June 16, 2015

Monty Python had it just about right nearly forty years ago.

‘Nuff said.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:11 | Comments (0)

It’s me! Oh, I know what you’re thinking out there: “Geez, TGWS you’ve been saying all along you’re a 26-handicap frantically trying to get yourself down to at least a 25″, but that’s before I realized that I was a Transhandicap. It wasn’t until I read about Rachel Dolezal claiming herself to be an African-American and “transracial” even though she’s as African-American as Paul Creamer.

You see, it was just the other night I awoke with a start and realized I’d been repressed by my own expectations and society (after all, you can’t be trans-anything without having society to blame!) into accepting my 26-handicapness. I mean, who am I, or society, or the Goodboys to identify me as a 26-handicap when all that does is manifest accepted societal definitions by folks of white privilege as to what kind of golfer I am. How dare they try to define me when I’m unique in the universe? How dare they expect me to submit to being some kind of number when I’m a human being, dammit. It’s not fair. It’s not right.

I will not be repressed, and I most certainly will not allow the definitions of others to categorize me as something I don’t identify myself with. If Rachel Dolezal can call herself an African-American and Bruce Jenner can call himself a woman, then why can’t I call myself a scratch golfer? So that’s it – going forward I have no handicap. You’re not gonna stick no number on me. Ya no soy un veinte seis handicap soy un cero !golfista

…I just hope my fellow Goodboys competitors don’t expect me to make bets accordingly.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 14:41 | Comments (0)
June 15, 2015

It was Friday morning at 3 AM when I woke with the solution. I got up out of bed and walked out to the back patio, took a look at the Tiki bar in its unfinished state and had a feeling it was going to work. I think I had dreamed about how I had finished the Tiki bar roof and the dream was really weird and disconnected, like the Tiki bar was in Winthrop, Massachusetts and I was in Orange, Texas with lightning illuminating the night to the north while it all came together. But the crux of the dream was that in it I saw myself cutting the thatch to fit the side frame, and not trying to replicate what the original builders did with thatch material I didn’t have at my disposal. Would I be wasting thatch? Probably. But heading back to bed I felt confident that my plan would work.

Friday afternoon it was back to the Home Depot to rent the same staple gun and compressor that I had two weeks prior.

I then proceeded to pound some temporary nails into each point of the triangle I’d be working with, then made all my measurements as carefully as I could. Because coverage was the most important thing I knew I needed 6″ more on every side so that after hanging the thatch on the nails to make sure it was hanging to the correct length I could staple it to the frame, then cut the excess off to make it match the shape of the frame.

Saturday was a hot day, so all the cutting was done in the garage with my trusty set of pruning shears:

There were basically three pieces needed for each side: the first a curtain that would hang from the lower crossbar, then two triangular, sail-shaped pieces that would hand from each side if the upper frame. Here is what the first piece looked like when hung:

As you can see, it doesn’t look like much, but when the two “sail” pieces are added, then everything cut to the shape of the frame, you get this:

Once the sides were done, it was time to lay the second (and thankfully, final) layer on the roof itself. That actually came together pretty quickly. Again, pounding nails into the top frame made it easy to drape the long (86″) piece over the top, hang it on the nails to position, and staple away. Those nails did such a good job that I decided the hell with it and positioned the nails across the top and kept them while stapling along the sides and down the frame where there was wood. In the end, I have to say it came out looking really good, like a real Tiki bar:

The backyard is pretty much of a mess, but I couldn’t have done the project without all three of the ladders I had at my disposal.

Tomorrow I’ll be cleaning up the area, washing the wood deck and bar surface down, then hanging the new Tiki lights we got specifically for the bar re-launch. And that will be it. It was damned hard work, but I learned a lot from it. There are a couple of things I might have done differently as far as shaping and cutting, but you don’t have to be perfect when it comes to Tiki bar thatch. The important thing will be to see how it stands up through our monsoon season; that’s the only way I’ll know if I did it right or missed something along the way. We’ll see!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:13 | Comment (1)
June 12, 2015

A few links while I get ramped up mentally and physically to grind it out on the Tiki bar roof circuit this weekend. I’m sure pics will be following…

Talk about moronic. We have literally thousands of illegals crossing our border each day and we’re worried about unlicensed lemonade stands. As one of the commenters wrote:

Excuse me General Washington, but you have far too many people in that boat, none of them are wearing a life preserver, and the boat isn’t registered. I’m afraid you’re not going to be crossing the Delaware. By the way, are those guns registered?

Indeed. This country has become an insane asylum.

Another once well-intentioned, seemingly good guy on the side of “the folks” turned into another arrogant, insulated bureaucrat. And to think I once liked Paul Ryan. With each passing day I’m more inclined to think that what this country needs is a good revolution.

So, Tiger Woods, looking back on it all, if you had it to do all over again, would you rather be grinding out on a driving range every day only to shoot over-par scores at your latest PGA Tour event, or red-carpeting it with the likes of Lindsey in Tinseltown? I’m guessing Hunter Mahan knows

Too bad about this story, I’m sure there was a country song there somewhere.

Right, because it’s only fair to make the suburbs as dysfunctional and crime-ridden as our inner cities. 2016 can’t come soon enough.

Methinks this might be an important weekend for Red Sox manager John Farrell. If the Sox continue to struggle he could be toast come Monday.

And here’s the perfect song to head into a summer weekend into. Hope yours is a good one. I pray mine is as well.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:44 | Comment (1)
June 11, 2015

A few items while appreciating the little monsoony-break we got here in the Valley of the Sun; now it’s back to a more typical pattern of triple-digit days.

You read this kind of drivel and wonder what Kool-aid is being drank out in liberal land. I mean, can you at least wipe the drool off your face?

Which reminds me: is there any level of corruption, graft, shakedowns, and greed the Clintons can engage in before Democrats say enough is enough and can’t hold their noses any longer? I mean, is Hillary really the best the Dems have? If that’s truly the case, that’s a pretty sad state of affairs if you ask me. Sure, she may win in 2016 (and maybe that’s all that matters to Dems), but what if she doesn’t? Hillary is poison, and I for one don’t see the voters that enthusiastically scrambled to the polls to elect Barack Obama twice doing the same for her. I’m not alone.

Along those same lines, I would really like to see someone – anyone – in the current Republican field of challengers speak to African-American voters. I know it’s a case of getting the best bang out of your political buck (and, frankly, there’s no small amount of blame to be had on both sides) but after eight years of divisive politics it’s time for the GOP to speak with a message that speaks to the concerns of black voters? Between pushing for more illegal immigration and a $15 minimum wage, Democrats are on the wrong side of issues that will directly impact the ability of African-Americans to find work; it’s up to the GOP to convince voters what they would do to increase opportunities for work and upward mobility in the African-American community.

Heads up to Rob and folks along the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast: Joe Bastardi of weatherbell.com has been calling for possible tropical development in the Gulf by the end of this weekend or early next week. Weatherbell operates off of models based on past years, and he’s concerned about a repeat of 1957 and a Hurricane Audrey scenario. Sure hope he’s wrong.

My oh my are the Red Sox painful to watch these days. I mean, how can a team with Hanley Ramirez, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Pablo Sandoval NOT hit? And it happens night after night. It’s sad to see, even sadder to realize there’s not a whole lot the front office can do about it. You can’t fire the whole team, and it’s the front office that has assembled this dysfunctional group. It could be a very long summer at Fenway.

I’m totally in favor of this. The fact Rep. Rouzer can’t get a majority of Republicans behind him tells you just how much Washington is a cesspool. And that includes Speaker John Boeher and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. These people are a joke.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:40 | Comment (1)
June 10, 2015

This is the starting point. A Tiki bar with no roof. Seems simple enough to put a new one on, right? You just find the material (thatch, staples, twist ties), make sure you have plenty of ladders and plenty of help, then measure out the material and get to it. But therein lies the problem, because it is simply not as easy as it sounds. Having never done anything like this before, and hardly being what you would call a handyman when it comes to “weekend warrior” projects of this type, putting a new roof on the Tiki bar has become quite the challenge.

It wasn’t for the folks who built the original bar: the roof was thatched on a very large work area table and then bolted to the frame after it was delivered onsite. And besides, I’m sure they had been trained in this sort of thing so they could put these roofs on in their sleep. But having to do this work up in the air, and for the first time, well, let’s just say it’s the worst kind of “on the job training”!

I ordered my thatch material (more than enough so I thought, because the stuff isn’t cheap). I’d learned the hard way about how the kind of staples I was going to have to use and was kind of annoyed that I didn’t understand when renting the gun from Home Depot that I had to also rent the compressor also; but hey, shame on the counter clerk for not asking me if I needed a compressor as well. But that’s OK, consider it a lesson learned!

Actually, putting the first layer on was a breeze: I measured out my first 76″ of thatch, threw it up on the south-facing side, and started stapling away with my compressed-air power stapler. It was after getting the first layer up that things started to go a little awry – well, actually, a lot awry. I had purchased these so-called “panels” supposedly designed specifically for the four corners – the idea being, they drape over the corners and then you lay the second main layer on top of the first layer and the panels. But I spent more than an hour trying to staple those suckers into the wood but they wouldn’t stay under any condition. And worse than that, they really looked crappy, as if they didn’t belong. And you know what? They didn’t:

It became rather obvious that these panels were made for another, much larger, style of thatch roof – they didn’t look the same, and they were obviously too big for the humble little roof I was trying to put on. So it was back to cutting my other thatch material to try and create an apron around the corners that would look natural. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I went back to the original measurements I took when pulling off the old roof and discovered they had some different-sized material specifically for the corners that I simply don’t have access to. So this was something that would have to be figured out on the fly.

After wasting valuable time under blistering heat, the twins finally returned from their own Saturday activities and were able to make a valuable contribution. Tracey helped me maneuver some cut-down thatch around the corner sections to make it look like it at least somewhat belonged, and Tammy helped with the “that looks good” or “that looks stupid” commentary.

We spent a good couple of hours ever-so-carefully positioning thatch and seeing how it looked from all angles that we finally decided to call it a day (and a weekend). First and foremost, because we found out I hadn’t ordered enough thatch to make up for the panels that couldn’t be used. Secondly, because I had already lost five pounds working in the heat (even after drinking two half-liters of club soda and two bottles of Simply Lemonade) and we were all just so tired of fighting it. At the end of the day this is what it looked like:

This weekend it will be once more into the breach: a Friday stop at the Home Depot equipment rental counter, and Saturday attacking the roof for what we hope will be the last time. I already checked on the internet to see if there are any Tiki roof professionals in the area specializing in roof repair and didn’t find a one. Maybe a little more searching might turn up someone before I have to do this all over again in another ten years. Who knows? Maybe I’m on the cusp of a new, post-IT career: after all, with 2+ million people in the Valley of the Sun I can’t be the only person with an outdoor Tiki bar that needs its roof replaced.

Of course, there’s always the option of burning the thing down when this roof needs replacing and putting in a barbecue!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:43 | Comments (2)
June 9, 2015

Last summer when I was wheeling out barrels of sand from the sandbox in preparation for laying down the deck that now surrounds the Tiki bar, it was a hot day and I got tired of wheeling sand to the waste area behind the houses at the end of our street and cheated by throwing three or four barrels of sand into my front area normally covered by rocks. I created a nice little hill of sand and then covered that with rocks, and in memory of why I was having to do all this manual labor – the cat that was fouling my sandbox – named it “Cat Hill”. It ended up looking OK, especially after I added some metal work art and a couple of bunnies to make it something of whimsy.

So imagine my surprise the other day when I happened to see some actual growth coming out of the hill in the form of some kind of cactus I don’t know the name of. We have cactus like that on the opposite side of the property in back of the house, so all I can think of is that some seeds must have found the sandbox area and were carried into what became Cat Hill. I think it’s all pretty amazing, and just another example of how the miracle of God’s creation never ceases to surprise and amaze.

This cactus is a spreading kind, so it’ll be fun to watch it grow and see if it prospers in its new environ. I figure it made it this far, so I’m not betting against the little guy. But you can bet I’m not going to give it a pat on the back – this kind of cactus is covered with little filament spines and you’ll get hundreds of little spines in your skin if you were to touch it.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:35 | Comments (0)
June 7, 2015

Six weeks out from Goodboys Invitational weekend, and I’m off to the range for a bucket, perhaps two, of balls. But before I do, here are some links worth checking out.

Big congrats to American Pharaoh, the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed back in 1978. Thirty-seven years. Wow. It wasn’t what I would exactly call a very exciting race – you’d think they could fill out a Triple Crown race field a little better – but a mile and a half makes for a long track.

Maybe after this ballparks will consider netting for the lower stands. It never made sense to me that you couldn’t have some netting draped from the upper stands all the way around from at least first base to third base. having netting in front of them certainly doesn’t bother the folks who sit behind home plate – those are the best seat in all of baseball – and while it might not be as aesthetically pleasing, it’s better than balls and bats flying unimpeded into the stands.

Check out the documentary about D-Day here. Boy, that was back when men were men. Nowadays you’d have the Obama military demanding bright-colored landing craft for the transgender and gay soldiers to show the Nazis just how much we celebrate diversity.

When you’ve got a golfer saying this:

“Just because I’m in last place doesn’t change how I play golf. Whether it’s the first day or last day doesn’t matter, play all out.”

…you know that’s not a good place to be in. Unfortunately, that’s the new norm for Tiger Woods.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 10:16 | Comments (0)
June 6, 2015

Unbelievable when you think of it. Tiger Woods, currently rated the 172nd player in world (astonishing enough, that) shoots the worst round of his professional career, an 85 and presently sits dead last at The Memorial, a full six strokes behind his next closest competitor, Lucas Glover. That 85 was even worse than the ghastly 82 he put up at the Waste Management Open here in Phoenix back in February. While that round was bad enough, this one was much, much worse. At the WM, it was primarily his short game that had deserted him; today, nothing worked for him: he was fighting misses with his woods and irons both left and right, he had no touch with the putter, and his short game, which has looked much better of late, was in full revert mode, contributing to an incredible quad bogey 8! on 18.

One of the reason he probably had no touch with his putter was the blisters he got on his hands after hitting seven – count ‘em, seven bags of balls on the range after completing his second round on Friday. I may not be a professional golfer, but my struggles with the game have been such over the years that even I know that if you finish a second bag or bucket and you haven’t yet figured out what it is you’re trying to figure out the best thing is to give it up and hit the cocktail lounge for a frosty beer or a easy glass of wine to decompress and pick it up again tomorrow. That to me was just stupid.

But I guess when you’re Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest player who has ever played the game, and you’ve fallen to 172nd in the world and about to drop even lower, you’re just trying to find anything that works. The rounds he played on Thursday and Friday were ordinary, but the danger signs were plentiful: the 73 and 70 he put up were grinds from beginning to end. By Saturday I’m guessing he was both mentally and physically fried, and a PGA Tour event is no place to go looking for your game.

Looking at Tiger’s swing I don’t see that much of a problem. I think my swing coach Alex Black would tell him he’s standing a little too close to the ball on all his clubs, and I’ve always hated that head dropping down in his downswing, but can that cause a professional golfer of his caliber to shoot an 85? Or is it – as I’m guessing – as much mental as it is physical. Between his golf game and Lindsey Vonn leaving him there can’t be a whole lot of inner peace in his life; maybe his golf game is just the end result of that.

I feel for Tiger, but a lot of this is the result of his own ego. Major swing changes are hard to go through (I’m learning just how hard right now) but he didn’t have to dump Hank Haney and go through, what, the third, fourth (or is it fifth) major swing change of his career. When your big miss is happening on both sides you’ve basically got no swing, and Tiger has no business being out there unless he can at least reduce it to one side. I doubt the game is giving him much joy right now, and I can’t help but wonder if inside he’s wondering whether it’s all worth it.

Wouldn’t surprise me if he were to announce another sabbatical from the game.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 13:24 | Comments (0)
June 5, 2015

The fact I wasn’t able to complete the Tiki bar roof last weekend (more w/ pics in a coming post) didn’t concern me much because the monsoon season doesn’t start here in the Valley of the Sun until mid-June, and even at that the meteorologists around here have been calling for a late start to the season due to an emerging El Nino out in the Pacific or something like that. I figured at the minimum I had a month to get it completed – I mean, it would be brutally hot, sure, but it can’t be a whole lot hotter than it was last weekend when it was 109 and I lost five pounds from all the sweating I did.

Silly me to even think of trusting the weather forecasters.

I was sitting out on the patio late last night enjoying a nitecap of club soda and chocolate protein milk (my new regimen whenever I work out at the gym earlier that night) and noticing clouds moving in from the south and thinking there was humidity in the air, but didn’t give it much of a thought – all the forecasters had said the remnants of Tropical Storm Andres weren’t going to amount to much, maybe a sprinkle or two.

Silly me to even think of trusting the weather forecasters.

4 AM I’m awoken by what sounds like the low, distant rumble of thunder. And then more thunder. And then I hear the wind come up and a few drops of rain starting to spatter the window.

“Life is a sonofabitch”, I think to myself.

By 5 AM the heavens open up and continued to off and on for the next several hours, to the point where while the Phoenix airport got just a smattering – almost unheard of this time of year, here in Gilbert we got drenched with nearly a quarter inch – even more unheard of.

…With perhaps more to come with thunder and dust storms expected this afternoon.

…And perhaps more to come next week when the anticipated remains of Hurricane Blanca creates a repeat performance.

The temporary roof on the Tiki bar came through OK, even though an even more temporary section didn’t survive, blowing off at the first indication of trouble. Figures.

Which in turn means that next weekend there will be no Goodboys Invitational prep time for The Great White Shank. This project has gotta get finished, and pronto.

Ah well, such is life in the Valley of the Sun when your monsoon season comes a month early.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 10:58 | Comments (2)

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