so why fight it. And as Ralph would tell Alice..."Baby, you're the greatest."
|Saturday, November 26th, 2016|
|And Now For Something Completely Different
Growing up I had very permissive parents. I watched a lot of tv whenever I wanted basically because I still got all of my schoolwork done and maintained an "A" average. One of the things I discovered in the mid-70's was "Monty Python's Flying Circus." WTTW, Chicago's PBS station, was an early adopter of the show in the US. It came on about 10:30-11:00 on Sunday night, and I never missed it. It also introduced me to other British comedy shows like "The Two Ronnies," "Dave Allen at Large," and later "Fawlty Towers." So let's just say that Monty Python was a huge part of my childhood. Of course I later saw all of the movies and became one of "those guys," geeks that loved to constantly quote from "Holy Grail." So you can imagine my utter glee when Kitty noticed that John Cleese and Eric Idle would be performing live on-stage in ABQ! I didn't think twice about buying tickets. Last night was the show.
It was highly enjoyable. It wasn't a sell-out with the crappy seats on the fringes remaining empty. It was a mixture of storytelling, skit performance, classic video clips, and music. They told the story of Monty Python from conception to ultimate breakup. John talked a little about his solo career including "A Fish Called Wanda" and of course "Fawlty Towers." Eric got the audience to do a singalong of "Sit on My Face." The show ended with another singalong of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." The encore was Eric performing his heartwarming Christmas carol, "Fuck Christmas."
So while I won't go as far as to say it was a "bucket list" kinda thing, it was pretty friggin awesome to see these 2 funny men live on stage especially in such a second-tier market like ABQ.
|Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016|
|A Little Late
I got so wrapped up in my political post yesterday that I completely forgot to wish my Kitty a happy birthday. I surprised her with a dozen roses and dinner at a fancy restaurant...Fuddruckers. *lol* She had a coupon for a free birthday burger so we decided to have a "kosher" meal. They really have quite the selection of sauces now! The Siracha ketchup was disappointing, but the jalapeno ketchup was mighty tasty. They also had several types of BBQ sauce which went well with my steak sandwich. It was nice just to get out on a Monday night and have a romantic dinner for 2.
What also made the evening interesting was that we had one hell of a big thunderstorm. It was the type of storm more common to the monsoon season of July and August. I even got to experience "extreme dog walking" which is rare for November. Mesa and I started off as usual, but some of the lightning bolts I was seeing just to the west made me very nervous. When some cloud-to-cloud started streaking directly overhead, I decided to abort the mission and head on home. It was a good move. The hail started just before we made it back to the yard. There were no flash/booms, but definitely strikes within a mile. I did manage to catch a nice bolt on my security camera reflected off of my vehicle's windshield. The other good news was that the mountains picked up about a foot of snow. I have had low hopes for this year's snow season, but looking at the medium-term forecast, we could get a few good storms over the next couple of weeks. Good! We're already falling behind the average curve.
|Monday, November 21st, 2016|
|Justice Not Served
There was a news story that was largely buried due to the election last week. It hit our email inboxes at work because it had ramifications for federal workers out West especially those that deal with natural resources. You might remember several months ago that armed right-wing "wise use" nut jobs took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon because they though the federal government was doing a land grab, and good hard working ranchers were being thrown off federal land. How dare the government curtail their grazing rights on land owned by the people of the United States! The siege eventually ended and one of their patriarchs was killed by law enforcement when he ran from them and reached for a gun. See! It's not only black people that get shot when they draw a weapon on police! The rest of the merry band of protesters were arrested. Their case went to court, and last week they were all found not guilty. It was a blow for federal employees because it could be essentially making it open season on feds just trying to do their jobs in regulating how are public lands should be used. It also shows the great divide between Right and the Left when it comes to protests. These yahoos were probably hailed by the Right for being patriotic Amurikans, using guns to make their point against the tyrannical government. On the other side there are the yahoos in North Dakota protesting against a pipeline that might come close to Indian "sacred sites." The Right probably sees these protesters as a bunch of tree-hugging hippies. I'm sure there were cheers of approval as the police moved in wearing riot gear a few weeks ago to run them off. This was opposed to the Malheur protest where the police just sat back to wait them out. I'm sure if they were a bunch of armed black men taking over a government facility there would have been drones dropping bombs on them. I have been saying this since the days after 9/11. You have to be careful because one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
|Wednesday, November 16th, 2016|
|A Few More Political Thoughts
Right after the election I had dinner with scritchwuff
. We talked about the election and I realized that we essentially lived on the same political street except my house was on the left and his was on the right. There was no great wall between us, only a small fence across which we could easily share thoughts and ideas. Both of us had been leaning towards Johnson, but his stupid was only slightly less than Trump's. I had voted for him in '12, but I just couldn't bring myself to doing it this time around. Both Scritch and I agreed that the best outcome of the election was hopefully a nail in the coffin to both the Bushes and the Clintons. Our country does not need political dynasties. The other thing we agreed on was that hopefully the Religious Right no longer has the sway they did 10-20 years ago. The great definition of hypocrisy is for a Christian conservative to say how great it is to have Trump as a president. Trump truly is the anti-Christ in that his beliefs and actions are probably the most un-Christlike in American political history. That's fine with me! In fact the more I thought about it, Trump is probably one of the first Republicans I could possibly vote for; a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. We'll see if he can pull either one of those off without getting mired in the swamp of DC that he so wants to drain. I'm all for spending big bucks on infrastructure, but I cringe when he says our military is woefully under-funded. That and the urge to cut taxes on the wealthiest. Once again...we'll see. Something that has already made me do a *facepaws* are the rumors coming out about cabinet positions. There was great joy among railfans when John Mica lost his seat in the House. He was the loudest proponent for killing Amtrak. Now there are rumors that he could be appointed Secretary of Transportation. Ugh. Of course closer to my heart are the rumors about the possible Secretary of the Interior...Sarah Palin. Oh sweet Jeebus. Come on, early retirement offer!
BTW...My new icon was created by myself using a photomorphing app on my phone. Orangotrump!
|Tuesday, November 15th, 2016|
|My Political Post
I think I'm finally to the point where I can type up my feelings about what just happened here in America. My original idea was that Trump sold stupidity to the stupid. In a way I still believe that since it seems that many Americans voted not because of facts but because of rumor, innuendo, and misinformation. But then I thought that it wasn't fair to make such a blanket statement. So I thought it would be better to say that America voted based on fear. There is fear of terrorism. There is fear of losing one's livelihood to cheap foreign labor or government regulation. There is fear of losing basic ideals which people hold dear. Americans can be progressive, but overall I think we lean toward being more conservative. Once again there is that fear of change. And so I think that this current administration pushed just a little too hard on some issues which caused the backlash we saw last Tuesday. There was a rejection of "4 more years" of more liberal policies. I think we saw pushback against the acronyms PC, BLM, and LGBT.
The Social Justice Warriors have raged over the past few years on what can and cannot be said. I think the majority of Americans who cherish free speech were outraged with rampant political correctness. So Trump comes along, who is probably one of the most un-PC people around, and you had people flocking to him. He could say the most outrageous things about women and/or minorities and few people batted an eye. Perhaps that's where the "Make America Great Again" struck a chord. Yes! Let's go back to an era where we can speak freely and not worry about what group we're potentially offending.
I also think there was a lot of pushback against Black Lives Matter. The President has pretty much wrapped his arms around the cause which pissed off a lot of white voters. Never side against law and order because we want to feel safe. People love that "thin blue line" that is our police force. I think most people can agree that wonton shooting of unarmed black men by the police is a terrible thing that should not be tolerated, but the movement went too far and started protesting and rioting when there were deaths of armed black men who were a danger to society. There were protests even when black police officers shot armed black men. And yet black men were being killed on the streets of Chicago every day by other black men, and there were no protests. White America saw the hypocrisy and the Democrats seemingly going along with it to garner votes, and so they voted for the more likely law-and-order candidate.
Finally I think there was pushback against the LGBT community. Gay marriage was grudgingly accepted because it has come to the point that almost everyone knows of someone who is gay. They are not sex-crazed child molesters who want to spread the gay genes to the children. They are good hard-working people just like straight Americans (just with a better fashion sense). But I think the transgender agenda pushed average Americans into the uncomfortable zone. It was one thing to say that "whatever gay people do in their own bedrooms is their business" but now they wanted to have "freaks" in their daughter's bathrooms and locker rooms. We have our own furry echo chamber. I think that almost all of us have friends who was trans that we love and support. That doesn't hold true for the rest of society. I think momentum will eventually swing that way just like with the gay rights movement, but it will just take a little more time. Once again, America seems to fall back on fear. We're the home of the brave until we're not. We fear what we don't understand, so it will just take time to build up that understanding.
|Saturday, November 12th, 2016|
I have a nice political post still swirling in my head, but today I'd like to post about tomatoes. I have mentioned previously that the garden has been very prolific this year in terms of tomato production. I usually eat about 2-3 tomatoes a week, but the garden has been producing 20-30 a week. I have been preserving them by simply cutting them up and putting them in Ziploc bags in 16 oz portions which then get tossed in the freezer. I now have a freezer full of Ziploc bags. Last week Kitty made a recipe that required stewed tomatoes. She decided to make her own. We learned 2 lessons. The first was that if you blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds before plunging them into ice water, the skins come right off. Secondly, if a recipe calls to add water to the tomatoes to stew them, skip it. The tomatoes are plenty juicy on their own. Since I had lots of jars and several lids left over from my previous foray into pickling a few years ago, I decided that I would try my paw at canning tomatoes. I read that since tomatoes are naturally acidic, they preserve quite easily. What I found interesting was that people prefer sweeter tomatoes that are less acidic, so they have been bred over time to be less acidic, especially tomatoes found in stores. Less acidity means greater chance for spoilage. My tomatoes tasted pretty sweet, so I got around the potential problem by adding just a little bit of lemon juice to every jar. I also learned that if you add onions and/or peppers to make Italian-style tomatoes, you have to use a pressure cooker to prevent possible botulism due to, once again, insufficient acidity. Everything went fine. I used up almost all of the tomatoes I had stored in the refrigerators and ended up with 11 pints. So now the experiment will be to see how long they last.
As part of my using LJ to document climate change, I should mention that we have not yet had our first freeze and we just broke the record for latest date for the low temperature not falling below 40. What this means is that I STILL have tomatoes to be harvested.
|Wednesday, November 9th, 2016|
|Meet the New Boss
It looks like I'll have a new boss in January. Unlike most of you, I'll have to look at the deranged orangutan every day since his portrait will be hanging in every federal office building. I have a lot more respect for filmmaker Michael Moore since he has been on the Bill Maher show a few times and each time has warned that a Trump presidency was a real possibility. Bill and the other guests usually laughed, but he had a dead serious look on his face every time. Normally I drink about 3 whiskeys a night. Last night I think it was closer to 5. I knew it was over when Florida went red and it looked like North Carolina would follow. When the preliminary numbers popped up for Michigan, I think even the news folks knew it was over. There was just no steam left. So I went to bed hoping to wake up to chaos where some scenario would be playing out like UT going to McMullen or some big state(s) still too close to call. Nope. So now the Republicans can wreak all of the havoc they want over the next 2 years. I'm most worried about the Supreme Court. I know Ginsberg was considering retiring, but I doubt she will now. And yes, our country just got one more step closer to this:
|Tuesday, November 8th, 2016|
|Symbolism at its Finest
Today is election day. Today I got a root canal. I'm still deciding the more painful of the 2.
|Monday, November 7th, 2016|
|Escape Room II
We did the 2nd of the 3 escape rooms at the place we discovered months ago. We had pretty much the same group as the first time, and we worked well together to solve the puzzles with just under 2 minutes to spare. We hit a few roadblocks, but with a little nudge from the gamemaster, we were able to figure everything out. We ended the evening the same way as last time with pizza and Cards Against Furmanity at Fur Central. Good times!
|Friday, November 4th, 2016|
|"From Here To Eternity"
I closed out the 2016 Summer Reading Program with this book (#62 on the Top 100 books of the 20th century). It's just getting too dark too early to do any reading out on the patio. That will be especially true after this weekend and the end of DST. It seemed that it took an eternity to read the book which clocked in at just under 1000 pages. It was a big hit when it came out in the early 50's and of course was immediately made into the Hollywood blockbuster. The book is much more raw and gritty than the movie. They probably had to tone things way down to get the movie past the censors. That's OK. Both pieces or art can stand on their own. There are a couple of references to Hemmingway in the book, and I think the author must have been greatly influenced by him. I'm traveling back in time to my high school English class where we discussed "the Hemmingway hero" who was always a manly man. The characters in the book are the same way. They are all hard drinking tough guys looking for sex and gambling. There are no real heroes in the story. Everyone seems lost, looking for something they don't even know what. One thing that I found interesting was that the author used real place names in Hawaii to give his story authenticity. In one scene the character that would be played by Frank Sinatra in the movie gets arrested for fighting with some MPs. The fight takes place right around the corner from the current Embassy Suites hotel where we stayed last year. Of course things were much different back then in 1941. So I may read a book here and there over the next few months, but I'll probably turn my attention to finishing up the Top 100 movies over the Winter.
|Thursday, November 3rd, 2016|
|The Dying Cub Fans Last Request
I guess I'm a bad Cubs fan because I fell asleep during the rain delay last night and didn't get to see them win the World Series. Oh well. I still got to see some great baseball. The Cubs were always "my" team growing up in Chicago. Even though we lived on the "south" side, I was never much of a White Sox fan. My dad took me to 3-4 Sox games, but it was going to Wrigley Field that was a true joy. It was an experience hopping on the "L" in Cicero, riding it into downtown, transferring to the Red Line, and taking that up to Addison Ave. It was then a couple block walk to the park. This was the "good old days" when baseball was baseball. We would always pack a lunch and snacks. There was no limit on bringing stuff into the park (except maybe glass bottles). We would usually sit on the 1st base side. This was also the days when there was lots of general admission seating. No fancy box seats for us. But even we were in the "fancy" seats. The die-hard fans were out in the sun in the bleachers. I have been trying to remember the line-up when we went to most of our games in the late 70's. We had just acquired Dave Kingman who was in the outfield and hit 50 home runs. Bruce Sutter was our closer with his unhittable split-finger fastball. When he came on in the 8th or 9th, we headed for the exit to watch the last outs. Then it was a mad dash to the "L" to beat the crowds. I think Bill Buckner was at 1st and Ivan de Jesus was at shortstop. I need to find my old programs. I loved it that my dad taught me how to fill out a scorecard and then read the box scores in the next day's paper. Great memories for a kid! And I grew up with the Steve Goodman classic which the current generation just won't understand.
"Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy-covered burial ground
When I was a boy
They were my pride and joy
But now they only bring fatigue
In the home of the brave
the land of the free
And the doormat of the national league."
|Monday, October 31st, 2016|
Today is my favorite day of the year! It's the official end of the irrigation season! What?!? What did you think I was going to say? Oh yeah. That. So I might walk around the office as a raccoon as well. Bonus!
We've been having some unseasonably warm weather as of late. It looks like after today we will have experienced the 2nd warmest October on record. If this were June I would have been complaining. Oh wait. June WAS one of the warmest on record as well. It's just that when you have the warmest October, you have some pretty damn nice weather! I'm even getting Kitty to join me on the patio before sunset to partake in the gorgeous conditions. The other day she commented that the tomatoes were still blooming. I quickly glanced over and noticed a few yellow flowers. "Oh, yeah." It wasn't until the next day that I looked over and really saw what she was talking about. There was a cherry tomato plant that was completely covered in flowers! It looked like June or July! I may have to cover it up at the first frost (which maybe in December the way things are going). Maybe I'll have fresh tomatoes in January.
BTW, I decided to do a concerted effort to harvest all of the tomatoes that were ripe on my plants. I collected 30-40 without even trying. This is in addition to all of the cherry/plum tomatoes I have picked and brought to various furmeets as well as to the office breakroom. I also have hot peppers coming out of my ears. (Ow!) Salsa time!
|Thursday, October 27th, 2016|
|My Civic Duty
They started early voting this week, so Kitty and I decided to hit the nearby polling station yesterday. If the line we encountered was an indication of how this election is going to go, I recommend that everyone who can vote early, do so. The line was to the door and this was at 4 pm. I'd say there were about 20 people ahead of us in line. It moved quickly, however, and there were more than enough voting "booths" to handle the crowd. Soon we were out the door and heading home. Sure, the choices weren't the best, but you deal with what you have to work with.
|Wednesday, October 26th, 2016|
|The Family Tree
I'm not sure whether I should hug whitetail
or punch him. Last week he posted about a genealogy website Family Search
which is run by the Mormons. I really can't stand the religion, but I will hand it to them for their fanatical desire to know family history which is a boon to us all (and for free!) It started off innocently enough with me poking around to see just what was out there. I found some pretty cool stuff about my dad's side of the family and soon I was totally sucked in. I wanted to fill in the whole side of the tree of my grandfather on my dad's side of the family because so little was known about it. My grandfather died when my dad was only 18, so he never knew a lot about that side of the family which is also my namesake side. I had re-created my grandmother's side since my aunt did a lot of research on her mother's family. They had lived together until grandma died in the early 70's. So I decided to do a little digging. There is a treasure trove of birth and death certificates as well as US Census reports. Just from those I was able to find all of my great aunts and uncles as well as my great grandparents. They put so much useful information on death certificates back then! I was even able to find my great grandmother's parents' names, so now I have info on great great grandparents! Things get difficult then because now we're back in the "old country" of either the modern Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, or the Austria-Hungary Empire. With patience I might be able to go back to the 1700's since there are some church records that go back that far. When I go visit my mom again, I will have to check out the Bohemian/American history section of a local library. They have a whole section devoted to the local immigrant population including obituaries. Those will be key in helping me close a few loops where I'm not 100% sure of certain connections. I really need "the brother of" or maiden names to make sure I connect the right "John" or "Frank" since they were such common names. My grandfather was named Mathias but that frequently gets turned into Michael like with my uncle. I also encountered Matij which I think is slang for "Mike" in Czech. Then there are also the Franks or Francis or Frantisek not to be confused with Frantiska which would be Frances. It got quite confusing with a great uncle and aunt being Frank and Frances. Surprisingly I'm finding it much harder to find meaningful information the later things get. The info from birth and death records is not as robust as in the early part of the 20th century. There seem to be lots more loose or dead ends with the more recent info. I thought I found some juicy bits when I saw a person listed as "inmate." Oooo! A bad boy in the family! Actually, people in nursing homes were listed as "inmate" when the census was taken. The really sad thing, however, was that he was only 55 years old. The old joke about family trees applies well to furries. I hope to trace the family tree so far back that my relatives were swinging from it.