“I’ll fire you tomorrow, Frank.”

For years I have had a pseudonym, known only to a select few.

It all started innocently. My local pizza place took their takeout orders in the bar, and they apparently used a Sports Illustrated football phone.  They usually got the order right, but it was almost always filed under the wrong name.  My name is a common single syllable one, yet they could not hear it.  In an effort to enjoy my pizza on time, I switched to something with harder consonants.  My nom de pizza was born.

Fast forward to Starbucks.  For some reason they cannot simply make my tea and hand it to me.  They have to have a name which they can write on the cup and shout out loud.  My medic partner at the time also had a simple name which was always mispronounced, so we took to using our Starbucks names regularly.  My nom de pizza became my nom de cafe.

(Brief aside: it was at this point that I realized I had adopted the name of one of my favorite movie paramedics.  I hope it’s just a coincidence. While Frank Pierce is good for a laugh, he’s not really someone I wish to emulate.)

Today I received a call from the post office.  They told me they have begun receiving strange mail addressed to Frank [mylastname] and they were concerned about identity theft.  The mail was from Starbucks.  When I finished lauging out loud, I had to explain my nom de cafe to them.

All is benign, but it is a bit scary how garbage data can get started.  I suspect this will follow me for a long time.

For those who have never seen the movie, enjoy a brief clip of Frank Pierce at his best.  The title of this post will make sense.


A walk in the woods. . .

Spring is here. With my impending hike of Mount Washington, I have felt the urge to get out on the trails and warm up a bit.  Yesterday I had an hour to spare, so I took a brief trek to the fire tower at Pawtuckaway State Park.

Best laid plans. . .

I took a wrong turn and explored a few extra miles of fire roads and Jeep trails with Mrs. Mack505’s truck.  Her 7000lb, 2500 series, 4-door GMC Denali Diesel truck.  I made it to the trailhead without a scratch somehow.

The trail is a short jaunt measuring 0.4 miles from parking lot to tower.  It’s a popular and highly recommended hike to a good lunch spot.  I found the tower manned with a ranger straight out of a 1960’s Disney film.  He had gray hair, wire rimmed glasses, a red and black checked flannel shirt, and a pleasant demeanor.

The day was dry and windy, a Class 4 in ranger-speak.  The radio crackled with conversation among the fire towers.

Before I could say hello the radio reported heavy black smoke in our vicinity.  We both looked out and saw nothing; then I moved slightly to one side and this popped out of the blind spot of the tower:


That would be a barn fire just down the road from our farm.  Fire units were delayed because many of them had to respond from another neighboring fire. The radio traffic was interesting.

I would have gone to ‘buff’ it.  Alas I did not have time to spare.  I bid the ranger ‘good day’ and hiked onward to my next appointment.

From the Archives:

“Who are you?”

The challenge is delivered with the force of a sentry. Fatigues and assult rifles; cheap suits, sunglasses, and earbuds; chain mail and spears. You shall not pass!

I reflexively drop to one knee. “I’m the paramedic. Who are you?”

The snick of well-oiled steel flashes between us as the assault rifles and spears disappear. The mighty protector shrinks into a small girl.

“Are you hurt at all?”


“Mind if I go check out your mom?”

The force is strong in this one. I wish you well, child. I see greatness in your future.

The Minimalism Game: retrospective

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well I did it. 31 days of downsizing.  There’s the evidence scrolling by. In the beginning, it was difficult to restrain myself; I’ve been bitten by the disposal bug.  I never had a day which I found hard, although I did double up to make up for days spent at work.

They say the average American home has 30,000 things in it.  We are probably more fortunate than average.  After removing 508 items, you wouldn’t know it if you walked into my house.  I can point out specific areas of improvement, but there is still a lot to do.

How to continue is the question.  Part of me is tempted to continue ratcheting the count upwards until I cannot sustain it.  The problem is that 25 or so items does a good job of filling my car.  For the last week my wagon has looked like I live in it, and the folks at Goodwill are beginning to recognize me.

I could reset the calendar, but getting rid of only one thing on April 1 seems a failure after such success.

I averaged slightly over 15 items per day for the month, so I think that is a good benchmark.  I will strive to continue removing at least 15 things per day for as long as possible.  Wish me luck.

(If you get the blog via email, you may need to click through to see the slideshow.)

#minsgame Day 27


Happy Easter everybody!  In celebration of spring, I cleaned 27 things out of the gardening cabinet.

Running total: 390


In the last two weeks the boiler has malfunctioned and tried to kill us; we discovered that the VW bus needs a motor rebuild; the dog attacked one of the cats (both are OK); and my debit card was compromised and started buying a lot of Uber rides and Grubhub deliveries.

Oh, and Mrs. Mack505’s horse and best friend both made strong attempts at dying.

I could be forgiven for feeling stressed out, yet I’m not.  It’s just life.  Perhaps a rough patch.

The CO alarms worked. The boiler was fixed without further incident. The VW is a toy, so we will save up the cash to rebuild it when we can. Like the bionic man it will be stronger and better afterwards. We think we know what occurred between Cricket and Saffy, so we can prevent a recurrence.

The bank caught the debit card problem within 24 hours. I have a new card already. (Yay TDBank!) They were much more efficient than other banks have been in the past.

The vet and the doctors did their jobs with skill and luck. Everyone will be OK.

The decluttering continues, and I am looking forward to warmer weather.

Written by Comments Off on Stress? Posted in Blog