Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Hey B_, I hear you fell down a mountain.
I fell off my horse but only halfway down the mountain.
So how bad is it?
Well, they say I broke my spine in two places. My shoulder is broke, my ribs are broke and my sternum. They say I bruised my lungs. My legs hurt and I am getting these damn charley horses.
Tell K_ I'm sorry, but I won't be able to pack for her this year.
I'll tell her. She will be disappointed but she will understand.
I need to wheel you to the other room for another cat scan now.
Okay, but only because you are a lot cuter than that guy.
Now I know you are going be okay.
Thanks for coming by to see me.
No problem. Believe it or not you are looking pretty good right now.
Believe it or not I'm feeling pretty good.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Those Red Hat disks you burned for me, one of them doesn't read. It's like disk two or three. I couldn't get it to install.
Bummer. It must have been either a bad download or a bad burn. Want me to try again?
No, I just went back to DOS. Making cute little text boxes and stuff for my payroll program.
You know the distro that I have been hearing about a lot lately, supposed to be really good for Linux newbies is Ubuntu.
Choosing a version is all about what you want to do with it. But the thing is, and this is where I cant find any information, is how do you put a new program into Linux? Maybe I need to re-read my books again and pay better attention but I haven't figured that out.
I know what you mean. I got stopped pretty much at the same point in my learning curve. I have had some success with RPM. The Red Hat Package Manager.
But a lot of these download sites on the net don't use packages.
Or they just give you source code and tell you to compile it.
Or they give you the source. I don't know what to do with that.
It's like one of those things that's so basic everyone assumes you know how and so no one bothers to teach what to do.
And I can't figure out where to put anything. You have to deal with dependencies and you have these TGZ files and I just don't know where to put anything in that file system. I can't find help on it; it's not intuitive. I can't put new programs on Linux.

Friday, June 23, 2006

This week

This week I made purchases at three different hardware stores.

This week I moved and installed a walk in refrigerator.

This week I had an employee answering the phone for me and I did not worry at all if it was getting done right.

This week I clenched my teeth and showed no fear while an 18 year old employee drove me around in the big van.

This week I connected a washer and dryer.

This week I printed out every one of my Emails and drove them to the office while waiting for the DSL line to be connected.

This week I repaired and painted a chair.

This week I learned how to clean a paintbrush.

This week I wore paint around for several days.

This week the earliest I left to go to work was 7:00 am. The latest I left was 8:20 am.

This week the earliest I got home from work was 7:30 pm and the latest I got home was 10:15 pm.

This week I learned two things about grizzly bears that I did not know before. (They never walk on a ridge line and it is very rare to see two unrelated bears together.)

This week my computer has been turned off more than it has been turned on.

This week I activated a new cell phone.

This week it took three trips to the cell phone store to get it right.

This week I talked with an old friend I have not seen in a long time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What the bear saw:

Hey Clyde, we got hikers again.
Again? Man, I hate those things. What are they doing?
They've seen us. They are just standing there watching us.
Blocking the trail?
Dude, we are never gonna make it to the party on time with these damn hikers holding us up.
I know. I wanna get there too. An old elk buddy of mine is gonna hook me up with this cute silver tip from the north fork.
You think you have a chance with the silver tip? I got two berry bushes says you get shut down by that girl.
Yer' on. I been practicing my moves. Hey baby, come to this side of the mountain often?
So what are the hikers doing?
They are standing there blocking the trail like complete morons.
Dude, c'mon. Let's just go around.

What the hikers saw:

There I was and this is no shit. I thought I was gonna die! It was huge and ferocious. All claws, fur and muscle. When it growled in our faces its breath stank like the devils underpants. I could see the murderous lust for blood in its eye and I couldn't help but to whimper. I mean, it was a manly whimper. Any macho guy would have whimpered to see this amazing 500 pound mass of grizzly bear looming high and blocking the sun. I had to defend my hiking partner, a weak and innocent girl, at all costs. I was very manly when I stepped between her and the bear. What? my pants? Noooooo. No way. That wet spot is bear drool. Yeah, I know it really drooled all down my left leg. But it was just him and me, all I had was my wits. No, no. I did not say I screamed like a girl, I said I defended the girl. Hey, quit that! Do you want to hear the story or not?

What the marmot saw:

It was almost time for my early afternoon nap and the sun had just come out for the first time all day. I thought a little snooze in the sunshine would be quite delightful, and afterwards a glacier lily salad.

You know that wonderful sunning rock of mine? The one with the view of the waterfall. Charming spot and the sun made that waterfall just extra sparkly. I like to watch everyone coming and going on the trail from there.

So anyway, there were these hikers gawking at the waterfall, like they do, and when they started off down the trail again I could see they were walking straight toward bears. I whistled. What else could I do? And get this, the one with the funny hat looked up and said "You know, when you hear the marmots whistle sometimes you can spot an eagle or predator around."

Well I tried whistling at them again and, I swear, they actually thought I was whistling about them. Like I would ever whistle about hikers. They are noisy, smelly and bad neighbors, but are fairly harmless. I don't know why I bother trying to warn them in the first place.

Well, those poor souls got lucky and saw the bears before they stumbled over them. It's all for the best really. Bears and hikers don't get along so well and I could do without the commotion.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Net Neutrality

In response to a quick note.

Dear Mr. Jones:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the net neutrality issue. It is good to hear from you.

I completely agree that the Internet should remain an open and neutral medium to conduct commerce and gather information. I generally dislike Internet regulation, but I agree that the concern over large ISPs granting priority to one content provider over another has merit and should be monitored closely. Although it hasn't happened yet, the issue of large ISPs granting exclusive deals with content providers is a serious one and could have drastic effects on Montanans and Montana businesses.

As you know, there is a piece of legislation that has been introduced by Sen. Snowe and Sen. Dorgan that addresses the issue of net neutrality. While I fully support the spirit and intent of this bill, I do have some concerns with how it goes about ensuring the Internet remains a free an open forum. I feel that the FCC is in a much better position to protect consumers from abuses regarding the Internet than Congress and would like to see them monitor this situation to make sure large ISPs do not grant exclusive deals and harm consumer's interest. I also have concerns with a blanket 'equal priority' because there could be serious unintended consequences due to the increase in popularity of VoIP and related emergency communication over the Internet. There could be a day when we want to ensure emergency VoIP calls have priority over downloading music or video games.

Sen. Stevens has included language in the telecommunications overhaul of 2006 which will give the FCC the tools they need to closely monitor this issue and quickly act if any large ISPs attempt to make exclusive deals with content providers. I feel this is the best way to solve this potential problem without creating any unintended consequences. Rest assured, I am taking this matter very seriously and am working hard to ensure the Internet remains and open forum and remains an effective and useful tool for Montanans.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you may have. It is important to note that heightened security procedures due to the Anthrax and Ricin incidents have significantly delayed the processing and delivery of mail to my Washington , D.C. office. I encourage you to contact me via phone at (800) 344-1513, fax at (202)-224-8594, or through my website at I apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delay in our mail process. I appreciate you patience as we continue to work through our increase security measures.

Conrad Burns
United States Senator

Monday, June 19, 2006

Summer guy

It's interesting to get to know summer guy.
Summer guy?
Yeah. You are two people. Winter guy and summer guy. I already met winter guy and now I am getting to know summer guy.
I am busier in the summer, is it that big of a difference?
Yes. You are two different people.
Well, I know I have a sort of yin and yang thing going on. Keeps me balanced.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The mosquito bit my ass

The bastard snuck past the window screens and hunted me down in the bathroom as I was warming up the shower and flexing in front of the mirror. Nice legs but my pecks and biceps won't impress anyone. And for the billionth time do some sit-ups and work on that gut. That's when I felt the bite and swatted my ass and the mosquito fell away dead. Damn. Now I have a mosquito bite on my ass.

It's mosquito season. I have a bite on the back of my neck I keep scratching at. My knee has one and for some reason the pests love my left elbow. It's not so bad when I have my mind on other things; the little welts don't bother me so much then. But when I have an idle mind those bug bites really bother me. Like when I am driving the car. I keep reaching back to scratch that one bite on the back of my neck. Or rubbing the little bumps on my elbow. As for my ass, there is only so much squirming in my seat I can do.

Training employees involves sitting and watching over their shoulder a lot and letting your mind drift a little and scratching your bug bites. You want to give the new employee a good impression of the company and you want to train them well so they form good habits and do a good job. It can be bad form to be constantly scratching your ass in front of them. So I sit and answer questions and show how business procedures work and watch them enter data and think really hard about not scratching my ass. Perhaps I squirmed a little and stepped out for no good reason once in a while. I wasn't thinking about that nasty annoying bump on my ass. I didn't desire to rub it or push my hand down my trousers to dig my fingernails into it. I didn't think about it. I didn't think about it. I did not think about it.

Dismissing the employee couldn't have come quick enough. As soon as I was alone I had both hands down my pants scratching like mad. Stupid damn mosquitoes. Why couldn't it have bit my biceps? I might actually appreciate a little swelling there.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My new favoritest thing in all of Montana

Hey, here is an idea. How about you bring over some ice cream and we will make huckleberry cream floats.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cars, bicycles and pedestrians, Oh My.

I wasn't even looking at the white Ford Fiesta as it slowed to a stop. I was perched on my bicycle seat holding myself upright against a sign post, a stop sign, indifferently watching the traffic passing through the intersection in the other direction. Glancing around I saw the Ford stopped and the driver gave me a little wave indicating I should go. I shook my head at him and turned back to watch the line of cars passing through the other way. They weren't stopping for me, nor should they. I had a stop sign controlling me and they did not. When I looked back again white Ford was still sitting there and still trying to wave me in to the oncoming traffic. By now a couple cars had stopped behind him and I saw the guy driving the blue Chevy on my left make that palms up "what the hell is going on here?" gesture. I gave the white Ford my best annoyed glare and waved him through the intersection. He finally got the hint and pulled through allowing traffic to move again. Those of us at the stop signs shook our heads and practiced our patience.

I ride my bike to the post office regularly and I have seen that scenario a few times now. Some good samaritan completely screws up the flow of traffic because they see me waiting at a stop sign and they stop for me while completely failing to notice how no other traffic is stopping and I would get killed if I took advantage of the gesture. It's like this good people of Montana, bicycles are supposed to obey the same rules of the road as cars do. That means I stop at stop signs. If you don't have a stop sign, don't stop. I am expecting this and your stopping for me just screws up traffic even more than usual. Everyone will be happier and we will all get where we are going faster when we obey the same rules of the road.

I have learned that Montana has some interesting rules regarding pedestrians. I'm not too sure of the particulars but I gather that vehicles are supposed to stop for any pedestrian wanting to cross the street. Coming from larger cities I am scared shitless of this rule. Cities generally don't follow this rule and any pedestrian stepping foot into a street without some sort of traffic control is taking their life into their own hands. I have spent my life believing that the bigger, faster, more likely to kill you cars should get preferential treatment. Apparently not so in Montana. I have seen folks do some crazy things here. People just walking out into a busy street without so much as a glance to see if they are in danger. Once in Missoula I watched a driver slam on her brakes and bring a whole line of fast moving cars to a perilous stop just because she saw me loitering by the roadside. Call me crazy but I see all this as dangerous.

With more and more people coming into the state from elsewhere like myself, I don't expect anyone to know the Montana rules of the road. I am going to behave as though drivers will not stop for pedestrians, just like the big city. Sorry about that friendly Montana drivers but when you stop for me that will just freak me out. And if traffic going the other direction does not stop I ain't stepping out into the street no matter how friendly your gesture is.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A couple quick notes

To: Representative Dennis R. Rehberg

I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am in your recent vote on H R 5252 (Net Neutrality). My future livelihood depends on fair access to the internet and you let me down.

To: Senators Max Baucus and Conrad Burns.

As legislation concerning Network Neutrality comes to your attention please consider that I as a Montanan and a constituent require fair and neutral access to the internet for my future livelihood. Please vote in support of network neutrality.

Friday, June 09, 2006

First Aid

I took that first aid class the other day and got the little card.
Oh, wonderful. Be sure to bring that card when we get started so I can get a copy for the files.
Okay, I will. It's kind of funny how they train you, the solution to every problem is "Call 911".
Oh dear.
I have been trained that if I come across an accident I should stop and say "I have first aid training, I can help you…. I can call 911 for you."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Snow Report

We had N_ up there this weekend. He gave me a snow report.
The snow is ten feet deep. It is up to the windows on the second floor.
Still feeling good about opening early this year?
Let me tell you, I'm just glad I packed in as many supplies as I did at the end of the season last year.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I could tell I was thinking too much because I tumbled a little falling away from the airplane. The exits are smoother when I don't think and just relax. It also would have helped if I took one more heartbeat to get stable before starting the routine. The backloop was sloppy, the frontloop was a little better. The right and left turns felt slow but I stopped them on heading. Two barrel rolls, one to the left and one right. They more or less stayed on heading. Then check the altimeter. 7000 feet. About 12 seconds since leaving the plane. Simple routine and any sloppy fumbling came from over thinking it. F_ and B_ swooped down on me all grins and thumbs up. Easy skydive.

Back on the ground I filled in my license paperwork and checked off the aerial requirements with some smug satisfaction. I had to retake the written test because the old one was scored wrong. Scored much better this time even without studying. My expert license was in the bag. Only one thing bugging me. The cumulated freefall time in my logbook read 4:59:44. With only 16 more seconds of freefall I could have an even 5 hours. I had to make one more jump.

I didn't try anything fancy on that jump. Just barreled out the door and watched the scenery. Not the greatest skydive ever. Just a milestone.

It felt good to drive home with some accomplishment under my belt. As soon as the paperwork gets processed I will have a shiny new license declaring me an expert skydiver and I have spent five hours of my life freefalling. Both these milestones have been a long time coming. I should have hit them both years ago but there were some things missing, like community support. I like to think that Montana has helped make me a better person. The jumping here is certainly better than at previous address.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

How to make a pizza

Want a super yummy pizza but don't want to shell out cash for delivery. It's cheap, it's easy, it's fun. Here is how to do it.

The Crust

3/4 Cup of warm water
1 Tablespoon of yeast

In a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast into the warm water. If you don't want to deal with bulk yeast or measuring spoons just buy the little yeast packets and use one of those. It's a little more than a tablespoon but that will just give your crusts a nice hearty yeasty flavor.

3 Tablespoons oil
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2-3 cups flour.

I like using olive oil but any sort of veggie oil will work. Don't bother with mixing spoons or spatulas, just get your hands in there and mash that goop. I like to start with about 2 cups of flour and keep adding until the dough is just right. I will add flour a dash at a time while kneading until the dough is no longer sticky.

Want a secret to extra yummy pizza crust? This is the secret ingredient part so don't tell anyone. Add a dash of cinnamon to the flour and/or a drop of honey to the water. This little touch will go a long way towards impressing everyone with extra yummy.

After you have the dough all kneaded up you are going to want to let it sit for a little bit. Letting it rise will help give it a nice texture. If I am taking my sweet time I will let it sit for a half hour, but when I am in more of a hurry the time it takes to prep the toppings is good enough. This is a good point to start pre-heating the oven too. 400 degrees.

After it has risen a little bit dust your hands and a flat work surface with flour. Grab that dough and mash it flat. Pull on it to make it a circle shape. Trying to impress a date? Go ahead and toss it and spin it a little, just don't cry to me if it hits the floor and you have to start over. After you have made it as flat and circular as you can with just your hands you should smooth it with a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin a beer bottle works great. All you are trying to do is smooth it out and make it the same size and shape as your pan. Personally I use a pizza brick but I have seen pizza's done in pans, cookie sheets, cake pans, pie pans, whatever.

The sauce

If you wanted to you could go out and buy one of those jars of pizza sauce. It already has spices blended in and you can't screw it up. But how much fun is that? Here is how I do my sauce and I think it is the secret to a world class, knock your socks off pizza.

Start with plain tomato sauce in the 8oz cans. Open her up and dump it on your rolled out dough. Use a spoon to smooth it into an even layer all the way out to the edges. Now go raid your spice rack. Sprinkle it with a nice even dusting of the spices of your choice. Italian blend is a good choice. So is oregano, basil, parsley, thyme. Most of the leafy green spices. Garlic is a good choice too, powdered garlic will work fine but I like to crush some fresh cloves in a garlic press. If you like spicy a dash of crushed red pepper is a good thing. Think you know your spices? Get super creative. Fennel seed, or sesame. Try a dash of marjoram or rosemary. Try to pick spices that compliment your toppings. Extra garlic on the meat pizzas, extra basil with the tomato and so on.

So what makes this sprinkled spices atop of tomato sauce method better than a pre blended sauce? First it's the love. Taking a little care with the food makes it taste better. Secondly it's the variety. You can't possibly spread each spice evenly across the surface of the pizza and you shouldn't even try. This way when you are eating it one bite will be yummy garlic and the next bite will be cool basil. It will be an orgy of flavor. No two bites of pizza will taste quite the same and no two pizzas will ever be the same. Your taste buds will be begging to find out what you will bite into next.

The toppings

I am not going to try to tell you what to put on your pizza. Everyone loves pizza and everyone has favorite toppings, so go crazy. However I will offer some suggestions.

Buy fresh. Get some fresh veggies for that pie. It will taste a bazillion times better than using frozen stuff. I will use canned goods for some things like black olives and frozen chopped spinach is a convenience. But if you want a pepper or an onion or mushrooms or broccoli, just buy it fresh. Your taste buds will thank you.

Be colorful. Good food doesn't just taste good, it looks good too. Multi colored toppings can make the pie look great and veggies of different colors will have a larger variety of vitamins and nutrients for a bonus of healthy. Yummy toppings to try: White mushrooms, purple onions, black olives, red peppers, yellow pineapple, green spinach, red tomato.

Less can be more. I am certainly guilty of going for the everything short of the kitchen sink supreme style pizzas, and they can be really good, but when you add more toppings you can lose subtlety of flavor and be prepared to cook it for a few minutes longer. Sometimes you can create a masterpiece with only a few toppings. Canadian bacon and pineapple has been a long time favorite of mine. You might also think about simple combos like chicken and spinach or garlic tomato.

It is less expensive to shred your own cheese. You can buy pre-shredded cheese for a few cents more, but you could also buy a pre-cooked pizza for a few bucks more too. Doing it yourself adds a little love and costs less.

Mozzarella is the cheese of choice for most pizzas. If you are feeling particularly gourmet you may want to try blending in a little monterey jack or possibly some cheddar. You could also try using the soft mozzarella cut into slices instead of shredded.

Start adding toppings and cheese at the edge and work your way in to the center. It is all too easy to create pizza mountain with a pile of stuff in the center and less to the outside. Avoid this and get a nice even layer by working from the outside in.

Special touches

You can try doing some fancy things if you like. Put some toppings above the cheese and some below for visual appeal. If you have extra dough you can roll it flat and cut little shapes out of it like hearts or happy faces and adorn the top with that. Sometimes I will roll the dough a little larger than the pan and after the toppings are added fold it back over to create a stuffed crust sort of thing.

Cook it and eat it

Put that pizza in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. The cheese on top will be turning golden brown, the crust will be firm. Serve with the beverage of your choice. A pizza can go well with fine wine, cheap beer or even soda pop. Be careful about burning your mouth on the hot cheese, dig in and enjoy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I'm a big believer in selfishness. I think that if everyone was selfish and watched out for their own interests then everyone's interests would be watched out for.
I hate to break it to you. You are not selfish. You haven't been selfish to me.
I disagree. When I am nice to you it is because I enjoy it or it makes me feel good. I'm not nice to you because of how it makes you feel. I am nice to you because of how it makes me feel. That's selfish.
I'm still not buying it. I don't think you are selfish.