Bryan's Little Corner

Welcome to Bryan's Little Corner 

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Welcome to my Jungle

No I am not trying to cut in on Jungle Jane's territory. She does so good I would not even dream of it. This is a continuation of the prior post. The jungle is my out of control lawn.

I was out for the Holiday and did not return until after dark on Monday. I knew something was wrong . I could not see the house. I barely saw the drive way to turn in. As I did enter the driveway my headlights caught something tall. Something much taller than I have ever seen at my house. What on earth was it? Where did it come from? What was with all the trees?

Well com morning I discovered what had happened. The lawn had grown and I don't just mean an inch or two. Now I had a jungle, mater of fact a tropical rain forest I believe. What was I going to do?

Well before heading into work I made a stop past my local University Extension office. Once I explained what had happened and they stopped laughing long enough they went around back and came out with ... four GOATS! They told me to stake them down, give them a little chain and let them go.

I made a bee line for home, staked out the goats in the front yard and made my way into work.

It was an odd day. Work was a little busy but not to bad. It was a hot day out, in the low 90s but I was indoors. Of course not for long. I could not concentrate on work as my mind kept wandering to the task at hand, getting my lawn back under control.

Tick, tick, tick... the day dragged on. The only fun was using a tool to fix a problem that my bosses boss caused. The new tool was fool proof and very fast. What would have taken me 20 to 30 minutes took about 4 minutes only because I backed up everything to be safe.

Well 4:30 finally arrived and I left a half hour early since this is my early week. It was amazing. The goats did a pretty good job. I was able actually able to get started clearing the lawn but there was a problem. The poor goats all had terrible tummy aches. I decided to return the goats.

Once I arrived at the extension office I noticed no one was guarding the back room and I snuck up, opened the door and carried the goats in one at a time. I just know I am going to get a big vet bill once they figure out who brought the goats in.

Well back at the house I went into the garage and emerged with a machete. Not just any machete but a stainless steel, always sharp, wide bladed one with an extra long shaft to allow for a full swing. Ah but first I forgot a few things. I went into the house, got changed into some shorts, a nice loose fit grey t-shirt and put on the kicking boots so I could manage the jungle. I also started the safe house. The what?

I said the safe house. It was hot out there and I sweat easy. I decided to set up several lines of defense. The first one was to dress properly. I also elected to ware a nice floppy straw hat. It turns out the straw hat was OK for now but I need to replace it. The second line of defense was to take periodic breaks an on those breaks consume lots of liquids. Now I started out filling my liter size insulated mug with pink lemonade so I could empty out the gallon jug. Once rinced out I filled that with ice and water and placed both on the porch. I also added a towel to dry off. Sorry to admit it but I SWEAT. Now my finally line of defense is the safe house. Huh? The safe house is nothing more than starting the air conditioner in my bedroom to make sure if I over heated I had a place to cool off in.

I must have looked a sight, kind of like a lacrosse player. I headed over to where the goats had been and grabbed the machete with both hands. I took the long back swing and, much like Bill Murray on Caddy Shack, I took my first swing at the lawn. Amazingly a small tuft of grass fell to the ground. When it hit it was almost deafening.

I took another swing and another and still another. Before long I had a good 10 by 10 square of lawn done. It was time for a break. Then it dawned on me. I only did a little over 1 percent of my lawn. So I put of the break and kept at it.


I did this for what seemed like forever and cleared the front lawn. A quick break, mop up the brow, drink the fluids and I was at it again.


A few breaks late I was at last done with the first pass. I still had man eating weeds (no I did not say M-E) to deal with at a later time. I also had tons of grass laying on the grass and a very un even job at that so I got out the mower.

Now my mower needs a new primer. I have to prime for about 30 minutes to get it started. I looked into replacing it and but it would cost $75 to replace the carburetor so maybe some day. Anyway I primed it for 60 pumps and tried to start it.



Prime, prime, prime,


And we got a sputter. I yanked it a few more times and it coughed. A few more primes, a few more yanks and the mower STARTED! Yea.

I put on the grass catcher and preceded to go 10 feet before the bad filled up and I had to empty it. The 10 more feet and so on and so on until finally I had the front yard down. Time for another break. But first I did notice something had changed. The sun had disappeared and the temperature had dropped at least 5 degrees.

I got to the porch and doffed the straw hat. By now the towel was soaked and the gallon jug was half empty ( I like to drink a lot even if it is just ice water). After a quick break it was time to move on to the side yard and then the other side yard. All the time I kept praying I would at least be able to get half the lawn done before ... THE MONSOON HIT.

Well surprise, surprise, surprise (say the prior the way Gomer Pyle did on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) I managed to finish the entire lawn. Well by now there was thunder and lightening all around. I could not believe it. There was no way I was doing the trimming, besides it probably would take at least 30 minutes and it was going to rain any minute. I managed to get the mower put away before the monsoon hit.

Just when I thought job well done it hit me, I left the machete in the flower beds. I headed ont and at the exact moment I saw a flash and heard a loud clap and the heavens opened up and just dumped buckets of water all over me. I swear it was following me. I would move toward the tool and it rained harder, I moved back toward the garage and it slowed. Back toward the tool and it poured, back toward the garage and ... well you get the point. I made a wild dash for the tool slipping several times and dashed back to the garage to safety.

Well I closed the garage and headed into the house. I pealed off the clothes and tossed them down the stairs and headed up stairs to take a shower. Did I mention I live alone?

After the shower I got dressed and just vegged out for a little while before doing something about dinner and calling it an early night. But, but after all this the grass returned back to more or less normal, the trimming still needed to be done and the man eater weeds needed to be pulled but it looked good again.

Never again. NEVER AGAIN!

Oh and by the way, I may have just exaggerate just a little bit.

Every month at the quarter moon, there'll be a monsoon, in your lagoon. --Jamanji

Prelude to a Jungle; POW/MIA

I know I should have done it but I was to busy last week. I let my lawn go more than a week without cutting it. Now in the summer that is OK but in the spring, big mistake, huge.

When I bolted out of the house last Friday afternoon the grass was over due but not outragous. I figured I would just bag the grass on Tuesday when I returned from holiday.

The weekend was nice. I saw a Heritage Day parade in the town I gre up in . The parade also doubled as a Memorial Day parade. There was a float in the parade that got to me. Now I have seen this float many times before but for some reason it hit home this time.

I am enclosing three pictures. I am not going to say much and let the pictures speak for themselves. Also I am going to split this post in two because this feels like a good ending point.

[first thing the tortured Cylon POW says, sobbing] I want to die. Will you help me do that? Will you kill me, please? --Battlestar Galactica?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Terminaly Single

Yes thats me alright. Today I had it verified.

When we returned from lunch there was this somewhat cute gal in front of us stopped at the security desk. Now while most guys would notice this gal, I mean really, really notice her, what do I notice? She was carring two very nice cameras. One was just a camera with a medium size lense attached to it, probably a 25-70 lense. The other camera had a battery grip attached and a nice long expensive lense, either a 70-210 or 70-300 lense.

That is so me, always looking at the details and missing what is really important. The sad things is this is not the first time it has happened. Another time I was watching a hockey game on tv. Now the camera crew started to show some crowd shots. They decided to zoom in on this stunning young lady with a nice flat tummy and possibly a belly button ring (it would have fit in). Everyone saw it and was talking about it the next day at work. What did I notice? She was holding a sign and I was trying to read what it was on her sign. I never did completely figure out the sign.

Help, I need help.

Well, it's simple. I'm a single, 41 year-old janitor. What's God gonna do? Take *that* away from me? --The Drew Carey Show

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Derby Party

Down in Kentucky in the Louisville area, Derby parties are everywhere. It is like graduation season. You can not find a place to park to save your life there are so many parties going on. I believe there are more than a few in Lexington as well and that is over an hour away. Horse racing is big in Kentucky and the Derby; well the Derby is the Daddy of all excuses to throw a party. Heck I have even been to a Derby party up here in Michigan once. My favorite M*A*S*H episode has the gang celebrating the Derby.

Anyway there is no such thing as a standard Derby party. The one thing they have in common is there is you usually watch the actual race. Also there is usually betting going on at the party. Usually there are some clever games thought up that are tied into the race also, some more clever than others. It is also not uncommon to see mint juleps at the party.

Well the party I go to is rather on the mild side of things. There is always the main betting where you cross off the person that has the horse you want and you write in your name with a higher bet then the person before you. Back several years ago the kids (who had their parents fund them) were betting wild amounts. Money did not matter to them and they were about impossible to knock off because they would just out bid you. Now the youngest kid will be graduating high school next year. One is soon to be a father to be, another is married and is a father and I think the other is divorced. How quickly things change. Anyway the full post is always paid back to who ever wins. Another thing that usually happens is you get in on one of those things that have numbers on the top and side and you fill in squares. Later the horse names are added in. That has been a fun diversion. This year I lost 70 cents on that (wow, big spender).

We kind of alternate who's house it is at but this year we needed it to be back where it was last year. It was a good showing as all but two people made it this year. Anyway we got to eat, shoot pool, eat, play corn hole (more about that in a future post) eat some more, talk, eat some desert and just in general have a nice pleasant evening of it. We also played DVD Family Feud. As a matter of fact that is the last thing we did for he evening. It had Al Borland (sorry I do not remember his actual name and not his name on Home Improvement) as the host so you did not need to worry about your daughters or maybe even you getting kissed or more. It took a little to understand what we were doing but in the end it was a few close games but the team I was on never could seem to win. I suspect the other team was cheating. I think I enjoy the Derby party because I get to visit with some people I never get to see except then.

The next day was our tradition that we have probably been doing for 15 years or so, Prim Rib dinner. We cook a nice piece of meat (everyone loves their meat) on a Webber under indirect heat and that always turns out perfect. If you do not show up for that night there is something seriously wrong with you. Everyone covets the ends that have delicious spices on it. After that every one just does not stop eating. Forget the rule about 3/4 of a pound of meat per person. Even the kids eat more than that. Of course the kids are not kids anymore. When the heck did they grow up? Well I thought I would sneak in one picture of the meat. Yummm!

I have been doing the Derby activities for 19 years now. I would not give it up for anything. Of course it has become more of a visit than anything with a few Derby events scattered in for flavor. Still I love my friends and I love Kentucky that time of year. As long as I can still afford to make the trip and I do not have a spouse (someday) that frowns on it I will continue to do this for years to come.

Well that is how I spend my vacation minus a lot of the boring details that, well what can I say, I like the boring stuff. I was able to attend two recitals, do a bit of shopping, sleep (yea) by a Monopod so I could take better pictures at the second recital, go book shopping and read for a while at the nice book store, go to starbucks (my one friend and her daughter are addicted to that stuff) and a bunch of other little things.

Well time to get back to regular posting. Let's see, what have I done interesting lately?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Stars Came Out at the Parade

There were several stars at this years Kentucky Derby Parade. I have added them to my Flickr Badge on the right of my page. If you wish to only see them, click on the tag "star."

Here is the Grand Marshall of this years parade, Muhammmad Ali. It is his second time I believe as he was also Grand Marshall in 1981.

Derby Festival Parade

Sorry it has taken so long to post the next post. Going through the 1700 pictures I took to straighten and correct all of them has been taking a lot more time than I expected. I need to remember to set the white ballance. Today we do the Parade pictures. There were over 600 pictures to try and filter down to a hand full. You can find all my pictures in the flickr on the right side of my template. If you want click on the keyword parade to see only the parade pictures.

Sorry Sign Gurl, I know you are not a parade kind of person but it had to be done. This is the Pegasus parade. It always occures on Thursday Afternoon/early evening. Here you see the main balloon for the parade. There were a lot more balloons but I always weighted to long to take a picture and, since I did not have a real wide angle lense, I never managed to get a good picture.

This parade starts at 5:00 but we usually are toward the end of the parade. It takes almost anhour for the parade to get where we usually sit. The parade itself is about two hours long I believe. They always have a marshal of the parade, lots of bands, many stars (which I will upload later), horses, floats, balloons and much, much more. It is one of the better paraes I have ever seen. Then again most things about the Kentucky Derby Festival is among the best. Thunder, the fireworks for the festival, was among the top fireworks in North America and possibly the world. While this parade is not a Macy's parade it still is wounderful.

Bands and lovely ladies are two of my favorite things about a parade. That and just people watching. I was so busy at the parade so I did not get a lot of "crowd" shots.

Well this is just a teaser. For more picture (18 I believe) check out my flickr. Later I will upload a few pictures of the stars that were in thie years parade.

OK, one last shot. This is a picture of the true heros of any parade that has horses. Here is a picture of the pooper scoopers. Having marched in many parades I know the importance of these people. Thanks for doing a much needed job.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

KDF Dawn at the Downs... pass the doughnuts

Since I have a bunch of pictures I want to post and I really do not want to slow my page down to much for those with dialup connections I thought I would try something else. On the right hand side of this template you will see a Flickr badge that contains the pictures I have uploaded. I have a bit to learn yet but hopefully it works out.

Wednesday was Dawn at the Downs. Basically I go down with my friend to Churchill Downs. It opens at 7:00 and that is a wonderful time to go. Parking and attending this is FREE, amazing. We typically stop by Krispy Kreme on the way to the track and get either 6 or 12 doughnuts, bring along a thermous of coffee and just enjoy the lovely morning. We usually are there between 3 to 4 hours.

Here is one of my favorite pictures.

We get a box right at the rail and take in the workouts of the horses. We also take in the unique odors. Some of the trainers are very friendly and most of the track people are too. We have been known to share a doughnut with a horse or two but shhhhh ... don't tell anyone. I wouldn't want to get anyone in trouble.

Churchill Downs has went under a major renovation over the last few years. Part of me hates what happened such as the steeples are no where near as prominent as they used to be. Part of me loves the additions although I am sure I will never find my way into any of those suits.

Here is one of the two steeples and the Derby sign.

Well I hope you check out my pictures in flickr. Warning, besides the 17 or so photos from Dawn at the Downs, there is also a head shot of me lurking about in there. Consider yourself warned.

With Mothers Day upon us I am not sure if I will be able to post before Monday. It is Parade time next.

Happy Mothers day to everyone. I hope you have a great day with friends and family.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Another Festival event, Pass the wine

On Tuesday it was time for Run for the Rose. The last several years it has been held at the baseball stadium for the Bats (formerly known as River Bats)

Basically each participant (which is a waiter or waitress from a local establishment) is given a serving tray, six plastic glasses (or was that five), a bottle of wine and a cork screw. Different celebrity starters fire off the starter pistol after the classic call to post tune.

At that point all the participants for that heat uncork their wine, fill their glasses and then make their way around the obstacle corse to the finish line. The object is to keep as much wine in the glasses as possible and make it around as quickly as possible. If you do not keep at least six ounces of wine you are disqualified.

When you cross the finish line you take you tray to a judges station and empty your wine into a container (which you get to keep) to see how many ounces of wine is left. So what is the payoff besides the wine? Second and third prizes get a small check. First prize is a trip.

Oh I forgot a couple of additional things. The men and the women compete separately. Also there are corporate relay races where teams of like minded people such as Lawyers or Media people hand the tray off to team members as they make their way around the course. I think all they win is bragging rites.

The table set up for the start of the race.

One celebrity starter.

The Kentucky Derby Festival Queens were a celebrity starter for one of the races. Interesting technique.

Time to uncork.

A better veiw of uncorking.

One of the waitresses makes her way around the course.

This is at the end at the jusging stations.

And finally the booty. Not bad amount of wine left.

I took pictures of this lady from uncorking to finish. In the end she took second.

OK, one more "crowd" picture. This lady was having way to much fun.

Next, if my Internet connection will allow it, Dawn at the Downs where we sit at the rail and watch the horses work out at Churchill Downs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

And the Winner Was

While I am trying to sift through the over 300 pictures from Run for the Rose let me put out another quicky. We went to Dawn at the Downs on Wednesday to watch the horses work out. I should be posting some of that tomorrow.

Until then I thought I would provide a quick peek. Above is one of the two pictures I took of the Winning Derby horse 3 days before the Derby. I wish I knew then what I know now. Congratulations Barbaro.

Monday, Bedlum

OK I have been very lazy and have not posted any pictures from my vacation. Time to get started.

Over the weekend they were suppose to have the Great Balloon Race. Well if you know anything about hot air balloons, the weather has to be just right. Typically they can only launch in the early morning or late evening. Wind is a big problem especially the way the balloons were layed out. Long story short, the race did not happen.

Next up was Bedlum on Monday. Teams create beds out of anything they think they can push around a track and not have it fall apart. We did not make it there early enough to see the parade lap where all the beds had their special fancy tops on that they are judged on. We got there in time to see the races. The following series of pictures are from one successfull race that we saw.

This is the very beginning of the race as they rounded the first turn.

As they ran around the track the team on the inside needed to switch to the outside track and visa versa. Here you see one of the two teams that was rounding turn 3.

Here is the second team as they round turn 3. You would think they were losing but...

Here the two teams are just before crossing the finish line. Notice the red team is about to win.

Opps, how did that get in there? Umm, it's a crowd shot. Yes, that it, it is a crowd shot.

Click here to see how not to do the bed races. Note there are over 20 pictures on the page that you will be linked to so if you have a slow connection you may not want to check that page out.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Quickie

I have been stuck on that last post so long that I figured it was time I post something else. When the vacation is over I will post a few pictures from Bedlum, Run for the Rose, Pegesus Parade, Dawn at the Downs and possibly the Derby party. That is if I can find good pictures out of the over 1000 pictures I have taken while learning how to use my camera.

For now however I thought I would post a couple of pictures from the parade that the ladies may enjoy. They are all of the same officer that was stationed near where we were sitting. In particular I thought the last picture might give some people ideas.

Derby On!

Cute, ain't I? Clean cut. Charming. Now when I bust some punk in the street and I say, "Freeze! I'm a police officer", he's gonna look at me and laugh, and say "Ha ha ha, look at that kid". Then he'll pull out a piece and blow my keister off. --Barney Miller

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Extended Family Tree

I had no idea until recently that my family tree was rather like an iceberg. I knew I had a younger brother and sister but that is just the beginning. The picture below is the new family tree the best that I can piece it together.

Now up at the top you will notice Crabby. Crabby is our older sis. She is super fun and I love her to pieces. Crabby, Man-Eater and myself all share a love of red I believe unless it was just Crabby using M-E's eyes. That was some wild times.

Next we have the Squirrel. At least at the moment Squirrel does not blog. She sounds like a trip. I have not met or spoke to her so I am taking her sisters word for it. That is probably a big mistake in itself. I think Crabby said I should watch out for Squirrel. I have my eye on you. Come to think of it I have this squirrel that keeps coming on my deck and staring me down. Not only that the squirrel goes right up by my picture window and just stairs in. I suspect this is a spy for Squirrel. I am on to you.

I come along next. Now while my nickname, BARMan really does not have to do with drinking, I get the feeling I will be a welcome addition to the family. I am sure I can figure out the bar duties somehow. Pssst, Man-Eater, lets get Crabby drunk. I think this could be fun!

Next we have Man Eater. By the way, if you are looking for man eater in the tree you need to look closely. She seems to be a little bit stealthy for some reason. Years of practice I would assume. She says she is stuffy, at least at work because of where she works. Why do I have a hard time believing that? I get the feeling M-E is the wild one of the family not that everyone does not take their turns.

Bad new Man Eater. You are no longer the baby of the family. Sing Gurl officially takes over those duties. I have known Sign Gurl a little longer than the rest. I met her because of a misunderstanding back in November. We discovered we live somewhat near each other. Wow, it really is a small world after all. At the time we had no idea we were related. It was not until Crabby and I decided I was her long lost brother and then Crabby blurted out that Sign Gurl was her sister that I put it all together. Sign Gurl is one awesome person. I sure hope her family appreciates her.

Now I am really worried. I came from a family that the males outnumber the females 2 to 1. Now I am the only male. With this crew I suspect I would have my hands full with any one of them. I think I am in way over my head. The good news however ... I suspect any one of them (short of Squirrel whom I have not met) would have my back. That is a good feeling.

If you have not done so already, make sure you stop by my sisters blogs and check them out. They are all really fun people and you will be glad you stopped. Now somehow we need to see if we can't fit Roxi in here somewhere and the family would be PERFECT. Besides she knows all the bestest phones to have so we can all stay in touch.

Do you talk about the loons and the scoundrels in your family tree? --The Real Ghost Busters