2008 Aug 18 | Selby - rodeo, skiing, fair

One of the fun things about dinosaur and similar snack packs is the randomness; you never know how many of each kind you'll get, so it's always a surprise, as opposed to candy like Starburst, which always have the same number of each type.

Ah, the monkey bars, home to an uncountable number of basketball games.

I actually liked the Selby rodeo more than the Houston one. I didn't have to wait in any huge lines, the snacks were cheaper, and best of all, I could sit right up close and see everything better.

Summer evenings are one of my favorite parts of the midwest. The sights, sounds, and even smells are so peaceful. Plus, you can see the stars extremely well because there is no light pollution like there is around cities. That also makes the occasional meteor shower much better, too.

Ever been painting on a hot day and all of the sudden it gets really cool, really fast? Yeah, that's usually not a good sign. So I poked my head above the roof, and lo and behold, a monstrous thundercloud was rolling in. They had gone around us all morning, but this one intended to hit us head on.

I generally prefer water skiing to snow skiing, especially when the water is calm. It's so peaceful to be out there all alone with the deep water below and the huge sky overhead. Not to mention that falls usually hurt a lot less.

Then again, I can't remember any time I was snow skiing and a snake was coming after me. I was thinking, "If he gets to me, and I let him have a ski to sit on, will he be happy with that and let me swim away? Or will he think I will be a much bigger and therefore better platform to sun himself on and keep coming?" Thankfully I never found out because he never got close enough.

Then we saw this one sunning itself on the road as we were driving up from the dock. As Dad was walking towards it, Mom asked: "Is that a bull snake?" When Dad got a little closer, it curled up, started to rattle, and struck at the tire. Well, that answered Mom's question.

If you're going to have a crack in your windshield, it might as well look like something. I've alway thought this one looked like a turkey.

We went to Aberdeen for the Brown County Fair. When we were at Target, we noticed a funnel cloud start to head for the ground trying to become a tornado. A guy drove up, got out of his truck, saw all of us looking up at the sky, turned and looked at it, got right back into his truck, and drove off. I guess he didn't want it touching down and heading our way when he was in the store buying stuff, which was a fairly intelligent decision. Then again, it never did make it much farther down than this.

A hypnotist was at the fair. Even though they tend to do the same routines, I've always found them funny. Since they were kids at a fair, though, he couldn't be as naughty as ones I've seen in college. Then again, I think self-hypnosis is much more interesting and beneficial.

That's a big rabbit.

And that is one gigantic paper-mache dinosaur.

My favorite part of any regional or state fair is always the drawings, paintings, and pictures. There was one guy at the state fair a few years ago who painted absolutely amazing pictures, but since they were pretty risque, like very well-endowed women in extremely revealing swimsuits, the judges gave him red ribbons instead of the purples he deserved.

I would never have guessed that kids could make their own beer and wine and bring it to the fair. I wonder who gets to judge those?

A neat carving of a tree stump.

It had been raining all day, so the area where the evening concert was taking place was covered in mud. Watching the people trying to walk through it, getting stuck, taking off their sandals, getting their too-long jeans covered in mud, etc ended up providing more entertainment than the singers, though. A few people were smart enough to have worn boots, but not many.

This old lady was brilliant. She put shopping bags over both of her shoes.

These girls gave up trying to avoid getting muddy and danced in the puddles. If they stayed through the whole concert, though, I bet they got pretty cold.

The singers that night were Ashton Shepherd and Kellie Pickler, who had been on American Idol and therefore was the headliner. Most people thought Ashton was actually a better singer, though, while Kellie's show felt more like a modern pop concert, with emphasis on doing pre-planned moves on stage rather than just singing.

I've always thought these signs at Merkel's were ambiguous. Do they mean "park so that the middle of your vehicle and the sign forms a line" or "park so that the signs form a line between you and the other vehicle"? Everyone does the latter, but I still think the signs are confusing.

I appreciate the generosity, especially considering that in Europe you have to pay extra for any type of condiment, but honestly, four packets of honey for six nuggets? Does she really think I am going to use 1.5 nuggets per packet?

These bridges in Iowa (I think) are numbered according to their mileage. For example, this bridge was just north of mile marker 54. Which makes sense, but do they really need to carry the numbering system out to the thousandth place? That's just over five feet. If they back it off one decimal place and "only" go to the hundredth place, that's still just under 53 feet, which should be plenty good enough to identify a specific bridge; after all, I doubt they could even build two bridges within 50 feet of each other. Nerdy engineers.

I was buying a Pepsi at a gas station and grabbed the normal 20oz size. The guy at the counter mentioned that the liter size was on sale and actually cheaper, so if I wanted, he could charge me for the liter, and then I could switch that for the 20oz I had before leaving. I really appreciate it when people do simple little things like that to help others out, especially because most people would have just ignored it.

Then why even have a sign? I guess it kind of makes sense; people would see the construction going on and expect to have to slow down, even if there wasn't any work being done. Still, this sign was a little surreal.