By Request?!

Boggles the mind, I know, but I actually had a request to get off my lazy butt (or, in this case, got on my lazy butt) and write something there.  Of course, lack of a topic generally leads to a somewhat slower piece, but hey, as long as somebody finds 'em interesting.    

I'm on my way to being an official rugby referee, now.  We went up to a "So you want to be a referee" clinic in Greenville, SC last weekend and learned all sorts of stuff about whistle blowing and suchlike and it was groovy and all and, well, so we're on our way home, four of us in the same car and as we get near the Clemson exit we pass this car with two really cute girls in it. Well, a second later they pass us again, giggling.  Then the left rear window rolls down (because it's tinted, they're helping with the sightlines) and we see the passenger getting ready to flash us (she's in full lift-the-shirt-and-bra position), which gets our attention... just as they pull onto the exit ramp and out of our lives forever.  *sigh*  A tragic loss that our driver wasn't quick enough to take advantage of. Alas.

So an hour or so ago my sister sent me an ICQ message asking me to finish writing this poem I started, hell, probably in '95.  Well, here, I'll stick the first verse or two for your reading, uhmm, enjoyment.

The glass in my car was all covered with steam,
I gave no thought to travel, did not try to flee
from the killing machine that was ripping and roaring
through christmastime crowds that were screaming and hoarding
their children with arms sweat-lined and shaking,
their lives in the balance, their hearts were not making
an effort to run from the horror before them,
they stood and they died, a christmastime mortem.

I chanced on my safety and rolled down the glass,
my awe at the killer would not be the last
emotion that roared through my heart that long night,
but twas the first and the one which can still give me fright
on warm summer days which are ten years removed
from that cold winter evening which instantly proved
to me all that is known is not all that is there,
and I took to my soul that I now must beware
of the stirrings at heart and tuggings at mind
through whose portal one crawled and whose door I must find.

Anyway, it blathers on in a similar fashion, there are ten verses right now -- and have been since the night I wrote it.  No, I take that back.  I'm almost positive there were a couple that were so unbelievably bad that I nuked 'em.  So anyway, maybe I'll try to do that.  

I'm also writing an article on the Winthrop Gold course, sort of starting from the point of view that it's the best course in the world and then showing why and how it's not good enough yet.  I might try to send that to Rick Rothstein and see if he wants to put it in DGWN, otherwise I'll stick it up here somewhere.  Doesn't much matter as I haven't made much progress on it in the past few days.

Rugby team from Black Rose tourneySo what else?  Oh yeah, the thing the anonymous requester wanted to hear about...  my cider pressing activities.  Me and Matt Bunce (Matt's second from left on the back row, I'm third) built a cider press out of 4x4's and using car jacks for the crushing power.   So we have great dreams and we pick a bunch of apples and some pears from his apple tree (you can probably figure out which of his trees the pears came from) and washed 'em and cut 'em up and stuck 'em on our press and pressed down until we could hear the wood creaking and groaning and the metal support points bending...  and saw our one milliliter of juice come roaring out.  Not quite what we'd envisioned.  After all, we were looking for about 5 gallons of juice.  So we release the pressure and stare at it and add some apples and try again.  Then we take out a bunch of 'em and try.  Nothing.

We retreated inside for a strategy conference and decide to food-process 'em into little tiny bits, which we do, then we take the bits outside and dump the whole mess onto the press and press away.  A torrent! A river! A flood! Actual juice!  Encouraged by our few ounces of juice, we get busy.  We bring the food processor outside and set it up on the tailgate of Matt's truck and start our mush-press process to the amazement of the zero passers-by that stared in awe at our prowess (we'd been pretty concerned that somebody might show up at the beginning and see all our slightly mushed apples and lack of juice, but now we're ready for CNN to cruise on up).  A couple of hours later we have about 9 quarts of juice... well on our way to the five gallons which we'll setup with some sulphur dioxide [just a note that my spell checker doesn't have it in there spelled like that and suggests 'sulfur' to me.  As if.  We do things classy here or we don't do 'em at all...]  and yeast and let to ferment in my six-gallon food grade bucket with air lock on top.   It should be done fermenting in February, so swing on by and grab a taste.

Doug's thoughts on nothing in particular