Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yesterday's end.


This month's Things We Caught That Weren't Fish feature

Over here in the AZ we may not have The Underwear, but we do have our own something-something:

I'm not a hosieologist, but I believe Aaron's young Parker Canyon Lake Sock is of the anklea genus.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day.

From Kyle, Aaron, and myself; have a happy father's day. Buy him a bottle of scotch or something, he's earned it.

My father and the legend himself, Jonathan Landeen.


You think you got it bad? Think again.

Yea, your life blows: Your pile of a car has a slow leak in the driver-side front tire, which you have to annoyingly fill like, every other day. How lame.

It's super hot outside, and you really want a drink, but the ice maker in your fridge is broken, and you have to drive all the way across the street to get ice for your whiskey, but first you have to put on pants, and then fill your god damn tire before you can even leave the house. I know, life blows. But that ain't shit.

Amanda, (pictured left) a single mother or twins, and good friend of Michael Gracie had half of her face torn off in a freak accident when she fainted in her kitchen.

Now, on top of trying to support her children, she has huge medical bills. Yea, that probably dwarfs what you got going on, dontcha think? If it doesn't, I am very, very sorry.

Now look, I know times are tough for everyone, especially a freelance photographer like myself. But you know what I did today? I ate some ramen noodles instead of Burger King, and donated the saved $5. You may say, "well shit dude, break out the band she's saved!" But it's something, right?

Donations can be made here through PayPal. It's super easy. If you don't have PayPal, get someone to help lift off the rock that you have been hiding under. Seriously.

Or if you would like to have a chance to get some awesomeness for your help, go bid on a one-of-a-kind lanyard over at Gracie's site. It's a win-win no-brainer! All donations and the money from the winning lanyard bidder go directly to help Amanda.

-Alex who would just like you to help him help you help a person in need.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Diagnosis: Fat

My truck is the only vehicle in the parking lot. I step out, shut the door and take a deep breath. It is a cloudy afternoon, but the blacktop leaks heat into the souls of my worn-out sneakers as I walk away from the furd and towards the medically-nondescript tan building.

The door is locked, and I put my face close to the glass, hands cupped around my eyes to cut the glare. Suddenly a very pregnant but very cute blond pops into view and I take a step back as she unlocks the bolt.

"Are you Alex?" I nod and she pushes the door the rest of the way open and I step inside. The scene is your basic medical waiting space: Pinkish-but-not-quite wall paper surrounds comfortable-but-not-quite wood and fabric furniture sprinkled with various cross-gender reading material, and a fish tank on the back wall.

I take a seat in the corner and pretend to be interested a National Geographic as I spy on the receptionist; I would guess 8 months, but she is very thin which makes it hard to tell. While I was staring and thinking about how I have been told some women have increased sex drive late in their pregnancy, she looks up from behind the counter, our eyes meet. Abort! Abort! I flip a page in the magazine and glance back up and she half smiles and tells me the doctor is back and will be with me shortly. Busted.

I am not here for any reason in particular, just a check up. But there is always that little nagging vioce deep in the back of your mind telling you that they are going to find something and your day will be totally ruined. Luckily, I am not old enough to get the lubed-finger of doom just yet.

I toss the magazine aside, and as I stare at the fish tank wondering what material would make a good fish-flake-food fly when the Doc calls me into the back.

He is a small man, and standing next to each other I can't help but think we would looks like the cover of the movie Twins, if Arnold had a gut and Danny Devito lost 60 pounds that is.

We exchange pleasantries and hows-your-mothers as we walk back into the exam room. Fifteen minutes and the standard what-have-you later the Doc is ready to lay it on me. He tosses some unintelligible paperwork on the table, adjusts his spectacles and takes a seat on the ever present rolley stool.

'Well, your blood pressure is great, and you seem to be pretty healthy but...." (here it comes) "I would like to see you lose some weight." Then he goes on to explain that walking is not really exorcise and 40oz curls don't count either, and I should cut down on the fast-food. Bummer. I told him if walking isn't doing me any good I guess I will just have to start driving to the convenience store across the street when I run out of beer. He didn't laugh.

He tells me that a monthly membership to a gym is not that much money, and explains that he loves to get up at the crack of dawn and work out and shower at the gym, and how great it is and how much money he saves on his water bill from showering there.

I tell him I think he has a fetish for showering around sweaty dudes, and he threatens me with a prostate exam. I told him to forget it, and that area is off-limits, especially to guys who like hanging around YMCA locker rooms. Plus, he may be in good shape but I got at least a benjamin on the Doc and I think I could take him.

As he walked me to the door, I look for the pregnant-hotness but she is nowhere to be found. I promise the Doc to look into some exorcise options, and head out the door toward the furd, hearing the door click locked behind me.

I close the door, turn the key and start to head home. After a few blocks I see a Sonic Drive-In, and wonderful images of onion rings and tater tots start to dance around my head. My mouth salivates, and my hand instinctively starts goes for the turn signal. But something stops me, and my hand falls back to the arm rest.

The Doc's words ring in my head, I fight to keep my foot off the break pedal. I begin to shake uncontrollably as the entrance to fried deliciousness approaches quickly. I let out a primal scream and throw the wheel to the left away from the onion rings and tots, and spin-out across 3 lanes of traffic sending women and children and pets fleeing for their lives.

The world spins as I careen over a curb and through some shrubbery as fast food wrappers and empty water bottles fly like crazed bats around my head. The vehicle comes to a screeching halt, and I lift my head and slowly look around.

I am in a parking lot, no not the lot itself, but a strange curved little roadway to one side of the it. I hear a strange voice outside the car asking me something. Asking what they can get for me today? What the hell is going on? I roll down the window and staring right back at me is a glowing menu of the Jack in the Box variety. The woman repeats the question, as I dumbly stare at the little speaker.

Nothing, I want nothing you evil temptress! But my mouth betrays me! "Uh.... I will take a number 4, I guess."

"And to drink?"

Nothing to drink either you dummy! My brain screams at my rumbling stomach. "Uh, a Sprite.... large"


-Alex who swears he doesn't have a "thing" for pregnant chicks, unless they have cheeseburgers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Plates, Wind, and Pat Spain's Memorial Wildlife Park and Beer Garden

Every once in a while your standard day-trip to the lake turns into something completely different.

Sometimes things go bad. Your boat sinks, you forgot to remember the beer, you end up in the woods with large hairy rednecks who think your mouth is "purdy". Bad times.

But occasionally and with a bit of luck, the gods smile upon a lowly fisherman and guide him to the high life.

The day started off like many others like it, windy as hell. The bass fishing was slow, and every cast and gust were followed by a string of obscenities. Aaron forgot his fins, and ended up catching some plates from the shore, in between laughing and filming my sorry wet ass out on the water. A few hours later, tired from kicking but mostly from swearing at the mother that is nature, Aaron and I quit out early to hunt for better conditions.

As I was making our way back to the dock side of the lake, I came to a fork in the road. I have heard that when this happens it is a good idea to take the fork, as it might come in handy later, but in this case after a short mental deliberation I decided to leave the fork and make a left, taking us away from the water and the wind that abused it.

Parker Canyon is a small lake surrounded by rolling hills and mostly shrubbery. There are a handful of cabins/houses that sprinkle the countryside to the east of the water. Most of the cabins are vacation getaways and stay locked up for a good portion of the year, but there are a few year-rounders like the famous Pat Spain. And Pat has a secret.

After a short dirt road jaunt and park, we were greeted by a smiling face and lead into the garage for a beer.

Movement caught my eye out the small garage window overlooking the side of the house. Aaron points his beer and says, "Hey Pat, there is a turkey in your yard!" Pat took a swig of Budweiser, and wiped his chin. "Yep."

We moved to the yard where, sure as shit, a young thanksgiving dinner on legs greeted us with little interest, obviously accustomed to the company of humans. And it even did tricks! (see video below)

As we made our way to the small covered table Pat waved toward the near hillside, "And then there's them." As Aaron and I followed his hand out into the trees we saw a handful of javelina nosing through the dirt.

Unbelievable. I have spent many, many hours in the past roaming the countryside with various types of weaponry in hand looking for these specific brands of wildlife, often returning with nothing more than a handful of dirt in my pocket and a bad case of monkey butt, and here they are side by side in the middle of a Monday afternoon hanging out in Pat Spain's Memorial Wildlife Park and Beer Garden. Amazing.

Pat told us there are also deer, and the occasional mountain lion and black bear that grace the Garden with their presence, and told a great story about a black bear that managed to break into the crawl space of his house, and chew through the wires that power the vent fan over his stove, leaving a large pile of smoking hair before making its hasty retreat. Pat doesn't fly fish, so I didn't ask if he has any bear fur caddis flys available to trade.

5 beers and a couple glasses of wine later, we moved inside for and a snack of ribs, brauts, cantaloupe, and yogurt covered strawberries (hey fat guys need their vitamins too) accompanied by show tunes on the radio. There is just something awesome about drinking Merlot and chowing glorified hot-dogs while Frankenstein's half-retard monster sings "puttin on the ritz" in the background. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

As the evening closed in around us, with full bellies and minds we wished Pat and his lovely wife a good night and made for the open road, more fulfilled than a couple bass on the fly could ever hope to achieve. And just think, if it wasn't so damn windy we would have never had the pleasure. Makes you think.

The Great Pat Himself.

"They never make ground-bird bird feeders."

Wind is a jerk.

-Alex who doesn't sail or fly kites.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

sometimes when you are drunk you need.....

a huge mutha fuggin' sandwich!
Just sayin'.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Butt Huts, bacon, blow-up dolls, and booze: Wrinkleneck XX

For Aaron and myself, May 13 2009 5:55am was the beginning of a great adventure. As the sun pushed its way into the cool air from behind the purple scribble of the Rincon Mountains I fought my way into the shower to clean myself one last time, letting the soap and steam dismantle my hangover. Out in the garage in the fumes and darkness awaited our steel chariot, its suspension already complaining about the ridiculous amount of gear stuffed within, and dreading the moment that we strapped our asses into its sun cracked seats and kicked that pig to the high pines.

To the rest of you, it was just Wednesday: The middle of a week, in the middle of another month of your life.
We turn the key, put in some tunes and fast forward:

Drive, left turn, right turn, drive, biscuits and gravy, drive, onward, upward, dirt road: GO GO GO!!! All systems functional, drive, turn, drive, flat tire…. Fuck. Alright, gimme that wrench, no that wrench…. Jack, twist, turn, pump, tighten in cross pattern. Back up, back out, forward, full speed ahead to Reservation Lake, sitting in thin air at 9000 feet in the top of the White Mountains of Arizona.

The dirt road angrily spits tan plumes as we bumped into camp to meet the other early arrivals. Nutty like a Payday bar these people, already set up directing traffic, beers in hand. We get the camper backed in and cranked up, the poker tent erected, and the polls assembled. We were ready, and in the failing light found just enough time to walk down to the lake and catch a fish. A few hours later in the black-tar mountain night, with a beer in hand and a poker game on the table, we put Wednesday to bed with a buzz.

Thursday, May 14: The first day of the Wrinkleneck. From dusk till dawn, trucks and trailers slow-roll between the pines looking for a flat spot to call home. Committee members walk around in a daze resigned to the fact that if it isn’t ready now, it’s too late. The cooks in the chow tent are getting organized for dinner and anyone person fortunate enough to have passed under the radar is fishing.

I have been told that the early bird gets the worm. I don’t know much about birds, but I can tell you that fishermen who get up at the buttcrack of dawn have a better chance catching large browns. Before I had even scratched my balls and farted myself awake someone had pulled a “twenty something inch” brown out of the cove right near where we were camped. Inspired and confident with a handful of buggers and a pocket full of beer, Aaron and I push out to get ours.

But throughout the morning, reports trickle in and contrary to earlier events the word is “small”. Little rainbows, eager for bug of the black and red variety, but nothing of size. Our morning outing showed the same. We returned to shore for a simple lunch of shrimp scampi over pasta and mixed greens and hit the water again full of good food and renewed confidence.

But water is impartial to the feelings of man, and big fish don’t care if you think you are a badass. To them, you are just another bug in the water to refuse.

Dinner of fried chicken, beans, macaroni and cheese with a whisky chaser took the edge off and prepared the men once again for the card table. There is something beautiful about poker by lantern light.

Friday, May 15: Big Fish Friday
. Any White Mountain lake is game, and weigh-in closes at 5:30. Simple enough. One new rule that was added this year is that the fish must be of salmonoid family of fishes, and it was a hot debate at the committee meetings, but founding father Alex Duncan gave it his blessing, so it remained. I personally feel it didn’t make any difference due to the fact that in the 20 years of the event I don’t believe anyone has ever weighted anything but a trout.

But on the other side of it, the fish were small this year, and that sucker fish I pulled out of the Black river 2 weeks prior would have totally won the Fly Fishing division this year. In fact, everyone was so keyed in on bringing in only big fish, practically no one weighed in anything. I was told later that a fat 13-incher may have clenched the Rookie division for Aaron, more than a few that size were thrown back. Oh well, such is life.
The big fish, a 2.5lb rainbow, was pulled up by hardcore bait-fishing aficionado Steve Weinstein out of Sunrise Lake. No surprises there, on the lake or the man.

Other notable Friday events:

My father and I were beaten out of the horseshoe tournament in the first round by the team that ended up winning the whole thing. Now, I kick ass at a lot of things; throw me on a pool table, or bowling lane and I could have probably showed these fools a thing or two but I have never been that great at the shoes…. Sure, I only throw one or two games a year, but I expect better from myself. There is no excuse for that level of suckery.

Aaron drew a big cock and balls on the back of a fellow Wrinklenecker’s dusty vehicle. (more on that later)
Duncan just happened to pick the magic cigar out of the box and won “Meme- The Midget Love Doll”

Aaron’s manliness was questioned and his man card was at stake when his fart’s potent-ness was questioned by an upwind competitor, which is a serious accusation. I think Aaron almost shit himself twice trying to prove the guy wrong.

Jim Murphy ended up on the ground in a choke hold when he decided it was a good idea to tackle Mike Leed. Roger Haines who was also involved in the assault, denies all involvement in the plot, claiming he was only trying to help, which is a total crock. After the event, Leed was quoted saying “I guess he just wanted to roll around in the dirt a little.” The following day, when questioned about the incident Murphy had no comment.

Saturday, May 16: The Team Event. This is the big day, where the hackers step away from those who can’t and the men are separated from the boys.

At 0630 the breakfast bell chimes and the stench of hangover and ball sweat slowly makes its way to the Bloody Mary bar to refuel.

Some are already on the lake, others still lay in their beds fighting against the rising sun and the nausea that accompanies it.
I stagger through the woods, and down the road. The sun is bright, oh so bright but the smell of frying bacon calls to me, keeps me moving forward; right, left, right, left, one foot in front of the other.

Aaron is already seated under the tent, and with a small-child-sized pile of breakfast I make my way over to discuss the days strategy. A half hour later with a flask of Makers, we’re on the water.

Our team consists of Aaron, my father and myself. Aaron and I chose the boat to cover more water, while my father trolled deep in the orange “pontoon”, and within half hour, he radioed with some good news: A 16 inch brown, the largest fish in competition from Reservation Lake thus far. We troll over and add it to the live well. A good start.

The remainder of the day Aaron and I pulled in 12-13 inch rainbows and kept a big-fish rotation in the well. By lunch, my father’s fish was rumored the largest so far and we seemed to be sitting pretty, but Aaron and I heard tales of large stringers, so we ate a quick chicken fried steak lunch and beat feet back to the boat.

The afternoon held no noteworthy fish on the line, and at 5:20 we weighted in, carrying the fish to the scale in a rubbermade full of lake water (Aarons idea) for maximum release-alive-ability. One fellow relaxing near the scale looked up and said, “this ain’t the bassmasters, dude.” Well, maybe it should be. After getting our weight, 40.5oz, we successfully released the fish.

Roger, who was manning the scales did a good job of keeping us in the dark, and we went to dinner with mixed feelings. Did we do enough? Fish hard enough?

Yes, we did. Overall winners for the second year. A victory for fat guys everywhere!
The auction went great, and raised a record amount for the Send a Kid to Camp foundation, Aaron won a pair of gloves and a chest pouch, and my father won a Garmin GPS unit, which I quickly stole from him.

The party was hardy, and the men were in high spirits as the auction ended and the after party began. The lantern was lit, and the poker action was once again hot.
Remember the dick and balls Aaron drew on that truck? Well, apparently once drunken people see some junk drawn on a car, they feel they have to follow suit. By now, there are 10-12 vehicles in the vicinity with dicks on them. Nobody seems to care. And I know that in the hungover, in-a-hurry-to-leave state these guys will be in tomorrow morning, there will be a few overlooked dicks flying down the highway.

But as Mike Leed said, “after a weekend like this when you’re packing up, you don’t care about a big veiny cock on your windshield.”

The Butt Hut

Duncan with his "little" prize

Breakfast, bitchin'

A fantastic example of a "walkin piss"

-Alex who think that about sums it up.

-Authors note: This is only a small portion of events that transpired at Neck XX, and if you feel you have been neglected, get over it. Remember, "no whining."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Uh, WTF? Quick, get Will Smith on the line!

Apparently there is some fucked up stuff in the water in mexico.

I don't know about you, but if I pulled this thing out of the deep, I would throw it back as fast as possible and start scanning the skies to make sure the mother ship wasn't about to vaporize my boat.

Ratfish? Bullshitfish! Who knows what they dump in the water down there in Mexico. We have got to step it up here in the good ol' US of A, because Blinky don't have shit on this dude.

And don't you believe that for one second that this creature is dead. It's just waiting, and I feel sorry for the poor scientist that starts to cut it open just to have some spiked tentacles shoot out into his brain and turn him into a human puppet, bending him to its will, going on a fish taco fueled killing spree.

Drug cartel wars, kidnappings, Montezuma's revenge, watery mutant-seal-shark-chicken-alien critters plotting the downfall of man. Mexico kicks ass.

-Alex who thanks MG for waking me up with this.