Archive for December, 2012

Christmas was pretty good for the “Flies Over” family this year. As you can see above, Little E really got the hang of opening presents this year.

And of course she got spoiled. Then again she gets spoiled most of the time…

Little E had the best haul of presents. I won’t go over them all, but I do want to share one story that is particularly cute.

During the whole Christmas season, Little E had told us that she wanted a “bike”. So my wife and I got her a little red tricycle… complete with streamers and a bell. Of course you need to have a little red trike as a kid, right?

Well, a couple of nights before Christmas, we all went out to eat with my wife’s family. In the car, my mother-in-law asked Little E what Santa was going to bring her for Christmas…

(That is, leave at the mailbox for her… Little E is still a little unsure of Santa this year; so he was allowed to bring her presents, but not come in the house. He was to leave all of the gifts at the mailbox. The mind of a 2-year-old…)

Little E, without hesitation, looked at her grandma and proclaimed “A Trumpet!”

We had yet to hear about this…

My wife and I grilled her about this several times over the next couple hours, and she insisted that Santa was going to bring her a trumpet. We have no idea where she got this idea.

So the next day, Christmas Eve, I got up early and drove an hour to the nearest town that had any kind of stores that would sell toys; in an attempt to “find Santa and tell him that Little E needs a trumpet for Christmas”.

Needless to say, shopping on Christmas Eve is not the most pleasurable of activities… and apparently I have the only kid in the world who wanted a trumpet for Christmas. After 4 stops, I couldn’t even find a store that carried toy trumpets.

So as a last resort, I stopped by a party store, and for 59 cents, I found this…

And Christmas was saved!

Little E also raked in some pretty cool toys that were meant for her and daddy…

She (we?) got two differnet magnetic fishing pole sets. The one pictured above (which came with an awesome little fishing vest), and another one for the bath tub. Little E and I have been playing quite a bit of “tackle box” over the last few days.

And of course, I had fun too. While playing Canasta with family, I created this…

Trail Mix Pile Up!!! (I can see my wife’s eyes rolling now…)

Of course I got fishing and Husker stuff for Christmas; so it was a pretty good Christmas for me too.

And when I got home, I also had this waiting for me in the mailbox…

Now I have pleanty to do for the rest of my break!

See you in 2013!

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ANTS!!!

…or how I spent my Saturday afternoon.

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I want to take a moment to thank everyone who read my post the day before yesterday. Now that I have had some time to further think about the topic, I have some final thoughts, and a big thank you…

When I first received those comments, I really did laugh myself off the chair; then as the words sank in the thoughts of my post really started to get to me… Like I said, it was not that I was offended, but I know that there are plenty of others that would not be. I have seen first hand how painful thoughtless comments can be.

One problem that I think our society has today is a lack of shame… Things like respect for our fellow-man or responsiblity for our actions don’t seem to matter to some people anymore. Not all people, of course. But I think there is a certain segment of our population that is so caught up in the “fast-forward” nature of modern society, that it seems to have taken an almost video game like feel to it. That others around us in the world are no more real than the images on our TV and computer screens; so it doesn’t matter what we say about them. Modern celebrities are an excellent example of this; look at all the trivial and sometimes down right hateful things that we say about these people; because often they don’t seem like you or me. The “wall” (with apologies to Pink Floyd) that is built between us makes it seem like there are no consequences for our actions.

And this wall can extend to our everyday lives. When we stop seeing others as real people just like us, it opens the door to neglectful things. The internet acts as a catalyst for this behavior, as the sense anonymity it provides is a comforting blanket for those who seek to make painful comments; the “I can see them, but they can’t do anything to me” feeling… more on this in a moment…

I myself am a humanist, and believe that all people are good at heart.

Including those who may sometimes say or do hurtful things.

When I said we must drag this issue out of the darkness and into the light, part of that is to reestablish that since of shame, to say to the person involved and everyone else that this is not okay. And also to use it as a teaching moment to show why it is not alright and correct the behavior.

Meeting hate with more hate is not the answer. To truly stop the problem, we must also educate.

This part of my message was missing in my original post.

A BIG THANK YOU…

…to The Cheeky Diva, a fellow Nebraska blogger who helped to spread the word about my previous post. I reached out to her first to help spread my previous post. Most of you came to me via her, but if you did not, make sure to check out and follow her blog. Together, and with many other Nebraska bloggers, we are showing why Nebraska really is “the Good Life”.

Yes, Cheeky, us “hicks” must stick together!

And a big thank you to everyone who came to Flies Over to read the previous post. I picked up a ton of supportive comments and “Likes”; and that means a lot to me. I also picked up a ton of new followers. My goal was not for personal publicity, although I hope that you stick around for the ride.

Yes, this is a fishing themed blog… but my hope is to make this about what fishing brings to my life. The joy, the experiences, and the understanding that fishing helps to provide me on life over all. There will be a little “how to fish” for those of you looking for it. But my goal is for this to be about more than just the fish…

Little E and I hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do.

And One Final Thought To The Anonymous Poster (Or, The Fight Just Became Fair…)

In the movie “The Matrix”, Moebius describes the purpose of their fight for the humans… that they are trying to “free the minds” of those trapped by the Matrix. But that some of those people are so engrained, so reliant on the system, that they could never be “unplugged”…

The same is true in real life.

And one thing I learned early in life was to never back down from a fight.

I was extremely impressed by what came to be known as the “Arab Spring”. People all over the world showed what organized and non-violent people can do. But as we have also seen, sometimes we must be willing to fight for what we believe…

I will always believe that nonviolence and diplomacy are the right answers. Everything must be done to avoid a fight; in international politics as well as life.

But we must also have the will to do what is necessary if all else fails…

I hope the anonymous poster reads these two posts and takes this a teaching moment. If not…

Here is a lesson for everyone… the internet only gives the appearance of anonymity…

It is actually not very hard to track anything anyone does on the internet… As such, I managed to locate the IP address of my anonymous poster. For those of you who are not tech savvy, everyone on the internet has an IP address. It is the internet equivalent to a mailing address. And just like a mailing address, it pin points your exact location in the world. Right down to your block, your house, and even the exact computer you used.

I said I wasn’t going to publish anything else about the poster, but just to prove I am not lying…

You live in Omaha, Nebraska. And your internet is provided through Cox Communications.

You should never insult a writer… you should also never insult anyone who is really, really smart…

Your move, formerly anonymous…

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“Never insult a writer. You may find yourself immortalized in ways you may not appreciate.”

-Garrison Keillor

Update: Make sure to read my follow up post of final thoughts too.

Today, I received perhaps the funniest comment on an article I have ever received. Two, actually; both by the same anonymous author. They were:

“douchebag”

-“Please do us all a favor and just post pictures of the fish, you look like a douchebag”

I have to admit, that I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I saw these! I am sure that this person really was out to draw blood; which is a lovely thing to do the day after Christmas… but stuff like this I just find hilarious. I am also surprised it hasn’t happened to my blog earlier…

However, it didn’t hurt at all… to the contrary…

I spent the first 12 years of my life with an abusive parent. When we moved out, I started my first job washing dishes in a bar for the man I that I now call “Dad”, simply so I could have a little bit of money to spend on myself. I spent my teenage years as a “bar hound”. Later, I was in fraternity in college.

Nothing anyone can do, or say, will ever offend me.

In the course of my experiences in life; be it the parent I have disowned, in the bar where I was pretty much raised, my fraternity, etc.; I have heard every manner of comment; some that has been directed at me. What I have learned over the course of my life is that these comments say much more about the person saying them then they ever will about the target they are directed at…

These comments are funny to me for that exact reason… You think you left an anonymous comment on some strangers blog. True, I have no idea who you are. But from the 19 words you left in my comments, I already know more about you then you can possibly imagine.

But here is why I am singling you out:

Bullying is a huge and serious problem in this country. It happens most commonly in schools; but can happen at every level of society. Often it happens in quiet dark places that no one sees; and often those affected are too ashamed to bring it to light.

Not me.

My life experiences helped me to develop a tough skin, so stuff like this doesn’t bother me. Not everyone who is bullied is so lucky… I have seen just how much bullying can hurt in the faces of friends and family.

I am not going to post anymore information about this anonymous poster; only his words. Heck, the email address they left is most likely fake anyways. And judging by their comments, they hated my blog and will never come back anyways. It doesn’t even matter to me that this person will never read this post.

Here is the point:

We as a society cannot allow behavior like this to exist. When we see it, no matter how big or small, we must bring it out of the darkness and into the light. Only when we pull back the curtains of anonymity will we be able to expose these people for what they are…

And only then, in front of our society as a whole, be able to start to teach the lessons that will finally rout out this behavior once and for all.

I am able to shrug off these comments. Not everyone is so strong. We must not allow comments like this or any other type of bullying to be tolerated; and we must stand up in the name of those affected by bullying who are not able to stand up themselves. This is true for comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other type…

I don’t care if the person who left these comments ever sees this post. No comments like this are okay…

Ever.

That is why we must speak up when we see actions like this, in whatever form they take. We must remove the vail of secrecy so it is not the bullied that is ashamed; but the bully.

This comment is small in the grand scheme of things, but many like it are not.

Oh, and to the person who left those comments…

I am not going to respond to your comment about my looks. Your words speak for themself.

I am only going to say thanks for the good hardy laugh!

But…

If you are only concerned with the pictures of fish, you have clearly missed the entire point of fishing (and this blog)… Henry David Thoreau said it best…

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not the fish they are after.”

Fishing is an experience; and yes, catching fish is part of that experience. But is not the only part. Heck, it is not even the focus. For me, fishing is about spending time with myself, Little E, and mother nature. It has taken on a meaning in my life that is spiritual.

The best fishing trip I had all year was a trip to Grove Lake and Verdigre Creek Nebraska to go trout fishing… and I didn’t catch a single trout. I caught one tiny bluegill, and a largemouth bass that was an inch and a half long. Despite the failure of the actual fishing, the trip was a success because I spent the whole day around this…

That picture is clearly better than any picture of a fish I have caught… So go get your “fish porn” somewhere else.

Oh… and enjoy the picture of ME and a largemouth I caught at the top of this post…

And if you don’t like my blog, start your own, use your REAL contact info, and tell me why I am wrong. Hell, I will even follow you…

To everyone else:

Join me in standing up for what is right; and in helping to rout out bullying, in whatever form it may take. Not everyone has the power to brush it off, or even stand up for themselves.

Merry Christmas,

E

Update: Make sure to read my follow up post of final thoughts too.

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And Happy Holidays to you; whatever faith you may practice.

E and Little E

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Mommy got a new sewing machine for Christmas… and made Little E an awesome shirt!

She’s ready for spring!

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Falling snow can’t reach me here
Locked behind double pains of glass.
Slowly floating by my window;
Slowly falling down to earth.
Like millions of falling stars they fly
Then one by one they all die.
Never to be remembered;
Never to be important.
Lost on the ground in a wasteland of it’s peers.

-Fall 2003; Lincoln, Nebraska

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