Simple Pleasures

I do have a couple of vices that I enjoy "once and a while".

Honestly, "Once in a while" usually means "when I can afford it" and that usually is not very often.

I do enjoy a fine cigar once and a while.. Usually around a major event, Holiday, vacation, or around hunting season... Notice how I said that I enjoy a "fine cigar" "once and a while"? Let me translate.

A Fine cigar once and a while = Two or Three times a year I get to enjoy a "premium", "handmade", "handrolled", "long filler" cigar. Normally, about once every two weeks I smoke a "machine made", "cut filler", "artifically sweetened" cigar with an "artificially manufactured outer wrapper".

With that cleared up, let me say that the last "fine cigar" I had was during hunting season, and that was one of Ed's Father's. The last cigar (non-fine) I had was in the garage working on the pinewood derby cars (in Early January).

For thoes of you who know cigars, you will understand that there is significant difference between a $5.00 cigar and five cigars for $4.00, but what other choice do I have?
Today (thanks to a co-worker and friend) that has changed a bit...

Her "eagle eye" caught on to a "deal" that was "too good to be true", and I ended up with a nice supply of unbelievable cigars, that I would NEVER normally be able to enjoy.

I think I owe he lunch next week!
(It was dark when I took this picture - I'll replace it with a better one later)

A New Phone

Due to the recent failure of my current cel phone, I had to purchase a new phone.

My options were...

1. Re-up a two year contract with my provider and get a new phone for little or no cost, but be locked in to another two year contract..


2. Buy a phone outright (out of pocket) and stay month to month on my cellular contract.

I went with option #2 and have been watching ebay for a deal on a phone. Tonight I found one (at the last minute).

It is a Nokia 6030 - which is by far not my favorite phone, but the price was right! I got a New / Unused phone in the silver color - (Which I like even less) but I have also since discovered there are literally hundreds of "skins" avaiable for this phone...

I can always get the standard black, or the black rubberized "non slip" skin, the "Camo skin" for the duck boat, the rosewood skin, the scary gothic skull skin, or the basic grey (Which I think I like the best...)
I have some thinking to do.. and the good thing is that they are all cheap enough that I can change my mind frequently!

A little update on the Bass Guitar

I am amazed how well I have "stuck to it" since I bought the bass. So, I thought I would give a little bit of an update!

I do not get a lot of time on it, but I try to put in 15 minutes a day. There can be a few days that go by that I do not touch it, but I get 15 minutes in about 85 percent of the time. Sometimes I get thirty minutes or more.. but that is pretty rare.

I know I am starting off with a bad habit and am limiting myself. I am not really learning "music". I am learning to memorize bass lines by tablature. I do not learn a lot of music theory that way, but I get the enjoyment of playing. That is (after all) why I decided to play the bass. I just wanted a way to have some fun and relaxation - not to become a world renowned bassist... So, is it a bad thing that I am not learning all kinds of theory? I don't know... But I sure enjoy playing what I do know!

I have taught myself all kids of little bass lines that consist of 3-5 notes played in a sort of rhythmic pattern but I wanted to find something a little bit more involved. I found this Google Video called Bass guitar teacher gets funky! (Dial up users beware. It is a Google Video and takes a few minutes to load up - but is worth it!). It appeared this guy was having a lot of fun playing, and I wanted to play something more like that!

I searched out and found the tablature for "A Forest" by The Cure. It is a pretty easy little bass line, but one of my favorite songs... It only took me a day or two to "get it".

Not long after that, I found (what I believe to be) the best bass players web site around. It's called "Active Bass". I found the site a little hard to get used to at first, but I think that has to do with the unbelievable content on the site!

I played around on the site a bit, and searched around the "Lessons" area. I found something I liked called "! + Coasting" to try.

(Click the link and on the page you can play the song in MIDI format - Turn off the extra "track" by clicking on that checkmark. Set the "Tempo" to 130, and the "Sound" to electric pick to hear about how I sound when I play it.)

I LOVE how it sounds, and I LOVE how it plays! I really get into it at times! I have actually modified it just slightly (and by accident) because while learning it I lost my tab sheet, and ended up trying to fill in by memory. I ended up learning a version that contains a wrong note or two. I think my family may be getting sick of hearing it (I overheard Jonathan, and Rebecca humming it yesterday) so I decided it was time to return to Active Bass and search out another Bass Line or two to work on.

I found quite a few. I am not going to post them all here, but I did find one (which is actually a series of three separate bass lines) that really interested me. They can be combined to make one large bass line.

(You can listen to these as well!)

All totaled there are nineteen measures. If I use ! + Coasting as an example, I had those 6 measures down pretty good in about 2 weeks. At this same rate "Alright Sad Type Bits 1, 2 and 3" should take me about a month and a half to get down...

So, I guess we'll just have to see how it works out..



I have done some work on the blog tonight.

#1 On your left you will see a new "Archive" format. This new format is interactive (you can manipulate it to have it show what you do, and do not want to see), it is cronological (not reverse chronological like the old layout), and it will let you see the links to ALL the old posts (not just the "Recent Posts" like the old format had)! I think you will like it much better!!

#2 You may have seen labels on the bottom of most of my new posts. Under the "Archive", is the "Label" area. You can see how many posts have any given label. This feature is also "interactive". By clicking on any one of the labels, the screen will refresh, showing only the entries with that label. Another nice tool!

#3 Under the Labels are "Links". These are perminant links to my other blogs, and blogs that I read on a regular basis.

#4 I removed the "parchment" background that made the blog look like it was written on old parchment paper. Because I widened the blog in the bigining, the paper background never really lined up correctly.
I Hope these improvement make your "Father of Five" experience a better one!

Watch for similar changes to "Dad's Outdoor Journal"!


Pinewood Derby 2007 - Final Results!

Pinewood Derby 2007 - Team Melin Final Results:

Overall, the race itself is sort of “confusing”, and hard to explain. Once you have seen it done, it makes more sense, but I’ll try to explain how it works…

The race track consists of three lanes. There are a total of three “heats” . During each “heat” a car is raced (along with two others). Your goal is not to take “first place” during each of the heats, instead your goal is to have the best overall time averaged over each of the heats. Each time a car races, it is raced on a different lane (so that your average time is figured out by one run in each lane).

Zachary (Car 65) - 715, 716, 720 - Average 717 (1 st year Weblos)
Jonathan (Car 79) - 724, 732, 730 - Average 728 (2 nd year Weblos)
Rebecca (Car 115) - 731, 739, 728 - Average 732 (“Open” class - non-scout friends and family)
Melissa (Car 116) - 849, 861, 859 - Average 856 (“Open” class - non-scout friends and family)
David (Car 117) - 749, 746, 762 - Average 752 (“Open” class - non-scout friends and family)

Rebecca, Melisa and I each won a “Participant” ribbon.

Trophies were awarded to 4 th, 3 rd, 2 nd, and 1 st place for each level of scouts. (Tigers, Wolf, Bear, 1 st year Weblos, and 2 nd year Weblos.)

Zachary took 4 th place trophy from within the 1 st year Weblos dens. (Left)
Jonathan took 3 rd place trophy from within the 2 nd year Weblos dens. (Right)

Overall, another successful year for “Team Melin”

Pinewood Derby 2007 - Part 3

Too Tired to write...

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, these must be worth at least five-thousand words!
(Owners name is UNDER the picture.)

Jonathan ..................................Zachary

Rebecca ...................................Melissa


More on the burglaries

Juveniles admit to Christmas crime spree

Jordan Independent
By Brandon Otte

The Christmas celebrations of several Jordan families were interrupted by a crime spree.
On Dec. 24, the Jordan Police Department responded to a series of reports of theft and damage to property. Three area juveniles who admitted to the crimes were arrested and transported to the Carver juvenile detention facility.

Jordan Police Chief Bob Malz said items were stolen from several vehicles, Christmas displays were vandalized, mailboxes were raided, and a number of garages were burglarized.
Malz said the three juveniles were in custody over the holiday.

"I know these are just teenaged kids, but I hope that spending Christmas in lockup and the consequences to follow will have a long-lasting effect on them," Malz said. "I hope that the lesson they learned will stay with them into adulthood."

Malz officers confronted the juveniles with the crimes, and they told the truth and admitted to the acts right away.

"This isn't Much comfort for the victims, but it gives me home for their futures" Malz said.

Malz said one of the suspects told officers that they did ti for kicks and that they got a rush out of committing crimes.

The police department has taken over 30 related reports. Malz said as more residents return from being out of town for the holiday, they are getting more reports.

He said most of the property has been returned.

Malz praised the investigating officers for the quick work in apprehending the suspects and recovering most of the stolen property.

"There are still a couple of unrecovered items out there," Malz said. "We are working on finding them so we can return them to their rightful owners."

Here are some of the incidents report in the police report:

A theft was reported from the 600 block of Heritage Trail.

A burglary was reported from the 600 block of Lodge Drive. Christmas presents were broken open and items were missing from the garage.

A theft was reported from the 800 block of Dakota Point. Items were taken from the garage and from the vehicle parked in the garage.

A theft was reported from the 800 block of Heritage Trail. Items were taken from a vehicle in the garage.

Damage to property was reported

A theft was reported of items from an unlocked vehicle parked in the driveway of a residence in the 800 block of Lodge Drive.

Vandalism was reported from the 800 block of Lodge Drive. An unlocked vehicle was rummaged through while parked in the driveway, and a fire extinguisher was discharged inside the vehicle.

The theft of mail from a mailbox in the 800 block of Dakota Point was reported.

The theft of mail from a mailbox in the 800 block of Dakota Point was reported.

Damage to property was reported. A blow-up Santa valued at 100.00 was destroyed.

A theft was reported from the 600 block of Heritage Trail. Items were taken from a vehicle while it was parked in the driveway. A 16 inch bicycle and five packages of chewing tobacco were reported stolen. The estimated value was approximately $63.00.

The burglary of a business in the 800 block of Corporate Drive was reported. A laser level was taken.

Damage to property in the 800 block of Lodge Drive was reported. An outdoor lighted Christmas tree and a 6 foot Christmas bulb Ornament were damaged. The value is estimated at approximately $110.

A theft was reported from a residence in the 500 block of Heritage Trail. Two blue rope lights were taken. The estimated cost is $12.

Damage to property was reported in the 600 block of Lodge Drive. A light up Christmas tree and present display were damaged.

A theft from a vehicle parked in the driveway at a residence in the 600 block of Lodge Drive was reported. A Porter Cable belt sander, with an estimated value of $120, was taken.

Pinewood Derby 2007 - Part 2

Tonight after work, I started to feel very sick. Butch (my boss) told me I looked “very tired” before I went to lunch, and after a one mile walk, I came back and felt more awake, but lousy. I started getting a headache that did not want to go away. By the time I got home my headache was terrible and I took some ibuprofen to try and help. It was going no where fast. I thought I would have to postpone working on the derby cars.
Michele had to leave for work, and by this time I was sure I was going to have to call in sick for work tomorrow… I decided to lay down, and actually fell asleep for about an hour. I was feeling a little better, so I made the kids dinner, and had some eggs and toast myself. By the time I was done eating, I felt as good as new, and was excited to start working on the pinewood derby cars!
The kids did their chores, and when everyone was finished, we sat down and started drawing out some ideas for their cars.

As stated before, Jonathan felt he had a winning design, and therefore wanted to keep his design as close as possible to last years car. (He wants to change the colors though…) He has a bit more sanding to do, but it turned out pretty darn good if you ask me!


Zachary had originally wanted to make a pick up truck, but as we were drawing out designs, he changed his mind and wanted to go for something that was a bit more “streamlined”… Zachary has a lot more sanding to do on his car, but I think he is off to a great start!

I on the other hand was set on my design idea, and was so excited to get it started!

I am going to let a picture speak a thousand words…

I still have to “hollow” out the top(s) and the bottom, some sanding, and have to come up with a creative way to get a “soft silky lining” inside, and find some TINY hinges…but, I bet you get the idea…
Hey, Auntie Denise... When your boys are ready for Cub Scouts and the Pinewood Derby, gimme a call! I'd LOVE to help them out!! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! (Evil laugh)
Comments are open for what you think “The Final Lap” is going to look like…

Pinewood Derby 2007 - Part 1

Yup, It’s that time again!

Last year, “Team Melin did pretty well!

Jonathan took 2nd place in his den, Zachary took 3rd place in his den, and Rebecca got a "Participant" ribbon, which she was as excited about as the boys were about their trophies!

Last year’s cars were still “wet” on race day, and although the event is only 9 days away, I am going to see to it that “team Melin” does not repeat last year’s “wet paint” fiasco. (Oh, we were not the only “wet paint” cars present either…)

Anyway, at our pack’s derby races, not only are the scouts allowed to make and race cars, but siblings and parents have their own division too!

Two years ago, I (with a little help of my friend BILL and his drill press), made what I thought to be a great car. I drilled two holes through the car (the long way) for better aerodynamics (thinking the air would flow "through" the car), and put a high gloss finish on it, and even epoxied the axle nails into place (so they would not move)! I never added any additional weight to replace the wood that was removed, and so the car, and needless to say, did not do as well as I hoped (I had the lightest weight car in the parent/sibling division - if not the whole pack..)

Last year (because of bad planning and time constraints (see my referral to “wet paint” above), I never made a car. I was strictly a “observer”.

Inspired by Jonathan’s car last year, I came up with a most creative idea for another car. I did not share my idea with ANYONE (not even my own children) so that I could have the most unique and “talked about” pinewood derby car of 2007!

My neighbor called me up tonight and asked to use my band saw for his son’s car. Since I had to “break” out the saw, I became inspired, and as of tomorrow night (Tuesday), we have a date with some power tools!

Jonathan wants to duplicate (as closely as possible) his entry from last year, thinking that he will have as good a race this year as he did last year. No problem!

Zachary on the other hand, wants to (get ready to NOT be shocked) make a pickup truck. Being the more “out-doors” of the two boys, this does not surprise me at all.

Rebecca will (I am sure) again have bright colors and glittery do-dads, and frilly who-haa’s all over her car.

My car too will have a theme. Oh, I am not going to divulge it yet. (And Bill, don’t bother asking - I’m not going to tell you.. Not even if you guess correctly.) I will (each day - like the deck) post my progress on my car. This year I am more focused on form, and less on function.

I want to be the “there’s the guy that made THAT car” Dad!

Oh, I want to leave ’em talking about (or “wondering about”) me for years to come!!

Since I have no progress to show you today except what you see in the photo below (on day one) I will share the name of my car with you…

The car is named
The Final Lap

If you think you know what it is going to turn out to look like, please keep your guesses to yourself for now please. In a day or two I will be asking you to post your “guesses” as comments…

Jordan Cub Scouts
Jordan Boy Scouts

Did you reach the Bottom of this blog?

If you have read down to here and are interested in reading more, be sure to click here, click on the "Older Posts" link to your right, or use the "Archive" tool on the right sidebar. Thanks for visiting!