Big Fun on the Bayou

Written by Monkeybrad on January 16th, 2009

Last week, I learned how to do something I had always wanted to do, I learned to shuck oysters, but let’s not get too far ahead of the story…

Each year after Christmas we try to slip away for a caching road trip with friends, it is a nice way to end the year and it helps to start off the new year rested and ready for big things.  We try to not plan things too much and often we are not even sure where we are headed when we pull out of the driveway.  The only rule is that we head generally south and find warmer weather.  This year our wanderings ended up in Southeast Louisiana and son of a gun we had big fun.

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From the French for "toss together"

Written by Monkeybrad on January 9th, 2009

Totally random shot out my sunroof at a stoplight

So here is how this works, sometimes I am inspired to write about things and share them with you, sometimes I am just not feeling it, so I don’t write anything and other times I am terribly inspired about all kinds of things, but there are just not enough hours in the day to do my real work, my play work, my play play and take the time to write about all the things I have been doing or thinking about.  This is one of those times.  So, being extra clever I try to write some extra stuff to have “in the bank” for when life gets too hectic and I can assure you that the bank is full of half-fleshed out ideas, but there is nothing that feels right this week.  I really want to tell you about the things I learned down on the bayou last week, the politics of auto repair and what I learned when I went to the mountaintop, but that will have to wait for a little while.  So what do you get, besides random iPhone pictures and rambling?

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iFarm Art Project

Written by Monkeybrad on January 2nd, 2009

I often get up while the sun is still low in the sky and go for walks around our farm, enjoying the peacefulness of early morning and that beautiful low angle light. Sometimes my wife and I walk with the dog in the afternoon, there is just something about those long shadows we love, the golden hour of the day. Our farm is dotted with equipment left over from my grandfather’s past, old tractors, trucks from his shipping company and all kinds of farming equipment. It always brings a smile to my face to look at these testimonies to a life well-lived, they are reminders of my childhood riding in these trucks with him or helping to work on these tractors. From fully-restored showpieces to little more than junk, Pa collects it all, and he taught me to look beyond the surface rust to see the potential sitting there waiting for a caring hand to bring it back to life. So these walks are a good time for me. Lately, I have taken to snapping photos with the camera in my iPhone and then using the CameraBag app to process them in the phone, to try and capture a little of the beauty I see and the pieces of Pa’s soul sitting in our fields.

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Lights, Candles and Elves, Oh My!

Written by Monkeybrad on December 23rd, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I put out a call to friends far and near to send me pictures of their Christmas Trees, Menorahs, Festivus Poles, or whatever they do to celebrate during the holiday season.  It has been fascinating to see the many different ways my frioends celebrate during this great time of year.  We have Currier and Ives scenes, the Nativity, Menorahs, playful elves, homemade ornaments, a tree composed entirely of botox bottles, Charlie Brown’s tree, the old aluminum classic and even an “implant” tree.  Thank you to everyone who played along, I have really enjoyed getting to take a peek into your lives and family traditions.  I hope that you all have the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Chanukkahs, a Grievance filled Festivus or any other thing you wish to have.  The holidays are a time to stop and think about the things that are most important to you and for me that is my friends and family, so consider this Holiday Collage my gift to you, and please overlook the fact that since you sent these to me in the first place, I am essentailly regifting you all.  Anyway, it’s the thought that counts, right.


Every Time a Bell Rings, You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Written by Monkeybrad on December 15th, 2008
The Walnut of Cheer

The Walnut of Joyous Tidings

With the snow coming down outside it looks like this will be a good night to curl up with some cocoa, turn the lights on the tree and relax with a great Christmas movie.  Folks have been bugging me to do a top ten list, apparently all good blogs have top ten lists, so I figured this was as good a time as any, especially since when I made my list of favorite Christmas movies, there happened to be ten, so here are my top ten Christmas movies, in no particular order.

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Snickerdoodles and Red Diamonds

Written by Monkeybrad on December 8th, 2008

It is time for a Monkey Christmas memory, so try to read this one in your best Truman Capote voice, and get your hat and get the buggy, cause it’s fruitcake weather.

Well, no actually, it is not fruitcake weather and my name is not Buddy, but it is time for a treat far better, when the snow begins to fall in early December it is time to bake Snickerdoodles.

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Art is Everywhere…

Written by Monkeybrad on November 30th, 2008

Even in my iPhone.

First off, let me say that I love the photographic revolution that digital photography has precipitated. The fact that anyone can now afford to shoot thousands of pictures with no cost, beyond start up, has made the world of photography a better place. Of course, with greater access comes greater volume, without necessarily generating a corresponding increase in quality, in fact often the converse is true. In other words, there are a lot more “artistic” photos out there and a lot of it is crap. But who cares, I think it is awesome that anyone can grab a camera, snap a couple of shots, do some minor photoshop work and suddenly they are a low-rent Ansel Adams, or even a Mapplethorpe, but alas that is a whole other discussion. Anyway, I do quite a bit of work in photoshop and I am constantly amazed at how processing can make a terrible shot something impressive, to the point where I am a little jaded about modern amateur photography. We have gained great technical prowess, but it seems like we have lost something of the artist’s soul. What ever happened to the days of buying cheap cameras and shooting to try and find art within the confinements of their capabilities, turning their weaknesses into strengths? Well, in a way, those days are back and they are as close as your iPhone and an app called CameraBag.

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Bell Buckle Blues

Written by Monkeybrad on November 20th, 2008

November 14 was United Nations World Diabetes Day and as part of their campaign to increases Diabetes awareness they issued the second WDD Monument challenge.  The challenge is to increase diabetes awareness by lighting monuments around the world in blue for the evening.  According to their website, “A total of 279 iconic monuments were lit in 2007 as beacons of hope for the millions of people worldwide living with diabetes. Over 1.2 billion people were reached with campaign messages.”  The 2008 goal was to encourage a total of 500 buildings to light up to mark World Diabetes Day.  After a little thought, I decided I could help them out.

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Mother Monkey's Pumpkin Bread

Written by Monkeybrad on November 19th, 2008

As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, I get nostalgic for the things that remind me of home.  This is my favorite time of the year, a time to reflect on all that has happened and to enjoy the fruits of the harvest.  As our home menu turns to comfort foods I am always drawn to my mother’s pumpkin bread.  I remember her baking these when I was little and they were always a sign that Autumn was fully on us and that the Christmas season was just around the corner.  Over the years she has adapted it some, to make things easier, but the flavor is the same, and to me this is what love tastes like.  So grab the ingredients and put this one together, your house will smell heavenly while it bakes and it is the perfect treat to enjoy sitting by the fire while the cold winds blow outside.  It is also a great way to start the day, just cut a slice, toast it slightly, add butter and enjoy.  I know I spent many a morning walking to the bus stop with a piece of this bread wrapped up in a napkin to keep me warm.

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Monkey-approved Caching Adventures

Written by Monkeybrad on November 10th, 2008

I am always up for an adventure, I guess that is what keeps me young, or at least that is what keeps me sore and complaining about not being young anymore.  When Scoot (my wife) and I discovered Geocaching in 2003, we knew that the gang in Seattle had created a hobby that was nearly perfectly designed for our lifestyle.  Rather than getting bogged down in the details of caching, here is a quick description of the game from the Groundspeak website:

“Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.  This high-tech treasure hunting game is played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices.”

For much more information or to get into playing the game yourself, check out

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