You can click any pic in the blog to get the full sized shot
Every once in a while Dude's dad (me) is struck by this strange impulse to wander the area and search out new things. Unfortunately for Dude this doesn't often involve an intensive search of the local GameStop for virtual fulfilment. What this does often entail is a journey to a previously unexplored section of a wonderful bike/walking trail in the area called the Montour Trail. The Trail is a part of a nearly Nationwide effort to turn old abandoned railroad lines into trails for pudgy suburbanites to experience something of nature in a fairly controlled environment. It hooks up (when some small sections are completed) with the Alegheny Trail which then hooks up with the C&O Canal Towpath to connect Pittsburgh with Washington DC by over 300 miles of non-motorized path. (if you think I'm impressed, you're right) When you consider that railroads don't generally allow grades of more than 2% (2' of rise or fall in every 100') and the area is packed with what the locals call 'mountains' (it's just a bunch of big hills squashed together) you can see why the rail-trail thing could be popular. Not with David.
Dude prefers to get his exercise vicariously through the efforts of 3D heroes battling evil. (Dave's concept of evil is pretty fluid, he sometimes thinks it's funny for the heroes to mow down the civilians) But occasionally I can get him to go with me, and other than the fact that he actually has to walk instead of pushing a button on his controller, he always seems to have fun.... once he's sure we're going back to the car. But due to the wandering bug instilled in me by my wandering parents I often just drive the backroads aimlessly just to see what's around. Sometimes what's around is a WWII Sherman tank in front of a tiny VFW in the middle of some valley town. And like any photo-mad tourist I try to set up a shot only to have my girlfriend take a shot of my butt while I'm staging this completely candid photo-op. I eventually got the hell out of the way, retrieved my camera and took this shot. Completely unaware, until I'd downloaded the next day, that my posterior was preserved for... well posterity. I'm not worried, I'll just carry my camera around with me for a while, so Raine has to watch me closely to make sure I don't reciprocate. Her paranoia will be more fun than actually getting the retaliatory shot anyway.
Anyway, much to Dude's relief the day of gamlessness was over and we headed home, only to leave again nearly immediately for an evening of cards at Raine's uncle's house. Luckily for him Nik was running a Spongebob Squarepants marathon and Raine's mom and uncle are pretty old, so the evening ended pretty early anyway (lucky for me too, they're card-sharps and skinned me for 6 bucks lol) so to make up for my callousness I took him home, bought him some Wendy's burgers and afterwards sent him up to his virtual friends. As he was climbing the stairs, he turned and states/asks, " Jackie (the nurse who watches him during the week) will be here tomorrow." To which I replied, "No, Dad will be here tomorrow." And as he turned to continue walking up the stairs he gusts this huge, heartfelt, sigh and says, "Oh man, this is going to suck!" I guess Jackie doesn't take him on walks in the wilderness or perch him atop implements of destruction to take pictures of him. Go figure.
Dave doesn't actually hold much conversation. It's mostly a series of quotes from movies and games and things that he's been told repeatedly. It's often appropriate to the situation, but often has nothing specifically to do with what you're trying to talk about. ie: 'Oh man, this is going to suck' is something you hear when he's disappointed. And mostly it fits. But it very easily could have been 'This is what a chick feels like' or 'That's going to hurt come Winter' . All of which are quotes from an N64 game called Duke Nuke-em. And that's only one of about 40 games and hundreds of movies he might quote every day. If he were in a 'Spongebob' mood it would have probably been 'Barnacles!'. Learning Dude-speak is almost like learning a foreign language in English. Only there's no Rosetta Stone out there that can teach you the lexicon. I'm just always glad he never got into Barney or the Power Rangers, cause those are two languages I just don't care to learn....