Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Great Helena Get-Together

It's county fair time! Which means fried food aplenty, carnies galore, and a towering heap of oddball 4-H projects on display just waiting to be mocked.

Perhaps it seems cruel that I mock the children so. And perhaps it is. But, where I grew up, when we had to make 4-H projects, we had to actually do stuff. Not just cut out clip art and glue it in a frame, or shove some flowers in a toy you found in the sandbox, or stack some toys up in a box...were all of our projects works of art, or exhibits that required great time & skill? No. But dammit, we could fake it, at least.

This year's fair theme: yes, that's right, "Loads of Fun." Made all the more apt by what you're bound to see piling up in the livestock buildings.

When you can't find a vase, shove some flowers in a dump truck. Or, grab some stuffed animals from the fifty-cent stack at Goodwill. Either option merits a blue ribbon, apparently.

Never before has the epic battle between the Union and the Confederacy come to life as it does in this display. There's something about the subtle shadings of the cardboard, the gentle glimmer of the errant drops from the glue really helps it all hit home.


What, no ribbon for the ATM machine?

Not only did they get a blue ribbon, they also got a lifetime's supply of dork points.

Yes, that's a glass case full of Happy Meal toys. And yes, it's won a blue ribbon.

BASED ON WHAT????????? What has happened to 4-H, seriously???

A thought-provoking representation of early missionaries in Montana.

Someone needs to work a little harder on their crocheting projects for next year.

Not sure if this should be filled under "loads of fun," or "loads of crap."

Someone call NASA, this kid's ready for the big leagues!

The tinfoil really adds a lot to this one.

And, le pièce de résistance--a bunch of ceramic cats in a box.

Oy, vey.

We don't get funhouses in Montanny--we get roadhouses! (Patrick Swayze not included. Darn.)

There are two number twos--how do they keep track of which one's which?

This cow's named Taco Treat, and that may be where he ends up next.

The view from the steaming hot ice cream stand I stood in for four hours on Thursday...first, they take my blood and don't give it back. Then, they leave me with deliciously tempting ice cream for four hours and don't let me have any. Red Cross, I don't know about you.

On the upside, I got a kick out of the carnies that kept coming up to buy ice cream over & over all day long...seriously, some of them came up at least five or six times in the course of a few hours. One was a particularly funny guy--he kept ordering cups of ice cream, so I remarked how hey, that was a good idea since it was so hot out, it'd keep it from dripping all over the place. He said, "Yeah, and I ain't got any teeth, either." Turns out the guy had taken his dentures out one night in his car, got up in the morning & went into a gas station or something, and when he came back out his car had been stolen. He eventually got his car back, and everything was in there...except for his teeth.

I heart carnies.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

ICE for your phone

This is something that's started floating around the emergency response community since the bombings in London earlier this month...while I don't have a cell phone and have to resort to archaic methods like leaving notes in my wallet (haha), for those of you with cell phones this might be something to consider. Just passing it along... :+)
"During the emergency response to the bombings in London, more than 70% of the folks brought out of the subway system had a functional cell phone in their pocket. The emergency responders had a significant challenge providing emergency contact to friends, significant others, and family members. Though most folks had identification on their person and could be identified, few had anything in their wallet or purse indicating who to notify in case of an emergency.

Out of this experience has come the cell-phone acronym 'ICE.' This is a designator you can put in your cell phone phonebook indicating 'In Case of Emergency' (in the programmable call section of your cell phone). Emergency response organizations are recommending you make a short entry with a designator for ICE, your initials (or an eye-catcher), and program in a number. (For example, something like 'ICE-for-MHA.' Remember when you program the number to use the 11 digit entry so it works no matter where you are, i.e. 1-406-555-1234).

The information related to this idea is traveling fast thru the Fire-EMS world, and is being considered as a pre-programmed addition to cell phones nationally."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My First Earthquake

We just had an earthquake--my first ever. A 5.6, at least that's what they're saying, I really have no frame of reference for these things so I'm trusting the experts. haha (We don't really get those back in Wisconsin...although I hear that there's a fault line somewhere down by Copper Falls.)

The epicenter was apparently down by Dillon (south of Butte, near the Idaho border), but we definitely felt it here--looks like they may have felt it as far north as Libby, even (Libby's up in the northwestern corner of the state, close to Canada).

I was in the bathroom when it happened. (Yes, the room with the toilet that had to be removed while I was in Europe, because they discovered that the floor beneath it was almost completely rotted out--great place to be standing during an earthquake! haha) I'd just gotten out of the shower, when suddenly I saw the radiator start slapping into the wall...the windchimes hanging out in my kitchen started shaking...and I heard a creaking/cracking from down the stairs. (Not to mention a bunch of dogs in the neighborhood barking, and Flannery meowing from the bedroom closet.) By the time I realized what was happening, it was practically over--but, I was proud that I had the presence of mind to remember my earthquake preparedness training from work, and I had time to duck into a doorway.

I also suddenly felt really glad that I have my nerdtastic disaster preparedness kit set to go in my hall closet. haha

Friday, July 22, 2005

I see a potential AmeriCorps tie-in here...

Microsoft names new software 'Windows Vista'

Fri Jul 22,10:11 AM ET

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Friday it named the next version of its operating system "Windows Vista" as it prepares to release a trial version of the flagship software that already runs on nine out of 10 personal computers worldwide.

Windows Vista, formerly known by its code-name Longhorn, is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2006...


I was at a training session for work yesterday up at DPHHS, and during one of the breaks a longtime state employee had an interesting little story to share...

So apparently, sometime back in the 1980s, DPHHS had some kind of conference on planned parenthood, birth control, human sexuality, and so on. The conference coincided with the release of a study on Montanans' attitudes toward sexuality--picture something loosely akin to the Kinsey reports of the 1940s, trying to assess what normal behavior patterns are, etc.

Anyway--so this lady goes on to say that one of the questions on the survey asked something about relationships with animals. Now, the lady couldn't remember how it was worded--if it simply asked something like "have you ever loved an animal," or something more precise & explicit--but anyway...

65% of those surveyed said yes.


Now, this could simply be a case of a poorly-phrased question evoking an innocent response from people...or this could be a sign that all the rumors I've heard about what goes on after-hours on ranches are true. Frankly, I'm not sure what to think.

"Montana: where the men are men, and the sheep are afraid."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Like a modern-day Sacajawea

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Inquisitiveness |||||||||||||||||| 56%

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

In the yard behind the church...

Some pictures from a little church along the road between I-90 and Boulder...

History lesson from a sign out front:
"St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of the North Boulder Valley was hand-built in 1880-1881 by the early settlers of this valley to practice a simple faith they learned as children in Ireland. This church remains one of the oldest in Montana where the original structure remains standing."

Which is all neat & stuff...but for some reason, whenever I look at it I'm reminded more of old westerns & Kill Bill, for some reason. (Ooh--or that one Guns 'N Roses video where Slash was playing in front of a church in the desert! Which one was that, anyway...not the crappy one with the dolphins, of that much I'm sure.)

There's a little cemetary out back...and clearly, it was quite windy back there when I stopped. :+)

Nearly everyone buried in the cemetary had a very "Irish" name (McCauley, Maguire, Mulrooney, etc.), so I was kind of surprised to find a headstone for an Italian man named Morris Guidi. (And yes, it actually pointed out that he was from Italy on his tombstone.)

I realize that most people probably won't take time out of a road trip to pull over into a cemetary...but I dunno, I guess it's little things like finding Morris Guidi and wondering what his story was that makes me wish I could spend more time doing stuff like this.

Check out the traffic!!! :+)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Happy Birthday to The Jane!

Today my mom (aka The Jane) turns was her fondest wish, she took the day off from her two jobs (stuffing ads into the local newspaper in the mornings, and washing pots in the local hospital kitchen in the evenings), and was going to take a drive to Oulu and maybe pick some flowers. Rock on, Mom. :+)

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Time Has Come...

For Judge Judy's ascension to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Round two!

Tonight's haircoloring experience was more successful...from a "let's see how red we can make it" stance, anyway. :+) Me likey. It seems very fitting for Independence Day--if only I'd thought ahead and put some blue & white streaks in there, I'd be a true patriot.

And to end on a more wholesome note, here's the batch of blankets I'll be sending off to my Project Linus contact in Kalispell sometime in the next few weeks. If you're at all into crafty things, Project Linus might be a nice thing to get involved with--no commitments, just make blankets as you wish and donate them to kids/teenagers in need.