Sunday, December 28, 2014

Laying Plans

It's that time of year where every blogger worth their salt puts together either an (A) Best of 2014 or (B) Fresh set of goals for 2015.

If you've paid attention to my musings (or lack there of) in 2014, you will probably agree when I sum up the last year by simply saying: "Been there, done that.  Moving on".

So, what is there to look for from MacLoosh Chronicles in 2015?  Who the f#*k really knows?? 2014 certainly didn't go as planned, so I am a little gun-shy on predictions.  I can offer this:  I do have a fairly major goal in mind though.  To get my daughter outdoors more.

Sound's pretty simple, eh?


Uh....yeah, Right....  "Simple".

Having just passed mile-marker 44 on the highway of life, I have learned one or two lessons along the way.  Of those lessons, two stand out consistently.

The first is all about expectations.  It occurs to me that when we set appropriate expectations, we find ourselves enjoying the ride much more than if we have set unrealistic expectations in the first place.  This has relevance in EVERY single thing we do.  (Admittedly, I am better at this than I used to be, but still a work in progress)

The second lesson is actually one that I wear on my shoulder as a constant reminder (a tattoo).  It is to be balanced.  Sometimes this is much harder than it seems as being balanced can occasionally be a minute by minute affair.  Hence the permanence of my constant reminder.

Perhaps I should adjust my expectations about balance???   Geeesch.......We'll have to save *that* discussion for another time (when I have enough whiskey on board to REALLY peel back the layers).

Where I'm headed with all of this psychobabble is that in order to get my daughter outside more (with the secret hope of turning her on to flyfishing): I have adjusted my expectations of how to go about it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to change her.  I wouldn't want that and she wouldn't accept me trying to do that. Instead, I'd like to introduce more of my love of nature and the outdoors in hopes that she will develop her own love of the natural world.  I'm hoping a balanced approach (give a little / get a little) will be the ticket.

Today, a deal was struck.  She was itchy to burn up a gift card to "Justice", and I wanted to take a hike and scout a trout stream I've not fished yet.  She was to go for a hike, and not mention going to Justice once.  In return, I would endure the hell of sitting patiently in a (pre) teeny bopper mecca while she found the perfect thing to spend that gift card on.

The hike exceeded my expectations.  We had an absolutely wonderful time.  I put her in a pair of polarized sunglasses so she could see the fish in the water, and we set about business trying to scare up and pester every single trout on the stream. It's the off season, so we were safe from pissing off any nearby anglers. Along the way, a couple of really neat experiences fell into our laps.

One was a mouse who had fallen into the water (NOT by our doing).  We noticed him floating along, nearly dead and hoped to see a big trout rise up and take him.  The trout never came, but that didn't stop us from watching carefully and following him as far down stream as we could.

The second was an abandoned birds nest.  It was enough to generate somewhere in the range of 523 questions; which I fielded to the best of my abilities.

In between dead mice and abandoned birds nests, we just had fun.  She is 8, so the question topics ranged from whether or not a recent nick from shaving my face was healing properly?  to whether or not I like waffles?  (and why?)  Most importantly, the conversation was light and fun.

As promised, after our hike we set off for the mall.  The stream was a full 1/2 hour drive away from Madison, so we sang along to the radio and jabbered aimlessly about everything and nothing at all.

Once we hit the mall, we decided that we should get a little bit of food.  Neither of us had eaten lunch, and my wise old soul of a daughter suggested that before she took me to Justice that I should have some food in my belly to keep me from getting crabby.

A smart move on her part.  I can be an ugly SOB when hungry and shopping.  Satisfied, we made our way to the store. To hold up my end of the deal, I dutifully held her coat and found a place out of the way to watch and wait.

While there, I was stared up one side and down the other by multiple pre and early teenage girls.  They hated me.  I could tell by the snotty look, tilt of their head, and snap of hair as they turned on their heels to go the opposite direction.  They didn't hate me because I had done anything, but because they didn't know what else to do.  I suspect they hate everyone.

After one particular shopper had done this more than once, I *might* have given her a dose of her own medicine.  With a single look that told her I know that she is just insecure with herself, and followed up with an almost imperceptible smirk, I watched her crumble behind steely eyes (decorated in too much eyeliner) and whisk away.  She never came back to that area of the store.

This didn't go unnoticed by the other father who had sought refuge in the same area as me.  He congratulated me on having the guts to do what he had wanted to do.  I mentioned that I had been born a little asshole, and had simply gotten bigger over the years.  As we talked, we decided that if Justice REALLY wants to make a lot of money, they should install a bar in the back of the store.  A place where dads (and moms) could take refuge from the Taylor Swift set with a stiff drink.

My daughter eventually found a range of items she needed and I helped her narrow the selection down to the $25 she had on her gift card.

Happy as a little clam, she suggested we head home.  We left the mall and made for the UnForest, feeling pretty smug about having struck a workable deal for the day.



In all, we are off to a good start, even though we haven't officially hit 2015.  Balance and realistic expectations will surely set the tone.


Til later,

-M





Saturday, November 22, 2014

The irony of vermin

The end of the Wisconsin inland trout season and fall is classically a tough time for me.

Usually, when September rolls around, I find myself in a panic of sorts. I count the days left in the season and match them against my work and family schedule. Then I try to figure out when I can sneak out to the stream for a last ditch attempt at catching troutzilla.  Despite my efforts, it just never seems like there is enough time to fish all those streams I never got around to fishing earlier in the season, and I usually end the season feeling unsatisfied.

Except this year.  I won't say that I was glad to see the season close, but I will say that it didn't bother me the way it has in years past.  In fact, the entire season was a touch on the anti-climatic side of things, and that doesn't seem to be weighing too heavily on me either.

What does that mean?  What is the lesson there?  Or....is there one?  In yet another departure from my norm, the answers to those questions don't really seem to matter.  I've been busy.  It's that simple.  I'm old enough to recognize that some years are like that, and frankly, fishing is something that will ALWAYS play an important role in my life.

So...what have I been doing with my time?  Oh, you know....among other things, I have been mouse hunting.  I started a giant re-organization of my garage, complete with a purge of a whole pile of stuff that I had no idea I was still holding on to, and certainly didn't need.  In the midst of this project, a small colony of mice was discovered inside my garage.  By the looks of things, they weren't too deeply entrenched, and were just starting to get themselves settled in, so I set to the task of taking care of the infestation.

In classic MacLoosh form, it didn't go exactly as planned.  Please see exhibit A:


Yeah, yeah.  Don't judge my messy workbench...

After some technical difficulties, I did manage to thin the population considerably.  There may be one still milling about, but I am on his trail and will have everything buttoned up before long.  As for the garage project, I'm pretty satisfied with the end result.

The irony in all of this, is that after a spirited battle with the local vermin, I stumbled upon S.C.O.F's  Tommy Lynch's recent Fur and Feather Matinee, where he ties a kick ass mouse pattern.  It is also coincidental that when I did actually go fishing last season, my time was spent swinging big streamers, poppers, and mouse patterns.

Meaty flies are my latest obsession.

As if to offer proof that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I set to the task of tying my own version of the white bellied mouse, and drew from my own recent experiences with the real McCoy when picking color.  Now, I have to wait for a very long time before I get to fish it...but I feel certain that when this baby hits the water...I'd better be holding on tight.


Perhaps most importantly, despite last season's lack-luster amount of time on the water, I am already getting stoked up for 2015.  It's gonna be good folks.  I can feel it.

Til later,

-M

Friday, October 17, 2014

The old flame


I'm gonna do it.  So help me GOD....I'm gonna do it.

I have every intention of re-kindling a forgotten love.  It has been a long time, but I think that allowing this time between us to continue would be wrong on several levels.

What I am talking about here is the special kind of relationship that I never should have let go.  I'm confident that my life has NOT been better for allowing to let this romance slip away over the years.  We had this great chemistry....you know, the kind that just brings out the best in a person.

To make igniting this old flame even more rewarding, I have Mrs. MacLoosh's full support. (Gotta love that girl!!)

My beloved Cannondale in it's current incarnation as a single speed
I suppose we all have these things in life that we come back to again and again and again.  In my life, as most of you know, fishing has played a big role.  My love for it is something that never quite goes away. Over time, my fishing activity has ebbed and flowed in manic fits that on the surface probably appear as fads.   A fad it is not.  I have been a fisherman all my life, and I will continue to be a fisherman until the day I die.

Along these same lines, I find my bicycles and the sport of cycling.  In fact, my love affair with bicycles is even more deeply rooted into my psyche than fishing.  I have, what might be described as a "collection" of bikes.  If you were to line all of them up, to some degree they would provide visual cues to my own history.  A timeline of sorts. Cycling has not been a fad either.  It is more than just a few bricks that make up foundation of who I am.

Unfortunately, for the last several years, I have all but ignored my bikes.  Why?  I can offer a range of excuses from having blown a knee, chasing and attaining my "dream job", getting married, buying a house, having 2 kids, and so on and so on....   Each one of those things is not uncommon in most peoples lives.  I just happened to have been dumb enough to have believed the excuse that I was "too busy" to get out for a ride.  There always seemed to be something "more important" to do.  As a result, I lost touch with one of the great loves of my life.

Not coincidentally, my health has also suffered from lack of cycling.  It was inevitable when I gave up 50 mile weekend rides for a comfy spot on my reclining sofa that I gained weight.  I wasn't surprised, and frankly, it was easy.  Perhaps the easiest thing I have ever done. I mean really...watching TV and drinking a beer or two (maybe more...) on my limited down time was a hell of a lot easier than suffering through a ride on a windy, drizzly day.  When I thought about spending an hour with burning legs and screaming lungs, I shuddered, and then cracked another beer.

If ya gotta suffer, may as well do it in a place like this.
Military Ridge Trail at Blue Mound State Park.
While my physical well being declined, I honestly think my mental status has taken the brunt of the suffering.  Don't get me wrong, my wife, and kids have brought me more love and joy than I could ever have imagined, but in the back of my mind, there has been something amiss.  It came out in subtle ways.  Low self esteem here, a little depression there, and the nagging feeling that the best was already behind me.  Self pity sets in and It's a bit of a downward spiral that feels impossible to recover from.  As it turns out, the solution was right in front of me (well...hanging in my garage...): I MISS RIDING MY BIKES.

I'd love to tell you that I am a recovering cyclist.  That I eat right every day, fuel my body for daily, grueling training rides on my triumphant return to competitive bike racing...  But that would be a lie.

Klein.  Handcrafted science. The "new" kid on the block, despite the fact that it is going on 13 years old...
As I sit here in the afterglow of a wonderful fall ride today, my legs are cramping, my knees hurt, my ass is sore from an uncomfortable saddle and I am painfully aware that today's final mileage and average speed were a far cry from days gone by.  But at this time, I am quite OK with my efforts.  In fact, I feel pretty damn good about the whole deal...and at least I got out. In doing so, I might have accidentally awakened an old familiar feeling.

While I do harbor thoughts of entering an occasional bike race in 2015, I am going to be realistic about this.  I just want to ride more.  That's all.   Start slow, and maybe...just maybe...I can rekindle that old flame again.

The end of the driveway.  One hell of a long distance.
All I know right now is that the hardest part of a bike ride is making it to the end of my driveway.  If I can get that far, I might just have a chance.

Til later,

-M


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jimmy Buffet would approve


 "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, god would permit us to be pirates" 
                                                                                                                                    -Mark Twain

They are out there.  I know this because they have always been there.  Doing what they do, while most of us are caught up in the trappings of day-to-day survival in the suburban jungle.  Most of the time, we just aren't paying attention.  Or...more likely...those of us living our cozy suburban lives simply don't associate with them.

But...they are there.  Always there.  Proving that pirates are alive and well, and living among us. Sometimes hiding in plain sight.

This is especially pleasing to me since I have always loved pirate stories and the idea that people can live outside of the rules.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Last weekend, my son and I took our annual camping trip.  ManCamp 2014.  The rules are simple: (1) You do not talk about ManCamp. (2) You do not talk about ManCamp.  (3) No girls allowed. (4) No agendas allowed.  (5) Whatever happens, Happens.  And finally, (6) You do not talk about ManCamp.


So as we drove back to our campsite after a bike ride around the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, we decided to check out a potential fishing spot below Mississippi River Lock and Dam 5A.


In doing so, we did not find the fishing area we were looking for. Instead, we were at a floating saloon in the fast water below the dam.  Complete with a bartender who's skin looked like it has been treated with formaldehyde from years of soaking up nicotine and alcohol.

Oh, and two drunk Amish guys who were fishing for panfish from one of the floating barges. (I did have to clarify to my son that NO, they weren't leprechauns--which opened up a whole sidebar conversation about whether or not the Amish were allowed to drink at bars...)



Gaining access to the bar was an exercise in balance.  Literally.  As my son crossed the railroad tracks and looked down the slope to the water, he asked (prior to walking the first plank) "Dad?  Is this safe?" With the grin of a man who just realized what we had found, I said "NO.  Not even a little bit.  Keep going and DON'T FALL IN".


As soon as we were in view of the back window of the bar, we were under the watchful eye of the bartender. I had the distinct feeling that she carefully watched to see who might be coming over the hill so as to give advanced warning if needed.  The bar, turned out to be several barges, lashed together with a shack on top of the largest one.  Each barge moves independently due to the turbulent current. Traveling from barge to barge was accomplished by crossing a piece of steel grate, old wooden dock, piece of plywood between them to create a "bridge" or simply just jumping.

As an act of courtesy, we went into the bar to ask if it was OK to look around.  Inside the bar was exactly like you would expect.  Dark. Dingy, Dirty, and with the character that only an outlaw saloon can provide.


 As we entered, the few patrons sitting at the bar stopped their conversations and watched to see how this would play out. The barkeep, already clearly uncomfortable with the presence of a minor at the bar, was curt and direct.

Me: Is it OK if we look around a little bit?
BarKeep: He got a life jacket?
Me: No.  Sorry.  He will be right at my side and I will be careful with him.
BK: Well I guess....you are already here...

At this point, I figured that I should buy a drink. All things considered...it only seemed right.

Me: Can I get a Bud Light?
BK: (Leveling a cold stare at me) Miller Lite or Busch Light.  PICK.
Me: (Suddenly feeling intimidated by her) ...Uh...Busch Light.

The bartender set a can of Busch Light on the bar in front of me--never said a word.

Me: Thanks.  Um...I don't suppose you have a rootbeer for my boy?
BK: (Leveling off on my son) Coke or Diet Coke.  PICK.
Gabe: (In an almost imperceptible whisper) Diet Coke. Please.
BK: $3.50

As we checked the place out and stayed long enough to watch a grain barge pass through the locks on the opposite side of the channel (and finish my Busch Light), it occurred to me that that we were at a modern day pirate bar.


This saloon exists on the fringes.  In a place (physically detached from land and metaphorically detached from the norms associated with land based civilization) where rules and regulations simply don't exist.  It appears to be run by people who are clearly not interested in attracting the mainstream public.  My hunch is that most of the local population knows it is there, but choose other, more homogenized establishments to have a casual cocktail.  I also suspect that what happens at the Dam Saloon stays at the Dam Saloon, and if those walls could talk--my gawd the stories they could tell...

I feel lucky to share this short chapter of my life.  Not only did I get a (needed) re-confirmation that pirates and pirate bars do exist.  My son also realized that he was visiting a place that is completely off the grid he has known all his life.  And...he loved it.


Because of the Dam Saloon...ManCamp 2014 goes into the books as the year I was able to take my son to his first pirate bar.  I am proud to have exposed him to the type of place he doesn't normally get to see.  (I also think his immune system is now just a bit stronger...) It gives me hope that places like this will continue to exist and with a little bit of luck, he will have an appreciation of the places most people wouldn't think of frequenting.

Maybe, when he gets old enough he will seek out other pirate bars every once in a while.  And wouldn't it be great if someday he introduces his own kids to the places nobody talks about.

Til later,

-M


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sometimes it's not the fish...

More often than not, what you take away from the stream is much, much more than just the experience of catching fish.



Til later,

-M

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Guilty Pleasures

Listen up.

I'm going to publicly admit this once.  Just once.  Then, I will disavow any knowledge of this post. Period.

I like disco.

I usually mask this weakness with other testosterone filled musical interests like Disturbed, Pop Evil, Volbeat and Bobaflex.  But the fact remains, when I hear certain disco music, I sing along. Ah hell, sometimes I even dance (if I've had enough dancing juice).  Here's the thing: I know you sing and dance along to disco too.  Deny all you want, be a hater if you think it will make you look cool, but I know there isn't a single one of us who doesn't occasionally (secretly) indulge.

So when my wife and I ended up in the custody of free VIP seating to see ABBAFAB (*THE* ABBA tribute band) open up for the Village People , we jumped at the chance.  As an added bonus, my parents watched the MacLooshkins for the night.  Hells to the Yeah!

To our surprise, my wife and I found ourselves so close to the stage for both acts that we could nearly touch them as they performed.  We also found ourselves having the time of our lives.  More fun in fact, than I have had at a live show in a LONG, LONG time. So after an evening as fun filled as Mrs. MacLoosh and I had, the need to share is overwhelming.

First out of the chute:  Me with the ABBAFAB girls-who by the way, put on an an amazing show! And yes, I'll freely admit, I was temporarily smitten with them (the dumbass grin on my face kind of gives me away...).


My wife was completely comfortable with this because she had her own little crush going on with a couple of the boys from the Village People.  Here she is rockin' a candid with Mr. Felipe Rose.


As final song, and after an excellent performance they, of course, played YMCA.  In a fit of pure genius, and I suspect after (literally) decades of watching drunk people do it completely wrong, they offered an "official" tutorial on how to do the hand moves.

Thankfully, I was smart enough to realize before the Village People started their set (but unfortunately after ABBAFAB's set) that my GoPro was in my truck.

I'm betting that the adrenaline junkies who invented GoPro cameras never imaged that a middle aged man would take their product and use it for something as "uncool" as a live tutorial on the proper hand moves for a disco song that is older than they are...but hey...the genie is out of the bottle.

Enjoy.


Til Later,

-M

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mid Summer Update

I am proud to tell you that I have been living up to my own standards lately.  I have unplugged to an extent that I can live with (which is to say I am not 100% internet free...but my activity is greatly reduced).

In doing so, I have also been tackling my son's growing addiction to all things electronic and "connected".  It isn't coming easy.  He is still tied to his video games and tablet in ways that really bother me, but the simple truth is this:  He is still young enough for me to exert my influence whether he likes it or not so there have been some fairly severe battles.  My wife is completely on board with this, so we have been spending an absurd amount of time outside as a family...Call it an intervention.

It has been nothing short of wonderful.

As a direct result of all of the above...I have not been writing at all.  I'm OK with that.  I am still working through some ideas for the future of this page, and besides-winter will come soon enough and there will be plenty of time to write then.

For the time being, here are some of our summer highlights so far.

A week at a cabin like this will d wonders for a man's soul.

That's right.  A giant transformer.  Right in the middle of Wisconsin.
The Mecan River.  These waters haunt me.
A little bit of driftless magic from one of those times where I fled civilization before someone got hurt.
(This fish was NOT caught on the Mecan)
Trout the size of dolphins.  State fish hatchery, Wild Rose Wisconsin.
I even rode some singletrack for the first time with my boy
(after YEARS of neglecting my Mountain Bike)
Proud dad posing with 2 of 3 of his favorite hiking partners (Mrs. MacLoosh took the picture)
An important milestone for the boy.  First solo night in a tent.
The baying coyotes, raccoon(s) the size of black bears and complete lack of WiFi didn't even deter him.
Til later,

-M

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bad JuJu

Forgive me.  Cause I'm bout to have a "moment".

I try to be fairly understanding.  I do.  I really do.  However, every once in a while I bump into a person (or in today's case: People) who test my resolve.  What's worse, I ran into these pricks on a trout stream.

For the record, trout streams are my sanctuary.

It went like this: my son had a soccer game in Spring Green.  In a fit of pure genius, I decided that since the game was so close to one of my favorite streams, that we should go fishing afterwards. G was on board and stoked to wet a line. So after a 3-2 victory for the Cosmos, we bolted for the stream.

On arrival, we hit the first hole, found rising fish and brought a couple to hand.  Things were going well until we noticed a car slow down along the road with 3 guys gawking out the window. They drove past slow enough to cause both G and I to say to each other "what a bunch of weirdos", but we didn't let it interrupt our fishing.

The car went past again, slowly, this time in the opposite direction and I thought to myself "Good.  Go back where you came from..." because I was starting to get suspicious.  Then, it came past a 3rd time.  This time it pulled over about 200 yards in front of where my truck was parked.  I watched carefully as I fished.

Two guys got out and noisily rigged up some spinning rods.  I relaxed a little.  At least they were fishermen.  Once done, they made their way to the water.  The problem was that they hit the stream less than 50 yards in front of me.  Never acknowledged G or I, and plowed into the water with all the stealth of a rock slide. They fouled the whole fucking stream. The rising fish were put down and silt clouded the downstream water.

Asshole #1 and #2
Frustrated, G and I decided to head back downstream a few holes to find some water that could still be fished.While there, we caught a couple more fish before we noticed a fisherman coming upstream toward us.  He occasionally threw a lure, but seemed to be in a bit of a rush as he made his way upstream.

Before we knew it, he was standing inside of my personal bubble (which is admittedly larger than most people's bubble, and even bigger on a trout stream) and jabbering about his buddies upstream and how he just really likes wading the streams. It was clear that attempts to have conversation with him was just an interruption in his dialogue as he told us that fly fishing was "doing it the hard way".  Irritated as I was, I did my best to be cordial for no other reason than to keep my son from seeing the darker side of my personality. Internally, I felt violent towards the interloper.

Then, to my absolute astonishment, he stepped into the water 20ft in front of me and proceeded to wade his stupid ass right though a bend pool with an obvious lunker structure along the right side (where I had been watching a good fish rise and had been working my way towards it).  He got to the head of the pool, and then started to cast upstream to a shallow riffle (where there the water was too shallow to allow for any fish to feed).

Asshole #3
I started to unravel.

My son noticed the change in my demeanor and in an act of pure diplomacy, quickly suggested that we go back to the truck and drive upstream to a bridge pool we have fished before.  "Come on dad, the fishing is better up there anyway".

My mood was degrading at a rate that has gotten me into trouble in the past, and I was sliding towards the dark side.  Somehow I managed to keep just enough composure to follow my boy's suggestion and we walked back to the truck and left.

Among the things I noticed on the way upstream...was that there was only one other fisherman out there. It made me even more mad since these dickheads could have gone and fished anywhere in the 1.5 mile stretch of water between where my son and I were and the bridge, but they chose (key word there...they made a conscious decision to fish right on top of us) to crowd the water in that area.

I did manage one more fish by the bridge, but my groove was gone.  In fact, all I really wanted to do was to go back down stream and shove my 5wt up each and every one of their asses.

Instead, we packed it in for the 1.5 hour drive home.

As I drove, I calmed.  I realized that in all of my years fishing I have only run into things like this a small handful of times, and I am incredibly grateful for all of you out there who have both manners and a genuine love of the stream and the sport of trout fishing.


As for the 3 amigos...Thanks to the magic of the internet and license plate look-up, everyone can know who you are.

Fellow driftless fishermen, when you see this car on the side of the road--expect to meet others on the stream who will push your limits with poor etiquette and worse manners.

Til later,

-M


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bad Hooks and Angry Snakes

Sometimes, the temptation to cut corners is just too great.

Case in point: I spent a lot of time this winter tying streamers.  Instead of buying streamer hooks, I used donated bait-fishing hooks that seemed to be roughly the right size.  I have also spent most of my early season stripping those streamers through waters that should bring good fish.

The fish were there and responded appropriately.

So working off of several long distance releases (LDR's) of good fish, it occurs to me that the colors, patterns and presentation are all drawing strikes, but something is keeping those fish from making it to my net.  Despite my Illinois public school education, even I can figure out that it is most likely that final link between me and the fish: the hook.

A quick stop at Orvis yesterday on the way home from a full day of missing fish, and I am ready to spend some time in the lab re-working my entire streamer collection with the right hooks.

In the mean time, after a fella has missed as many fish as I have, it should be understandable that my attention turned to tormenting the only animal on the stream that is more angry than me.  Enjoy.  I did.


Til later,

-M

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Risen

Yeah. I've heard that the earth's magnetic fields are going to flip anyway...so why carry on the charade any longer? (see previous post if this reference escapes you)

Who was I kidding anyway? I like to write. I've missed this blog something fierce. I didn't actually turn my computer off...I couldn't do it.  I was too chicken to actually go through the withdraw symptoms of no internet, so I turned into an anonymous creeper.  Instead of writing, I aimlessly bounced from page to page and have nothing more than damaged eyesight to show for it.

And after it all; I am still as screwed up in the head as I was in January when I had my little snit and stepped out for a break.

Soooo....yeah.....like that awkward moment when a person comes slinking back after a complete meltdown and wants everything to go back to the way it was: here I am.  Back. As if nothing ever happened.

As for the title of this post: Yah. Sorry 'bout that too.  I'm not an overly religious man.  Neither am I intentionally trying to take away from, or make fun of Easter.  However. It strikes me as comical (and more than just a little bit ironic) that today is the day that I chose to resurrect this blog.

Til later,

-M




Friday, January 17, 2014

Adjusting my compass

I recently (re)posted on Facebook an article that I initially found on The Trout Underground about how a dog will line itself up longitudinally with the north or south pole while dropping a deuce.  The premise of the article was decidedly scientific and makes the argument that this behavior is a response to the dog's sensitivity to the earth's magnetic fields.  The article can be read HERE.

While this has provided me with endless discussion, and an unnatural fascination of watching my dog shit all over the yard, it has also resonated with me on a philosophical level.

At the risk of anthropomorphism to an extreme degree, it occurs to me that most dogs are naturally "happy".  Could that happiness be a result of having a daily adjustment or re-calibration to their "compass"?

It's at this point that I should admit that I spend a LOT of time inside my own mind.  (Mrs. MacLoosh is shaking her head in agreement right now...)  It's a personality flaw, what can I say?  I have tried and failed more times than I can count to calm what appears to be a natural tendency towards a troubled mind.


A conversation with a trusted friend today led us into a discussion of "Legacy".  He seems to be fairly clear in his understanding.  I, on the other hand, have been rocked by the seemingly simple concept of "legacy".  More specifically, what will be the legacy I leave my kids with?  This question by itself wouldn't normally be enough to plunge me into the depths of such deep self examination.  I'm not THAT fragile and every parent worth their salt will ask this question of themselves at some point.  But, this question and conversation has occurred at a time when my internal dialogue has had all the subtlety of a diesel freight train carrying dynamite.

I'd like to tell you it's just the winter blues. Cabin fever induced and exasperated by the fact that I haven't been fishing for over 3 months now.  But I'm afraid this is something deeper.

Why tell you this?  Why spill my beans like this?  Because on the list of things I have taken up over the years in the name of mental health is an experiment I like to call The MacLoosh Chronicles.

While I billed it as "just a need to do something in the off season", starting this blog was an attempt to provide myself an outlet to turn some of that internal dialogue outward and hopefully provide myself with a "relief valve" of sorts.  I realized very quickly that people don't want to read about my angst.  Hell...I realized that I didn't even want to listen to myself.  So I tried to mask with fun.  If the site was to be popular at all, it could not just be me spilling drama.  (Apparently the narcissist in me took over and I thought it NEEDED to be popular???) To do that, the blog needed to be about Fishing.  Positive. Fun. Hoo Ra!  Check out my flies!  Hey, check out my fish!   Blah blah blah.

In the midst of creating this site, I have admittedly had a lot of fun.  I mean A LOT of fun! I am pretty proud of The MacLoosh Chronicles as it stands today.  But...it isn't doing what I intended it to do.

In fact, I am not confident that writing this blog and the associated manic web surfing of other blog sites hasn't contributed to my current troubled state of mind.  So much time with a computer on my lap has taken me away from activities that I used to enjoy.  Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, Google + and all the others have also become such a time suck in my life that I find myself more restless than I have ever been.  I don't want my kids to remember me as a slouch who sat on the couch glued to his computer.  I don't want that to be my legacy.

Add to that a heavy dose of self examination, and I find myself at a cross-roads.

As such, I've decided to turn my computer off for a while.  It's time to unplug.  In a sense, it is time for me to go out into the yard, and turn circles until I am in tune with my own magnetic fields.  Hopefully I will get myself lined up with the poles again.


To my neighbors who read this: no worries...I won't shit in the yard.

To my wife: NO. I have not cracked up completely....only a little bit.

To my friends and colleagues out there in blogland...I am not closing down completely.  Just giving online life a rest while I re-calibrate.  I hope you understand.

As always, thanks for reading.

Til later,

-M






Sunday, January 5, 2014

Go big or go home

There. Fine.  I gave in.

The likes of PileCast and Southern Culture on the Fly have left their mark on me.

Not really knowing where I will fish this bad boy, or even why I thought I needed to try my hand at building a big ass articulated streamer, I set to the task tonight.


Will it work?  Hell if I know.

Will I have fun trying to catch Troutzilla with this?  Duh.

Will I build more?  Depends on if it works or not.

Til later,

-M