Friday, March 29, 2013

DAMN nature, you scary!

 So recently I was on the ol' interweb and came across a group of picture of animals. After a long look at each I came to the realization that we don't need James Cameron to take us to an alienated place with weird creatures as we watch it on the TV in the comfort of our home, we can just go outside.

Take a look at these two guys; I can only assume they are a type of poisonous frog. Just looking at them makes my eyes hurt. They look fake, that is until you become bloated, red, irritated, itching all over, and vomiting blood because you thought it would be a good idea to pick one up.

Then there is this guy. I don't even know what it is. Assuming it's some sort of underwater creature that only poses for the camera a mere second before attacking you with hidden spikes and yelling some alien language.

Now we have all seen crocodiles and  alligators, but just look at him (or her). The head on it is just as big as some of the people on the boat. They have been known to be mistaken for a floating log in the water completely motionless, then BAM! Croc attack! The bite force on these things is so great that one chomp and there goes your arm, leg, mid section, whatever is there, gone. And never mind that this one is missing an arm, probably from a bigger croc, he can still swim out of the water high enough to prove that the top of the boat is not a safe place either. Not only is there mouth scary, their tales can swing with so much force they can break both legs of a grown man. Can you say dinosaur power?
How about the octopus and squid? They even have a tall cone shaped head with big eyes like the aliens in the movies. Eight tentacles with suction cups, some with spikes, that won't let go of their prey. Some of these things have beaks like a bird. What the hell?

 Speaking of eight... really? OK so this one is self explanatory. A spider. I may have just put this one on there not because they have multiple eyes, eight legs, hair, are poisonous, can jump , and are lighting fast, but because this particular one is wearing a helmet of water. That "helmet" won't protect you from my shoe. I don't care who you are when he moves just a millimeter you jump and yell like a little girl.

Birds. They fly! At any point, if they get mad they can swoop down from above a rein hell down on us. And there isn't just a few. There are thousands of species and large ones too like the guy on the right. Although pretty to look at from a far, piss him off and he can get real close real fast. A bald eagle, our nations symbol of freedom, has a six foot wingspan and razor sharp talons. He is the Chuck Norris of birds.
Turtles and tortoises, not scary right? Well not the guy on the left who weighs a few hundred pounds and has a built on armored house. Slow moving and a plant eater, a gentle giant, the stegosaurus of our time for sure but will outlive any human by a couple hundred years. The age of these things has never been accurately determined because no scientists has lived long enough to keep an accurate record. Then there is the alligator snapping turtle. No not just a plain old regular snapping turtle that can reach out and take off a finger or two, but a snapping turtle on steroids. A beefed up version, so bad ass they gave him two scary animal names alligator and snapping turtle. Spikes, claws, a beak, they can grow to 250 pounds, and will send you home hand less if you are dumb enough to try and touch it.

We live on a deadly, scary planet that will make you nervous to step foot outside and sometimes keep you from staying in. I left out poisonous plants, insects (spider isn't an insect), and the more obvious animals such as lions, bears, sharks, and snakes but i think the examples from above was enough to prove the point.

Oh  I almost forgot this one, the scariest thing on our planet;

(I do not own any of these images and will not take credit for them)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jack and Ted

I got to meet a couple local celebrities this past weekend; 
I met Ted "the Golden Voice" Williams first, not the baseball player but the homeless who became an overnight sensation for his voice (;

Then later that night i had the chance to meet Jack Hanna (

Friday, March 15, 2013

After waking up from the nap I took after reading my last post I realized that it was on the slightly boring side. So I decided to write another post this week. Actually it's pictures.

Have you ever seen something or witnessed an event that made you think, "Only here could you see this." Alabama is one of those places.

For instance, this is art in Alabama;
This is how the doctors office takes care of something that can't be cured with whiskey and beer.

A family reunion isn't a reunion without the family photo.
And you just might get more than you paid for at the petting zoo.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wild Kingdom and Mushroom Rock

           Before I fill you in on my weekend down south, I just want to say congratulations to Mitch Seavey for winning the Iditarod last night. Seavey was the first to pull in to Nome, Alaska late last night with his team of sled dogs after completing the 987 mile race from Anchorage. This was Seavey’s second Iditarod win. The Iditarod is a very impressive race much like the Tour de France it is a test of endurance with the added bonus of harsh conditions and a team of dogs. So as I was walking to my car this morning through less than an inch of snow in 32°F weather complaining of it being cold, I tried to imagine what Seavey and the other competitors must feel like spending a week or more in much worse conditions racing. The race isn’t just for tough old men like Seavey who is only 53 but women and younger competitors. Travis Beals who is just 21 has been running sled dogs since he was four. Then there is Anna and Kristy Berington the 29 year old twins from Wisconsin and National Guard vets who ran this year as well. This was Anna’s first Iditarod and Kristy’s second. Rudy Demoski Sr. the 67 year old Alaskan native ran his first Iditarod back in 1974 competed this year also. It’s just awesome to see such a magnificent race being ran by such a variety of people all having to compete at the same level and endure the same conditions.
            Ok enough of the Alaskan adventure and back to my own adventures. We headed south early Friday morning and arrived at Kelly’s just shy of nine hours later. We ate out with some friends and family then headed to my god parents’ house for a visit before heading back to Kelly’s house for the night. The next day I woke up early, walked and fed Penny, grabbed my gear, and headed further up the mountain for a bit of climbing but when I got there I wasn’t feeling it. I was still tired from what little sleep I got and I wasn’t feeling 100% but I mustard through it and tooled around a few boulders for a little bit before deciding to be done. On my way back I spotted an “L” shaped rock in the middle of a field.  it looked like a fun and easy climb so I parked the car and headed down to it. Now the hike, although it was just a few hundred yards, was treacherous because the field was covered waist deep in thorns. When I finally made it Big L (my unofficial name) I was ripped up from the spiky field and I found that Big L was overgrown which made it not easily accessible without a machete or yard tools. I was discouraged, disappointed and any other “dis” words that has a similar meaning. That is until I saw Mushroom Rock (my unofficial name).  Behind Big L stands a patch of woods and about fifty yards in, far enough you can’t see from the road stood a rock shaped like a mushroom. This structure literally had a stem and cap just as if it was a massive giant fungus growing from the ground. It was if the sun was shining directly on it to make sure I didn’t miss it and it was all mine. Not a soul in sight or another climber to fight with for the best holds. I was immediately amped up and ready to climb.  It turned out to be a fun and easy climb and after an hour or so on Mushroom Rock, with my hands raw, I bid farewell and promised to visit it again someday. That night at the weenie roast I bragged to everyone about my find and showed off some pictures that I had taken.
            Now when people think of Alabama they don’t think of lions and tigers or even bears, oh my, and I admit neither do I. Aside from the elusive mountain lion that does inhabit northern Alabama and the growing black bear population that has recently been hitting the news, northern Alabama is mostly dominated by poisonous snakes, nasty spiders, and wild boar, a wild kingdom of its own kind. But I found that this weekend brought more exotic breeds. Like for instance when we went to the store to by some food for the weenie roast we found ourselves drawn in by a large tent and sign that said, “lions and tigers” so we stopped in and sure enough they had a lion, actually lion cub who couldn’t sit still, a tiger, kangaroo, llama, camel, monkeys, and a white tiger and black leopard that cost a dollar to see, which was worth it. Then on Sunday we visited Noccalula Falls Park that has its own llamas, goats, sheep, deer that I petted, and a large female lion who like to taunt little kids. They also had emus and a not-so-happy bobcat that sounded like a sick old woman. Earlier that day, before we went to Noccalula, I was awaken by the sound of Amber and Kelly yelling and carrying on outside. When I step out there to see what was going on they informed me of a goat that was following a pack of dogs and had chased them through the yard. A few minutes it came into sight. Sure enough this goat was running around with this group of dogs like it was a dog. It was very comical and we laughed probably for a good hour about it.
Monday morning we said our goodbyes and headed north. We travel eight and half hours in the rain and made it home safely. It was a great weekend.   

Friday, March 1, 2013

SPRING! Where are you?

            I know, I know, I know, I’ve been slackin’. What can I say, it was a lazy February. Fighting the weather and trying to make it to the spring is what I did. February is that dreadful month of winter that nobody looks forward to. December is the beginning and everyone is too pumped for the holidays to pay attention to the weather. After the holidays in January when we start watching the weather and we get some good snow storms it looks so nice and white and smooth outside. But then February comes and you’re sick of those wet, cold dreary days. It seems the sun shines less in February than any other month. Maybe because it’s only 28 days (29 every four years) or it’s just me. The days are short and the nights are long. Occasionally you’ll get a little sun and maybe, just maybe if your lucky like we were this year, have a few warmer days that gives you that boost to make it through the rest of the month with the thought that spring is coming. At the beginning of the month of February we get the news from an oversized rodent that there will either be more winter or an early spring. I realize it’s a bit of tradition and some people get into that and some even believe Ol’ Punxsutawney Phil can predict the coming of spring or lack there of, so I’ll leave that one alone. Today is the first day of March, technically not spring for another three weeks this morning reminded me that it is near. It was still a chili morning but not like it has been and the air kind of gave off the slightest hint of spring. The birds were chirping and there is no snow on the ground, although it is still saturated from the mixed weather of the past weeks. The same with every spring I start to plan my outdoor adventures hiking, biking, camping, climbing, and anything else I can find to get my self outside. Amber and I head south next week to the “Heart of Dixie” or Alabama if you didn’t know, to visit my sister. I plan to hit up the boulders on top of Lookout Mountain again this trip and since I got my new fancy camera I’m excited to get some good shots. I hope to beat the sun up there so I can try to get some descent pictures of the sunrise before I start climbing around. Maybe even make a trip over to Noccalula Falls (90 ft. waterfall down the road) and get some shots over there. Other than that I have no major plans, yet, to make it outside. If we get a nice weekend I might dust the wheels off and take my mountain bike for its first ride of the season or dust the paddles off and take my kayak out. It hasn’t hit the water in at least 2 years. Maybe I’ll just strap the back pack on and head into the woods for an overnighter hiking trip. Whatever I do, I’ll be getting outside more often this month, depending on the weather of course. So until next time, is it spring yet?

“I ain’t got nothin’ but the breeze on my face and that’d be all I need”      -Anonymous