Apr 6, 2011

Roosevelt Lake / Tonto National Monument Camping

Jared and Jadens Cub Scout Pack 382 had their spring family campout this past weekend. We reserved the Grapevine group site, and about 15 families showed up to enjoy some fresh air and the outdoors.

Everywhere I go in Arizona, I'm amazed that more people dont take advantage of the great facilities and the natural beauty of this state.


In California and Colorado, many of the outdoor recreation areas are just swarmed with people. Here in Az, there can be crowds, but for the most part, they are relatively light.

We took the boys for a hike down to the lake front:

Everyone told jokes, performed skits and roasted marshmallows around the campfire:

The next day, after breaking camp, we headed to Tonto National Monument, to check out the cliff dwellings of the 13th century Salado Indians.

For the final leg of the adventure, we took El Oso road from AZ State Route 188 back over the mountains to the Beeline Highway (AZ State Route 87) Four Peaks still showing some snow on it's Northeast flanks:

It's a good trip when you have no mechanicals in the Syncro! :)

We stopped on the way back down the west side of the mountain, to shoo a gopher snake off the road. The guy was stretched out, in a 'food coma' and we barely missed running over the bugger!

The kids were impressed with my snake charming skills :)

Mar 2, 2011

VW unleashed its 2014 Buli concept on the world at the Geneva Auto Show this week (press release here) Here is a Road and Track article

I'm not liking it.. looks like an overgrown Scion to me..




This spy shots article (again Road and Track)
tries to guilt VW to build a more 'bus' like version Even though the engine is not in the right place.. a TDI engine would make up for it :) Based on the Passat sedan chassis and coming out in 2013/14? I'll believe it when I see it.



Till then.. and for many years longer.. I'll continue enjoying my 90 Syncro Westie :)

"The Bus" Trailer from Damon Ristau on Vimeo.

Feb 10, 2011

the Indaba Ace of Base Remix.. aka Damn you infective Pop Music Hook!!!


Pulled down the files to do this contest, but with lots of other family commitments and work in Jan., it just didnt happen.

Made the mistake of crusing over to the Indaba music website and checking out the entries. One thing led to another.. and the songs 'hook' melody was burned into my brain. Burnt the midnight oil and did a quick one tonight. It's rough, there are some breaks and timing that need fixed, but I'm still amazed at what technology allows us to do in this day and age.

Timeline wise.. I had all the files pulled into the app probably about midnight, and 3 hours later finished the final mix down. Sometimes the brain needs pure, creative "play".

The main instrumental was a whole step 'detuned' for some reason. Had to run it through Amazing Slower Downer (a cool Mac OS X app that lets you speed up or slow down music without affecting the pitch, unless you want to?) first before pulling into Garageband. I didnt get it done in time for the contest unfortunately :(

Here's the main Indaba contest webpage... Be foreward, you'll be humming this song to yourself all day! :)

Ace of Base “I Saw the Sign” Remix Contest..
Listen to some of these remixes.. the talent of the submissions on
this website blows my mind.

The Sign Ska Punk Style
Ace of Funky Base Remix
I saw the Jazz/dubstep Sign
RMX-I Saw the Sign (Deadhead mix)
the sign remix (ace of base meets the Matrix!)
The Will Breaks Sign Remix
Casper lost his tape deck remix
The UB40 Sign

Dec 14, 2010

Ever Picked Up A Hitch Hiker? Uplifting Stories for a Tuesday

Read this amazing story in this Reddit.com thread

It's so full of win that I just had to share this.. hope it brightens your day!


Garth, the world's manliest hobo

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I've picked up numerous hitchikers but one in particular stands out. His name was Garth. Garth was a hell of dude with a hell of a story. This is the encounter between my friends and Garth.

After graduating high school, myself and 4 friends decided to take a long road trip over the summer and Glacier National Park was our Mecca for the trip. We found ourselves camping in the middle of nowhere in the woods of NW Montana, some 25 miles north of Missoula. We camped illegally and got drunk and stoned and pretty much stayed up all night.

In the morning, I woke up in the drivers seat of my car to see some dude walking by in the road which was 40 yards away from our campsite. The guy walking couldn't see us just passing by but I could see him. I was still half drunk so I decided to yell at him, not even thinking that it could be the owner of the land that we were illegally camping on. He did a 180 and stared straight at me and began walking towards me. He had a single backpack, a big tree limb for a walking stick and looked exhausted and hungry. He looked like the Big Lebowski mixed with Saul from Pineapple Express but acted like someone who had just had their ass kicked, mentally and physically. He looked like someone had suck his soul out of him. My friends had heard me yelling for him so they had stirred awake to find to their surprise, Garth sitting in one of our lawnchairs eating our stale Doritos like he hadn't eaten anything in days. We would later learn that was actually true.

It was about 10 AM by the time we decided to leave the campsite and head back to Missoula to find food. Garth hopped in the car and began to tell his story of how he ended up in the middle of nowhere Montana. He sat shotgun and talked while my friend sat behind him, ready for Garth to try to kill us or something crazy. The story that Garth told us was fucking crazy. It basically went something like this. Some dude he met in Missoula promised him some work on his land. Apparently, the guy bought some land and needed some trees and brush cleared so he could start building a house. He said he would let Garth stay on his land for the night and meet him their in the morning with some tools and some food so they could work all day to clear this brush. Well, one day went by, then another.....and another and another. The guy never showed up and Garth was on this guy's land for 5 FUCKING DAYS WITH NO FOOD OR SHELTER. He luckily had a stream of water on "his land" that Garth drank to keep hydrated but catching food was next to impossible. He said he could hear coyotes very close to him at night and one morning he woke up to a Bull Moose 30 yards away from, snorting and stomping it's hooves on the ground, ready to charge. Garth ran up a tree and stayed there for the rest of the day.

He said he didn't want to leave the land because he had no idea where he was and he was hoping that the guy would show up to take him back to town. It wasn't until this particular morning that he said he was so hungry and cold that he thought he was going to die if he didn't start walking somewhere. Garth said he started following a logging road with the hope it would lead him somewhere. He had been walking all night with no signs of anything. He actually thought he was walking in circles. He said that the coyotes were howling and he was the most scared he had ever been in his life. We were the first sign of people he had seen in almost 6 days.

After told us this story we were said we wanted to buy him a lunch and some beers and a coat. He immediately declined...he seemed embarrassed by the situation, especially because some 18 year olds were going to buy him this stuff. We understood where he was coming from but this guy just had 6 days of hell in the woods and he deserved a hot meal. He finally said he would eat lunch with us so we took him to a chinese buffet were he ate down 4 fat plates, LIKE A BOSS!

After lunch he asked us to take him to the homeless shelter in town so he could get a shower and get a bed for the night. We agreed and took him across town to drop him off. The car ride over was quiet, mainly because Garth dosed off, probably from his exhaustion. He was still sleeping when we got to the homeless shelter. We woke him up and he thanked us a million times and stumbled into the shelter. My friends and I were floored by his story. We didn't say much as we hit the road north to Glacier National Park, until we noticed something on the floor by the front seat. His fucking BACKPACK.

We were 40 miles north of town and didn't even think about what to do. We pulled over and turned around to take his backpack to him at the shelter. We contemplated opening it for a good 15 minutes. We thought it would be wrong and that we wouldn't want someone to do that to our pack. But our curiosity got the best of us and we decided to open it. Garth was to EPIC to not find out what he had in there to aid in his wilderness adventure. We joked about what would be in there - a bloody knife, a head, some sort of body part. What we found was truly unbelievable. We found out that Garth was Bi-Polar and Diabetic based on his medications. He had some oral glucose gel to combat his low blood sugar, a blood sugar machine and zoloft (anti-depressant). It blew my mind that this man, a diabetic would even think about staying in the woods for this long while knowing he was a Diabetic. We also found a notebook that had some sketches and writings, mainly about his travels around the pacific northwest. I wanted to read more but we had reached the shelter to return his pack.

Garth was a fucking man if i had ever met one. We thought he could use a little help so we put $100 in his pack before we gave it back to him. He was inside sitting at a table when we arrived with his pack. I held out the pack and just said, "I think you forgot something man". He stood up and ran over to me, grabbed it and then gave me a huge bear hug and started crying. He told me, while he was hugging me, that he thought that he had just lost everything he owned after we dropped him off. It was weird but I felt like I had to hug him back, so I did. He followed us back out to our car and thanked us again and offered us a cup of coffee, we declined and said we had to be on our way to get there before dark. He understood and even offered to take a look at our car's oil and other stuff before we headed out! We said no, said goodbye and drove off to the corner.

We were stuck at a traffic light and I could still see him in the review mirror, probably 50-60 yards behind us. He knelt down to dig through his backpack. He took out his glucometer, his notebook and then the $100 we had put in there. He saw it and started running after us, either to thank us or to try to give it back. The light turned green and we drove off before he got to us. I stood out the car window gave him a wave and a Peace Sign. He responded with a salute and the biggest smile I've ever seen. We drove off and we never saw him again.

This was our encounter with Garth, the world's manliest hobo. Wherever you are Garth, Godspeed my good man!


Other Excellent Stories:
Karma and a VW Bug

"Hoy por ti, maƱana por mi" Today you.... tomorrow me

The Mulch.. He's after the Mulch!

Banjos and Ukulele Players

Oct 27, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Oct 23, 2010

Pack 382 Raingutter Regatta!

The 2010 Raingutter Regatta is in the bag! The boys had fun sanding, painting, and gluing last week! We copied the design from last year, but this time the boys did all the work. Last year, Jaden was a bit too young to use the rasp to shape the bow. They learned how to safely use the beltsander ($10 from Craigslist.. thank you very much! :) to grind down the bows of their boats.


Jaden went for a 'Halloween' theme. I helped him look up 'schooner' on the interwebs, so we could tie in the 'SCARY' theme from the holidays. Jared went traditional, patriotic, with a gunship, aircraft carrier combination.


I picked up a plastic gutter at Lowe's to help the boys practice at this past weeks den meeting, so all was set. What's the most efficient way to 'blow blow blow your boat'!? Straw, or strawless?  Jaden opted for no straw, while Jared had a bit of trouble in his second round, and opted for a straw after that.

All the boys had fun.. there were a few frustrations, some last minute repairs, and lots of lessons learned on good sportsmanship, cheering for everyone, and having fun!