Archive | September, 2014

Disappointed in My Team

11 Sep


If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve seen all sorts of gear with the Arizona Cardinals logo.  I am a huge Cards fan, and it isn’t often that I feel shame for that.  But they’ve finally put me over the edge.

If you’ve been following the Ray Rice saga in the NFL, you know domestic violence is the hot topic of the day.  So you might think that NFL teams might shy away from men with assaults on women in their histories.  But not my Cards.  They just signed Chris Rainey as a running back.  NFL running backs in the NFL are pretty interchangeable.  So why is Chris Rainey a poor choice for this highly disposable position?  Well he has a bit of a history.

2010: Chris Rainey texted a women he had formerly dated for three years, “Time to die, b—-“. He was arrested for aggravated stalking. At the time he was the 27th player arrested at UF since Urban Meyer took over. He was also banned from speaking to the media because of inappropriate comments he made about coeds at the time.

2013: The Pittsburgh Steelers waived Chris Rainey after he was arrested for dragging his girlfriend out of a car and slapping her across the face, according to police reports. They were arguing about his cell phone.

July 2013: Chuck Pagano announces Rainey has been released from the Indianapolis Colts, citing, “It’s unfortunate and a violation of team rules. It was an in-house deal, that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

September 2014: Arizona Cardinals sign Rainey one day after the infamous Ray Rice video surfaces.

Sounds like a quality pick-up.  I totally understand why the Cards would stare down public backlash by signing someone with this record.  He will make huge dividends for the team.  Oh wait.  He’s just on their practice squad!   For those of you who don’t know, practice squad guys don’t dress for game day.  So the Cardinals catch all that hell for a guy who won’t even contribute on Sundays?  Like I said, disappointed.

But my ire does not end with the Cardinals.  In discussing this with other fans, I get the sense that there is a perception out there that women are somehow inferior to a favorite sports team.  Fans bemoan my “lynch mob mentality” and demand that Rainey be given a second chance.  From the timeline above, I think you’d agree, dear reader, that Rainey blew through his second chance long ago.  I am all for second chances.  I believe any of us can make a terrible decision in the heat of a moment.  I believe paying for those mistakes, learning from them, and becoming a model citizen.  Only then, should second chances be considered.  Does Chris Rainey sound like a model citizen to you?  Has he learned anything from his multiple arrests?

Yes he has.  If you can run fast with a football, you can get away with anything.  And (some) fans will cheer you all along the way.



3 Sep

Imagine you are wearing a “heatproof” glove designed specifically for handling hot items around a campfire.  

Now imagine reaching into the fire to pull out one of those fold-up campfire toasters and realizing that the heat was searing right through those gloves.

Now imagine that in the face of blinding pain, you panic and drop the white-hot metal contraption.  Instinctively, you reach out with your unprotected hand to catch the falling food.  The heated metal only touches your skin for a second, but your finger still ends up being the most thoroughly-cooked item of the night.  Maybe you end up with something like this:


Not a pretty picture, is it?  In my opinion, there is no worse “minor” injury at a campsite than a burn.  Cuts and scrapes can be patched up.  But a burn in the wrong place can be downright debilitating.  

As soon as I realized how bad the burn was, I jammed my finger in ice water.  Step one of any burn treatment is to leech out the heat as quickly as possible.  Luckily, the nighttime temperatures dropped into the low 40’s, so cold water was not hard to come by.  Then I recalled that Baking Soda and Vinegar were both cited as home remedies to relieve burns.  

I realized that while my finger was submerged, the pain was minimal, but as soon as I took it out of the water, it flared up again.  I needed something more, so I quickly poured a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup and filled it with just a small amount of cool water.  The mixture made a paste.  Since I was one-handed at this point, it took a little bit of work to mix it together, but once the salve was finished, I jammed my hand into the DIY ointment and felt cooling relief immediately.  

I let the burn soak in my homemade remedy for about thirty minutes.  When I finally removed it, I felt a little heat, but nothing like the searing pain I had previously experienced.  The salve left on my hand dried into a flaky white substance.  And this is where my experimental spirit got me thinking, “Hey, I have vinegar too!  What would that do?”

So I grabbed my vinegar and poured it on the burn without first removing the baking soda.  As soon as the two substances met, they fizzled, but in all honesty, I didn’t feel like it improved my pain level one bit.  So I quickly washed off my finger and reapplied a bit of the baking soda “paste”, laying it on thick.  Then I wrapped it in a bandage to make sure the salve wouldn’t drip off the wound.  

I didn’t feel the pain of the burn again that night.  And when I woke up the next morning, I had no pain whatsoever.  A day later, the blister popped on its own.  For the rest of the trip, I had full use of all ten fingers, even foregoing bandages for the blister.  

I don’t know if my home remedy is backed by a ton of medical science.  I’ve read blogs that say it is either the best way or the worst way to treat a burn.  But I know it worked for me.  I also know that the next time I get a bad burn, I am reaching for the baking soda.  

Back from Camping: Lessons Learned

2 Sep

So we had a successful trip, but there were definitely some lessons to be learned along the way.  First, here is a picture of our camp kitchen, minus the grill, which had yet to arrive.


Camp Kitchen


You’ll notice that I’ve hung our cast iron cookware using simple iron hooks.  My DIY cupboard makes an appearance as well, but there were definitely some design flaws that need working out.  The design of the kitchen worked well for the most part.  When the other half of our party arrived later that night, we were able to fit another cooler, a stand-up grill, and a six-foot table under the canopy as well.

Notice those orange things on the canopy legs?  Those were pieces of a foam noodle that I cut up to make the campsite safer.  Every pole, leader line, and every branch that might jump out and smack an unsuspecting camper got a piece of bright orange to make the hazards stand out.  Which brings me to my first lesson learned.  I had also acquired a can of glow-in-the-dark spray paint to make these noodle pieces light up at night.  In theory, the clear paint should have absorbed sunlight throughout the day and then lit up at night.  In practice, this did not work out.  Save yourself the $10 and put it toward something more useful than paint.

The second lesson I learned was if you are going to go up in multiple cars, try to leave as close to the same time as possible.  And if you can’t do that, make sure you divide up the essentials in a way that ensures your survival until reinforcements arrive.  My wife and I left for the campsite early.  It was a four hour drive.  Our in-laws, who were our camping companions, left a couple of hours later.  On a busy Labor Day weekend, that delay made a load of difference.  An accident on Highway 87 left the road closed for hours.  Their four hour drive became an eight hour drive.  Worse yet, they had the grill and the water!  So while we anticipated their arrival around 5 pm, they didn’t roll in until after 9 pm.  Luckily, there was a general store for us to get some water and I was able to use the campfire for the night’s food.  Still, it could have gone more smoothly.

Lesson number three: altitude sickness is a real thing.  And it is not fun.  Failing to properly hydrate at higher elevations makes you dizzy, short on breath, and nauseous pretty quickly.  Think about the amount of water you’d normally drink at lower altitudes and double it at higher elevations to be safe.  A few extra trips behind the trees is infinitely better than waking up feeling hung over (without the previous night’s fun).

Lesson four:  Altitude also sucks for transport.  On the way up the mountain, I lost two cans of biscuits that popped.  I lost 4 eggs that cracked (in really strange patterns).  And you know how people say that you should buy gallon jugs of water and freeze those to keep your cooler cold?  Yeah, both jugs burst and as the water started to melt, they leaked everywhere.  Not fun.

Final lesson: I want to do my best Hank Hill impression and talk about propane.  Your propane grill will likely take half a tank just to boil water or cook a meal.  One of the downsides of camping is just the sheer slowness of a camp kitchen.  So bring more propane than you think you’ll ever need.  Even if you have a campfire as a backup, it will be even slower and less reliable than the consistent heat delivered from your stove.  You don’t want to run out of fuel halfway through a trip.  For our 3 night trip, I went through four small canisters of propane, even though I used my stove for no more than coffee in the morning and then cooking dinner at night.

So that is it for now.  I will be back with the most important lesson I learned in a separate post: Treatment for a burn suffered within the first hour of arriving at camp.