Ads 468x60px



I Belong

I'm back in Arizona, dotting every last I and crossing every last T on dad's stuff.  Closure is close at hand.

But I am also enjoying a little bit of family time while I'm down here.  A good majority of my dad's side is around here.  My grandparents migrated from California to Arizona, and the family followed.

The more I hang out with my relatives, the more I realize how much I fit in to this family.

I talk to the TV from time to time.  I retort commercials and banter during sports games.  Not nearly as bad as my dad, but I do.

Dad didn't do it nearly as bad as my Grandpa.  Hoo boy.  It's entertaining to see him scrutinize commercials and call people names during Wheel of Fortune.  It has diluted from generation to generation, but I laugh when thinking of my boys doing this as they grow older.

...not nearly as bad as I do... heh.

I also have a bad habit of unbuckling my seatbelt too early.  I pull on to the street when driving home, and I'm already getting ready to jump out the door.  Sometimes earlier.  I just noticed today one of my uncles does that too.  It made me smile.

And, of course, like dad I love me some claw machines.

We're also a stubborn bunch.  In different ways, but we all seem to do things our way.  And that's how it is.

I see these things more clearly now than I am an adult.  Either by nature or nurture, we all share similar habits.  Some more than others, but it's obvious when you see us all together.

I love my family.  I'm definitely not the mailman's lovechild.


Unsolicited Kid's Product Review: Kiwi Crate

I love online subscription services.  I have both Manpacks and the Dollar Shave Club, and am very happy with both services.

Minimal cost, good value, free shipping.  (plus, I love getting mail)  It's addictive.

Which is why I decided to sign my two boys up for a service for them.

(quick background:  I'm a long-distance dad, living 900 miles from my boys.  I call, write, and visit when I can.  Every 'touch point' I can create is valuable and keeps the bond strong.)

Kiwi Crate is a monthly delivery service for children.  You input the name, birth-date and gender of your child (or children) and the KC team designs and ships an age-appropriate box in their name.  Crafts, projects, toys/costumes, all following a different theme each month.  (This month's theme is 'Wonders of Water' - perfect for summertime!)

Space Exploration:  New themes every month
Since I have two boys and there is an age gap (5 and 7) I did the 'sibling add-on' to make sure there were things for both kids, and to make sure they both had activities they could do.  My 5er is advanced for his age (since he shadows big bro) but better too much than too little.

To see other crate themes, you can go to the sample crates section on their website.  Colors, dinosaurs, and more.

But take away the cool activities and the fact I'm doing it for my long-distance kids.... remember when you were a child?  Remember how cool it was to get something in the mail?  With your name on it?

I loved that feeling.  LOVED it.  And my kids are the same way.  They'll be getting this once a month, and it will mature as they do (again, always age appropriate).

If you have children or young relatives, give Kiwi Crate a look.  Prices start at under $20 a month ($16.95 to be exact) which means I have 4 less lattes a month.  Money well spent, to get them away from the TV or Jetpack Joyride, if only for a few hours...

In fact, I have a 6 year old nephew.  He may be getting a cool surprise in the mail next month.  (Why didn't I think of this before??)


Al Larson: Idaho's 'Bluebird Man'

Preface:  This blog is mostly about humor and culture, and I poke fun of Idaho a lot.  A LOT.  However, the Gem State does have a few gems in it.  I was approached to do a guest post about Idaho's "Bluebird Man" and a kickstarter campaign to help produce a documentary.  I did research on this guy and Idaho's state bird, and it absolutely fascinated me.  Apologies for the lack of 'funny' today, but this is actually worth the read.  I'm happy to support a good cause like this, and applaud The Bluebird Man for his efforts.

Idaho is home to a huge diversity of nature landscapes and many spectacular mountain ranges.  One such area that is often overlooked is the Owyhee Mountain range along the Idaho-Oregon border.  This is where the main character of our new documentary film “Bluebird Man” grew up in the 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression.  Al Larson was 12 years old when his mother died and he was sent out to the Owyhees to live with his two older brothers in a small ranching community near Jordan Valley.  Al spent two years attending school at the small one-room schoolhouse in Pleasant Valley, ID before starting work as a ranch hand.  It was on the ranch that he saw his first Mountain Bluebird perched on a fencepost.  This memory would stick in his mind for decades to come and eventually shape the course of his long life.

            By 1978 Al had served in WWII, raised a family in Boise, worked for many years at a sawmill, and helped found Idaho’s first chapter of the Audubon Society.  He was looking for a retirement project when he came across a National Geographic article about precipitous declines in bluebird populations across the continent.  That same year Al put out his first nest boxes designed specifically for bluebirds.

Al taught himself everything that he needed to know to monitor and maintain his bluebird boxes and within just a handful of years he was monitoring and maintaining hundreds of boxes and fledging close to 1,000 bluebird chicks each year!  Today, at age 91, Al has over 300 nest boxes that he takes care of and calls his own.  What started as a retirement project has become his life’s work.

            Telling Al’s story is hugely important to us for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, we hope to inspire the next generation of conservationists and bluebird enthusiasts by highlighting Al’s unique role in this conservation effort.  We also hope to show how beneficial Al’s relationship with his bluebirds is for both him and the birds.  While the bluebirds receive additional nesting habitat from Al, from the bluebirds Al has been given the focus and energy that has kept him active and alert into his 90s.

            Become a part of Al’s story by backing “Bluebird Man” on Kickstarter.  You will be ensuring, not just that our film gets made, but that Al’s legacy continues.

Link to “Bluebird Man” Kickstarter page:

“Bluebird Man” website:
Wild Lens website:
“Bluebird Man” facebook page:

Wild Lens twitter feed:


Xmas in July - I'm Already Thinking of Christmas Lights

In Idaho, most houses don't have air conditioning.  It's been in the 90's for weeks now, so I'm already longing for snow.  'Christmas in July' is dancing in the back of my head, so I've been toying around with thoughts of how I'm going to hang Christmas lights on my new house.

I haven't put up Christmas lights like these in ages... in fact, not since I was living with my parents.  With my ex wife, we were always in apartments.  With my current wife, we didn't like the last house we lived in.  It didn't deserve to be festooned...

But I like this house.  All I need is a ladder... and probably some lights.

Maybe, for laughs, I'll put up the lights this month just to make my neighbors wonder about me?  Red/white/blue for July, then maybe more festive colors for the actual holiday season.

Or should I wait for autumn and hang up fall colors?  Halloween lights (black & orange) in October?  Cinco de Mayo would have been fun - I could have hung empty Corona bottles with lights inside.  Ole!

Or maybe I'll choose a non-traditional method of decor.  I've been looking at the funniest Christmas decorations of all time and think I've found a winner:

The best part is the fact I'm out of practice.  And a little fearful of heights.  Balancing acts on ladders don't seem fun to me, but this house is perfect for decorating.  So many people had flags and banners up for the 4th, so Christmas lights seems like the least I can do.  I like this house, I like this neighborhood, so let's bond over decorating and other nonsense.

What does my peanut gallery think?  Tips on hanging lights?  Should I have fun and hang lights now?  Some people have Seasonal Trees (xmas trees, but decorated for other holidays as well), so maybe Seasonal Lighting isn't a bad idea?


Beware the Bikes

Fun fact!  In most major metro areas, you cannot ride your bicycle on a sidewalk.

Another fun fact!  Idaho is not a major metro area.

It is not only a state law, but a local city law as well:  Riding your bike on the sidewalk is 100% legal in my current city.

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal to me, but it seems like more and more Idahoans are taking to two wheels, especially during summer months.

And you know how entitlement goes.  Bikers are supposed to yield the sidewalk to pedestrians when warranted, but 'the world revolves around me' therefore why would I?

I was walking downtown last week when a guy riding his bike almost ran over my wife and I.  He was going about 20, no helmet, and we were the assholes because we waited until the last minute to dive out of his way...

The sidewalks here are not wide... one bike rider is hard enough to navigate around... but what about a family?  More and more people are biking as a group, and of course they're on the sidewalks.

Why?  Because it's too dangerous to be on the street with all those cars...

Yet when a family of 4 is barreling down at you, you get to side-step into the street to avoid being hit.

Sense?  This makes very little....

Oh well, far be it for me to question this city's motives.  If anything, I should just hop on my own bike and terrorize some pedestrians of my own.  After all, when in Rome...


NSFW Music Videos: Who did it better?

Justin Timberlake just released a nudity-filled music video for his latest uber-catchy tune "Tunnel Vision", and it's on youtube.

Nudity, on youtube.

I felt it was artistic, sexy, erotic.  Not smutty, but not suitable for the young.  However, the US oversexualizes everything, so maybe a little nudity would do us all a little good.  The naked body doesn't always have to be pornographic or smutty, and JT proves it.

On the flipside, this video has even more nudity, but keeps things relatively censored:

Both incredibly catchy.  Which video do you prefer and why?


MUST The Show Go On?

Melaleuca.  You may or may not have heard of this company, but the name is everywhere in Idaho Falls.

Melaleuca field, home of our baseball team.

The Melaleuca offices downtown.

And the famous Melaleuca freedom celebration, touted as the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi.

I am not a fan.  Particularly because of the company's owner and founder, and his influence over this town.  I've blogged about this topic before, but this year's celebration was even more horrible than years past.

July 4th, 2013.  The fireworks show is an all-day prep.  People camp out the best spots in parks and along the river, to see the amazing show.  I refuse to participate, but spectators around the 100,000 mark come to see this show, from all over.

Before the events started, rumors swirl of a delay.  A local radio station (under the Vandersloot umbrella) posts on facebook confirming the delay.  Missing teenager in the river, search & rescue called, fireworks delayed.

People understood, and began to pray and send positive thoughts for the teen and his family.  Shortly after:

"UPDATE: 3 teenagers were missing in the river at the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. 2 have been found, 1 is unaccounted for. Search and rescue crews are still on scene. The fireworks will continue to be delayed until the ok is given."

"UPDATE: Melaleuca Freedom Celebration still being delayed. Search and rescue crews are asking EVERYONE to turn off their cell phones. Emergency crews are having issues communicating with one another. Divers are still in the water. Please remember the missing person in your thoughts and prayers."

Again, people are supportive.  One person's life is more important than a fireworks show, right?


I begin to hear fireworks in the distance.  Not the cheap illegal ones my neighbors are lighting off...  professional ones.

For every one person begging for the show to continue 100 wanted the delay, until the missing person was found.  People were being advised to power down their cell phones (as emergency crews were having trouble communicating with each other) but having fireworks booming above is ok??

But the show must go on.

After all, you have 100,000 people here, waiting for the show.  Well, 99,999 I guess.  Why disappoint them, just because of 1 person?

Shame on you, Melaleuca.  Shame on this town for letting the celebration continue despite the ongoing tragedy.  And shame on the person who greenlighted the show, knowing of the missing person and the continuing search.  Whether that was Frank Vandersloot himself or someone in Melaleuca management, they should be ashamed of themselves...

(...unless the fireworks provided enough light to find the missing person.  If that happened, then bravo for aiding in the rescue.  BUT I BET THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!)

God dammit I hate this town.  I can't wait to get the hell out and never return.


Buying a boat: Navigating the waters of total cost of boat ownership (A Guest Post)

So, you’ve been dreaming of early mornings speeding across the lake in search of big bass. Or afternoons anchored off a favorite diving rock with the family. Or just taking it easy, socializing at the marina on warm summer evenings.

Whatever your marine dreams, buying a boat can be the key to opening an amazing new lifestyle on the water. But it’s also a big investment with long-term costs.

Too often, first-time boat owners dive in at the chance to buy a used boat at a “great deal” without stopping to calculate total cost of boat ownership, such as maintenance, fuel and insurance. First-timers might also buy used without realizing that new boats often come with boat financing rates that make for an affordable monthly boat payment.

So which is it? New or used?  Let’s take a look at some of the different factors to consider when buying a boat.  

Where to start
First, you need to figure out what type of boat you’re looking for. From sociable pontoons to gnarly wakeboarding boats to a basic aluminum boat with a 10 horse outboard—it all depends on what you want to do. Boat shows are a great place to see what’s available. And there will also be some great deals. But beware of buying on a whim (see the next point)!

Total Cost of Ownership
Many new boat owners neglect to think about the true cost of owning a boat, whether it’s new or used. Not only do you have the upfront cost (which may have extras like a trailer, mooring cover, safety gear, toys to enjoy the boat, and possibly an extended warranty) there are also significant annual costs:
·         Transportation and Storage – Will you be trailering the boat or renting a slip at a marina? Winterizing it at a separate location? If you’re trailering it, is your current vehicle up to the job? 
·         Maintenance – Depending on the age of the boat and whether it’s still under warranty there can be significant maintenance costs. Even routine maintenance costs such as winterizing can add up if you don’t have time to do them yourself.
·         Fuel – This all depends on how big and fuel efficient your boat is, and how often you’re using it, but if a typical 20’ bass boat has a 40 gallon tank, at say $4.00/gallon (more at the marina) you’re looking at $160.00 every time you fill up. No small change.
·         Insurance – Premiums average about $275 US a year. Again costs depend on a number of factors.
·         Miscellaneous – Licensing, registration and other fees (e.g. ramp fees). None of these will be a major cost, but just like your plate stickers on your car, they can add up.

New vs. Used
If all the costs associated with owning a boat haven’t fazed you, it’s time to look at “new vs. used”. Just like buying a car there are pros and cons associated with each approach.

Buying New – Buying a new boat from a reputable dealer comes with many advantages. Well-maintained boats hold their value for a long time, which means dealers, who usually work with a marine lending specialist, can offer attractive boat financing rates with a long term. While car financing often tops out at 5 or 6 years, boat loans typically have 10 to 20-year terms—which means lower monthly payments.

Consider that a new boat will also come with a full warranty, that you know the boat’s history, and that maintenance costs should be much lower, and there are some definite “pros” to buying new.

Buying Used – Of course, the big benefit to buying used is that the upfront cost will be significantly lower.  And if you’re buying a used boat from a recognized dealer, you should also be able to secure used boat financing. You may just find that the interest rate is a little higher and the term a little shorter than with a new boat.

Other than cost, the other big thing to consider when buying used is the condition of the boat. Just like buying a used car, you will want to take it for a test drive and, even more important, get a marine mechanic to check over your prospective purchase. In this case, this detailed inspection is called a “marine survey”. 

You may luck out and get a great used boat with attractive used boat financing. Just make sure you do your due diligence first.

One other thing
Once you’ve got your new (or “new to you”) boat, and you’re ready to make waves, remember to check your operator licensing requirements for your state. In many states, it’s the law that you carry a boater education card (commonly called a boating license) whenever you’re operating a powered watercraft. You can get your boater education card online by taking an approved boating safety course at You can check your state’s regulations by visiting and choosing your state.

Happy and safe boating!

 About the author:
Brent McNamee is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at Fresh Air Educators, inc, the leading provider of online education for BoatingHuntingSnowmobile, and ATV across North America. Join his Circle on Google+ to chat about anything relating to outdoor safety, responsibility and fun!


                The above-noted article is based on the writer’s personal thoughts. Nothing in the aforesaid article should be considered personal advice. The article may contain errors and the writer’s opinion may change substantially or in part based on actual facts and any number of variables. You should not make any decision based solely on the writer’s comments in the aforesaid article. Any decision you make as a result of reading the above-noted article is your sole responsibility. It is your money and your life and your sole responsibility!


Fallen Heroes in Arizona

I have been watching the fires in Arizona with a heightened sense of worry.  I have family down there, a lot of family.  They live in Prescott (Prescott Valley to be exact) and while they were never part of an evacuation, the fires came too close to them for my comfort.

19 firefighters have lost their lives battling the fires in west-central Arizona.  19 heroes have risked and sacrificed their lives to protect their community and their neighbors.

19 have died making sure my family was safe.  For that, I am grateful and will weep for their families' loss.

Thank you for your service, all who serve.