Friday, April 29, 2011


       The ongoing saga of our trip to the mountains continues... sort of.  We survived the worst storm locals have seen in these mountains in decades, and other than being without power for almost 24 hours and unable to leave the resort because the road had washed out, it's been great!

        The electrical storm on Wednesday night was pretty impressive...

        The road was finally rebuilt last night, and we drove over to Cades Cove at first daylight for a quick drive through the loop.  Saw no bears on this trip, but that's not unusual for this time of year. 

        Here's the view from the chalet this morning...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


       Well, it's been interesting...  After dealing with car trouble on the way up here, we settled in on Monday and really enjoyed our first night at the chalet on the edge of the Smoky Mountains National Park.  Day Two was a lot more challenging, and I don't think either of us slept five minutes last night.
         You haven't ridden out a storm until you've listened to 100 mph straight line winds through the trees around your chalet on the side of bluff.  Our power went out at some point this morning, and we spent a few hours wondering if we were the only "powerless" chalet.  No phone service for our cells up here, and without electricity the chalet phone won't work, either.
          So I drove down the mountain to the resort's rental office to report our little problem, bought bags of ice to reload our coolers if it looked like the refrigeration issue was going to last (gotta keep the beer cold and the steaks on ice... shit, this stuff's important!), and brought home biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and sausage from the restaurant at the resort market.  "Breakfast is served, madam..."

          Tornado warnings, and it's windier now than I've ever seen up here in the Smokies.  A quick glance at the news from the local paper back home says we may not have a home to go home to when this is done... apparently Murfreesboro was hit with some shitty weather while we've been away.
           I'd rather be stranded at a beautiful chalet with a lovely (and dangerous) woman, with premixed jugs of margaritas and B52s, a case of beer, and more food than we could possibly eat than be sitting at home watching it rain.
           Life's good.  Thanks to all of you who have stopped by despite my lazy posting schedule during this vacation.  When the weather breaks we'll get into the park and I'll try to pass along photos and tales from our adventures.  Mrs. Squatlo has already done her "McGiver" impression by taking apart a chalet "Catch Phrase" timer device to fix the chalet's flashlight... who knew AAA batteries could be found in such places?
          It's a good thing one of us is resourceful...


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


       Okay, short but sweet (like my lovely and dangerous wife)...

       After some major drama with my old car on the way down here, we've arrived at our chalet in the Smokies, have gotten wasted beyond recognition, and are now in day one of recovery (three Margaritas into that Hair of the Fucking Dog Thing).
        My car managed to get us to within five miles of my sister's house in east Tennessee before the fuel pump gave up the ghost at a red light directly in front of a car repair shop.  We pushed said car over a curb to get out of the way of Easter Sunday traffic, then called for a rescue.
          The repair place was closed for Easter, so we left the old heap in front of their shop and called the next morning to tell them our sad story.  It's being repaired in Oak Ridge, Tn by some repair guys who were oh-so-happy to see my ass broken down in their lot...  Estimate is slightly higher than the value of the car itself... but what are you gonna do?
           In the meantime, my sister and bro-in-law have given us the keys to their second car, and we're partying like it's 1999.   Shrimp and steak for dinner tonight, and if the wind dies down a little we'll make an attempt to hike a little in the park tomorrow.
            Beautiful place, out of phone service range, basically left to fend for ourselves with highspeed internets and cable TV and a hot tub, pool table, foosball table,  jacuzzi, waterfall, and a view of paradise for either of two levels of decks behind the place.

             This indigo bunting dropped by to put on a show first thing this AM.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


                 My lovely (and thoroughly dangerous) wife and I are leaving for the Smokies in the next few minutes, with coolers of steaks, talapia, shrimp, and enough beer and mixed drinks to last a carrier group in a friendly port of call for a week.  We have high speed "internets" at the chalet we've booked, so we'll touch base from time to time to see if anyone's jonesing for their missing guano.
                 Given my propensity for finding things to bitch and rant about, I'm sure I'll take a moment here and there to post updates on our journey.  Feel free to leave comments under this post if you have something to pass along.  We will check in once in a while to see what the real world is up to...  And if my luck holds true, everything will hit the proverbial blogger fan the minute we get into the car and head to east Tennessee.

                 If you're in the Cobbly Nob area east of Gatlinburg and want to drop by for a cold brew and a filet, call the rental office at the resort and get our number from the happy people who work there.  One of my larger landscape prints hangs behind their cash register, reminding tourists of just how close they are to hiking into paradise from that very spot...

                 If the posts here at Squato's get a little sparse, now you know why... every now and then we have to recharge the ranter's batteries.

             If you're planning on dropping by the house while we're away to steal camera equipment and other valuables, they're going with us.  Sorry.  And my next door neighbor (the retired cop with the itchy trigger finger and a real desire to make the evening news for shooting an intruder?) is charged with watching the house.  He lives for drama.  Make his fucking day... We'll mop up your mess.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

WESTBORO BABTIST CHURCH CHOIR SINGING "GOD HATES THE WORLD" ( a happy church with a hopeful message! )

           Found this video over at The In-Sect, where things aren't posted very often, but when they are, it's worth a visit!  You can read along with the lyrics if you go to that site, I won't pilfer the entire post...

           Here's a good look at white folks "getting down"!  A happy church singing their hopeful message to the wayfaring strangers who have taken the wrong path (and apparently, that's everyone who isn't singing in this particular choir or protesting at the funerals of fallen servicemen).

            You can't make up shit like this, no one would believe you!

            Anyway, Happy Easter, from one church to yours.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN SUDDENLY CLEARER... (men show you all of their "tricks" on the first night, women are into delayed gratification...)

         I drove over to a buddy's house this morning for a visit, and while there the two of us engaged in a discussion of our relationships with our respective spouses.  He and I have known one another for about thirty-five years, and the vast majority of that time span was spent in bachelorhood for both of us.  It was only within the past five or six years that our marital statuses had changed, so we hadn't had too many opportunities to sit around and discuss the changes marriage can bring to the life of a contented bachelor.
         We had lived in the same apartment complex back in our single days, and found excuses to party together often.  If you had told us then that both of us would be happily married now, we would have laughed and laughed.  What could be happier than drinking and partying with other single guys every night of the week?  We would choose a target apartment, show up with copious amounts of beer and recreational refreshments, and enjoy one anothers' company, music, and video games.  It really was a great period in our lives, and I would feel confident in saying that in front of any of the guys we partied with in those care-free daze... we had a damn blast, and did so often enough to be the envy of a lot of the married friends who came over to join us whenever they were given permission to get out and play.

          But today we were sitting around talking and I noticed, with surprise, that both of us had come to realize we were much happier now than we ever were then.  Both of us, as far as I can tell, have married goddesses who take a lot of time and effort making us happy.  Who knew???
          Somehow our discussion wandered into the culinary department, and both of us had stories surrounding the wonderfulness that our wives bring to the kitchen.  And during my tales about my wife's enchiladas and chicken noodle soup (unless you've ever literally drooled over a bowl of soup, you have no idea what I'm talking about... the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld would bow to my wife's chicken noodle soup...) and his stories of his wife's pork chops and mushroom gravy (done combo style between a saute pan and a crock pot, if I understood the process correctly) it occurred to me that women space out their bag of tricks, whereas men dump all their cookies on the table on day one.  Not only in the kitchen, but the bedroom, as well.

           I know how to cook about three things well.  I know about five or six basic tricks in the bedroom.  I don't claim to be an expert in either arena, but I've had rave reviews in both areas... if reviews are to be trusted.  Women, on the other hand, know a million things to do the bedroom that have proven to be effective, and most of our wives can make a dozen different meals REALLY well. 
            Here's the point... (sorry it took me so long to get here...)  Do men make a women wait two years to show her the best barbeque recipe on Earth?  Does any man make a woman wait around through two or three years of boring sex before bringing out the toys and the creativity?  The answer to both questions, obviously, is hell no.  Men cook whatever they know how to cook early in a relationship, and do the very best they can in the bedroom, usually on 'night one' with a woman they'd like to impress.  Hell, we do our best with a woman we hope we'll never see again...  We're vain creatures, and none of us wants to be thought of poorly, even by people we don't really like.

            Women, on the other hand, won't run through their entire portfolio of wondrous dishes in the first month... you might live with a woman for five years before she breaks out Grandma's secret biscuit recipe, or makes that special casserole for your birthday.  It could be ten years from your wedding day before you discover that your wife can make homemade jelly that will curl your toes and make tears come to your eyes...

            Women space out their rewards, like treats for an obedient dog.  You'll do your best to impress in the bedroom from day one, and your wife will show you some kinky new trick that drops your jaw to your chest in year six of your marriage.
             "Why haven't you done THAT before???"
             "Oh, I didn't know you'd like it..."

             Shit!  If I had some "come on command" trick, I damn sure wouldn't hide it for a 'special occasion', I'd break that sucker out the first time I remembered how it was done...

              Women are into delayed gratification.  Dammit...

               Right now your woman is trying to decide if you've earned "a treat."

               Go do something worthy, dumbass... it'll be worth it!             


Drawingmachine by Eske Rex from Core77 on Vimeo.

         I found this video over at Boing Boing (courtesy of Vimeo) and in it Swedish-born designer Eske Rex demonstrates his version of a mid-19th Century device called a harmonograph to draw on paper using a pair of interconnected pendulums.
         The device was originally designed to draw 'Lissajous curves" which were studied at the time.
         Interesting to watch in action!


Friday, April 22, 2011


          After putting out bluebird boxes for three years and only managing to attract sparrows (dammit...) we've finally got a pair of tenants who meet my photographic requirements.  This pair have been battling with sparrows over this particular bird box for three days, and it looks like they've prevailed!