Yes! Best counter service EVER!

The flamethrower is positive proof that sometime, somewhere, someone said, “You know, I’d really like to set those people over there on fire, I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”


Craft Shows, A Chorus Line, and Paranoia.

So, I attended the Southern X-Mass show in Charlotte, NC last year. It is essentially, a craft show. Normally I wouldn’t attend this sort of thing, however my daughter was participating in an event there, so I had to attend.

She is in the chorus – not that she is a wonderful singer, my family suffers from the inability to carry a tune, but she sounds good mixed in with the chorus and can afford to go on the trips, and us as parents are the kind of psycho nut jobs seen on other kid competition shows like “toddlers and tiaras” or “pit bulls and parolees”

So there is part of the group. She had a grand old time singing, and it was over within about fifteen minutes. Afterwards they spent fifteen minutes trying to group the kids with “chaperones”, those parents that showed up had to watch the kids whose parents didn’t show up. I wasn’t aware of this as a part of the trip, but I won’t go into this. I don’t like watching other people’s kids without a waiver.


So after we were turned loose on an unsuspecting populace, we walked around the craft show. There was a lot of interesting stuff to look at, but not much stuff I would consider purchasing and bringing home. I mean, a big saw blade with tractors and stuff painted on it looks nice in a Cracker Barrel, but who wants one in their den?

More weird stuff you wouldn’t necessarily hang on your wall, but fun to see. At this point I was confronted by a Crazy Craft Show Lady. I learned something about craft shows while asking a photography group about this sort of thing. First, the backstory.

There was a booth of sculpted crafts involving rocks. I thought they were cute, but again, not something I would purchase for my own use unless I owned a western themed hotel or maybe a playground. I took two pictures of the things when Crazy Craft Lady runs over in front of me and says “No Photos Allowed!” I was taken aback, in shock, and I guess I stared at her with a stupefied expression. She said “My stuff is copyrighted! No photos allowed!”

I said “But you’re in public…” and simply wandered off, dazed and confused. Two problems with her assumption: Yes, you can copyright a sculpture, but what that means is I can’t photograph one from several angles and go home and reproduce that sculpture, or buy it and measure it and make several more. That’s what copyright means. The second problem is, she has no expectation of privacy in public. Even if she hangs a sign up that says “No Photos!”, anyone can take pictures in public. Much like photographing freaky people in Wal-Mart, or interestingly half-naked people on the beach, there’s nothing they can do to stop you.

I’m not posting her stuff on here, not out of respect, but out of the fact I don’t want to drum up any business for such an A-Hole. Yes, I understand, people at craft shows have to deal with this problem. Someone takes photos of their painted gourds, goes home and paints their own gourds the same way, and comes back next year as the competition. Well, tough, that’s called capitalism, and its the reason we can buy many many different kinds of cars now, and not just Ford’s Model T.

I like these – I made one about 20 years ago while I was in college, it was a popular way to recycle empty liquor bottles, as if college students need an excuse to empty a liquor bottle.

The model railroad guys were my favorite display. It took up a huge room… and the details were amazing.

Makin’ Shine

I love this one… I said “I think they’re making moonshine”, and the guy laughed and said, “Yeah, that’s what they’re doing!”

I love the hanging plant thing… I thought these were great. IT just water and epsom salt in the jars. A wall dedicated to Tweens.

So overall the craft show was nice, other than the Crazy Craft Lady it all went rather nice. I even had three free tickets left over. Since we didn’t need them, I gave them to a group of people in line to buy tickets, which earned me a mean look from the woman in the ticket booth.

My day was done.

Hurricane Survival

I watched the hurricane Sandy footage and agree it was a pretty rotten event. For the past several years as hurricanes have ravaged the gulf coast and the southeast, I have often heard discussions of “if something like that hit New York it would be terrible”. Well, it finally did.

I’m not going to go into “they should have evacuated” or “FEMA sucks” or anything. These people would be far better off with some backpacking instructions.

Life would be far better for anyone in NYC if they simply were into backpacking. Storms don’t worry me as much any more. Sure, having the roof blown off would suck, but hunting looters could be fun.

Why does backpacking make for an easier less anxious storm time? Several reasons:

Backpackers are inherently ready to be without modern conveniences. In fact, it’s a simple fact of backpacking. You expect to be without power, water, and clean clothes for days.

Water: we all need it, and it gets pretty nasty after a storm. My filter system can remove parasites and bacteria. As long as I can find chemically clean, desalinated water I can remove stuff that would make me sick.

Food: always looking for new meals and hikes, I have enough backpacking food in my closet that I could be okay for a few days, if needed. Normal microwave meals are easily “converted” to backpack able stuff. Refrigeration is a luxury I don’t require.

Shelter: so, the house gets destroyed. Obliterated even. A bit inconvenient, but with my tent I’m sheltered from the weather, and with my sleeping bag I’m not going to freeze.

Cooking: I can cook over a little stove, or quickly make a tin can stove capable of warming my food or even boiling water.

In my pack is a shovel and little roll of toilet paper, hand wipes and a first aid kit, enough to get through the first 48 hours of an emergency. There’s even an inflatable pillow, which might serve as a flotation device if necessary.

So… I feel okay about storms.

But hiking in the mountains sure is a lot more fun.