Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stuck in the mud?

Have you ever just felt like you were stuck in the mud...

...not making any progress at all?
That's where I stand.
I need to write on here more often!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Datil Daze and Homework Craze


In the meantime, here's the bit of humor for this week:

Apparently, Massachusetts lawmakers are debating a ban on "spanking" in their increasingly-crazy jurisdiction. Wow.

I was on the receiving end of some good licks as a child, and I can't remember a time when I didn't deserve it. My children will receive the same...As long as too many crazed Massachusetts residents don't relocate here and outlaw it 8-0

*Disclaimer*: This is not to suggest that ALL Massachusetts residents are crazed, but apparently there are enough of them to cause this kind of stir. We don't want to hurt any feelings here on The Minorcan Factor.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Anomalous Ape Antics

A little town that I pass through every now and then on my way to various festivals (including the recent Florida Folk Festival) is getting its 15 minutes of fame this week. It seems that a strange ape-like animal has appeared around Glen St. Mary, and has everybody wondering where it came from. The story has been featured on Drudge Report, and is getting a lot of press. Here's the link to the article...

This reminds me that I told you all that I would post my research paper about the Florida Skunk Ape on here a while back. It's not my best work, but I suppose I will post it anyway. Keep an eye out for that, and I will keep an eye out for smelly, hairy bipeds other than those who are related to me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007



If you scroll down a little on this page, you will see a picture of a sign that advertises a "41 Unit Approved Subdivision" for sale. I see this sign every day on my way to school, and I have wondered when and how this subdivision could have been approved. You see, I read the agenda and the minutes of every county commission meeting in my home county, and I never remembered having a development approved on this piece of land.
Just this past month, a meeting was held and that development was on the agenda.
They were....SHUT...DOWN!
The newly-elected county commission here is not lining their pockets with developer's cash (unlike the prior one,) so they have put a stop to development in much of the county. God bless them.
The real kicker is that one of the commissioners wondered aloud about why the sign out front said a "41 Unit APPROVED Subdivision" was for sale. He also wondered whether it needed to be referred to the state government as a matter of false advertising. HA HA!
Good for them. I love this county commission!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sweet Serendipticiousness

As yall know, I was in White Springs, FL this weekend regaining my sanity. I am becoming increasingly fed up with the suburban lifestyle, and going to the Florida Folk Festival is a great way to quench my thirst for culture. Yeah, that's right, all these new hoity-toity bistros, cafes, and art galleries popping up around me are NOT culture. You often have to look closely for true culture in modern Florida, and this is one of the few places where you can be completely surrounded by it.
As my dad said about me at the Festival, "He's in Heaven."

I spent most of the weekend with "Uncle" Stuart Pacetti knitting and throwing castnets. I have now passed over 4 feet, 6 inches on my net, aiming for 7 feet. Lots of work to be done still.

I had a great time with the man I consider my 3rd grandfather, but that was not the highlight of my weekend. No, Mrs. Sarah N. Dipity had very nice plans in store for me.

Saturday afternoon, I sat under the sprawling oak tree where our castnet demonstration was situated. I had spoken with hundreds of people that day about the long, laborious, sometimesfrustratingsometimesrelaxing craft of castnet knitting. I had people of every race, nationality, and profession descend upon me, eager to learn about my craft and my culture. As you can imagine, I was more than willing to share. When somebody approached me, I generally gave them a nod and a quick hello, leaving them to watch me feebly attempt to work monofilament line into mesh, waiting to answer any questions they may ask. Like I had so many times that day, I noticed a couple of people approaching out of my peripheral vision. I looked up...

Whoa, that girl definitely looks familar. And do I know that goofy-looking guy with her?
"Hi," I said, continuing my knitting.
Can it be FC and his daughter, Emma? It sure looks like her, but I can't be sure the guy with the sunglasses covering his face is really FC.
I kept knitting, looking off to the side, trying to get a better look at them without staring. You know how daddys are about boys staring at their daughters. The guy knelt down and started snapping pictures with one nice-looking camera.
Yup, gotta be them.
"Gonna put me on your blog?" I asked.
"Yup, is that okay?"
I stood, we shook hands, introduced ourselves using names other than FloridaCracker and HurricaneTeen, and we had a good conversation. I've been a loyal reader of PureFlorida for over a year and a half now, and I feel like I have gotten to know FC and his family. It was thrilling to see them as living human beings and not just images and writing on a computer screen, though :-D

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! More on the Festival in later posts.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Folkin' It Up

HurricaneTeen will be in White Springs, Florida all weekend for the Florida Folk Festival. I will be set up with Mr. Stuart Pacetti pretty much the whole time working on castnets, so if you're planning on coming out, be sure to pay us a visit; I'd like to meet some blogging friends. A cousin of mine, Sam Pacetti (Stuart's son,) is a headlining musician with his amazing fingerstyle folk guitar picking, and you definitely don't want to miss him, either.
If you can't make it, you're missing out :-D

I've got some interesting posts coming soon that you won't want to miss, including:
A newly-written poem
A article I wrote that was published in The St. Augustine Record
A trip to Durbin Swamp after a couple weeks of rain
Recap of the Florida Folk Festival...etc.

I feel like I'm advertising. I do not have a creative bone in my body right now. Sorry. Hope to see some of you this weekend!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

DOH! And other news...

I had a new reader on my blog today, Eyemkmootoo, who left a comment about my prior post along with a link to some of his writing. I went to his blog and enjoyed it very much, so I decided to add him to my blogroll. When I went to edit my blogroll, *DOH!* I noticed some serious omissions that needed to be corrected. Therefore, along with the addition of Eyemkmootoo, the following very worthy bloggers have been added to my blogroll:

Rural Wat - Fascinating entries written by a biologist specifically focusing on Carolina Bays (a kind of swamp) along with other interesting natural things.

Florida Native Musings - Interesting blogging from a fellow native Floridian. Haven't seen much of him lately, unfortunately.

Buckin' Junction - How I did not have my most loyal reader on my blogroll, I will never know. Interesting reading about life on a dairy farm from my most northern fan :-D Also involves more information about the PBR circuit than I could ever imagine.

In other news, my grandma had her annual halloween taco party yesterday. This tradition involves cramming over 20 Floridians into a tiny house eating large amounts of Mexican food...Just the way I like it :-D I rarely have the chance to see much of my cracker side of the family, but the Halloween party is one of the times I get to reunite with them. Let's just say it is very loud, it involves huge amounts of food and large amounts of football (Florida-Georgia game!), and everybody is in everybody else's way...If that is not the perfect definition of my family, I do not know what is. I love that side of my family...I feel really at home there. The point of telling about this is to try to find out if there is anybody else out there who has an annual Halloween taco party. I submit that we are the only family in the world who does such a thing. One of our many idiosyncracies.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ghost Light Road

Back before "development" began "improving" our quality of life in this part of the county in which I live [extreme sarcasm in use here], there was an old legend floating among the endless pine farms that used to exist here. I'm sure you've heard of haunted houses, haunted libraries, and maybe even a haunted lighthouse, but we like to do things a little bit differently here. We had our own haunted road.

The road's original name was Bombing Range Road, as it provided access to an airfield and bombing range operated by the U.S. Navy in the years before and during World War II. A few years back (before I came into the world) the road was officially renamed Greenbriar Road for "real estate reasons". Regardless of what the road was officially named, we locals had only one name for it: Ghost Light Road.

Ghost Light Road was a perfectly straight, limestone and sand road that cut through the pine plantations and cypress swamps of my beloved home. If you visited this area back in those wonderful years, and happened to venture onto Greenbriar Road at night, you were met with a very interesting phenomenon.

Driving down the bumpy dirt road, your first thoughts would be "where the heck does this road go?" It would have been the darkest of night, with the light of millions of stars and the moon filtering through the tall pine trees being the only relief from the pitch black. The fresh scent of pine would fill your nose, and the cool air of the swamp would provide relief from the otherwise muggy weather. As you bumped along, you would begin to notice a light - a single light, as if a motorcycle's headlight - approaching you. The light would approach for minutes on end, and as you wonder what such a light could be, it disappears into the blackness. Are my eyes deceiving me? you wonder. You witnessed this a few times that night, in unpredicatable intervals. It was as if the phenomenon was teasing you.

About a decade ago, the road was paved and traffic began to increase as more people moved to the area surrounding. Three schools popped up near the road, and traffic increased greatly. "House Farms" took the place of pine farms toward the eastern end of the road, where thousands of yankees were planted. The ghost died; yet another piece of local history and culture lost to overdevelopement.

If I were to stand in front of all the 2700 students who attend my extremely overcrowded school and ask who knew what Ghost Light Road was, MAYBE 5 or 10 would raise their hand... A relatively small symptom of a deadly disease spreading through the lifeblood of Florida.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Muller Part Four: A Recipe for St. Johns River Mullet

As I have stated in prior posts in this series, the St. Johns River Mullet (freshwater mullet) has always been known as an inedible fish due to its extreme fishiness. A good old Florida cracker and good friend of mine, the famous (or infamous) Stuart Pacetti, has related to me this recipe, however, to prepare freshwater mullet. I have not tried it yet...I will have to sometime.

A Recipe for St. Johns River Mullet
Related by Mr. Stuart Pacetti

1 St. Johns River Mullet
2 Datil peppers, finely chopped
A bit of bacon grease
A pinch of salt
1 heartwood pine board

Prepare a fire out of hickory or any other wood you prefer for smoking, but do not prepare the fire in a smokehouse; keep it outside. Prepare to the mullet to your liking, filleting is recommended for thorough and even cooking. Lay the fish out on the pine board, lengthwise, so the entire fish fits onto the board. Liberally coat the fish in bacon grease. Spread the Datil pepper and salt evenly onto the fish. Let sit for a couple hours, and allow the fire to die down to small flames or hot coals. Lay the board close enough to the fire to receive enough heat, but far enough away to avoid being lit itself. Cook fish for 1-2 hours over fire. Remove the board carefully from the fire, and bring it into your kitchen, with the fish. Throw the fish away. Eat the board.

This is the only recipe I have ever know of for St. Johns River mullet. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mullet Part Three: What to do with your mullet

Just a quick note: I'm sorry it has taken so long to write and post part three of this series. I have already written 3 papers for my English class alone this year, so my writing time and skill is usually taken up by those. One I am writing right now is about the Florida Skunk Ape, and I may post it on here when I finish. I'm still aiming for at least one post per week throughout the school year, though. Now, let's get started on part three of our series on the mullet.

So you have your mullet and you're wondering what to do with them. Many people at this point will take this great food source, butcher it in many horrible fashions, and use it for bait to catch other fish. My very resourceful family does not see the logic in this...Why catch fish to bait other fish when you can just catch fish and eat those fish instead of going through the trouble of catching the other fish? Know what I mean?

Many people will argue that mullet tastes bad. These are the same people that will tell you catfish tastes bad. I believe that they are just judging the fish on the people that eat it: The mullet (along with the catfish) is widely considered a "poor man's fish." This is partly true, as I have never seen a rich man order the fried catfish or smoked mullet at Singleton's Seafood Shack. Well I guess I've never seen a rich man at Singleton's Seafood Shack, but that is beside the point...You will be hard pressed to find a rich man anywhere who will lay their soft hands on this fish. This does not mean the fish tastes bad! Mullet is not nearly as powerfully fishy-tasting as tuna, and I know you will be hard-pressed to find an American who has never eaten tuna before. Mullet simply suffers from a bad image, this does not mean it's a bad fish!

Getting away from that rich man/poor man spiel, the point is, DO NOT USE THIS FISH FOR BAIT.

COMING SOON: Mullet Part Four: A Recipe for St. Johns River Mullet

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mullet Part 2: How to Catch Mullet

Naturally, after reading Part One of the series on this great fish, and becoming enlightened about its extensive history in Florida, you will want to go catch one for yourself. There are three things that you must have or know how to do in order to catch this prize fish:

1. Saltwater anywhere along the Atlantic or Gulf coast (in the U.S.) south of Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
2. A good, durable castnet with 1-inch mesh. At least 6-foot radius recommended. You also must have the knowledge to throw the net.
3. The knowledge of how to "snag" mullet?

1st Requirement: Saltwater
Mullet are considered saltwater fish, but they can also be found in brackish rivers, including the St. Johns River, which flows slowly through my homeland. They can be recognized as the fish that leap out of the water for no apparent reason, and fall back down with a nice splash. It is thought that they may jump to get away from predators or to be able to breathe better when they are living in waters that have a lower oxygen concentration. Although mullet can be found in brackish river water, I have been told to NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, eat a "St. Johns River Mullet". I've been told that they are disgusting...Horrible...Foul...Rancid...Abominable...Repugnant. On the contrary, my good friend and cousin, Stuart Pacetti, has shared with me a recipe that tells how to prepare St. Johns River Mullet. That recipe will be posted in a future instalment of this series. However, the recipe can only be successfully made be Minorcan Crackers (the recipe calls for Datil Pepper), so others should only attempt to prepare mullet caught on the beach.

2nd Requirement: Castnet
My mom has fond memories of going to the beach when she was a child. She and her family would drive right onto St. Augustine Beach in the middle of the night to go "turtle eggin'" and mullet fishin'. (Turtle eggin' is something for a future post.) To catch mullet, my grandfather would stand at the ready with his net in hand, while my grandmother would shine the headlights of the car into the water. The bright light would spook the mullet, and they would begin jumping, indicating where their schools were located. My grandfather would throw his net so that it fell over where the mullet were jumping, and hopefully would haul in a load of fish for the dinner table. Today, the beaches are, for the most part, closed to vehicular traffic, and this method can no longer be used. However, native Floridians still catch mullet with castnets on the beach. The video below shows how a castnet is thrown. [I'm sorry for the poor video quality, but it's the only video I could find that uses the same technique I use. It was filmed casting for shrimp in the St. Johns River.)

Most nets today are handmade, but I am learning how to knit castnets by hand from Stuart Pacetti. Coastal Living Magazine featured him in this article in June 2006, and I also wrote about this dying art in this archived post. This is my castnet as it stands right now: coming up on 4-feet-long and aiming for a goal of 7 feet. I'll have it finished by next summer.

3rd Requirement (can take the place of 2nd requirement): Snagging Mullet

I had not heard of this technique of catching mullet until today in my English class. My English teacher said he used to tie two large fish hooks together, cast into a school of Mullet, and "snag" one of them with the hooks. It is necessary to do this because a Mullet will never (okay, rarely) bite a baited hook, as they are bottom feeders. He did not eat the mullet, though, he would use them as bait for snook and other large game fish. This leads into the next instalment:

Mullet Part 3: What to do with Your Mullet

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mullet Part One

A couple months ago, I was driving down the road on my way to visit some family in the city of St. Augustine, and I came across this advertisement for our local newspaper:

You Floridaphiles are probably having a nice chuckle. Oh, how that fish has defined our culture here in north Florida! For those of you who are not enlightened on the subject of Mullet Culture, please allow me to tell my story...

When my ancestors came to Florida in 1768, they were treated as slaves for nine years on the plantation of the tyrannical Englishman Dr. Andrew Turnbull. They worked year-round in the hot, humid, mosquito-infested hell that Florida was years ago. The majority of the Minorcan colonists died of dieases and famine, and those that managed to survive barely did so. The mullet, a species of saltwater fish that "runs" in schools along the beach during the summertime, was a very important part of the Minorcan diet during those rough years.

When the mullet "ran" along the beach, it meant that food would be pleantiful, and that life would not be quite as miserable as usual. This led to the common Minorcan expression "Mullet on the beach!" which means "Good times ahead."

This is the beginning of a multiple-part series on the Mullet. I will add that this is likely the only blog in the blogosphere on which you will find a multi-part series on this fish...Only from a Minorcan! You will find out why later.

Have a good Sunday! Go Pittsburgh Steelers!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Birthday Post

Today I turn 17-years-old.

I feel like I am turning 35-years-old.

I want my childhood back :-0

Now I am off to do homework for the rest of the night }:-(

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Month Passes Quickly

I have had great joy in allowing a month to pass without a single post here on The Minorcan Factor (NOT!) I have been fairly busy during this last month of my freedom (i.e. summer) School starts a week from this coming Friday, and believe it or not, I am actually looking forward to it. Yes, a high schooler that actually enjoys learning! Ha ha, we're not as rare as many people think we are. Here's just an update on the happenings in the life of HurricaneTeen in the past month:

Work at the local Publix Supermarket. Where shopping is a pleasure!!
Datil peppers produce nicely.
Datil peppers catch sick.
Datil peppers stop producing.
Volunteering at a camp for people with disabilities.
Sons of Confederate Veterans...Meetings...Cleaning up the Kirby-Smith House
Home-grown okra fried in corn oil.
Minorcan Clam Chowder.
Datil Pepper sauce.
Datil Pepper vinegar.

Any questions as to what culture I come from? No? I guess there never really were.

Right now, though, I am in Hurricane Mode, as I am tracking a Tropical Storm Dean that could threaten Florida as early as next Tuesday...but that is mostly speculation. This time of the year, much of my free time is devoted to tracking tropical sytems...If I began listing all of the websites I use to derive my "homegrown forecasts," it would take you quite some time to go through them. However, Dr. Jeff Masters' (not Minorcan!) blog is a great source for somebody who wants more in-depth scientific information about storms than The Weather Channel or even the NHC Public Advisories provide.

This past month, my family also gave up all hope of selling our house and moving somewhere quieter. I am fine with this, because I was tiring of all the people kicking me out of my house so they could look at it for a few minutes...This is especially undesirable when you are in the middle of cooking a pot of greens.

My parents have taken to my little Datil Pepper enterprise very well, and have agreed to allow me to place a greenhouse in our back yard. This will be very helpful when it comes time to plant this coming November. It will help to keep my seedlings nice and warm till it comes time to sell them in March...My days of lamps and plastic bags are over! Also, I will be able to load that greenhouse up with full-grown plants when I go off to college, keeping them nice and warm on those cold nights when I am not there to baby them.

A new discussion should be coming out from NHC about TS Dean any minute now. It looks weaker than it did this morning, which can be attributed to 15 to 20-knot wind shear, and probably the diurnal minimum. We should see him strengthen overnight tonight and through tomorrow as he moves out of the wind shear and into even warmer waters. This means it is tome for me to depart. Have a good day!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Finding hidden treasure...right around the corner!

My parents tell me from time to time that I have too many hobbies: Kayaking, hiking, growing vegetables, meteorology, geneology, castnet knitting, storytelling, The War Between the States, reading, writing, blogging...the list goes on and on. I suppose they are correct; I often have so many things I need and want to do that I simply don't know what to do with myself! Well you can go ahead and tack on another thing to that list:
I was reading through SophieMae's Florida Cracker Crumbs blog a few weeks ago, and I came across her link to I'd heard of geocaching before, and I had always thought that it would be intersting, but never had the chance to try it out...So I thought I would go check out the website and see what I could do.
This seemed to have opened up a whole new world to me! A search revealed over 3000 "hidden treasures" within 10 miles of where I live, one of which I actually walked by many times every day at work, oblivious. "Geocaching" is the use of a GPS to find caches ("hidden treasure") in some remote and some not-so-remote areas of the world. It combines being outdoors with a sense of discovery: Two of my favorite things! I was immediately hooked.
I excitedly entered the coordinates of a few caches into my GPS, and away I went! Here's some of what I found (more to come later today):

If you like the outdoors, and love adventure, then you will love geocaching. This sport is becoming accessible to most folks now that the price GPS devices are dropping so quickly...The Garmin eTrex Legend that I bought less than 2 years ago for $180 can now be bought for less than $110. So go out and find yourself some hidden treasure!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Global Warming and Al Gore

I found an excellent article about Al Gore and "global warming" today. You can read it here. The following is my personal opinion on the crossing of science and politics, which is exactly what has happened on the issue of global warming.

As a blooming meteorologist, I have great interest in the SCIENCE of meteorology and climatology. Being a true scientist, it sickens me to see the ways of science cross with the ways of politics. Crossing these two fields is like trying to cross a datil pepper with a satsuma...It just doesn't blend! Science is all about trying to solve the mysteries of the universe through unbiased research and experimentation. To be a scientist, one must approach an issue completely unbiased, and answer one's questions ONLY through research. When science intertwines with politics, though, it is corrupted. If a person has a preconceived political belief and tries to "prove" it right using "science", the person is not performing true science. Their preconceived political notion clouds their judgment, effectively preventing them to see all of the evidence that both sides of the issue present. The scientific study of global warming has been infiltrated by politics, and one can see the fruit that this cross-pollination bears: It's bitter, sour, tainted. Politics MUST be separate from science, or scientific "fact" will be based only on belief, and not on the natural ways of the universe.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Pictoral Summary of my life this summer...

That's me in the penguin suit.

As soon as the shutter clicked on this picture, this little wild hog darted into the woods.

Withlacoochee River

My Sons of Confederate Veterans camp's color guard...No, I'm not in this picture :-D

School never truly ends.

They keep me sane.


Sunday, June 10, 2007


I am stopping in very quickly to inform all of you that I am indeed still alive, and that I have been slightly busy lately. I was off volunteering at a camp for people with disabilities this past week, catching sick in the process, and am now packing for a trip to South Carolina for a retreat for teenaged Christians. Hey, I'm not complaining, I had a great time at camp, and I will construct a post about it soon. I didn't expect this summer to be quite this hectic...

On another note, not only did I become ill while I was at camp, a couple of my Datil plants dropped some new growth and a couple really nasty looking pods while I was gone. I suspect Phytophthora Blight, though I hope that is not the case because it could be passed on to future generations through seed...That would not bode well for my future spicy endeavors. A couple of this year's newborns are also infested with aphids that I must take care of before I leave. I don't feel like doing any of it, but I have a long list of things to do before I leave tomorrow morning. Ugh.

Have a good week!

Monday, May 14, 2007

The End Is Near

I can see it!

Yes, I can feel it!

I can taste it!

...The end of the school year...


Exam week is in full swing, and I am studying my hind quarters off for the dreaded Precalculus exam on Wednesday. Ugh.

Thursday will be the last day of school for me, but I have an event in Ocala from Friday-Sunday that will have me occupied (don't worry, you'll hear about it.) So do not expect any posts from HT until next Monday...I will post again afterward; including the Florida Cracker play.

The good news is that my blogroll has now expanded one line to allow for the indroduction of Rural Wat, a blog that I have been enjoying very much for a couple weeks now. Be sure to check it out; especially if you like swamps.

Also, if would be nice if my fellow Floridaphiles will visit and encourage the new guy on the block, Scott, at Florida Native Musings. I'm sure you will all agree that it's much easier to maintain a blog when you know you have people out there actually reading it!

Well I am off to increase my hygiene points with a hot shower :-D
Have a good night!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Defending Florida's Cracker Culture

This is for my fellow Crackers out there...It would be great if you could just take a minute or two and put your two cents in here, at my former English teacher's blog. A student wrote the original post, which I responded to, and there were some....uh....ignorant people that responded to my response. I think it would be great if we got a couple non-students in there to respond and explain to these people that the Florida Cracker culture is not based on "oppression and enslaving people."

I am off to watch Gods and Generals for the quintillionth time.
Good night!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tomorrow's Looking Very Swampy

This is where I will be tomorrow...Quite possibly into the nighttime...Finding the inspiration for the final portions of my play about Florida Crackers in the 1800s. It's due Friday, and it WILL be posted on the internet on Friday. I shouldn't need a kick for this one, but thanks anyway Paint...I know you want to kick me.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Those two pictures are probably a better description of what my life if like right now that what I could write on here...I know, it's not angled right...Turn your head 90 degrees to the left :-D

I am commencing preparations for exam week, which is quickly approaching (just over 1 week!) and I have a lot of preparing to do! The good thing about that is that school is almost over, and I will be free to excercise ALL of my creative thought on here!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Florida Attacks"

So, I had something happen yet again today, something that has been plaguing me increasingly over the past two years or so. This something is a thing that saps my strength and completely prevents me from concentrating on anything else.

...Yes, it's love...

A spurt of loving pessimism (ha ha) that I have come to know as a "Florida Attack."

Sometimes these Florida Attacks can be good (such as when I strike inspiration in the swamp), and sometimes they can be bad...
Today's was bad, and, as usual, it happened at a bad time.

I stepped out of my 5th period class into a choking haze of smoke blown down from the land of Georgia (God help them.) As I began my daily walk outside toward my 6th/7th period block class, it hit me like a sack of p'taters....
I can't really descibe the feeling. Just thoughts like "Once it's gone, there's no turning back," and the likes of that.
I walked into my freezing cold chemistry classroom and immediately went back outside to lengthen my walk and to think.

...What I thought...I can't put on paper (er, keyboard?) right now, so you will have to wait on that...

However, it did succeed in putting me in a bad mood all throughout 6th/7th block, to the dismay of the people sitting around me (sorry, guys.)

When I walked outside to the parking lot after my Chemistry class period was over, I was beginning to cool off. I was just glad the school day was over and I could go home and have some time alone. Then I heard the THUD and BEEP, BEEP, BEEP sounds of construction (the developer's word for "destruction") behind my school, and this set me off on another loop. My school is currently situated in the middle of the woods, in the remnants of this once rural area of my county. That will not be true in a few years, as the expansive pine plantation surrounding my school are slated to be clear-cut for yet another development.

As these thoughts ran through my mind, I spotted a raccoon wandering in the palmettos just outside of the parking lot, and I thought Where is HE supposed to go? Where's a cracker supposed to go? I suppose we're both slated for extinction, just as that development is slated to destroy.

Just another day in the life of a Floridaphile.

Wow, this post was so horribly written, it ought to not even be posted. However, I must put it out there. This is the way we humans think sometimes.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tick, tock, tick, tock

HurricaneTeen is waiting for his brother to send down the cables required to upload pictures from his camera. He is getting impatient. When he gets them, he will have lots of pictures for you.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Victory for Minorcan Heritage in Florida

The St. Johns County School District is constructing a new middle school on my family's old land grant in Mill Creek, FL. The school is located in the World *choke* Golf *gag* Village, and will serve those residents and the kids from the rural areas (the remaining portion of our land grant) surrounding it.

I have wondered for some time what they would name this school, and an elementary school they are building in the same area. I always thought that it would be cool if they named the school after my Minorcan family (Pacetti) in some way.

At a school board meeting last Tuesday, these were the main proposals for the two schools:
Elementary School
Ward's Creek Elementary School
World *choke* Golf *gag* Village Elementary School

Middle School
Pacetti Bay Middle School
Fairways Middle School

....And the winners are....

It's a good thing that Pacetti Bay beat out Fairways, because I would just have to go bang my head on a brick wall if they caved in to naming BOTH schools after golf...

I look at it this way...
Golf has been in Mill Creek for 8 years.
Pacettis have been in Mill Creek for 203 years.

Thank God they let us keep this little sliver of culture in a place where culture is being forced out to make way for fairways and "World Golf."

You can read the whole story at

I'll have more on this tomorrow with:
  • The significance of Pacetti Bay.
  • My comments on "World Golf Village" beating out "Ward's Creek"

A Victory for Minorcan Heritage in Florida

The St. Johns County School District is constructing a new middle school on my family's old land grant in Mill Creek, FL. The school is located in the World *choke* Golf *gag* Village, and will serve those residents and the kids from the rural areas (the remaining portion of our land grant) surrounding it.

I have wondered for some time what they would name this school, and an elementary school they are building in the same area. I always thought that it would be cool if they named the school after my Minorcan family (Pacetti) in some way.

At a school board meeting last Tuesday, these were the main proposals for the two schools:
Elementary School
Ward's Creek Elementary School
World *choke* Golf *gag* Village Elementary School

Middle School
Pacetti Bay Middle School
Fairways Middle School

....And the winners are....

It's a good thing that Pacetti Bay beat out Fairways, because I would just have to go bang my head on a brick wall if they caved in to naming BOTH schools after golf...

I look at it this way...
Golf has been in Mill Creek for 8 years.
Pacettis have been in Mill Creek for 203 years.

Thank God they let us keep this little sliver of culture in a place where culture is being pushed out for fairways and "World Golf."

You can read the whole story at

Friday, April 13, 2007

HurricaneTeen Has Made History

I believe I made history a couple weeks ago while I was in St. Augustine (what better place to make history???)

I (think) I was the first person EVER to come home from a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting and immediately watch hockey thereafter.

Please tell me if you know of anyone who has done this. I am considering contacting Guinness World Records (okay, not really.)

Speaking of hockey, it's playoff time in the NHL, and my Pittsburgh Penguins are in contention. I'll keep you posted on how badly we get our behinds whipped (we have a VERY young team.)

Speaking of being very young, I am going back down to Flagler Estates tomorrow to scout out some more property to buy. Yes, I just might be making mortgage payments when I am 16-years-old. All those years of penny-pinching and saving money appear to be paying off.

Goodbye, my friends. I must get to bed early if'n I want to be up at 5:00 tomorrow morning! Fare thee well!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

FloridaCracker, I feel your pain...

If you read FloridaCracker's Pure Florida blog, you know that he recently completed his huge series of essays required to attain a certain certification for teachers. I am feeling quite overwhelmed right now, just as he felt (so overwhelmed, he actually GAVE UP BLOGGING for a while!!!)

My predicament is very similar in that I have a big story (somewhere around 20-40 pages) due Monday for my creative writing class...And I have a whopping 3 pages written.

The story is supposed to be a kid's story using creative and/or humorous writing as a way to teach specific morals, without the kids even realizing they are being taught. Sounds a lot like Brave New World, eh?

I chose to write about my dog's life on the street, in which she traveled the country on the rails as a "hobo puppy." I have had such a lack of motivation, though, that I do not enjoy working on it that much.

In order to fuel my creative thoughts and help me focus, I had planned on going out to my #1 place of inspiration...The swamp. But........get ready.......are you sure you're ready??......hold onto your seat because you may just fall out of it when I tell you.......I DID NOT FEEL LIKE IT. I know, the end is near. Since when does HurricaneTeen not feel like going out in the swamp?? Ugh, maybe I am just too ready for the school year to end.

So why does a person who loves creative writing so much have so little done, even though he has had a week now to do it? Well, in the past couple months I have been in a writing lull (hence the lack of blog posts), and I do not find myself enjoying it as much as I usually do. However, I feel like I am pulling through, and I think I am ready to get cracking.

My goal is to get ten pages done tonight, bringing my total to 13, and if I don't get that done, I will feel that I let ALL OF YOU down...So if I don't have that amount done by my next post (tomorrow) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE give me some encouragement and/or a scolding. I REALLY need it.

Thank you.

(And I am not kidding...YELL at me. I am going to tell my parents to do the same.)
And the fact that I am working from 10:30 AM to 8 PM, then I have church till 11:30 does not help my situation, either. But I WILL get it done!!
Now I am off to write before I get distracted.
Good night !

Wow...Amazing parallels...

The Old Elm Tree by the River
By: Wendell Berry

Shrugging in the flight of its leaves,
it is dying. Death is slowly
standing up in its trunk and branches
like a camouflaged hunter. In the night
I am wakened by one of its branches
crashing down, heavy as a wall, and then
lie sleepless, the world changed.
That is a life I know the country by.
Mine is a life I know the country by.
Willing to live and die, we stand here,
timely and at home, neighborly as two men.
Our place is changing in us as we stand,
and we hold up the weight that will bring us down.
In us the land enacts its history.
When we stood it was beneath us, and was
the strength by which we held to it
and stood, the daylight over it
a mighty blessing we cannot bear for long.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So What's HurricaneTeen Been Up To?

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have posted.
Time flies faster every day, doesn't it?
Well, I've been conjuring up a lot of schemes lately, so I have been busy...and this is the latest:
  • School
  • Swamp Trekking (post about this soon)
  • Reading
  • Castnet Knitting (post about this soon)
  • Hanging out with friends (post about this soon)
  • Tending to my Datil Peppers (post about this soon)
  • Buying a piece of land in Flager Estates (post about this soon)
  • Starting to work A LOT more to help pay for the above plan.
  • *Trying* to get a second job as a reenactor in St. Augustine...more on this, too.

I am going to get to writing these posts TONIGHT so I can post them in rapid succession (one every two days!)

...But first...I must go study for a precalculus quiz tomorrow and take a shower...School and hygiene take precedence over blogging...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Short Swamp Spulunkering

After school yesterday, I went out into the swamp for a little relaxation time and to break in my new (used :-D) pair of Civil War Reenactor's boots. The green is starting to come back on the trees, and the flowering plants are starting to pop up! It has always been my philosophy to look down at the smaller things in order to see the real beauty in nature. Sometimes while we're out searching for that big cypress tree, or that huge gator, or some other big thing, we pass by the beauty right under our noses. That is what I often like to focus on in these swamp trips, so that is what you will see here...Things we may otherwise overlook, but still hold great beauty. (NOTE: If I am mistaken in my identification of some of these plants, PLEASE tell me. The only way to learn is knowing when you're wrong!!)

Swampbottom Skyscrapers

Net Fern?

Durbin Creek...Still too low for an enjoyable through kayak trip. It's been nearly a year since our last full trip!

There's more pictures...But I am tired...And we are turning forward the clocks tonight...And I am going to church early tomorrow...and then taking a kayak trip on Sixmile Creek. So I must hit the hay. Have a good night!

Friday, March 02, 2007

A POST!! And a great quote.

I know, I know, I know. I've been a bad blogger lately. It's already been over a week?!?! Well, I will be back soon enough; I have just been lazy lately.

My dad pointed me to an article in the Florida Times-Union about one of my favorite bands, Mofro. Mofro hails from north Florida, and they (specifically the lead singer and songwriter J.J. Grey) are Floridaphiles like me. They often sing about Florida and its ongoing destruction, and the destruction of the simple way of life in general. One quote in particular stood out to me, and I thought "I HAVE to post this on the blog!" Here it is:

"I asked Grey how he would describe Mofro's sound and he said, 'I'd have to throw in towel on that one...In the end, I'd just say it's from the South, because that was where I was born and raised. That doesn't make me better than anyone else, and it certainly doesn't make me any worse. It just makes me who I am."

Amen, Mr. Grey.

You can hear some of Mofro's songs here, here, and here (my favorites are "Lochloosa" "Fireflies" and "Florida." Be sure to check those out, and be sure to check out their newly-released CD, Country Ghetto.)

Have a Dixie Day!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Uh oh..."

This past Saturday, a crisp, breezy day in the Osceola National Forest, was the first full day my dad and I spent at the Battle of Olustee Reenactment. We had spent the first part of the morning wandering around the various sutlers, walking part of the Florida Trail, and just enjoying the beautiful weather...more on that stuff later. When the time came for the "unofficial" reenactment (the true, historically accurate one is on Sunday), my dad and I wandered over to the battlefield to see some explosions. We got some good pictures (later!), and had some good times, but we had to leave after about a half hour in order to make it to church on time in Lake City.
On our walk back to the campsite, one of our friends stopped us and said we needed to go back to our campsite immediately. He gave us a reason, but for the sake of suspense, I will not tell you right now.
Farther along on our walk (it's about a 1/3-mile walk back to camp), another one of our friends told us the same thing. We were a little worried.
When we got there, we found our campsite taped off and two US Forestry Service officers standing around our tent. We looked up and saw a 3 to 4-inch diameter tree limb hanging by a thread above our car, swaying in the breeze.
We talked the guys a little bit, took some pictures (none of the ones of the tree limb turned out very well), and headed off to church.
When we returned that night after engorging ourselves on Ken's Barbecue (a delicious local restaurant,) we found two tree limbs laying at the base of the tree. Why we did not get any pictures of those, I do not know.
You'll just have to take my word for it :-D
I will be posting about Olustee over the next few days, so be sure to check back for updates and little "journal entries" about our weekend!

Monday, February 19, 2007


Why did the United States Forest Service tape off our car and campsite at Olustee?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Going Away...

I will be gone until Monday afternoon, as I am headed off to the Battle of Olustee Reenactment for the weekend.

Go ahead and read the story about my swamp treck a couple weeks ago, and as you read, keep in mind that Jimmy wrote it.

I hope y'all have a good weekend! Easterners: STAY WARM!!!!

Swamp Trekking: Jimmy's Story

As y'all know, my friends and I recently went out into the swamp so that I wouldn't go absolutely crazy with cabin fever. We had a very nice 2-hour hike, and Ben and Jimmy (both of whom had never been into this swamp) seemed stunned by the natural beauty of the place, and the way it just seems to drain all stress and the worries of everyday life...and people wonder why I love Florida so much!

Also, as you know, Jimmy has a great talent for writing rather strange stories. If you have not read his reflections on square bagels and toilet paper yet, I highly recommend that you do. I was going to write my own little boring story about this trip, but I decided to use Jimmy's more interesting one instead. I will need to edit some parts out and censor some stuff, as Jimmy has some....ummmm....inappropriate comments in his original post. I like to keep things clean here on the Minorcan Factor.

Today seemed to start off just as any normal day would, but any alert teenager would know that this wasn't just a normal day. Today was a very good day. A day commonly referred to (by the commonfolk) as an "early release day".
And it was good.

As the shortened school day came to an end, Phillip, Ben, HurricaneTeen, and I met up and decided that we should go on a magical journey as to avoid the boredom of having an extra two-three hours to sit at home and do nothing.

We went on a journey to destroy the one ring of power.

As we made our way out to the mystical woods of doom, and settling inner conflict, we made mental note of the horrors which we would have to endure on such a journey, and we prepared ourselves mentally (as well as physically) for the task that lie ahead.

Entering the forest, we immediately made our way up the river at a good speed.
After traveling non-stop at a good speed for 3 days, we decided to travel across the "bridge-log thingy of no return" for absolutely no particular reason. But Phil decided to try something really stupid (hand me my camera), and he ended up losing the camera off the "bridge-log thingy of no return". So me and Phil decided to have a duel to the death.

Me and Phil, having a duel to the death.

Needless to say, I won.

Me, proclaiming my ultimate victory and Phillip's ultimate demise.

So we continued on our merry way, and 27 days later, we ended up at the ancient and mystical landmark that has been referred to as *censored* (NOTE: The name of this place is not really that bad, but it could be considered offensive and derogatory by some, so I have taken the high road on this one)

HurricaneTeen at *censored*. That's me planning his ultimate demise in the background.

Me, revelling in HurricaneTeen's ultimate demise, which can be credited to me.

Phillip, coming back to life (not at all uncommon).

At this point, I decided that this story really isn't going anywhere. So I'm going to put in some cool elevator music and a montage to pass the time. Since this whole writing thing kind of hinders my ability to do so, put on your own elevator music and imagine a montage of me, Phil, HurricaneTeen, and Ben running through a forest.

He almost died. ***TRIVIA*** -------> That's not my foot. (HurricaneTeen note: It's mine :-D I put it there for perspective, but it is still kind of hard to see the 5-inch-deep hole.)

This is the huge cypress tree the HurricaneTeen is always talking about.

HurricaneTeen made friends with Phill's family. (Note: That's an inside joke.)

Ben, going on an angry rampage and destroying the forest in a blind fury.

We finally destroyed the ring. Because we were getting kind of tired and wanted to go home.

Then Phil and I got into a fight about whether it should be legal to put stem cells in your breakfast cereal or not (Phil likes to eat them raw for some reason), so we had another duel to the death.

Me and Phil dueling to the death (again).

Ugh... this story sucks.

Long story short, we destroyed the ring of power and then went to Burger King.

Phil, at Burger King. I don't really know if he was hungry or if he was contemplating the best way to get on the slide on the playground.

So uhh... the ring was destroyed... our stomachs were filled... Middle Earth was safe from the clutches of Sauron (again)... and... uhhh...
There really is no point to this story.

Moral: Don't argue with Jimmy, because he always wins duels to the death.
Cameras + swamp water = unhappy?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Finally, I have posted again. It's not been homework or other work that has kept me from posting lately. I've just been taking it easy, enjoying this relatively easy semester of school. So I encourage you to read the post below about Minorcan Knitting.

I need to get ready for school. It's funny how I get up before 6:00 every morning and still sometimes end up rushing to get ready to leave the house at 7:40 to be at school by 8:30.

By the way, I still need to show ya'll that post about our recent swamp adventure. I'll post that later :-D

Minorcan Knitting

Since this past June, I have been taking up the craft of knitting. Yes, yes, I know, this is usually a woman's pasttime, but you men our there don't have to worry about me being a little "sweet." I am here to officially declare: "MEN CAN KNIT, TOO!"

My knitting consists of home-made "needles," straight, uniform whittled sticks, and monofilament fishing line. I know you may be asking Who the heck's gonna wear a pair of socks made out of fishing line?! Well, you know, it's the latest fashion trend in Hollywood, and....

But seriously, folks, men in my family have been doing this kind of knitting for centuries, and their life practically depended on the produce this art during bad times...which were all too common for them.

Yes, I am speaking of that old tool, the castnet. People across the world use castnets to catch baitfish for their fishing excursions, but my family has always used it to obtain food directly. Why the heck catch fish to use as bait and then have to go catch other fish, when you can just catch fish and eat THEM? Castnets were made by master netcrafters for thousands of years until machine-made nets became common in the past century. You can find castnets in any Wal-Mart or megamart or any marine supply store.

So, wait, HT, why waste your time MAKING the castnets when you can buy them in the store? Well, Phantom Reader, to put it lightly, the castnets you buy in the store are steaming piles of alligator dung compared to a well-crafted handmade net. Yes, Alligator dung. Anybody who has cast both kinds of nets and stepped in a pile of Alligator dung (many native Floridians) will tell you that, yes indeed, the machine-made nets aren't worth the water they are cast into.

NOT TO FEAR CASTNETTERS! There are still a few netmakers out there who can sell you a real castnet, a castnet you will use for the rest of your life with minimal repairs. And the net won't have that little pucker at the top of machine-made nets that just refuses to flatten out.

I am learning the art from a man who is considered to be the master castnet knitter in Northeast Florida (quite possibly all of Florida.) He's an old Minorcan Cracker and one of my cousins, Mr. Stuart Pacetti. Yes, you've heard of him before...I've only mentioned him about 3 or 4 times on this blog already. As a restless retired man, this is one of the ways he keeps himself busy, in addition to his involvement in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and his beautiful Florida Folk guitar picking. Coastal Living did an article on him this past June, and you can read it online here. Be sure to listen to the songs at the bottom of the page, too, especially This Land I Love.

Mr. Pacetti giving me yet another castnet knitting lesson at his house last the Friday before last. He is working on my 6-foot mullet net here, using tools that I carved by hand (very badly, I might add) this past summer.

Currently I am making a 6-foot Mullet net with 1-inch mesh to catch those delicious fish that my family has enjoyed for so long. I will post later with pictures of me working this net down, and with a better description of how and why I do it.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Minorcan Datil Pepper Sauce

I did not have school last Friday, so I spent practically the whole day in St. Augustine, doing some of the stuff I enjoy most.

In the morning I stopped by my grandma's (a.k.a. gram gold shoes...named after the metallic gold shoes that she takes a liking to) to visit. She had been almost completely out of Datil pepper sauce, so we had planned to fix up a batch while I was there. (More on where I went afterward is for a later post.)

Datil Pepper sauce is a recipe known by a few Minorcan families in St. Augustine and other parts of Florida and Georgia. These families tend to keep their recipe closely guarded, so as Florida's culture continues to be isolated and destroyed, so does the knowledge of how to make this delicious condiment. Fortunately, I am hell bent on being a Minorcan, so I guess it won't completely die out as long as I am living...And God knows I may really be the only one in my generation who cares [I guess I'll put a whole post about this later.]

Anyway, more about the sauce itself...Each family's recipe tastes a little bit different; some taste sweet as sugar and others will cause every cell in your body to scream "AGGGGGHHHH HOT!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" Our recipe lies somewhere in the middle, spicy enough for you to get a good kick and to feel it for about a half hour after you finish eating it, but with a nice herbal/sweet type flavor. It can be eaten on pretty much anything except ice cream and cereal, but here are my favorite ways that we Minorcans use them:
  • Fried Shrimp. There is nothing like a nice pile of fresh-caught shrimp breaded and fried up to perfection. Mixing the sauce with mayonaisse makes a perfect seafood dip.
  • Fried Mullet or Catfish. Use the same mixing technique described above.
  • Hamburgers. My favorite burger: Fresh beef (venison will do, too), ketchup, mayonaisse, barbecue sauce, Datil pepper sauce, tomato, lettuce, onion, and cheese. Messy, but the most delicious burger I have ever had.
  • Okra. Okra is delicious dipped in the Datil/mayonaisse mix or just plain Datil sauce.
  • Fried Chicken.
  • Cold or Allergy Remedy. (I guess this isn't really the sauce, but I thought I would share it anyway.) Finely chop up a Datil pepper and spread it on a piece of bread. Eat it, and it will clear up any sinus congestion that you may have. I'm not joking with this one. I have heard stories of a Minorcan doctor that used to prescribe this for a number of ailments...I don't doubt at all that it worked.

Monday, February 05, 2007


10,000,000 Blogger Points if you can guess what we're cooking up here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Obfuscatory Sentence

Obfuscatory Sentence - A long sentence with no apparent meaning, often containing made-up words and a straying from the original topic.

I had to write an "obfuscatory sentence" for my creative writing class this week, and I was so pleased with it I thought I would share it with you. I am delaying the post about the hard freeze because my pre-calculus homework took a long time to do, and I don't have time to write it tonight. (In case you haven't figured it out, I write my posts ahead of time and just publish them early in the morning.) So, now for my obfuscatory sentence...

The capitulating water ventriculated through the incredible bolzaca of sitrentoc trees, through the compenzulation of yufurbenators that bolezened high into the menzaca, through which the flewbers flewbed and the geebers geebed, as the bloibers bleebed and the bloobers bloobed, as if they had some kind of happiness unknown to man, but kind of known to women, especially to liberal femenists who delight in the kind of bleebing and bloobing that so many find beautiful, but so many others find as disgusting as the pile of feces that was left by your little dog in the living room over one week ago, and the smell and the stain that is left behind afterward.


More on this tomorrow morning!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gone Away...

Work, school, moving, cleaning, etc. etc. I REALLY needed to get out into the swamp and I finally did yesterday. More on that later.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


This is a part of an article that appeared in the December 14th issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. It is a truly intriguing and amazing story...

A humpback whale freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines near the Farallon Islands nudged its rescuers and flapped around in what marine experts said was a rare and remarkable encounter. "It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it," James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, said Tuesday. "It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun."

At about 8:30 AM on Sunday, 11 December 2005, a crab fisherman working the open waters east of the Farallon Islands, about 18 miles off the coast of San Francisco, spotted a whale that had become entangled in the nylon ropes that link crab pots. The whale was a female humpback, about 45 to 50 feet in length and weighing an estimated 50 tons, who had likely become snared while traversing the humpbacks' usual migratory route between the Northern California coast and Baja California.

A rescue team was hastily assembled, and by 2:30 PM divers had evaluated the situation and determined that the imperiled whale was so badly entangled in the crab pot lines that the only way to save her was to dive beneath the surface and cut the nylon ropes that were ensnaring her. As James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, reported:

"I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it," said Moskito. "I really didn't think we were going to be able to save it."

Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are 240 feet long with weights every 60 feet, were wrapped around the animal. Rope was wrapped at least four times around the tail, the back and the left front flipper, and there was a line in the whale's mouth. The crab pot lines were cinched so tight, Moskito said, that the rope was digging into the animal's blubber and leaving visible cuts.

Four divers spent about an hour cutting the nylon ropes with a special curved knife, a risky undertaking since a single flip of the gargantuan mammal's tail could easily have killed any of them. Eventually they freed the humpback, a feat that a representative of the Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Marin County described as the first successful attempt on the West Coast to free an entangled humpback.

The divers told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter Peter Fimrite 14 December 2005, that the whale seemingly thanked them for its deliverance once the rescue operation was complete:

The whale floated passively in the water the whole time, Moskito said, giving off a strange kind of vibration. "When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me," James Moskito said. "It was an epic moment of my life."

When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.

"It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it. It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun. It seemed kind of affectionate, like a dog that's happy to see you," Moskito said. "I never felt threatened. It was an amazing, unbelievable experience."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just a "Thank You"

Okay, so maybe this is a desperate way to conjure up something to post, as I am trying to keep a steady record of daily posts going. There are a few things I'd like to say...Let's have fun with the bullets shall we?

  • It is amazing to see my blog grow. Every week I get more and more visitors coming, and it's amazing to see an average of 40+ views a day on here now. It is a cool feeling to know that 15-30 different people a day are reading your ramblings.
  • I am sure Google is partially to thank for all the readers, but I know that my blogging friends are truly to thank. I would like to thank all of you who read my blog, especially those of you who have linked to here. I truly appreciate it.
  • For now, as I cannot think of any particularly interesting post, I really encourage you to take a look at the blogs on my blogroll. It is TOUGH to get on my blogroll, and I only put a few of the blogs I read every day on there. If there is a blog on my blogroll, you know it is a good one.

Thank you all very much for reading, and I'll be sure to have something at least remotely interesting to post within the next couple days :-D

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Okay, I am Breaking the News

If you read my comment on thingfish's Taming of the Band-Aid blog, you already know this news, but just in case...


I am moving. Don't fret, though, I'm staying in my home! I am leaving my house, but staying in my home. I will be moving to somewhere here in my part of Florida...hopefully to a place with less people and less traffic (for now at least.) My parents want a bigger house (God only knows why) and both my mom and I want a more peaceful place than where we are now...we want to live on a swamp.

So, maybe, hopefully, my surroundings will include more of nature than it does now.

For now, though, I apologize for the fact that my posts have been rather un-interesting in the past week or so. I have not been in the swamp for 3 weeks now, so I don't have too many stories to tell you. My dad and I are planning to get out next week, and maybe I can get some interesting stuff for you.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Dream

By: Wendell Berry

I dream and inescapable dream
in which I take away from the country
the bridges and roads, the fences, the strung wires,
ourselves, all we have built and dug and hollowed out,
our flocks and herds, our droves of machines.

I restore then the wide-branching trees.
I see growing over the land and shading it
the great trunks and crowns of the first forest.
I am aware of the rattling of their branches,
the lichened channels of their bark, the saps
of the ground flowing upward to their darkness.
Like the afterimage of a light that only by not
looking can be seen, I glimpse the country as it was.
All its beings belong wholly to it. They flourish
in dying as in being born. It is the life of its deaths.

I must end, always, by replacing
our beginning there, ourselves and our blades,
the flowing in of history, putting back what I took away,
trying always with the same pain of foreknowledge
to build all that we have built, but destroy nothing.

My hands weakening, I feel on all sides blindness
growing in the land on its peering bulbous stalks.
I see that my mind is not good enough.
I see that I am eager to own the earth and to own men.
I find in my mouth a bitter taste of money,
a gaping syllable I can neither swallow nor spit out.
I see all that we have ruined in order to have, all
that was owned for a lifetime to be destroyed forever.

Where are the sleeps that escape such dreams?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Arachnophobes Beware

I found this guy out behind my grandma's garage in October. He had strung his web between the garage and the chainlink fence next to it. For size comparisons, he is about the size of the palm of your hand...slightly larger with his legs spread out.

Banana Spider: I never learned the scientific name, and don't care to look it up right now.

While I was back behind the garage, I saw some old cane poles hanging on the wall. I used to use those old cane poles to catch catfish, bass, and brem out of Bernie's Hole in St. Augustine. They are now bonded (permanently, I believe) to the wall with spiderwebs. I really ought to throw out our fancy rod/reel gadgets in favor of these...There's just something about fishing with a cane pole that makes it special...not to mention easier.