Posts filed under ‘Clint L’

All Things Olive Festival

A couple of years ago, my friend Meredith took me to a wine tasting at Villa Appalachia off the Blue Ridge Parkway. We enjoyed our wine sampling and then moved upstairs for lunch. While we waited for our food, we snacked on bread and some nearby olive oil. It was the BEST olive oil I’ve ever had in my life. It was easily the highlight of my day– Better than all the wines combined! It turns the olive oil was freshly pressed, using olives from the owners’ property in Italy.

So earlier this year when I saw an advertisement for the “All Things Olive Festival” at the same winery, featuring olives and olive oils from various regions, I was committed from the start. In fact, I made sure to work both Trail Days and All Things Olive into one weekend.

So the Sunday after Trail Days, Sean, Lud and I headed down the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. We enjoyed a series of tastings – olive oils, olives, balsamic vinegars (including one that was 25 years old) and wines. We got to enjoy the beautiful scenery and finally, we had a nice lunch provided by the folks at Zeppoli’s. I thought it was a good day and well worth the $15 dollar fee.

Beautiful Villa Appalachia in Floyd County

Olive oils waiting for me to taste

Sean tastes an olive

Lud gets a sample of balsamic vinegar

Wine tasting!!!

The aftermath – oil stained sheet and plate full of pits.

Clematis at the winery

Beautiful Rock Castle Gorge from the Blue Ridge Parkway

I thoroughly enjoyed this event and would highly recommend it to almost everyone. You probably should like olives before signing up to go. For example, based on one of his Flickr comments, I venture to say that Clint is not the optimal attendee:

I actually think they are just about the worst taste in existence (especially the green ones) — out of edible food. Obviously I’m not including feces, rotten milk, and non-edible/non-food. But I have drank egg nog so rotten that it had chewy chunks in it (And then proceeded to finish Carolyn’s) – infinitely more edible than olives. The thought of martinis with olives sickens me.

And the only way to make an olive taste even worse? Put a pimento in it! They managed to one-up themselves!

If, on the other hand, you do not think chewy, chunky, rotten egg nog tastes “infinitely” better than olives… you might want to give the festival a try in the coming years. ūüôā

More pictures of the All Things Olive Festival are available on my Flickr site.

May 27, 2008 at 7:15 pm 9 comments

The Wild Trees

BAH! Once again, my brother-in-law, Clint, managed to get me a super awesome Christmas gift which ended up in the upper percentile of my gifts received. What did I get him? Oh, just something off his ThinkGeek Wishlist that apparently someone else got him too!

Clint’s Wishlist. He wants 1 Plasma Mug w/Electronic Coaster, but has received 2.

A big F.U. to you, Clint, for getting me a gift that rocked while my gift lacked originality on all fronts.

So what was this gift that has irked me so? It is the book “The Wild Trees” by Richard Preston. The book is about the hikers, botanists, lichenologists, inventors and climbers who all contributed to discovering the tallest trees in the world; climbing them; and studying the surprising plants, fungi and animals that made their home nearly 400 feet above the ground. Man actually walked on the moon decades before he knew what diversity lived up at the top of the giant redwoods. In the redwood canopies, the scientists discovered over a hundred species of lichen, moss, ferns, salamanders, crustaceans, huckleberry bushes and then my favorite– earthworms living in the soil deposited on the giant branches.

As you can tell probably tell from my intro, I loved the book. I am a notoriously slow reader. It took me about a year and a half to complete Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day: The Climatic Battle of WWII (and a lot of Omaha Beach related nightmares). This book took me two days. It was quite fascinating and I recommend it with two disclaimers:

1) It did take me a while to adjust to the novel-like narrative. I believe I cringed when I got to this section of the second paragraph:

“His name was Marwood Harris, and he was a senior at Reed College, in Portland, majoring in English and history. He walked off to the side of the parking lot and unzipped his fly. There was a splashing sound.”

But, I adjusted and in the end, I rather enjoyed the approach the author took. It was neat way to get to know and understand the key players better.

2) There are no photographs. That was almost as frustrating as Clint‘s impeccable Christmas gift giving skills. The book kept describing all these intriguing sites such as giant fire caves inside the tree or deadly “widow-makers” (broken branches) dangling from the tops. It made me want to SEE said items. But all they provided was some lame-o drawings and sketches. Boo!

But, I did find that the author has some of his climbing pictures on his website. I couldn’t find no stinking fire cave, but there are some cool shots in the mix. And I was able to ascertain that the woman who had intercourse at the top of a giant redwood was indeed pretty good looking. ūüôā

Screw the mile high club. These two people had sex in a tree *without* safety lines on.

January 4, 2008 at 2:08 am 23 comments


Whoopsie.  Just a quick note to indicate that this blog passed 150,000 views earlier this week (Tuesday I think). 

Without Mother’s Day to help pad my stats, this last 50,000 section took about 3 1/2 months.¬†¬†So I’m¬†behind Clint’s pace.¬† Maybe next time! ūüôā

November 9, 2007 at 8:20 am 13 comments

Ingrown Toenails and Lost and Found

Circa fifth grade, our family found two young black labs, later to be named Midnight and Liquorice.¬† Before we claimed ownership, my mother set a good example and placed a “FOUND¬†– TWO BLACK LABS”¬†ad in the local paper.¬† When we took a look at¬†the printed¬†classifieds section, we discovered an ad adjacent to it read, “LOST – TWO BLACK LABS”.¬† It turned out to be a completely different pair of black labs.¬† But, the whole time we ran the ad, we got tons of calls.¬† Not from people who lost black labs, but just people who noticed the similiarity between the entries.

Yesterday, I got to be one of those good doers who reports similiar postings, though through a different medium.¬† After a day of working on-site at Roanoke, I got to pull up my Google Reader and see what was happening among my friends.¬† First up was An American Expat in Deutschland, where Christina asked a question about ingrown toenails.¬† There was nothing new to look at in ClintJCL Photos, but there was some new stuff on ClintJCL’s blog.¬† One of Clint’s posts was¬† HOWTO: Stop Ingrown Toenails.

Now Clint’s post isn’t going to help Christina’s current predictment (Clint selfishly failed to give advice on whether one should see a Fusspfleger, Chirurg, or Hautarzt), so ultimately my observation is just as effective as the black lab sightings in 1985.¬†

But it was still a neat coincidence.

September 7, 2007 at 9:31 am 7 comments

Bethany Beach – Kayaking, Beetles, Fighting Couples

Whew.  Had a great time at Bethany Beach as well.  Here are some of the adventures from just our first two days there! 

My family has a strong background in engineering.  We have numerous civil engineers in our ranks.  We had a well-established electrical engineer.  And thanks to my generation and our spouses, a solid force of software engineers are represented.  But it was not an engineer who displayed the most ingenuity this week.  It was an auto mechanic. 

One of my favorite beach activities is kayaking in Assawoman Bay (where my glasses met their demise last year).¬† On Monday, we got our crew all ready to go.¬† Everyone got lathered up in sunscreen, had their swimsuits and hats on and we were all ready to go…. when we discovered my father’s vehicle was blocking us in the driveway.¬† There was only one set of keys which were with my father.¬† And of course, my father was no where to be found.¬† And of course, he would not answer his cell phone.¬† We appeared stuck.¬†

Then it was Uncle Timmy to the rescue.¬† Using the skills of his trade, he got underneath my Dad’s car and (forgive me if I mangle this) disconnected the linkage to the transmission.¬†

Timmy tinkering with the transmission link

He then pushed the car out of the driveway.

Timmy backs car out while Frank watches

His wife backed her car out to freedom so the kayakers would have transportation.

Yay the minivan is free!

Then Uncle Timmy and his son, Frank, pushed Dad’s car back into the driveway.

Timmy pushing the car back in the driveway

Frank does not appear to be struggling with this task

And just to be nice, Timmy reconnected the transmission linkage.

This year we had the biggest group of kayakers ever!  Unfortunately, we had our biggest gusts of wind as well.  It was extremely windy.  

Timmy demonstrates the wind.  That life jacket was dangling limply until the wind caught it 

We started out going against the wind.¬† That was a little demoralizing.¬† You would be paddling and paddling and paddling and you’d look to shore and see how little progress you made.¬† And then if you decided to take a quick sip of water, suddenly you were 20 feet behind where you had just struggled to get to.¬† My cousin Samantha had the greatest success paddling against the wind– she got the furthest.¬† I was the next furthest person (though there were many boat lengths between Sam and I).¬† When Sam noticed our relatives had given up and were standing on shore, we turned around.¬† At that point, I felt like Superman.¬† With barely any rowing, I was zipping through the bay.¬† Watch out, world!

It has become a kayaking tradition that Frank and Jordan have their Assawoman Bay wrestling match.¬† To do that, they actually rowed with the wind to get out of sight.¬† This brought much dismay to the Coastal Kayak employees, who determined Frank and Jordan needed to be rescued.¬† An employee went after them and I’m told he got really pissed by the spectacle he saw.¬† Like last year, Frank and Jordan ended up walking their kayaks back to shore.

Frank walks his kayak…and the children…back to shore.

Jordan walks his kayak back

Clint’s Hidden Talent
Monday night, I realized that my brother-in-law has great vision in regards to what is going to be entertaining.  Samantha, Carolyn, Clint and I were mini-golfing.  There was a lot of congestion between holes.  At one point, we were waiting for our chance to putt when we noticed an overturned beetle on a nearby window sill.  Samantha and I both instinctively reached for it to turn it over.

“Hold on….” Clint said, “This could be entertaining.”

Instead of intervening, we watched the beetle struggle to right himself.  We oohed at his close calls and cheered when he got himself back on his feet.  It was a good 45 seconds of entertainment!

A picture of a different beetle to remind us of the mini-golf beetle

Later that night, the same crew was hanging out on the boardwalk.¬† We were sitting on a bench watching the ocean when Clint’s ears picked up on another entertainment opportunity.

“There is a couple fighting over there,” he pointed, “and some police over there.¬† This could get interesting.”

Police (in yellow on left) monitor the fighting couple (far right).  See Flickr for Notes.

At that point, we all turned our backs to the ocean to watch the fighting couple.¬† And sure enough the police slowly moved in to assess the situation.¬† Samantha ran up on the boardwalk to pretend to pose for a picture and I took a picture of the couple.¬† It was a good thing Sam was there as a decoy.¬† As soon as the flash went off, the couple turned my way.¬† When they saw Sam, they resumed fighting.¬† That’s a good thing.¬† Neither appeared to be in the mood to be especially amused by me!

Thanks to Sam’s decoy work– a picture of the fighting couple

The fighting couple soon stormed off, but then later they reappeared and the fighting continued.¬† At one point, the man was on one side of a bench and the woman was on another and they yelled at each other….even though there were strangers actually sitting on the bench with front row seats to the whole thing.¬† They stormed off again and later they came back again!¬† Clint was right.¬† The fighting couple proved to be quite entertaining.

Dave Devito.  Look in the backgroundРthe fighting couple is at it again on the benches.  See Flickr for Notes.

August 14, 2007 at 9:02 pm 5 comments

Assateague Pictures

Sorry for the quick postРmy cousin and I are about to run out to the board walk.  But, I did want to share some Assateague Photos!  I got a chunk of them uploaded to my Flickr site.  Some of my favorites are below.

I will say that this Assateague trip was the best ever.¬† I thought last year would have been hard to top with all the photoplankton, the shooting stars and the beautiful full moon.¬† This year had a glow-in-the-dark sand crab, but really want made the difference was the company.¬† My brother, on a 5 week vacation from his job in Hawaii, joined up.¬† I, of course, got to see my sister and Clint.¬† I got to have extended conversations with Ryan Somma.¬† I got to know Nicole Zumbrook much better and I got to meet Kipp’s girlfriend, Casey.¬† Spending time with Shannon, Christian, Dan and¬†Erin¬†is always enjoyable.¬† Watching Wayne interact between Shehab and Beth never failed to be amusing.¬† Really every step of the way was a wonderful, wonderful¬†time.¬†

But now, it appears my cousin is not having a “wonderful, wonderful time” waiting on me, so I should go.

My brother!!!!

My sister!!!


Seagull on a fence post

Butterfly on the Beach

Brightly colored finches

August 7, 2007 at 4:54 pm 5 comments

Hair Mashup 2.0

Last year at Assateague, I brought you the hair color flip flop between my sister and I.¬† This year from Bethany Beach, I present Me, Carolyn and Clint with each other’s hair.

Me with Carolyn’s Hair

Carolyn with Vicky’s Hair

Clint with Vicky’s Hair

Clint with Carolyn’s Hair

August 6, 2007 at 11:10 am 3 comments

BLOG: 50,000 Views Reached

Just a¬†quick note to document when¬†this blog passed 50,000 views (I’m blatently copying Clint’s post from January).

My very first post was March 3, 2006, so it took almost fourteen months to hit this mark.  In January, I was at 20,000, so the last 30,000 views occurred in 2007. 

Sadly, it seems I’ve hit my 50,000 mark under morbid circumstances.¬† The day after Kurt Vonnegut’s death was reported by news agencies, I had my highest day¬†courtesy of people searching for funeral information.¬† Less than a week later, that new record high was dwarfed¬†when¬†worse news,¬†news that hit closer to home, broke.

Clint was able to get his second 50,000 views in just four months.¬† Seeing what promotes¬†my blog’s¬†highest days, I’m not sure I want to follow in his footsteps!¬†

April 29, 2007 at 5:57 pm 7 comments

Weenos and Boola-Boola

When my siblings and I were young, one thing that would always bring us laughter was hearing a “dirty” word.¬† I put dirty in quotes because what we considered¬†obscene was much more mudane than what the network censors are on the prowl for.

For example, one of the words we found so hilarious was “weeno”.¬† That was what we called our genitalia back in the day.¬† I’m not sure of the full etymology of the term, but suspect it has something to do with where “wee-wee” comes from.

There used to be a commercial for Matchbox cars that aired on Saturday mornings.  At the end of the commercial, a mother would remind her children of chores to be done. 

In unison, the children would reply, “We Know!” and in unison, Carolyn, Jay and I would crack up.¬†

My mother has a story which features us laughing at another word.  One day we were in church and the Old Testament reading was about Adam and Eve:

So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loinclothes for themselves.

As soon as the liturgist said the word “naked” we were done for.¬† All three of us kids starting laughing uncontrollably… and loudly.¬† I’m sure the echos of the church helped¬†amplify our amusement to the congregation.¬† My mother said at first she was horrified and terribly embarassed.¬†

But then she shrugged and realized, “Well, at least it shows they’re listening.”

And¬†here’s¬†how I connect this¬†topic to the modern day!¬† In a¬†post last week I included a number of quotes on Malcolm X’s prison experiences.¬†¬†Amongst those quotes, Clint found a word that may be as amusing to him as “weeno” and “naked” were to Carolyn, Jay and¬†I. ¬†Clint’s comment:

boola-boola?! HAHAHEHEHHEHE…

That is all. )

My reaction was very much like my mother’s conclusion in church– “Wow, that means he read the Malcolm X quotes!!!”

I got a nice little confirmation that the words were received.  Who knew that laughing at dirty, silly-sounding terms could serve as such functional feedback? 

March 5, 2007 at 11:19 pm 2 comments

Argos I Am Not

When I think about recognizing things or having good memories or even the longevity of loyalty, I often think about Argos (sometimes Argus) from The Odyssey.¬† Argos was Odysseus’ dog who stayed behind while his owner went to Troy.¬† When Odysseus finally returned to his palace after a 20 year abscence and an ardous journey home,¬†Argos was the first (and one of the very few)¬†to recognize him.¬† The dog¬†was over twenty years old and lived much longer than most dogs.¬† He was weak, old and neglected, lying in a manure pile.¬† But old age and Odysseus’ disguise¬†as a beggar did not prevent the dog from knowing his master.¬† When Argos saw Odysseus, he was too weak to stand, but wagged his tail and finally allowed himself to die.

Argos recognizes his master and dies

Well, I haven’t had a twenty year absence and I’m already struggling to recognize my own siblings!¬† At Chuck E. Cheese, I didn’t realize my bearded brother was standing right next to me.¬† I’ve had similiar struggles with my sister and her new blond hair.¬† An example is when I was looking at pictures from Greg Zumbrook‘s wedding.¬† Perusing the thumbnails, I quickly recognized Clint:

“Oh, there’s Clint,” I thought, “…and some chick.”

I clicked on the photo and when the larger version came up, I was surprised to find that “some chick” was actually my sister!

Some chick and Clint

Whoops.  I think it is safe to say I have a ways to go to match the abilities of Argus.

February 20, 2007 at 6:16 pm 5 comments

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