December 31, 2011

Travel Day Today

Making the long journey home from Florida today.  Should be a full day's worth of driving, so probably won't be all that "social" if you know what I mean.

Yesterday was a busy day, running around Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando...which is something I will never, ever do again.  At least not the week between Christmas & New Year's.  Holy smokes that place was packed.

As you may have seen over on Facebook, Lilly, K.C., and I made the most of dealing with crowds all day and had a pretty fun time.  I'll probably toss up more pictures (at least to Facebook) when I get home, but here's a pic of the kid & I outside Hogwarts in the Harry Potter section of the park.  Oh, and like my t-shirt?


Also here's some cell phone footage of riding the Harry Potter Hippogriff.  I think it was the one ride with less than an hour's wait.  Lilly's reaction at the end is the reason why us Dads do stuff like this, right?




Anyway...hope you are all ready to close out 2011 on the right note.  I can't wait to get home and catch up on all of the good blogging I've been missing over the last week or so.  (I did happen upon Fontinalis Rising's post yesterday, thanks for the hat tip Jason.  Quite an honor!)

So here's wishing everyone a safe & Happy New Year's Eve.

See you in 2012!

December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - A Look Back at 2011

New Year's Resolutions.  It's the fashionable thing to do.

However before I throw down some amazingly in-achievable new goals for 2012, let's first review the musty old ones - so humor my vanity as we take a step down memory lane...

#1.  Fish New (or Different) Water
I'll give myself at least half point for this one.  I did fish the Little Lehigh for the first time (is it still fishing if you don't catch?), as well as Factory Brook & the West Branch of the Tioughnioga River in central New York state.  Spurky also ran me around Lebanon County a few times.  Like this time & this time.  So yes, I fished some new (to me) water, but still feel like I fell back on ol' reliable (Valley) a bit too often.

A central New York brown

#2.  Lose a Few More Pounds
That would be a big fat negative!  I think I gained 5.  I probably should have written down my starting weight to be sure, but I'm not where I want to be.  But those P90X DVDs sure do look cool on the bookshelf.  This will carry over for 2012.

Damn you Tony Horton

#3.  Stop & Smell The Flowers
I did intentionally take more vacation days than I did in 2010 and prior years.  I've been at my place of employment for 12 years, so I get 25 PTO days and I always end up leaving at least 10 on the table each year.  So we did a lot of long weekend type trips this year.

We went to Disneyworld, Ocean City (Maryland), Sanibel Island, Washington D.C., New York State, and then the end of year road trip we're on now, but work still kicked my butt, especially in the back half of the year.  There is unfortunately no "off switch" when you work in e-commerce and are outfitted with a company provided iPhone...so even when you're on vacation, you're not really on vacation.

I know, cry me a river...I am aware I'm very fortunate as things could be much, much worse.

Remember when weekends were weekends?

#4.  Meet Some of You Folks Face-to-Face
I scored here.  I met & fished with Matt from Functioning Fishaholics and Mike from Dub The Thorax.  I also was lucky enough to meet Gaeron from My Life on the Fly & Ulf Hagstrom from The Way of the /:Fly:/ at a fly tying show...and missed out meeting Lou from Fly & Fin at the same show by about an hour.  That will be remedied in 2012.  Anyway, that's four more than I had met at this point last year.  I was hoping to knock this one out of the park big time by attending an OBN Rendezvous, but...well...we all know how that story ended.

I could also mention the fact I was able to "meet" a few fortunate souls in a sort of creepy face-to-face video chat on Google+...but that really doesn't count.

The good news is I made a ton more fishing and outdoor minded friends online, so that makes my odds of running into more people in 2012 all the better.

From Left:  Dub's elbow, fly tying light, yours truly, a bald spot, Func, and a backpack - photo credit Ulf

#5.  Give Back
Simply put, my ideas never got off the ground.  This one was a big fat, FAIL.  I still contributed in the charitable form, TU, National Parks, Sierra Club, all that stuff, but not really in the personal way I wanted to.  This resolution will carry over to 2012.

I picked up trash at a creek cleanup.  Not exactly what I had in mind.

So that was 2011.  What's in store for 2012?


To be continued....

December 28, 2011

A Long Overdue "Thank You"...

As 2011 comes to a close, it's typically a time for folks to sit back and reflect on the year that was.  In doing such there are a lot of "thank yous" handed out, the recipients usually being friends, family, supporters, and the like.

Thank you for being a friend...

Not wanting to buck this trend, I'm finding it necessary to thank a sort of unsung hero that makes things happen on a regular basis around here.  No, I'm not talking about Lilly, Owl Jones, The River Damsel, or even that guy named Clif

See, the person, or better yet thing I'm talking about is Blogger.  


You know, the platform that hosts and is the engine behind many of "our" humble blogs...  


Yeah, that Blogger.

Okay, I know Blogger's not perfect.  Like any good relationship, we've all had our ups & downs this year; some of the "downs" being the temporary inability to make comments, disappearing blogrolls, and confusion about what happens to your blog if you delete pictures from your Picasa account.  (You know Google tried to take over the internet this year, so integrating a billion different products had some nasty side effects).  

Also, just as in some unsteady relationships, especially a long term ones, one may have found themselves lusting for another.  Temptresses such as WordPress and all her curvaceous themes and sexy plug-ins...or Tumblr and...well...let's face it, Tumblr's too young for you...you'll get yourself arrested for fooling around with that one... 

thong shot courtesy of women fishing in bikinis

But in the end, it's the good times experienced in the relationship that definitely outweighed the few rough patches in 2011 that were mentioned above.  The Blogger team introduced to us a ton of slick updates, the biggest being a whole new user interface that is much more...ummm...Google-ish.  We also got web fonts, an Android App, mobile templates, favicons, dynamic views, and Google+ integration just to name a few from a very long list of positives. 

And for what it's worth, and in my opinion it's worth a lot, I also can't remember a single time when my blog was down...like totally black...in 2011.  Oh yeah, and I never, EVER had to worry about "installing updates."

And did I mention the best part?  Blogger did all that for free.

So THANK YOU BLOGGER (and your overlords at Google), for keeping not only my blog, but the many, many other blogs I enjoy on a daily basis not only up and running, but also doing so in a way that makes it so easy even Howard can do it.


December 26, 2011

A Christmas Recap

We had a good Christmas this year.  Not that I'm bragging or anything....  Okay, maybe just a little.

It started with presents...of course.
Lilly made out like a bandit.  Nintendo DS was atop her list, and Santa was a good listener...


And Wuggle Pets?  If you have a kid that watches cartoons on cable, surely you've seen the commercial...


After lounging around the house for a bit, assembling and playing with toys, I went fishing out back in the canal that runs behind the house.  Had to try to catch a Christmas fish, right?

Look...there's one...


While I was fishing, K.C. was using her "new" DSLR camera to shoot great pictures, like this...


...until I became the subject...


Where was Lilly while all this was going on?


C'mon, did you expect her to be anywhere else but glued to her new DS?

Oh, caught a fish or two too.


























Rounded out the night with a nice dinner, goofed around on the computer a bit (including writing this post), then off to bed.  See you again in '12 Santa Claus...we'll be good, we promise.

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I'd like to wish all of the friends, likers, followers, circlers, and (of course) readers of Troutrageous! a very Merry Christmas.  Should you not observe Christmas - and favor Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus perhaps - I hope you are all taking the opportunity to relax, reflect, and enjoy the holiday season with family & friends.

THANK YOU for continuing to stop by, leaving comments, and hopefully sharing a laugh or two with Lilly & I at this humble "fishing" blog.  Your continued readership & support makes it feel like Christmas for us each and every day.


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays,

Mike

December 20, 2011

ROAD TRIP!

The Troutrageous! Clan is embarking on a journey...one that we may not emerge from in one piece.  Yup, we're driving to Florida (from Pennsylvania) for Christmas.  Yes, I'm fleeing the horror that has been work for the last month, and on Thursday, will embark on the horror that is an extended family road trip.




No, no WallyWorld this year, but we're visiting the inlaws down in south Florida...which should make for a pretty interesting time...19 or so hours worth of interesting to be exact.


We've tried to split the trip down into four 4 hour segments, with an overnight in Savannah, GA, so in my infinite wisdom, have attempted to plan ahead and expect the trip down to look something like this...

6:00 AM - Leave house
6:45 AM - First "Are We There Yet?"
7:30 AM - Pee Break for Lilly
8:45 AM - Pee Break for K.C.
10:00 AM - Planned Stop #1 - Fredericksburg, VA - "America's Most Historic City"...and home to Salsa dancing according to Google.

It's electric...

11:00 AM - Crap, Lilly's DVD player is out of batteries
11:37 AM - Enough Kidz Bop!!!!!  The Best of the Doobie Brothers is put in CD player.
12:05 PM - Pee Break for K.C.
12:16 PM - Pee Break for Lilly
1:15 PM - Break into the snacks.  Cheetos orange encrusted steering wheel ensues.
2:00 PM - Lose feeling in feet.
3:00 PM - Planned Stop #2 - Fayetteville, NC - Why?  Because it's there...and much like this champ, Lilly likes horses.

Lookin' good Rusty...

3:30 PM - Back on the road
4:20 PM - You mean we can't stop for 4:20?
5:00 PM - Damn, it's 5 o'clock already?
5:03 PM - No, were not there yet.
5:16 PM - Pee Break for Lilly & K.C
5:23 PM - I wet myself from not taking a pee break
6:03 PM - Almost time to stop for the night...
7:30 PM - Planned Stop #3 - Savannah, GA.  Food.  Hotel.  Bed.  This is where Paula Deen's from, right?

Got Butter?

6:00 AM - Wake up and realize we still have 7 more hours of driving...
6:30 AM - Find a Shoney's and indulge in the breakfast buffet.  Put grits on the plate, but leave confused.
7:25 AM - Mountain Dew #31 goes down the gullet
8:03 AM - Slip into the zone...dreaming of fishing...unconsciously driving the rest of the way to...
11:00 AM - DAYTONA BEACH!  Which reminds me of watching MTV Spring Break while I was in high school, so envious of all of the drunken debauchery going on.  Oh and boobies.



11:30 AM - Drive, drive, drive...oops, sorry Officer, I didn't realize I was speeding.  Want a T! sticker?
12:00 PM - No, Lilly, those signs don't say Disneyworld Exit Right.
12:10 PM - NO LILLY, THOSE SIGNS DON'T SAY DISNEYWORLD EXIT RIGHT!!!
12:15 PM - NO LILLY,< @(*#^&%Y(*@#Y&$(*#&)(!!!!!!
1:30 PM - Immunity to 5 Hour Energy developed, slip back into mindless driving.
3:00 PM - Finally end up in Boca Raton, Florida.  Immediately pass out.

Or something like that.

And that's only the drive down.  I'm sure the drive back North will be even more enjoyable.

Have any of you ever done a similar trip?  With kid(s)?  Any advice to maintain sanity?
Also, if you've done the Florida trip before, any suggested stops along the way?  

The last time I did the PA to FL road trip I was in college, and clearly had different priorities (i.e. yell out the window at girls driving by - as if that would make them stop an immediately succumb to my charms - and of course, acquiring alcohol and fireworks).

Would love to read your comments below.

December 19, 2011

Tired of that Cop Out Monday Movie?

...yeah, me too.

Sorry about last week.  Since I have a fair share of fans & followers, I kind of feel bad when I take a week off from blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, and all that stuff.  Have been absent more than present a lot lately, which believe me, is not by design.  At least I'm in good company.

Now I fully realize nobody's day is ruined when I go a day or three or five without writing a new post - in some way it is probably welcomed by many - but being a blogger known to be a narcissist churn out the content on a regular basis, I do feel like I owe you, my readers an apology.

That out of the way, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for yours truly, and it starts on Thursday.  I'll give you the download on that tomorrow.

For today, I do need to thank Jen @ Fly Fishilcious for a little care package that showed up last week.  Lilly loves temporary tattoos, especially pink ones.



December 12, 2011

Cop Out Monday Theater

Taking the easy way out and posting someone else's video I found on Vimeo last night.
It's a fun 2 or so minute video.  The way I figure, Mondays could use more fun.




December 11, 2011

Gear Review - RedRam Merino Thermal Underwear

Like some other folks out there, I was contacted by the folks at RedRam toward the end of last summer to give their thermal undergarments a try...and well...blog about it.  Not really being a long underwear guy (especially bottoms) I figured to myself "why not," it'll be snot freezin' cold around here soon enough anyway.

The claim..."Everyday Merino"

Well, that time has come.  While it's not quite cold enough for snotsicles, it's been getting down into the 20s and 30s at night, and when I've gone out fishing recently in the mornings, it's been bitter, at least until the sun decides to get it's butt in gear.

For testing/review purposes, I was provided a black long sleeve top and a pair of black leggings.  As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I've never been a "leggings guy" but have been known to use several different types of baselayers - from brands like Under Armour, Eddie Bauer, you know, stuff like that.


Here are the pros and cons, as I see them.

PRO:  Let's cut right to the point.  My biggest concern was, "how are wool bottoms going to interact with my junk?"  I think of wool and immediately itchy, scratchy sweaters come to mind, and...well...wasn't looking forward to the prospects of some nasty chafing below the equator.

I don't know anything about merino wool sheep, but they must be only fed marshmallows and sleep on space age memory foam beds, because these tops and bottoms are damn soft.  No irritation down there.  Enough said.

Baaa.

PRO:  Feel aside, do they keep you warm?  Yes.  I wore them fishing twice.  The first day the thermometer in the car said 29 degrees on the way to the stream, the other day it said 35.  By the time I got there and suited up, I'm sure it was a touch warmer, but not much.  As a base layer under a pair of jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, I was good to go.  Simply put, I wasn't cold while outside at all.

CON:  When I got back to the house later in the afternoon, I thought I was going to melt.  We keep our house like 65-70 degrees depending on the time of year and I couldn't strip the RedRam's off quick enough.  I was totally overheated in these things.  Breathable?  Yes.  "Everyday Merino?"  No.  I didn't find them comfortable as part of a layered outfit in climate controlled environs, then again I was wearing the long sleeve & long legged versions.

PRO:  They fit pretty true to size.  You can never tell with stuff like this that's supposed to be worn generally close to your skin to retain heat, but you don't want to look (or feel) like a sausage in them.

In "normal human" clothes, I usually wear a size XL t-shirt and depending on the manufacturer a 34 or 36 waist jeans.  I'm about 6 foot, 205 lbs.  For this test, I wore an XL top and size L bottom.  Here's the men's size chart, for reference:


CON:  While you can wash 'em with the rest of your clothes, they require line drying.  C'mon, really...line drying?  I'm not Amish.  At least they're not dry clean only.

So, to close...what did I think of them?  I liked them.  I actually liked them a lot and would recommend them to others.  As their claims state, they're not itchy; actually very comfortable, and I didn't comment on any odors because I didn't notice any.  I'm not sure if I'd wear them as "everyday" underwear, (I prefer loose boxers) but would not hesitate on the occasions I go out fishing, shoveling snow, or anything else out in the cold.  Don't believe me?  Check out some other folks' reviews HERE and HERE.


DISCLAIMER:
The RedRam undies tested in this product review were provided to me at no cost, but hold a retail value of $57.99 each for both top and bottom.  I currently hold no association with RedRam whatsoever, however they are welcome to send me additional garments made from the wool of marshmallow-fed sheep anytime.  As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll let you know that too. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time in doing so?

December 10, 2011

Kype Fishing Magazine: Volume 3 / Issue 2

Issue Two Highlights: 

Curse of the Perfect Season
Single Handed Spey
Solstice Salmon
Free Your Mind and the Trout Will Follow
Alaska Adventure
Electric Caddis Pupa













December 7, 2011

Wednesday Nibbles - The "Why Not" Edition

Hey, hadn't written one of these in a while...so figured why not today.  It's the holiday season after all.  Yeah, I realize the holidays have nothing to do with the Wednesday Nibbles, but what does that matter?  This is the internet, you're allowed to make stuff up...

???

Stumped for a holiday gift?  Want to add to your t-shirt collection?  No, I didn't say T! shirt...I said t-shirt.  Well, if you are, check out "friend of Troutrageous" The Freshwater Fly, who is selling t-shirts in the name of Project Healing Waters.  Makes a great gift for yourself or a friend while sending some cash to a good cause.  But act quick, you only have until December 9th to get in on this action!

I take a size XL...

HOLYCRAPDIDYOUSEESILVERANDGOLD?!?!?!?!  Based on the reaction in the comments over on Fly Fishilicious and YGF, Ivan's latest short is going over well.  Very well.  I think the Le Mouching clan is digging it too, although I never have any idea what they're saying.  I personally think Owl Jones put it best on the Google+ machine...


If you haven't seen YGF's latest yet, do yourself a favor and click play below.  Especially if you're at work right now...I guarantee that it's much more gratifying than practicing mad VLOOKUP skillz on your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.


Hey...anyone notice yesterday's OBN's Quick Fire interview?  If you missed it, it was with yours truly.  (That means me).  Seriously, of all the days for the OBN to get all ambitious on us and decide to write TWO posts (like who does that?), it was yesterday, so my day in the sun was immediately eclipsed by a "Wild Places" writing prompt.  F#ckers.

Must be karma getting me back for Sunday's "first-impressions" post.  Sorry Fishpond, I suck.  Oh, and Rebecca, I'm only partially kidding about the posting thing.  :P


Anyway, to keep to the theme of "quick fire" I tried to the answers very short and to the point, as if I was playing $25,000 (or perhaps $100,000 with inflation) Pyramid or something.  I did enough blabbering over at EMBT a month or so ago, so wanted to keep this one tight.  If you didn't read it, enjoy.

Now for some blog love...and although I teased it on Facebook about a month back, I don't ever think I gave occasional Troutrageous! guest poster Spurky any love over here.  Yeah, Spurky's spread his wings and is writing his own blog called troutnspoons.


When it comes to fishing for small stream trout with lures, Spurky is my Mr. Miyagi, so check out his blog when you get a chance.  Oh, and Spurky...if you're reading this...cut out the fishing for a bit and rest up man.  No more mini-strokes on the stream, okay?  Deal.

To close, I'm off on another business trip later today.  Last week was Miami, FL & South Beach, which has to be home to the most tattoo parlors and hookah shops within a 10 block radius in the world.

This week, my travels take me to beautiful Phenix City, Alabama....a city so awesome they left out the "o."  Actually, it's my first time going there, so it could very well be gorgeous and in no need of any stinkin' os.  I'll let you know when I get back (or if you're lucky, in real time on Twitter).  Later all....

December 6, 2011

What's Your Favorite Tying Material?

This is a simple question.  Meant to be both serious, and because of my immature sense of humor, a little silly at the same time.

See, the inspiration for this was a post on Tenkara Talk yesterday that referenced Jungle Cock.  Just reading the words Jungle Cock make me laugh.  They actually make me laugh a lot.  But then again, I'm pretty stupid like that.

No.
Yes.

But it also got me thinking about tying materials.  Yes, there's a billion kinds of feathers, animal furs, threads, and beads...too many to properly catalog.  Other materials like Fish Skulls, Clear Cure Goo, and Squrimy Wormie just add to the tyer's menu, giving those with dexterity even more options when it comes to creating unique fly patterns.  

Me?  I think my favorite material to work with is Peacock Herl.  Some good herl makes pretty much every fly look better with a few simple twists.  The fish seem to like it too. 

Peacock Herl body on this Copper John....image courtesy Charlie's FlyBox

Not familiar with peacock herl?  It looks like this...


Not this...



So...on that note...What Are Your Favorite Tying Material(s)?  
Heck, are there any that make you laugh?

Lemme know in the comments below...

December 5, 2011

The Paperwork Payoff

As the Treasurer for my local co-operative trout nursery, I have to fill out a ton of boring paperwork, pay a ton of bills, and try to balance books that for whatever the reason really don't like to be balanced.  

Not being an accountant, nor really having an interest in numbers, it's not the most fun of volunteer jobs I could have, but as "they" in their infinite wisdom always say..."somebody has to do it."

When I stopped by the P.O. Box on Saturday to get the latest round of bills, invoices, and death-by-paper cut, there was one envelope that reminded me why I do this unforgiving job, and why all of the associated nonsense is worth it.


No, thank YOU third grade.  


December 4, 2011

Dude, What Is That?


Dude, what is that?

I dunno, it came in the mail the other day

Well didn't you order it or something then?

Nah, it was free, but I have to blog about it.

More free crap...you know you suck right?

Yeah, but not as good as your Mom does.

Shut up...is it one of those things you take little dogs on airplanes with?

Nah, too small.

Even for a wiener dog?

Yeah...

It's got horses on the tags.

Sure they're not unicorns?

No horns.

Then it's not a tenkara bag.

Pizza delivery bag?

I don't think so.


Who died and made you Newt Gingrich?

Gotta be laptop bag then?

Doubt it.  The opening spreads too wide.

Just like your Mom.

Touché.

Think I could keep my smokes in there?

Nah, this isn't Colorado man.

But I have glaucoma...

That's what you all say...


Okay, stupid banter aside, it's actually a Fishpond Buckskin Boot Bag that showed up at the house while I was in Miami last week, courtesy of the folks at Fishpond.  I'm supposed to give it a test drive during my winter fishing to see how it handles my wading boots, otherwise known as the Grey Ghosts.

First impressions, it's sturdy, well finished, and hopefully deep enough to hold my wide ass boots.  Because it's clearly too small to hold dogs for air travel.  But not stuffed dogs.  And by stuffed, I mean toys, not taxidermy.  They fit just fine.