Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blog Award?

Well, I have been on Blogger for about 3 months and Aga sent me this award. But it has strings attached! Here are the strings:
1. Be sure to thank and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share seven things about yourself
3. Pass the award to other bloggers who you think deserve it
4. Be sure to let the bloggers know you chose them to receive the award

So here it is!
1. I am a Christian - I call it being a practicing Christian because I haven't gotten it right yet.
2. I have not been to a barber shop in over 5 years - no I don't have hair down to my butt, I just got disgusted that instead of getting a quanity discount, I was always charged full price for a search and destroy haircut!
3. I play the guitar badly and sing off-key, but I do it joyfully!
4. I eat meat, wear leather and am proud of it.
5. I have never received a traffic ticket of any kind in over 30 years of driving!
6. The most important person in my life is Carla.
7. I am proud of my sons.

I nominate Rachel B at ecosmartteen for this prestigious award.

Traveling Notebook idea

I have often wondered about the idea of a "traveling" notebook. The general concept is that a group of people send a notebook back and forth and just put random stuff in it and then send it to someone else. When the notebook is filled up, it goes back to the person who first sent it. Roberta is starting one in Italy and I thought I might start one here. The photo above is the type of notebook I have available. Alas, the paper is not fountain pen friendly, but it could still be a fun little project.

Who wants to jump in and join the adventure?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Protocol for uncancelled stamps?

Ok my blog friends, what is the protocol for using uncancelled stamps? If they are US stamps, I try to use them. But what if they are from another country? The reason I ask is that I received a letter from Ottawa today and neither stamp was cancelled. I couldn't easily peel them off, but I think I could cut then off. I thought about including them in the reply letter. What would you do?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hammered by letters and Christmas

I simply got hammered with letters in the last 3 days and have not had time to write back. We are leaving for a week to spend Christmas in Arkansas. So, any of my penpals or friends reading this should expect nothing more than a postcard from the road this week. I will write back to all of you the week after Christmas.

With an 850 mile drive, we should pass through plenty of places to get postcards! Plus, I will go to the P.O. to pick up a package in the morning and will buy a fresh roll of postcard stamps!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Desperation (or why I don't read Stephen King)

I started reading Desperation by Stephen King. Within a few pages, I was reminded of why I had stopped reading his books. Why would I want to fill my mind with such ugliness? I understand that depravity sells, but come on!

I first read King when I was a teenager. I read everything he published. I even plunked down money for hardback copies! However, at some point in my life, likely when I became a father, I realized that I was tiring of his same old stuff. I eventually found myself repulsed with his material. I would compare the beauty and peace of my life with Carla and the boys and try to match that with the dark ugliness his writing invoked and it just didn't work.

I explored other genres and began to enjoy mysteries. Authors like James Patterson, J.A. Jance were enjoyable for a while, but they slipped into depravity as well, so I had to move on. Frank Peretti and John Grisham were able to explore the darker side of human nature without sinking to the dark depths of debasement. McMurtry and Hillerman kept me entertained, played around with conflicts, but didn't glorify the nastiness.

Lately, I have sought fiction refuge in some of the classics - Zane Grey, John Steinbeck, O. Henry and in teen books, even Harry Potter and Twilight. All can and do take on the darker and uglier side, without becoming decadent and celebrating the bad.

Unfortunately, Stephen King has to write what sells. It is a commentary on our society that the perversions he writes of are what people buy. I need a break from modern fiction. Bring on Riders of the Purple Sage!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review - Blood Trail

My school is putting an intensive focus on fiction reading next year - 2011. I thought I would start putting up some reviews of books I have read. Generally I will try to review books available in our public library, but with that said, I also might review e-books I purchase or download for free. I have books on my desk, in my backpack, by the bed, on my netbook and on my ipod. Most of the ebooks I read are public domain that I download for free from There are almost 30,000 free ebooks in a variety of formats there.

Regarding Blood Trail. This book is set in Wyoming during the current day. An elk hunter's body is found hanging, eviscerated, and decapitated. Joe Pickett, a game warden, is tasked by the Governor to lead the investigation. The book switches between the story and the POV of the killer. Interesting.

This mystery has a host of characters, from the heroic game warden, to the weasel-like bureaucrat, Hollywood anti-hunting activists and wrongly imprisoned trackers. Each character receives adequate development so you can understand what makes them react the way they do - even if this is the 8th book in the Joe Pickett series.

The tale has a predictably unpredictable twist in the resolution. You knew it was coming, but couldn't tell how it would resolve until right at the end. The suspense kept me reading until 11 last night. The twist came about fully developed and was plausible, like an Agatha Christie story, not unexpected and thrown in as a lazy writer might do like Higgly Piggly Clark does.

Rating - totally subjective - 4 out of 5 dead hunters.

For other reviews, check out Goodreads

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No pictures, but fun writing nonetheless

I have received several Postcrossing cards this week. My camera is MIA, so no pictures, but cards arrived from Illinois and Krakow, Poland. I sent cards to the Ukraine, California and Finland this week. I dutifully copied the Ukrainian address - in Ukranian instead of English - we'll see if it gets there or not. I fear I might have sent it so some unknown person in some unknown province of the Ukraine!

I also want to shout out about Goulet Pens big giveaway tomorrow. Visit their blog and see the details after midnight tomorrow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas for Soldier's Families

It is so hard to take indoor pictures with a cellphone, but I left my memory card at home.
Yesterday, I took 6 of my FFA member/ag students to Fort Carson to help the All American Beef Battalion feed over 800 soldiers and primarily their families for the 3rd Brigade Christmas party. Most of the soldiers from the 3rd Brigade are deployed so helping out with Christmas is the very least we can do to show our appreciation.

To date, the All American Beef Battalion - an all volunteer group - has served over 50,000 steak meals to soldiers and their families over the past 2 years. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to help.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


A new penpal, Rosie, decorates all of her envelopes. Today her letter made me feel like going sailing! Thanks

The Sweetest letters!

I received this nice fat envelope from my sister-in-law and my nieces. I love receiving mail from family!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Noodler's Baystate Blue!



I was being brave. I thought that Noodler's Baystate Blue would look good in the clear barrel of a Platinum Preppy eyedropper pen. So I grabbed the ink, found a worthless bulb syringe, put a little water in the barrel to tame the beast and proceeded to get ink all over my fingers! I do believe that Baystate Blue can be seen from space.

BTW, I received the pen with a bottle of Noodler's X-Feather I purchased from Goulet Pens.

Amateur Christmas Calligraphy

Inspired by a post in the penmanship forum of the Fountain Pen Network, I humbly offer this work in progress.