Sunday, December 18, 2011


From time to time, I find great enjoyment and guilt-free pleasure in performing the art of doing absolutely nothing.

While currently being caught up in a game of "be careful what you wish for" in a travel-based job, I am finding great solace in laying on my couch and watching football all day long. The back of my brain is predicting a difficult Monday tomorrow, so the only energy that I want to exert is concentrating on not worrying. It helps that I am a bit under the weather and can use that as a portion of my excuse for not doing a thing.

For the first time that I can recall since living in Colorado, the Rams game and the Chiefs game are both on television, as well as a couple other decent games later on. That made the couch that much more attractive. I seriously contemplated going fishing this morning, but easily talked myself out of it due to cold, mountain temperatures, icy sludge floating down the river, and risking further infection in my sinuses--especially right before Christmas.

I've gotten up a handful of times, mainly to pee. But in between my meds working, I got inspired to heat up some chicken, whip up some quick buffalo sauce along with a little Gorgonzola-Caesar dressing and indulge in a makeshift football snack. And luckily, last night at the grocery store I picked up some tasty little lobster tails (manager's special!) and peel & eat shrimpies for later this evening.

Well, I am currently doing more than I had vowed to do today so I had better wrap it up. Jesus is about due to make his weekly appearance during the Bronco's game anyway.
No guilt, and only temporary bed sores.

Monday, November 28, 2011

i want to ride my...BICYCLE!

No offense, but I'm not a big fan of people social networking about their exercising.

"Went for a loooong ride after work! I feel great!!"

"Burned 673 calories on my jog through the neighborhood today!! I feel amazing!!!"

" I did 3 hrs of cardio followed by 5 hrs of lifting and lost 18 lbs today!! Hooray for me!!!!"

Shut up. I mean, good for you, really...but shut up.

I realize that sometimes it's not easy to get off your ass and exercise, and we could all use a little encouragement and support. But it's a lot cooler if you just do it and not constantly report it.

In my crotchety older age, I've become somewhat resistant to exercise stats. Calories burned, pounds shed, miles logged, and weight lifted--I don't care. I suppose I've always veered away from most stats. It's okay to know what you are accomplishing when being active and it's acceptable to use these numbers when setting goals, but I've really never considered them something to advertise. It just sounds a little braggadocios.

Now, if you have been keeping your workout regimen to yourself over the course of how ever long it's taken you to drop X amount of weight, and then suddenly you rock the facebook page with, "Dropped 20 pounds! Booya, bitches!!" I don't have an issue with that. I am proud of you. It's the constant updating--especially with the folks who are already in awesome shape.

I digress.

I realize the importance of being active. I say "being active" instead of "exercising" because the term appeals to me more. It makes me want to get out and do shit. "Exercising" makes it sound like work to me. It conjures up images of lists with exact motions and reps that you have to do in an organized workout facility that you paid way too much to join and a contract that you can't get out of, even though you hate going because of all the meatheads and judgemental assholes.

"Being active" can be walking your dog through the neighborhood, hitting a close-by trailhead at lunchtime, walking upstream in waist-deep water while chasing hungry trout, or riding your bike like you did when you were a kid...which is what I did today.

It's stupid, but I suppose I get a little intimidated by venturing into a new "sport". Even fly fishing--which I've been doing since I was a little kid--can still seem a bit overwhelming when chatting about it with the nerds of the sport. I don't need every gadget ever made to be good at it. That's probably part of the reason I haven't leaped into riding my bike too seriously. I have friends who are diehard about it, so when I get invited to go or we start chatting about it, it intimidates me to the point of not doing it. I have a bike--a bike that cost a thousand dollars ten years ago. I'm still pretty proud of it, but to see what my friends ride make my bike look like a K-Mart Huffy. Stupid, yes. Couple that with the fact that due to my lack of riding, I'm sadly out of shape and don't feel like watching them riding circles around me while I puke.

But today I got out. I was intrigued by a lake about two miles from my house that I found on the map. I had no idea it existed. So I decided to dust of the seat, air up the tires, and head over to check it out. I cruised over to the empoundment (which actually kind of sucked) and kept on going. I trespassed onto private lakefront property, blasted through two golf courses, flew through a handful of neighborhoods I didn't know existed, jumped a barbed-wire fence into a public open space, hit a dirt bike trail, climbed the dam of another new lake, darted down rock hills, hopped about a hundred curbs, shot through a tunnel where a creepy old troll-looking lady was smoking cigarettes, rode through the park, and back to my garage.

I felt like I was ten. I kept wishing my old gang would've been with me.

There was still that sense of freedom I remember having when I was a kid, riding through subdivisions, across trails, over curbs, wherever my bike would take me. And even at age 37, I felt that ornery rush you get from breaking the rules. No Trespassing? I'd like to see 'em catch me.

And after it was all said and done, I ran upstairs to my computer to see if I could actually track how many miles I had actually ridden. Yea, I know. But I was happy. Not only from accomplishing a decent workout, but from playing.

I don't ever remember worrying about how many miles I rode or how many calories I burned when I was a kid. And although that's probably a good thing to know when you're knocking on 40, trying to lower your cholesterol, drop your waistline an inch or two, get your lungs back so your kids don't run you into the ground--I'm not going to advertise it. I'm just going to do it again.

Once again, no offense.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Asked For It.

Well, I asked for it. For years I've been yearning for an occupation that allows me to be mobile--very mobile. A job that totally accepts me throwing fishing rods in the truck and taking off (as long as I get my work done, of course).

I'm not going to go on about how great being an Outdoor Industry Sale Rep is, because I don't know yet. On paper it sounds right up my alley. But I've fallen victim to gushing about a new gig before, only to go back and read my entry after all hell's broken loose at the job and I've walked out a month into it. Makes me feel silly. Granted, I'd like to think that I'm a little more mature these days, but you never know how a new job's going to treat you once the new wears off. I basically don't want to jinx anything.

"I want to travel to places I've never been...and get paid for it!" Sound familiar? That is precisely what I've been whining about for the past five or six years.

Well,'s this for your first week on the job? First day: Fly into LaGuardia for a sales meeting in NYC. Day numeral two: Catch the red-eye out of JFK to LAX for another sales meeting in Santa Monica. Couple days there, then I get up at 3am to catch my flight back home. Two days later, I have the pleasure of driving from Denver to St. Paul. Yea, Minnesota. Took me two days to drive it. Luckily, I have friends that live about halfway between the two destinations. I get a free place to crash...they get cold beers bought for them. Everyone's happy. Oh yea, then I had to drive back.

This was the first actual week for me working from home. I kind of felt like a fish out of water. I've never worked from home, so I'm still in Dolly Parton mode (that's 9 to 5...keep up)--and sort of waiting for asshole customers to walk in my front door and start asking me stupid questions. Then my co-workers had to remind me that I'm completely new, completely mobile, and that I basically needed to relax. Okay. I can do that...I think.

Tomorrow it's off to Kansas City, where eventually April and I will be moving to (providing I stay at this gig a while). The travel back and forth from Colorado to the Midwest will be a bit challenging, but after the (eventual--maybe) move back to the "Paris of the Plains", my travel should become second nature. Shit man, you said you wanted to travel! You're traveling!

At any rate, this job has me being mobile. It has me doing. It is forcing me to see new places (not that there's much "forcing" going on...), it's allowing me to eat at new places, meet new people, the whole nine.

Plus, this 'move' back home has already got me making plans. Spending more time with friends and family is the main plan. Oh, don't worry about me forgetting Colorado. I plan on visiting quite frequently. I'll consider it my third home...right behind KC and my truck.

So far, doing is work...but it's good.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Do, or Not To Do?

Yea, I do. I'm not like some people I know that wake up, go to work, come home, watch NASCAR, drink eight beers, then go to bed. I watch baseball...

What I'm saying is that I try to keep moving. I try to get out when I can. Take some trips, see some shit, eat some food. I do not like monotony.

So with that said...sure, I've done a few things since my last entry. A trip back home, done some fishing, eaten some good food, did a little camping. But "The Art of Doing" is a fairly bold title. It has a larger feel than just getting out of your house. When I read the title, "The Art of Doing", I expect to read about elaborate travels of an interesting, bearded man who cannot be stopped by the day to day humdrum of everyday life.

I want to be that interesting, bearded man. At least sometimes.

It's nice to explore new places over a three-day weekend--but it's also nice to come home to a cool fucking wife and comfy giant bed. I get so caught up in the romanticism of traveling and doing, but it can get a little exhausting if you force it. As much as I like getting out and doing my best impression of a dog with his head out the window (metaphorically speaking, of course), it's nice to sit back and appreciate what you've got right under your nose.

Comfy, king size bed? Check. Ornery black retriever? Check. Lovely wife? Check. I even have a house that I don't rent and a fancy new four-wheel drive truck! So I suppose when real life takes over and I'm not able to head up the mountains or jump a plane to another state, I can sit in my blue, plastic Adirondack chair that my wife bought me for our anniversary, sip a cold drink, and look over my 1/10 acre (that only takes six minutes to mow!) and appreciate life.

Moving or not moving, things are pretty swell. It's all considered part of the journey.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Farming, Drinking, and a Demo Derby.

The family and I took our annual excursion to Platte Center, Nebraska for the 4th of July weekend last week. It did not disappoint.

Along with the expected, yet incredibly entertaining festivities--including tailgating for the parade on Main Street, drinking, the kid's tractor pull (pedaling, of course), Super Savers Fried Chicken, the demo derby, and more drinking. It's America at it's finest. It's a remarkable celebration that is simplified to small town standards. Nothing fake--just a pure Nebraska farmland holiday. It's basically a John Cougar Mellencamp song. And I love it.

Before the 4th's festivities, though, there was work to be done. Farm work. Although I grew up in the country and have my fair share of brush hogging (that's mowing a field with your tractor) hours logged, I have never manned a rig quite the size of the John Deere 4550 that I had the pleasure of moving hay bales with.

Driving this "Cadillac of farm tractors" was therapy for me. It was just me (and my nephew, Beck, at times), country music on the radio, air conditioning on (yes, air conditioning), and acres of hay bales that needed transporting. For me, it was a different world. No people (except, once again, for Beck), no worries, no stress--just work to be done.

I like Nebraska. And I love the farm. It's where my wife was raised. It's where her sister was raised, her dad was raised, and where memories of her family are everywhere. It's simple, real, and doesn't contain much bullshit. It's a place where my brother-in-law and father-in-law and I shoot guns at Coors bottles. Where my nephews catch toads and set crawdad traps at the creek. Bee-bee guns are at a six year-old's disposal in the bed of Papa's pickup. The three year-old has a mountain of sand to waller in for hours. Looking out the enormous front window of the farm house is looking out over hundreds of acres of land. You can barely see your closest neighbor. It's an island in itself.

One day I hope to write a post in this blog about incorporating the farm into my life more. It needs to stay in the family for years to come, and by "doing" hopefully that will be accomplished.



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bad-Ass Ramble to Creede.

I'll probably write about this on all three of my blogs (already have on, but I drove down to Creede, CO for an industry gathering and some phenomenal fishing on the Rio Grande. Floated for three days and drank heavily with my friends from Wolf Creek Anglers out of Pagosa and South Fork, The Ramble House out of Creede, and Duranglers out of (duh) Durango.

My reps with Simms and Idylwilde Flies put on the shindig, and for that I thank them. Feeding 30some fly fishermen food and booze for four days can't be cheap. Our PBR bill alone had to be somewhere in the $176,000 range--if I were to take a guess.

The three aforementioned outfitters split up the river in 3-4 sections and hauled our asses to and from put-in and take-out. It was a convoy of drift boats and rafts attacking both sides of the river, plucking fat brown trout from their submerged willow tree cover by way of dry fly.

When the time came to end our floats, cold beer and nasty tequila awaited us at take-out and primed us for what would be a 4-night drunken takeover of Creede. Budweiser, PBR, Maker's Mark, Hooooornitos, and anything else that our dirtbag guides (that's a term of endearment) would make us drink.

It was "doing" in the purest form of the word. Meeting new people, making new friends, visiting a new town, fishing a new river--all damn good times.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Go Listen To Good Live Music

The older I get, the easier it is to talk myself out of going to a concert. The cost, the drive, the crowd. It tends to make me feel crotchety and irritable. The idea of going to a concert generally sounds great, but the reality rarely lives up to my internal hype. I think that coincides with the transition in music my tastebuds have taken over the years. Although I still love punk and rock n' roll, I tend to be attracted to the more subdued live shows that visit town.

I've seen a handful of great shows over the past couple years--The Black Keys, Willie Nelson, Ray Lamontagne--and my most recent gig certainly falls into that category.

April and I spent the evening on Saturday enjoying a delightful live concert provided by Hayes Carll.

If you aren't familiar with Hayes, pick up his album, "Trouble In Mind"--I think it's his best one.

Nothing like hanging out at a Country and Western show, drinking a few High Life's, and listening to great music. Hayes can write a great song, and with his fantastic drawl, he can deliver it on stage, too.

Also, the Bluebird Theater in Denver is a super-cool, intimate little venue that isn't designed around mosh pits or elbow-to-asshole crowds. Instead, it's tiered upward from the stage with small platforms and rails for easy and close-up viewing. Perfect for drinking some beer and listening to a legitimate Roots, Americana, Outlaw, Alt-Country act (this is how Hayes jokingly describes his music) like Hayes Carll.

So...even though Ticket Master absolutely rapes your bank account, pick a show or two, bite the bullet, and go enjoy yourself.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Belly Up.

I fish. Lots. But one thing I've never done is float around a lake in a belly boat, casting at the banks. So today, I did.

A belly boat , or U-boat, is basically an innertube-type of fishing craft that the angler sits in while his feet hang below. Generally, you're wearing waders because you're essentially waist deep while sitting in the water. You have flippers strapped onto your feet so you can putt around--albeit backwards.

I borrowed my friend Peter's boat today and set out for a little lake in the Boulder city limits. On about the fourth or fifth cast, I hooked up with a really substantial fish. That fish ended up being a 22 inch walleye.

I putted around for a few hours, chucking big streamers with my six weight. Got several bass to hit--one going around 4 pounds.

big bass

bigger bass


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Frikkin' Sauced.

If you bbq your meats--not just smoke them, but bbq them--then you probably use bbq sauce. If you make your own sauce, and it's good, then you rule. I don't do that near enough anymore. Mainly because I can't make it as good as my mos favorito bottled sauces...which are straight outta KC.

Gates, Bryant's, Oklahoma Joe's, and several other top notch sauces accessorize my chicken, ribs, and brisket. In fact, I grilled Gates-soaked chicken last night.

Sauces is tasty.


I - Like - a' Dogs! And Camping...

Found a new lake about 45 minutes from our house last week and decided to pull the pop-up there to camp at it for a couple days. Sadly, this was the first time we have had the camper out this year. With stupid weather up high, it's been difficult to find a decent campsite close by. They seem to either be booked or covered in five feet of snow.

So we loaded up the Pathfinder and the Yakima box on top, threw the pup in the back, hooked on the pop-up, and hit the road. Carter Lake is right in between Longmont and Loveland, CO, and rests up in the foothills a bit.

It's a "big" lake, as far as Colorado lakes go. I kind of laugh at this description, because where I'm from an 1,100 acre lake is not big, a 55,000 acre lake is. It's plenty big enough to set up camp for a couple nights, or putt around in a boat for the day, though.

Cliff enjoying the Saturday afternoon boat ride

It was freakin' refreshing, to say the least, sitting around the campfire with my wife and dog, listening to music and drinking appropriate elixirs. No computers, no phones, no annoyances to speak of. Just the crackle of the fire, thoughts of percolating coffee and sizzling bacon in the morning, and the feeling of satisfaction after netting a few bass that afternoon.

Along with relaxation, we also encountered a little excitement when a sailboat decided to capsize and sink in front of us during an afternoon wind storm. After finding out that the passengers had escaped with minor cuts and bruises, April and I pulled up our camp chairs, grabbed a cold beer out of the cooler, and decided to let their misfortune serve as our entertainment for the next hour or so.

I thought to myself several times during the trip, that I love camping. So many things that I don't know if I could live without, all combined into one activity. Making and staring at fire, fishing, chopping wood, pulling a heavy trailer with my truck, sitting, my family, stars, water, cooking, drinking. It's all there. I must go again...very soon.

Casa de Reins-Todd on Carter Lake


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nashville Cats.

As I posted on my other blog, April and I spent a few days in Nashville a couple weeks ago. Actually, she won a trip to see the CMT Awards, travel and lodging accommodations paid for, pre and post party, and tickets to the show. She's lucky like that.

She asked if I'd like to go--before I knew that she had won a free trip. I danced around the question at first, mainly because I couldn't justify spending our own money on an impromptu trip to see an awards show that, frankly, I couldn't get that excited about. Then I heard the word "free".


Once again, if it were the "80s Metal Awards" or "Obscure St. Louis Cardinals From the Past Awards" I would have been all over it from the get-go. But there was honestly a bit of hesitation, even after I found out it was free. I regret having any hesitation and am thankful that I put all reluctantcies aside. It was an absolute blast.

Without going into every little detail...the gist of the story is that I did something that I will probably never have the opportunity to do again. And I did it VIP style! Yes, we were pampered. From the chauffeur holding the "Reins-Todd" sign for us at the airport and promptly getting us into our black Escalade, hotel-bound--to mingling at the pre-party with celebs and free cocktails. Yes, I could get used to this brand of living.

I touched on it in my other blog...but the history of the music and the culture was incredible. It opened my eyes to the industry, and how the times have changed--yet stayed the same.

Ryman Auditorium. Home to Roy Acuff, Grandpa Jones, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, and many, many others.

The honkytonks on Broadway were a bit touristy--as was the entire state of Tennessee this particular week, with Country Music Appreciation Week, CMTs, and Bonnaroo Music Fest all coinciding. But they were all still true to their roots. Robert's Western World was my favorite, mainly because I recognized their neon sign from the album cover of a BR549 record. Where other bars had a more Pop-Country band playing, Robert's bands had a more traditional feel to it. More of a Hank Sr, Johnny Cash, Rockabilly style. Much more my scene. Witnessed an incredible band, The Travis Mann Band ( I've attached a video so you can see for yourselves. And although the audio isn't that great, the bass player may be the best I've ever heard.

The Awards themselves were extremely entertaining. I'm not a Rascall/Toby guy, but it was still entertaining. Especially just seeing how a live show of this caliber works. The infrastructure, the planning, the timing, the teamwork--all very impressive. And getting up close to Shania, Sheryl, and Sara was well worth the price of admission.

The after party was what my wife would describe Heaven to be. Commingling with celebrities, open bar with top shelf bottles, catering by Iron Chef Kat Cora. Hell, Justin Bieber was even there!

April with celebrities of whom I do not know names of.

It was a phenomenal experience. And I'm glad I did it.


New Identity

Yes, this is one of my abandoned blogs that I am attempting to resurrect from the dead. It used to be called Earl Pics, but after two entries that averaged out to be about an entry per year, I decided to give it a facelift.

This blog actually has a purpose. Well, I suppose my other blog, has a purpose too, which is ranting, blabbing, and spilling verbal vomit all over your computer screen. This one here, is intended to inspire. You see, I enjoy doing things. Things other than waking up, going to work, coming home, sitting in front of the TV, eating a frozen dinner, going to bed. There are certain days that this recipe is incredible, but as a whole I would prefer to stay busy.

I need something to motivate me to continue to keep doing. There are certainly deep meanings behind this line of thinking. Without digging too deep, the primary reason is because I want to experience as much as I as much as I can. Life is way too short to not do.

I believe I've said it before--I'm not talking skinny-skiing or going to bullfights on acid. Just living well. Travel, cooking, the outdoors, friends & family, festivals, parties, hobbies--you know, the typical fare. But I also want to try new things. Recipes, gardening, beers, events, cities, campgrounds, lakes & rivers, bars. I believe "doing" requires trying new things.

This blog is not intended to boast, so don't look at it that way. It's more or less a digital journal to keep inspiring me (and maybe you) to experience cool things.

I have to thank my friends Jeffrey and Bryan, and my brother-in-law Pat for inspiring me to do. Jeffrey recently started a beautiful and bountiful can read about it at Bryan has built a fully rigged and functioning rehearsal studio ( Pat and I are geared alike and are constantly challenging each other to branch out, think outside the box, and live as much as we can. Thanks fellas.

So, hopefully I will follow through with this. Continuous updates, pictures, words, maybe a video here and there...all to keep me going.

Hope you enjoy it.