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Well hello there,

And here it is again. My annual “I’m going to get back to blogging post.” Hopefully this year I mean it.

Last night I made Moscow Mule’s for my wife and I. I was flipping though the recipe book that I have been trying to cook everything out of and it sounded perfect for the ridiculously hot weather Northern Cali is experiencing this week. Of course then I began to think about Adventure Wannabe and how neglected it has been. Sad really, because I really am excited and love this project. So here we go again…

To be honest it’s not like I don’t have my list in the back of my mind everyday. I have accomplished quite a few items on the list that hasn’t been updated. (I know I know, what is wrong with me?) I have decided I am a complete and total procrastinator. One of the worst ailments in life. Who wants to sit around talking about what they would like to do in life instead of actually getting off their ass and doing some of it??

Time is not on my side though. I am raising two incredible sons and need to pay more attention to the love of my life and best friend. Is there any way to negotiate for a 25 hour in the day? These really are just the excuses I use to rationalize my lack of accomplishment though. I am a master of killing time. I love movies, tv shows, sports and most forms of entertainment, that is just a fact. Each one of those can kill hours upon hours in a day though. Time that would be much better exploring, educating, building, producing or creating.

Not all of my days are wasted though. I have coached my kids in several sports for the last couple of years and it has been a blast (most of the time.) I have completed a couple of online courses that should help me conquer some of my items. I have written a bit, I do have a monthly assignment for a recipe article in a regional family magazine that I have been doing for just over a year now. I have attended multiple sporting events in a journalistic capacity, even making it to Vegas for a PPV show which I thought was a pretty big deal.

What I am getting to is that I am not feeling that I make the best use of my time. This endeavor illustrates just how much I would like to get done in this life and I feel I am unbelievably behind schedule. So in the annual tradition of this post I will once again commit to getting more done, learning more and most importantly exploring more. Hopefully that will all lead to documenting more.

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

-J

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A “shot” at catching up

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

So I’m into the new house and WAY behind on this project. So in the interest of getting back on course I am going to speed through the last couple of months with a pic and brief description on my adventure. Sorry for the brevity of this post, but I will continue to wallow in procrastination if I don’t get all this out at once. Afterwards I will attempt to continue my journey and keep it as up to date as possible.

Ribs, Slaw and Black Eyed Peas from Tyler Florence Cookbook- All were very good!

Roasted Potatoes and Bananas for Cody from Tyler Florence Cookbook

Roasted Bananas, Cinnamon and Brown Rice for Cody from Tyler Florence Cookbook

The Score- A heist novel, I always wanted to be part of a heist!

Point Man - A how-to in leading a family through the dangers of the world with God as your guide.

The Magic Finger- I don't know what Roald Dahl was on, but it was good stuff. Another crazy adventure that I took RObby on before he fell asleep.

The Turtle Boy- A weird, strange, disturbing trip. That's what I get for trusting Amazon to give away a book.

Oh yeah, I know how to shoot this now...

So that last one I might have to explain a bit. My friend and co-worker Ed decided that it was unacceptable that I didn’t know how to shoot. So he gathered up some firearms and ammo and we went up to a range at the top of Cow Mountain. Along for the ride came another co-worker Pat (from Exploring NorCal fame) and his son. We got to the range and first thing that we notice is a 25′ tree burning right next to the staging tables. Next thing we notice is a guy directly underneath the tree, which I have to point out has been burning for quite a while and is threatening to fall at any moment, raking the ground to gather the brass from expelled rounds. So we get a table in relative safety and do a gun safety briefing. Ed was really good at explaining how all the guns worked and what to do. It really set my mind at ease, until I fired my first shot. It really is amazing that man has harnessed that much power in such a small package. After a few more rounds I was starting to get the hang of it and enjoy myself. I was still only hitting my target about 1 time out of 10, but I was really proud of that 1 time. After about an hour more and more people were showing up and it got quite crowded with people starting to do their own thing we decided it was a good time to go and we left.

I did feel much more manly going down the mountain.

Excuses, excuses

So just a quick note so you know that I’m haven’t forgotten (more so that I can justify to myself to keep going on this) about my lil blog here.
My family is picking up and moving again. Just a block away this time to a bigger house that hopefully will be much more comfortable and that we can actually have people over in. So for the next week or so I will be lugging boxes, lifting furniture, and hanging televisions, pictures, and other decor. Feel free to come by and lend a hand if your so inclined. I also will be putting off the catching up of little things that I need to add to my blog. Nothing big really… Books, cooking, firearms training. But we’ll get to that.
I also was going to attempt to NaNoWriMo this year, but am now thinking that I won’t be able to keep at it or give it the attention that I want this year. We’ll see but I’m a doubter at the moment.
In a serious tone, a man that had a huge impact on my life has suffered a major medical emergency and is fighting in an ICU to recover. It just illustrates just how fragile our lives are and that we should celebrate each day that we’ve been given. So make sure that those you love know it, and get out and do that little something that you’ve been putting off til “tomorrow,” because we aren’t guaranteed one.
Remember my motto…Its never too late to be what you might have been!

Like A Rock

October 18, 2011 1 comment

Its been well over a month…I have no excuses. I just haven’t sat down and written about anything. Sure I know what your thinking…nothing been going on right? Not exactly true. I have had some small events and put together some things that need to be updated on AdventureWannabe. I just have been lazy about it. I have sat down and gotten a sentence or two, but not much more than that. The motivation has just been gone. Is this the death of my blog?

Leave it to my incredible, beautiful, amazing wife to snap me out of the funk and kick start my list ambitions again. So for what I think is the first time I am going to get out of order of how things have happened to me. All because this is easily one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

It all started with my birthday. That annual reminder that death is stalking you. Well I completed one more trip around the sun. Hurray…

I got home that day and my wife made sure that I had a great time. Spent the day with my family and went to an incredible dinner at Francis Ford Coppola’s Rustic. I overate…and that is an understatement. This place is awesome, great atmosphere, good food, and I had a dinner date with my wife without kids. I love those boys, but I haven’t had Dani to myself since Robby got here.  Only hiccup was that Dani said that my gift from her (like I really needed anything else at this point) wasn’t going to be there until Sunday. Little odd for my girl…she overplans everything. (I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. Looking back it’s odd.)

So the next few days went by and I’d ask a question about it here and there, but didn’t get much info about what was going on. Saturday night rolls around and my boys didn’t sleep very well. But being the good husband I am, I got up and took care of the kids. Not too hard, just getting them back to sleep.

6:15 AM her alarm goes off!! I was infuriated! Why is that thing set on a Sunday morning?!?!

Her response: Go get in the shower.

(Sorry for the language here.) WTF!! Why? (I just thought that. Didn’t dare say that to her.)

So there I am showering before the crack of dawn with no idea what is going on. And it dawns on me. The 49ers are playing the Lions today! I’m going to the football game. That has to be it. So I get all excited and get out and tell her I know what is going on. This last for about 20 minutes until I check my iPhone and see that the Niners are playing in Detroit. Its a little late to try and catch a flight to Motown. Back to square one…

Soon after my brother in law shows up and then soon after my good friend D. I guess its the three of us. Still have no idea what is going down. But into the truck we go and off down 101. Night before Dani had been making a music CD while I put Robby and Cody down for the night. Somehow Bobby got a hold of it and put it in the player. First song was Aerosmith-Living on the Edge, then Avril singing Knockin on Heaven’s Door, and I got it together when I heard Bob Seger belting out Like A Rock.

I looked over to Bobby and said, “I got it. We are going skydiving.” He just shook his head affirmatively. I immediately soaked my shirt with sweat, my hands wouldn’t get dry, and listening to how Bobby had been stressing about this day for months wasn’t helping. D in the back had jumped before, and swore he would never ever do it again, but some how got persuaded to join us the day before.

Bobby and I in the ready room

So we make it to Lodi. Get signed up and make it into our harnesses.

This is the Ramjet...He'll be pushing you out of a plane in a couple minutes.

Do you hear the Top Gun theme in the background...I did

Then I met my jump partner. I should have known when I heard the name…Ramjet. That can’t be good. Not to mention he reminds me WAY too much of The Cartman. Still not sure they aren’t related. He’s running all around and cracking jokes. All the other jump masters are like Navy Seals with their chutes and jumpsuits…not Ramjet, T-shirt and blue jeans. Let’s do this shit!! It’s just jumping out of a plane over 2 miles above the Earth.

The ride to your jump

Before I know it I’m herded onto a plane and sitting single file staring at a plexiglass door that is going to open and I’m going to leap out of. About this time ol’ Ramjet tells me that I remind him of his wife’s divorce lawyer. Jeez, this guy really knows how to put a rookie at ease. Some one throws the door open and I swear to you time stopped…All I remember is a bunch of yelling and being pushed towards the opening. Then I watched as one of my best friends in the world disappeared. He just left. And then it was my turn…

Picture says it all!

The next minute was one of the quickest and most incredible of my life. It was one of the most intense, wildly exhilarating experiences. I can’t imagine anything getting much more extreme. Even as I sit here writing this I know that there is no way to capture it in words, you truly have to take the leap to understand.

Then the chute opens and you can catch your breath and take it what exactly just happened. I was flung from a plane and hurdled towards Earth. Thank God that chute worked. I would have just punctured a hole into the vineyard below us. The view was unbelievable and Ramjet put the control straps in my hands and taught me how to move and spin and then I hear D yelling at me. We were descending together and yelling most the time. And just like it started it was all over…but the bragging.

Flying...

So yeah, I’m full jumper status now. Should be getting my Skydiver membership card anytime. No big deal. Ha!

I have to give a huge thanks to my wife Dani for making this one happen for me. She is the love of my life and always knows just what I would like without me ever saying anything. You are incredible baby baby!

And I promise I’ll get back to updating. I don’t know what caused my little vacation from here, but I’m back. Some of the upcoming things will be benign in comparison to this birthday gift, but it’s all working toward getting these goals accomplished.

He got me safe and sound back on the ground. Thanks Ramjet!

And #29 is crossed off!!

Surgery, Extra Hair, and lots of reading

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

August 14th I woke up at the station and sat up with pain in my tummy. (I have a 2 year old and tummy is perfectly acceptable medical terminology in my world. Belly, Stomach, Abdomen, Beer Dumpster…they all work.) I didn’t think too much about it at first. We had put away some pretty good sized burritos the night before and figure that I just needed to pass something and the pain would disappear. So I went home and went about the day, taking care of the boys, fixing breakfast for them, but the pain was getting worse and I wasn’t able to pass anything. By that I mean gas or bowel contents and to me that is frustrating.

When I got home that morning I told my wife to sleep in while I took care of the boys. When she got up a hour or so later she walked out to find me face down on the couch holding my tummy is obvious pain. Of course I tried to play it off like some tough guy and said I just needed to fart and it was no big deal. It went like that most of the day with the pain not subsiding and I became increasingly grumpy and less helpful around the house. Finally around six that evening my wife told me that I was going to the ED to get checked out. At that point I didn’t even put up a fight. I figured the worse that could happen was they told me I had gas lodged somewhere. I was wrong.

So I went to the ED and one of the Doc’s was a good friend of mine. We were talking about the Giants and everything was good. Then he did the physical exam and the entire tone of the room changed and he went from my friend to a Doctor. He told me that he was calling the surgeon immediately and that I would be in surgery in a hour or less. I was going to lose my appendix.

Last pic of me with all the original parts

Long story short…I woke up without an appendix. Surgeon told me that I was lucky to have come in when I did, that another hour or hour and a half and it might have burst and then my procedure wouldn’t have been laproscopic. Took three weeks of lifting restrictions, but I am back to 100%.

I took that time to do something that I’ve never been able to do before…grow a beard.

As grizzly as I probably will ever be.

I’m a clean shaven dude. That’s just who I am. Beards are also frowned upon at my workplace. By frowned upon I mean strictly forbidden through department policy. The reason for the policy is that we have to be able to seal our facemasks to our clean shaven face during a firefight so that we are breathing sweet cool clean air instead of hot, dirty, chemical smoke. So I have never allowed a beard to take root. The longest I had gone is probably three days without a shave. For the first time in my facial hair growing life I wasn’t going to be required to harvest my facial crop.

No fear in that beard

Just before the hacking

I made it just over 2 weeks. Then Dani stopped kissing me and I couldn’t stand that. It was quite a topic of conversation for the two weeks that it was there, then it was gone. It was really strange that I looked weird to me. It was funny that I walked out and said hi to Robby and he had to double take and then touch my face a couple times, like he was making sure that it was me.

So just like that #156 is off the list.

Another side effect of the surgery was that I was able to get through a bunch of books. I had some time on my hands.  So instead of the usual long winded run down…well you’ll get this.

Bumfuzzle: Just out looking for Pirates, by Patrick Schlute- Young couple turn their back on “normal” society and point a boat west until they make it back where they started from.

Bumfuzzle

a stolen life, by Jaycee Dugard- Memoir of the most famous kidnapped child ever found. Very descriptive and traumatic. Made me want to allow torture in the prison system.

a stolen life

The Help, Kathryn Stockett- Southern belle comes home from college and writes about all her friends little secrets and the horrible way they act and treat their housekeepers in the ’60s.

The Help

Heaven is for real, Todd Burpo- Little boy has an appendectomy and visits heaven, then comes back and tells his parents. I’ll let you decide what you believe, but it was inspiring and gives me hope.

Heaven is for Real

There, I think your up to date. I can’t promise for how long though. I don’t know what is about to happen next.

American Baseball History – A complete course

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I have considered myself a baseball fan from the moment I learned the game…I think I was seven. I played and watched and every once in a great while went to a San Fran Giants or Oakland A’s game. It taught me teamwork, respect, work ethic, fair play, unfair play, passion, heartache, and joy! It also taught me appreciation of “the moment.” That time in every game in which the outcome hinges upon. Some games have one, some have several. More than any other spectator sport baseball is built upon “the moment.”

Recently I had become more and more aware of some gaping holes in my knowledge of the history of the game. Sure I had heard of stories about the game and “moments” of it’s players, but stories have a way of becoming blurry with the truth the more they are told. I wanted to find the truth in all these “fish” tales of the game. My wife got me a book called Storied Stadiums by Curt Smith as a gift. It is a massive volume that highlights all of the greatest tales from every stadium that major league baseball has ever been played in…up to just a few years ago. It has a wealth of knowledge, but is very difficult to follow along. Mr. Smith wrote in a very fragmented style and paid particular detail to the physical characteristics of each park. I thought that this book was at it’s best when delving into the actual game play in each facility. Every park in the history of the game has been witness to incredible feats and unbelievable “moments.”

Hx of all the parks in American Baseball

I used Storied Stadiums as an addition to the true meat and potatoes of my survey which has been Ken Burn’s documentary Baseball. This epic 20+ hour volume starts at the lie that has been passed as the origin of the sport (Doubleday denies having anything to do with the sport, much less inventing it) and last year updated it with a 10th inning that chronicled from the 1994 strike through the now infamous “steroid era.”  The early hours were largely photos and interviews with historians that have studied the game. As the years passed Mr. Burns added video and talks with the people that lived through those times and those games. Special attention was given to the Negro leagues and the treatment of the players that made that league just as competitive and popular (if not more so) than the MLB. The last couple of hours went quickly as it concerned the years that I could remember. I had much more fun reliving those moments, where I was, how old I was, what my world was like at the time, than all that came before. I think that is just in human nature though. Everyone like to hear and see their own stories.

I now feel like I have reasons to call Mays, DiMaggio, Mantle, Johnson, Aaron, and Gehrig my heroes. In addition to the ones I grew up with…Clark, Bonds, Griffey Jr., Ripken, Puckett, Williams, Thomas, and Gwynn. I understand some of the rivalries better (still don’t believe New York/Boston qualifies as a true rivalry…until 2003 anyway.) Mostly I just enjoyed sitting back and hearing and seeing the legends of the game replayed for me. All the Yankee champs, Boston near misses, Giants/Dodgers battles, Cubs heartbreaks, Cardinals champs, Orioles greats, and Braves destroying fans hearts as they moved from city to city.

Lesson learned: The object is always to get back home safe.

I will always love this game. This year has been trying with the Giants free falling in their division and the sweet memories still fresh from the World Series Championship, but that is why I’m a fan. It is a game of emotion, some good, some bad. At the end of the year only one team is happy with how it went. Only one team is shedding tears of joy, the rest are just wiping their tears and prepping from the next run at the title.

Writing Baseball on my 100th Post

August 7, 2011 2 comments

So I’ve hit the triple digits. This is my 100th post on this blog.  I am very proud of this little accomplishment. Not to mention all the adventures that I have enjoyed on the way. I am surprised that I have kept up with it. It’s been over a year and a half, I’ve knocked off 22 items from the list and started a bunch more. Highlights have included the World Series, learning to pole dance, flying an glider, learning new skills, reading more than I have since I was a kid, proving that I can go without my deepest seeded vices, and becoming a better person. I’ve become a father again. I’ve learned to appreciate my life and all the blessings that I have in it. Most surprisingly I have made “virtual” or “cyber” friends. People actually read what I was writing, and often commented. That was most incredible to me.

Enough with patting myself on the back.

Today I accomplished a skill that I really am surprised took me this long to get to. I have been rapidly increasingly my historical knowledge of baseball. I’m closing in on finishing off Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary, reading a history of all the major league stadiums, and constantly keeping up to date with current events. For those that aren’t as up to date as I am, my beloved SF Giants have been in a slump the last two weeks, losing many more games than they have won. Of course being a loyal fan I must have been doing something wrong. I decided to stop their bleeding by finally undertaking scoring a game. The Giants had lost 3 in a row to the Philadelphia Phillies and needed a helping hand.

I can tell you exactly what happened with these hieroglyphics.

I think that I had put off learning to score a game mostly because baseball is a very emotional event for me. I hang on every pitch and have been known to spew obscenities when I disagree with a call. It is one of the few events in my life that I have allowed myself to get completely engrossed in. I am a completely baptized and faithful to the religion of baseball. My bishop is Bochy and our robes are the Orange and Black. I was afraid that if I was worried about filling out the complex looking boxes for every batter I would miss something.  Lord knows I didn’t want to miss a minute of action, they are so far and few between with these Giants.

So to get started I looked up this site that explained how to keep score. I loved that it was like a secret language that I was learning. I loved that the first lesson is that there is no wrong way to keep score of a game. The goal of keeping score was just to be able to look back and tell what happened during the game. I looked at it this way, I’ve been speaking ball for a long time…it was way past time to write it as well. You know, become fluent.

Step one was to find a score card and these guys had several different layouts to choose from, download and print. Easy Peezy! Next was the game. I was extremely nervous, mostly because I couldn’t bear to think of the Gigantes getting swept by the Phils. Since I was sitting at work we had to DVR the game and I ended up running about 2 hours later than real time due to calls. The first couple of innings were work trying to figure out how it all worked, but by the bottom of the 3rd I was in a groove and starting to enjoy myself and joke around about it. Really helped that the Giants showed up and hit today giving Timmy Lincecum a lead to work with. There was a couple of times that I got wrapped up in the game and would have to think about what I just saw in order to put the play down.

This is how you spell Giants Win!!

Written Baseball

In the end, Giants win, I learned and proved that I could score a game. Might have even started a new hobby for myself. Until today I never understood why the little old ladies sat there with their books and scribbled down the entire game. Now I do. It keeps you engaged and actually gives you a chance to feel like your participating in the game.

Thanks to everyone that is reading this. I really do appreciate that you took the time. I also am hoping to keep it going for a while. I am having a great time with this and feel it has enriched my life. Even though I have spent less time on pursuing the items the last few months I am in this for the long haul and hope one day when I am much greyer on top, have a few more wrinkles, and move a little slower that I look back and smile upon an entire list of crossed out adventures.

Til post 101…