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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Ballsy Beverage

I have a bottle of Orbitz. I bought it in the beginning of 1997 for the purpose of drinking. But, I chose not to drink it after all because I didn't want to lose it's novelty. I now have it for sale on ebay. They've been selling for $30 a bottle. So, time to cash in. The following is two very funny posts I found concerning the drink:

Orbitz was made by Clearly Canadian, who if you'll recall were neck-and-neck with Mistic for jurisdiction over the realm of sodas that posed as fruit-flavored waters. Orbitz was much like regular Clearly Canadian fruit sodas, save for two important differences: It was a lot thicker, and it had tiny candy balls from Jupiter floating around inside it.

Yes, it's that drink -- the one with the balls. While Orbitz drinks would've seemed worlds apart from the competition sheerly on the merits of their oddball flavors (Pineapple Banana Cherry Coconut?), it was the dozens of gelatinous, colored balls floating around each bottle that made it famous. The balls were more or less flavorless, serving only to soak up whatever flavors their liquid homes bore. This was like the kiddy version of the flakes in a bottle of Goldschlager.

I remember buying them in the Woodbridge Mall over in Jersey, for no other reason than the fact that the Woodbridge Mall was the only place around that sold Orbitz. So, I'd buy it, and I'd wander around the mall sucking up piles of Fruit Roll-Up feces with a straw, and only now do I realize what an (edited out) I must've looked like. As the brand boasted screwy flavor varieties that were a real round of Russian Roulette to try, the public refused to push Orbitz past its status on the novelty echelon. It wasn't long before its makers realized that they couldn't survive on the sales of curious five-year-old girls alone.

The drinks weren't carbonated. This and other factors have made Orbitz almost safe to drink if you're still able to find them. Of course, it was hard for me to guzzle down sips of something "Pineapple Banana Cherry Coconut" flavored and not chalk up what I was tasting to an expiration date past, but on the other hand, it didn't kill me. I can't decide if the floating balls look more like pastina or tadpole larva or the end result of trying to grab a piece of Styrofoam out of its container with too much force. There was nothing like Orbitz previous to its debut, and there hasn't been anything like it since. (1996)

The Tasting

To fully appreciate a classy drink like Orbitz, we decided we needed to take "Doggy Style" out of the CD player and put in Schumann's "Kinderszenn op. 15." One amusing side effect of this choice is that like that guy in The Clockwork Orange, we are now programmed to retch whenever we hear classical music.


Ah, neutral buoyancy. Suspended in the beverage (or "solution") are little nasty-looking gelatin globules. They're just floating there. Somehow one would expect them to mill around. They're not really orbiting anything. One might also say (as in fact one does say if one is the inside of the Orbitz cap) that they "defy gravity."


The tasters are of two minds. Nate smells "legitimate citrus." Paul smells "Robitussin." Paul was unable to smell legitimate citrus, even when he fanned his hand over the drink to waft the scent to his nose, like they do in the movies. Remember, there are no right or wrong perceptions in extinct beverage tasting, but one of the tasters spent several years in the food service industry and one of them is Paul.


Putting aside the globules for a moment, let's discuss the basic taste of the syrup. You know when your mom makes frozen lemonade and she puts in one can of water too many? It somehow manages to be a nastier experience than drinking lemonade or drinking water. It's not an average of the two as you'd expect. Orbitz is nasty on the same principle, but the base flavor is Pine Sol. You find yourself wishing they put in more Pine Sol because 1) it would taste better and 2) it would kill you.

The globules are no walk in the park either. Let's face it, when we were kids, we all sampled our own boogers. You know how they melt in your mouth? The wizards at Clearly Canadian have recreated this treasured childhood experience, but they have made it more nasty. Because on some deep subconscious level, we know that these boogers don't come from our body.


It is impossible to savor this drink because after you swallow the fluid, there are little lumps in your mouth that have to be dealt with. Your tongue is too busy trying to push them away... into your stomach, your cheeks... anything to make it another body part's problem.

Another thing about the pellets... they're cold and clammy.


The whole experience of drinking Orbitz is deeply gross in an inexplicably Hannibal Lecter-like way. You feel like you're eating something that you have no business to be eating, like somebody's sinus.

The first article was a snippet out of a larger blog called Dead Sodas and Old Soda Pop Cans. It's pretty funny but has the occasional cuss word so beware.

The taste test and review was from a hysterical blog called Extinct Beverage Tasting: Raspberry Citrus Orbitz. There are lots more like it as the author has made it a recurring blog theme. I look forward to reading more of them. And, as far as I can tell, he/she keeps has a cleaner vocabulary so I recommend it.

Friends for a Season

It's Thursday. Last week was my last week with DEI. It doesn't seem like I worked there for very long, but I suppose that the reason for that is probably due to my having worked at SRC for as long as I did. Comparatively speaking, the last 18 months of working at DEI hasn't been too long at all. But, 18 months?! That's a long time, especially when I started entertaining thoughts and plans of doing something else two months into that.

The only thing that's kind of sad about leaving DEI is the fact that I'll likely never see or talk to most of the people there ever again. These are people that I've spent an average of 48 hours a week with for the last year and a half. I know this to be true because of what happened with SRC, high school, and some of my old churches. It's not just me, either. It's true for everyone.

Whether we want to admit it or not, the only reason that we are "friends" with some of the people we are "friends" with is because we go to the same places. Our relationship is better defined by the term "co-worker", "alumni", and... well... I'm not sure what to call our friends at church other than just that.

Maybe that's just it. Maybe it's all in how we introduce them or talk about them. If someone mentions their "friend at church", "friend at work", or "friend from school" they are probably really meaning how they are (or were) friends with them in those places but not necessarily anywhere else.

If this is true, then the definitive question that separates the friends from the "friends" would be: Do you purposefully hang out with or contact these people outside of the places in which you see them on a regular basis? Because, I have quite a few friends that I hang out with outside of church that I go to church with. And, to my best recollection, I refer to them as "friends", as opposed to "friends at church." Likewise, I have lots of "friends from school" but only a couple of friends that I also went to high school with. Is this making sense?

Is it okay to be friends with people for a season? Do you feel guilty for not contacting certain people? Have you ever been offended by someone because they hadn't contacted you? Was someone ever offended because you failed to contact them? In the meantime, check back soon, because I'm going to come up with a mathematical equation that you can do to let you know how many friends your particular lifestyle can support. It'll be fun! I love math!

Out With The Old, In With The New

It's spring and newness is in the air. Jodi and I are entering into an entirely new season.

The best new thing is our new beautiful baby girl. She was born last Sunday and weighed in at seven pounds flat. She's been such a joyful addition to our family. The boys have been excited and obviously love their little sister. Today is actually Jodi's due date, but we're glad to be able to say that we're done with all that delivery business and can just sit back and enjoy what Jodi's been cookin' up these last nine months. Her name is Ezra Montagne which means 'God's helper on the Mountain'. Montagne was Jodi's maternal grandmother's maiden name. In French, from which it hails, it means 'mountain'. It was, no doubt, originally pronounced "mon-tan" but when Jodi's family emigrated to the U.S. the name got Americanized, in pronunciation but not in spelling, into "mon-tang". So, to honor the American side of the Montagne family (since they're the only ones we really have ever known anyway), we will be pronouncing her name as "mon-tang".

We also sold the van and bought a new car. A 2006 Mazda 5, to be more specific. I listed the van on Craigslist and watched it pull out of the driveway just under two hours later. Goodbye van. You served us well. On the other hand, we welcome our new car with open arms. It fits our family well and gets us around for a whole lot less gas than we've been burning. It's 12 years newer and about 240,000 miles less driven.

The third new thing is a new job. I'm thankful for the job that I've had at Diesel Exchange for the past year and a half, but I've known all along that it wasn't the place for me. Of course, I'll miss some of the people there, but I couldn't be more ready to leave for good. Next Friday is my last day. Then, it's on to First Degree Fitness. In the old days I would've been too fearful to leave the job I had and too nervous to start over somewhere, but I'm getting a lot better at letting God lead me these days and not giving in to fear. It's comforting to know that I'm not in control of this. I know that that sounds backwards to some people, but it's very much true for me. God is more successful at my career than I am anyway so I don't mind letting Him be the provider.

The last new thing on the list is a new phone. I officially switched over to Verizon, got rid of AT&T for good, upgraded from a dumb phone to a very smart Droid X, am very happy with the change, and am even going to save hundreds of dollars over the course of the next eleven months that I would have been with AT&T had I not paid the early termination fee to get out of my contract. In two months, the savings pay for the termination fee! I'm just glad that I figured this out now. Sometimes I figure out these things after the fact and wish that I would have been smarter and richer because of it later on.

So, what has been new with you? Any new discoveries, new kids, new jobs, new pets etc.?

Somebody's Gotta Say It

Osama's dead. Everyone's talking about it. The media can't shutup about it. It's somehow the most satisfying news the U.S. has received in 20 years. People are literally singing in the streets.

Really? Am I supposed to feel like justice has been served by this death? Am I to feel more safe? Am I to sing praises to my country's government for this vengence-quenching gift? Am I to feel closure now?

Where are the answers to the questions that have been asked a thousand times? Where is the truth that is being obviously hidden from us all? Sure, there was a time when I was in support of the U.S. hunting down Osama. I, too, once blindly believed the media and our government's immediate and unwavering assessment of the events on 9/11. I, too, needed a scapegoat on which to vent my pent-up emotions. I, too, failed to consider that there may have been much more to the story in which we were all being given.

It all feels like the end of a really good suspense movie. Except that in this film the evil plan gets accomplished, the heroes never got cast, and we are all just the extras in the background along for the ride with no individual faces, personalities, or opinions. We're the lemmings who need a hero because we're too weak, too stupid, and too afraid.

Here are my top questions, though there are thousands more:

1) Was flight 93 shot down? It certainly didn't crash like we were all told. The "crash site" had no plane in it. It had no debris in it, either.

2) Why were we lied to about how the World Trade Center buildings came down? More evidence points to the use of explosives than anything else. There wasn't even anything wrong with WTC building 7 yeet it collapsed into its own footprint at freefall speed. Sorry, folks, nothing but controlled demolition can do that. That's just simple physics. To believe anything else is either willful ignorance or lemming stupidity. Nothing falls toward the earth at freefall speed along the path of most resistance let alone buildings constructed of concrete and steel.

3) For what reason (other than obvious cover-up) did the government haul the remaining pieces of WTC buildings to an undisclosed location only to scrap it all without allowing anyone other than themselves to view it all? Wasn't it all crime scene evidence and therefore illegal to dispose of, tamper with, or remove from the scene for that matter?

4) Why were the families of 9/11 victims given compensation but with the clause that excludes them from being able to raise litigation against or call for any investigation of the government's actions surrounding the events of 9/11? And why did the families of the victims who refused to accept compensation so that they could raise litigation against the government have their cases consolidated into one court case that was simply dismissed?

These are just four questions. There are lots more. None of these questions have been answered by either federal, state, or local governments. They have continued to avoid, distract from, and even silence those who have spoken out on the apparent untruths that our government has relied upon to maintain the secrecy of the events and the truth of how they really occurred.

As far as closure goes, we'll never really have it with 9/11. The death of Osama doesn't even begin to change that. For all the lies that we have been told, what makes us so sure that Osama had anything to do with it at all? Make no mistake, justice will be served. There's no doubt about that. But, it won't be in this life and it won't be by us.

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