Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Looks can be deceiving.

Went out for a quick little shooting trip today, and one would think I would be happy with two groups like this:

And I would, if those were two groups shot at 100 yards...but they aren't...it's 1 group of 6 fired at 25-yards.

The weapon in question was my new Gamo Whisper I got for Christmas, and I was trying to site it in at 25-yards. 

First, the positives.  It feels very well put together, and it's easy to load and fire.  The trigger is very crisp and smooth...impressively so.  I have no complaints with the 'gun' part of things. 

It was the optics that were the problem.  The pellet rifle came with a scope base, rings, a scope mount, and a Gamo brand 3-9 scope, with Allen wrench's to put it all together.  Everything went together smoothly at home, and within 10 shots, the pellets were going right where they were supposed to go.

I put the rifle down, and went to put some cover stickers on my target.  When I came back, my first shot was dead center, but two inches low.  Hmmmm.  Adjust, and back on target.  Two shots later, I was back to being low.  Son of a...

About the 8th time I adjusted the elevation on my scope, I noticed that the scope mount was actually 'jiggly' on the base.  And I had left the Allen wrenches at home.  Poop. 

I tightened the little screws as good as I could by hand, but the rest of my practice was somewhat unsatisfying.  I know that pellet gun can shoot 1 hole groups at 25-yards, but not when the scope was sliding back and forth a quarter of an inch in between shots.  Hence the nice horizontal alignment, but the questionable vertical repeatability.  Plus, I was using the hood of my truck as a rest.

For penetration testing, I used what I had available, which in this case was russet potatoes.  Not small ones either...I used some safety glasses to give them scale.

This is the entrance side:

And here is the exit side:

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the through and through penetration of the potato.  It's not a small potato...about 2 inches in width, and it was still pretty hard.  The pellets I used for this testing were Gamo PBA Raptor's that came with the gun.  I have to imagine if I can get that kind of penetration on a potato, it would do on any animal I would ever think of to use it on in a responsible manner. 

As for the Whisper part of it's name...it seemed very quiet.  I really didn't have anything to compare it to.  It certainly doesn't sound like a gun, which is convenient for something that would have gun-like effect on rabbits and squirrels. 

If I can just get the scope mounting issue squared away, I think I will be pretty happy with this new toy.

Well, wonders never cease!

I almost couldn't believe me eyes this morning...a VERY postive portrayal of a shooting sports hobby in the Seattle Times this morning...and it's the first thing you see when you click on their website!

Renton shooters recreate Old West, live ammo and all.

Now, that's a nice article...a safe and postitive spin on one of the shooting sports.  It doesn't hurt in this case that CAS does have a high percentage of very approachable, very polite, and very mature shooters who are going to do their best to show off their hobby in it's best possible light.

This article gives me a major itch to get into cowboy shooting.  It's an itch that has always been there to one extant or another...heck, it's reason I already own a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt, and my Marlin 1894 in .357.  So, I'm half-way there from the firearms side(although, at some point, I think I would like to swap my Blackhawk for something in .357...when I bought that, I didn't have a .44 already...now, it's redundent).  Of course, when I bought those guns, I was still working for the Shipyard, and I really never had time to take it seriously.  Now...I do seem to find myself with time on my hands.

And the wife was asking me what I wanted to start doing for a hobby just the other day...she might think I'm cute if I grow an authentic handle-bar mustache. 

Golly Gee, she sure is purdy!

One of the problems with the human mind is that we tend to imagine that things always have been, and always will be the way they were when we first encountered them.

In my case, as a child of the 70's, I watched The Partridge Family once or twice, and I remember Shirley Jones as the short-haired mom, and Susan Dey being the eye-catching comely one.  I never got a chance to have this opinion changed, as Shirley didn't do much but the occasionally 'guest' role on TV shows like 'Murder, She Wrote'.

Imagine my surprise this evening then, as I was flipping through the channels, waiting for Jeopardy to start, and I came across the beginning of 'Oklahoma', with a gorgeous young doll of a young lady singing 'Oh What a Beautiful Mornin', and the TV Guide said that the beautiful young lady was one Shirley Jones. 

Photo by JR Eyerman, Courtesy of Google Images
Wow.  Just plain WOW.  I haven't been that surprised since I found out that the hot brunette in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was the same crazy old lady named Elizabeth Taylor who was friends with Michael Jackson.


I'll do better next time, I swear!

As much as I occasionally complain about my job, I'm not at a bad place in my life.  There are not many regrets, or decisions, I wish I could go back and make differently, for fear that I wouldn't end up as happy as I am in this here and now.

'Not many' isn't the same as 'none' though.  I wish maybe when I was back in my early 20's, I hadn't been as much of a drinker, or gambler.  I was never really in danger of being an alcoholic, and I never had to attend Gambler's Annonymous meetings, but that was primarily due to the fact that I was a young single guy living in the barracks.  I didn't have much in the way of family to support, or anything else to spend money on, other than beer and gambling.  So...no one was hurt, and I broke both bad habits as I aged, but let me tell you...there are times older, more mature me could sure have found a use for an extra $25K.

Another regret was hammered home to me just this evening.  One of our Christmas gifts to ourselves was a new digital camera.  That meant it was time to make sure the other camera was well and truly emptied out, including the little used internal memory, which yielded this long forgotten about jem, from when my oldest one was the only one.

Watching this made it a little dusty in the room for both my wife and I.  We didn't record nearly enough video as my kids were growing up...of either of them.  We took a fair amount of pictures...but precious little live footage. 

That is a pretty major regret...and I'm not sure what format will exist in 20 years, but when we have grandkids, I'm gonna have hours of footage of them.

Well, at least he's getting headlines now...

I like Ron Paul.  I think electing him President is the best chance we have of saving the United States, as we know it.  I have volunteered to help his campaign here in Washington, and if he is a still a viable candidate in March, I intend to go caucus for him.

On the other side, I don't think Ron Paul is perfect, and I don't think he has a chance in Hades of being the next President of the United States.  I've been a little bummed to see Dr. Paul have to play up his religious side to try to win the religious right in Iowa, and I do not agree with his 'isolationist(a Four Letter Word if there ever was one in the Republican Party)' policies.  While I don't believe we should(or can afford to) continue to be Team America: World Police, I do believe if we need to tussle, it's better to do it Over There than Over Here. 

Obviously though, some people are starting to get worried about Dr. Paul though, because for the last 3 months, the man hasn't been able to buy a headline, and now he's getting his name printed all over the place...but most of it is not good.

This opinion piece in the Boston Herald is a prime example, using broad strokes to paint Ron Paul's supporters as tin-foil hat wearing, kool-aid drinking, cult-members. 

If it's not stories about Kool-Aid Drinking Supporters, than it's the Racist and Intolerant Newletters from the 1980's.  I've read some of the statements, and, it's probably not the type of thing a future President should say, but back in the late 90's and early 2000's, he admitted to having 'some moral responsibility' for what was written, even if he wasn't the one that wrote it, he admitted it went out under his name.  That's a better answer than his 'I didn't know' he recently gave. 

Who said any free press is good press?

I don't think he can win...but he can effect the race.  If one of the Republican's with a REAL chance of winning was smart, they would come out and announce that if they Win, Dr. Paul will get a senior appointment in the Administration...something that let's him focus on the budget, and the Federal Reserve.  People appreciate that part of his message, and a major Candidate could do worse than attempting to court the organization that Dr. Paul has created...


Whatever motivates you...

After watching a day-after-Christmas 'Hoarders' Marathon, my wife got all kinds of motivated to do some reorganizing of her craft stuff. 

'Hoarders' is both fascinating and horrible.  It's easy to kind of giggle and say 'hell, my house isn't that bad,' but it's horrible to think that this is REALLY happening.  These people are really living in this condition, with bugs, and mice, and dead cats.  Yeah...about half these folks are pet owners, and it never fails that they will find a dead cat or two(or 5 in one case) while removing piles of stuff. 

Anyway...the yarn was starting to be in danger of trapping our cat...and at 20 pounds, I'm sure he will stink when he goes.  It's not that she has any more yarn, or wool batting, or scrap-booking stuff than I(we) have guns and ammo, but the potentially dangerous nature of firearms and ammo forces me to maintain it in a semi-controlled manner.  Her craft stuff has a tendency to pile up in the unlikely places, until something(Hoarders, her mom coming visit) triggers an organizational orgy, because she can't do just the one thing...she can't reorganize her craft stuff without redoing the long-term food storage in our bedroom.  Add to that in this case she canibalized the armoire where my shirts were stored, and the result is that there is a point where she was about 50% through the project, and it looked like a bomb went off in our bedroom.

I was nice enough to take a picture:

And now, so I don't end up sleeping on the couch, allow me to link to her blog, with pictures of the highly functional finished product


I want on that jury!

The Tacoma Tribune had a little blurb story about a gentleman that could face charges for manslaughter for defending his property.  The details were sketchy, but it sounds like a 67-year old man confronted a 23-year old who was trying to steal the outboard motor off his boat.  In the physical action that followed, the younger man ended up dying of asphyxiation. 

No real tears on my part.  Young punk was trying to steal something, got caught, got his ass kicked by a man over 40 years older than him, and died of embarrassment.  It started a slow rage-burn on my part, at the thought that there is even a chance that the gentleman could end up facing charges for defending his property.  Curious, I went searching for more details, and was not happy with what I found in the Everett Herald.

Charge may be filed in death of suspected thief

Things look a little darker for the hero of our story in this article, which has slightly more detail.  The Sheriff's Department has completed their investigation and is forwarding it to the Prosecutor's Office with a recommendation to press charges. 

We also have a quote from the 67-year old man:

"I was scared to death he was going to get up," he told The Herald the day after the confrontation. "Truthfully, I'm not fighting. I'm hanging on ... I hung on because I was scared."

Well, to me, he is at least saying the right thing.  Once a fight has gone this far, you can't let the other guy up.  I'm not sure how the 67-year old got the jump on the far younger guy in the first place, but you can't let go of that advantage.  If this punk was truly up to no good...well, one of you is NOT walking away from this situation. 

The only question to really ask here, is was the outboard motor worth confronting this guy about in the first place.  A brand new Mercury 9-15 HP outboard is gonna cost you about $3000 to replace.  That's not a drop in the bucket, especially if you are a 67-year old on a potentially fixed income.  I think it is worth confronting the thief, and if things get physical, you fight to win.

I hope the Prosecutor makes the right decision here, but if charges are pressed, I will do what I can to help donate to a defence fund on the 67-year old gentleman's behalf. 



First day back at work after a wonderful 5 days off, and it went just like I thought it would(the first hint it wasn't a cheerful Christmas anymore was that the 24-hour Christmas Station I left my truck radio on was back to playing adult contemporary).  There was about 2-hours of headache and panic this morning, and then things faded into nothing.  With a three day weekend, and then a three day work week staring us in the face, before yet another three day weekend, there isn't a big push to get anything big started.

That left me plenty of time to plan what I am going to do with the Mega-Millions Jackpot that I am going to win this evening.  $206 Million will take a lot of planning to spend properly...but I think this quaint little house is a good place to start.


6400 Square Feet, on 235 acres?  Well...that will probably do for a summer house...


Happy Ending, but...

A 'feel good' type Christmas story:

$172K violin left on Philly-bound bus is recovered

I'm glad there is a happy ending here...but, I have two issues here  First...really...a $172K for a violin?  I understand that some violins sell for even more than that...but would Charlie Daniels really sound that much better on a this fiddle than any other?(and yes, I realise that $172K is positively cheap compared to the 2 MILLION that is paid for a Stradivarius, or the totally insane 18 MILLION being asked for a del Gesu in Chicago.

I guess I'm just not refined enough to understand...just like on a smaller scale I can't being myself to pay $140 for a bottle of Crown Royal XR, when a $40 bottle of Crown Royal Special Reserve makes me perfectly happy.

My 2nd issue is You have a $172K Violin(want to buy my house?) and you don't have it hand-cuffed to your wrist?  Nope...just throw it up in the over-head bin...

Good for the cleaning service that found it...of course, I'm not sure you have much choice other than being honest...a $172K violin can't be the easiest thing to get rid of in an inconspicuous manner.



We are in the homestretch now.  My amazing children let my wife and I sleep in until 7:40 this morning.  I heard them creep downstairs at about 7:20, and then they went back up to the bedroom, and I heard my older daughter convince the younger one that the right thing to do was make their beds before waking up mommy and daddy.

That, my cyber-friends, is a kick-ass Christmas present.

So...the commercial mayhem is now complete.  I didn't do too bad:

It was a practical Christmas this year, for the most part.  The highlights are a new set of mathcing pyrex mixing bowls, a new Nikon Digital Camera(both of our gift), beard trimmer, plastic deer that my daughter spent her own money on, QuickClot Trauma Pak, a bunch of other first aid stuff, new oil lamp, and then a Gerber Gator Machete, and a new Gama Whisper Pellet gun.  I think the last one means that Santa went over the budget I gave her, but that's okay.

Highlights for the wife include a self-contained chargable car-jumping kit, a 16-quart pressure canner, a turtle pin, and lots of stuff from Vickie's Secret....ummm...well, and some new purse/bag she bought herself, and her new cell phone she just couldn't wait for.

Now, it's off to a friends house for dinner.  While I am not hosting, I still like cooking.  I have made batch of zuppa tuscana, some bread pudding, bourbon peacan sweet potatoes, and a batch of Brigid's Rosemary and Salt Rolls

I chose poorly on the last, by only making one batch.  It will be enough for dinner, but not enough to allow my wife and I to eat one as the cool on the counter.

The smell is driving us loco.  Talk about resisting the urge for instant gratification. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 


Why, that can't be right!

Here it is, just past 10:30, and we are actually finished packing things around the tree.  That's about 2 hours ahead of schedule.

My wife noted that we seem to have bought an awful lot of red wrapping paper. 

Now it's time to snuggle up on the couch for a bit with my wife before we settle in for our long winter nap.

For the win(times two!)

Had a pretty good day yesterday. 

From a culinary standpoint, I had a 'Great Successes!'  To give all credit where it properly belongs, the recipe came from a very reliable source, Brigid, over at Home on the Range(I know...like I need to link to her...I doubt anyone is visiting my blog that hasn't visited hers already).  Much like my other favorite recipe source, Alton Brown, Brigid's recipes are sometimes a little involved, but I have never had one let me down. 

We had been invited to my bosses house for dinner, and I volunteered to make the desert.  This gave me an excuse to try a recipe from her site I have been wanting to try for a long time: Guinness Brownies

There are really no words to describe these brownies, so I will steal from one of my favorite authors, Alistair MacLean, who once described a stormy night as being 'Dark as the Earl of Hells Waist-coat'.  Yeah...that'll do.  Very dark, very dense, and very rich, but not the least but dry.  We discovered they go equally well with milk, or Mocha Death Stout from Iron Horse Brewery(picked up a growler full Thursday($6!), or with the Lot #1 Red Blend from Terra Blanca Winery.  Fascinating...all you really need to know is these brownies only half 3/4's of a cup of flour in them..everything else is flavor.

So...my 2nd success was entirely personal, and romantic in nature. 

I'm not a jewlery/accessory guy.  No necklaces, and I can only occasionaly tolerate a watch.  Pretty early on in my marriage, I used the reasoning(not an excuse, because it was the truth) that all the work on submarines, climbing up and down metal ladders was causing my wedding ring to become a major annoyance AND safety hazard.  My wife was fine with this, and so I would usually take it off while I was at work, and then put it back on....sometime.  This sometime became a smaller and smaller percentage of the time, until about 7 years ago, when my wedding ring became a permenant attachment of my key chain.

Hey...at least I didn't lose it.

Let's flash forward now.  I know longer have the submarine excuse, and as a manager, I don't do much work with rotating equipment.  My wife has pointed this out like once or twice...not badgering, but more of a 'wow...that's an expensive key chain' kind of way.  There is a problem though...the colder weather on this side of the mountains has caused my ring to shrink(there are other theories, about the size of my finger changing, but this isn't Coast-to-Coast AM...look other places for those crazy ideas). 

I brought my ring into a local jewlers last week, and had it resized.  I thought about putting it on the tree, but yesterday was a pretty special day too...it was 11 years ago yesterday that my wife and I got engaged, so rather than wait, I walked in the door with it on, and told her what I had done.

There may have been slight moisture in her eyes...but I think it was the good kind. 

Oh, the pain!

I'm kind of wimp.  While I suffered the usual assortment of injuries a boy will have while growing up, I was never seriously hurt.  I fractured my left wrist a few times, rough housing and playing football, and then wrestling gave me cauliflower ear, bruied ribs, and a dislocated shoulder. 

The wrist never really hurt that much.  Plus, I was younger.  The cauliflower ear was a chronic ache, but tylonol made it go away.  The bruised ribs only hurt when they made me pick up 40 pound bags of dog food or fertilizer at work.  The shoulder hurt like the dickens, but then faded once it was back in. 

Today was the first time I really experienced agony. 

There I was in the shower, lathering up my hair.  Something about the angel I had my head at made a gob of lather fall across my nose and upper lip, and the same time I was breathing in.  This gave me a double nostril full of Head and Shoulders right up into my sinuses.

It felt like the world was ending.  I spent the next 5 minutes coughing, hacking and sneezing trying to get it all back out of my head...

That had to be worse than child birth...


I have a goal!

When I grow up, I want to be able to record hilarious, rambling, reviews of bad movies, like Mr. Plinkett does over at Red Letter Media.  In this case, Mr. Plinkett has taken it upon himself to destroy Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

A few disclaimers.  There is naughty lanquage in this review, as well as crude humor involving bodily fluids.  It's too rough for me to have felt comfortable linking to it off facebook.  The main warning I have for you though is that it is a two part review, with a total running time of over an hour. 

Talk about totally setting my schedule back today...

We must be doing something right...

I like Christmas lights.  I've never been the type to engage in installing a large or elaborate display for cost/opportunity reasons(tough to do a big display in the apartment), but that's fine...Christmas lights are something you can do while living vicariously through others.  Wednesday night, I used the offer of Chinese food a a bribe to get my wife and kids out of the house, and after dinner, we went off on a random course through neighborhoods, enjoying the Christmas lights.

One stop was fully intentional.  The Corporate Head Quarters of Senske Lawn and Tree Care is decorated quite nicely.  They even went as far as to put in a little FM transmitter, and a light synchronizing system, to make the lights flash with the music.  I've seen videos of that kind of stuff on the internet machine, but have never seen it in person. 

My kids were suitably impressed.  Speechless even, which when you are dealing with two young girls is quite an accomplishment.

After about two songs, when they were coming down from their sense of awe, Bella, my older daughter, summed it up thusly:

'Daddy...that's better than TV.'

And her younger sister agreed with her! 

We hold a pretty tight chain on the TV.  For the most part the girls prefer animated stuff to some of the live-action shows on Nickelodeon, which is okay with me...from what I have seen, most of those shows involve 'too-smart-for-their-own-good' world-wise kids trying to constantly outsmart their parents.  We also have never let them watch a single episode of 'Sponge Bob' while under our roof.  2/3rds of their viewing boils down to three shows: Johnny Test and Fairly Odd-Parents, which both rate a 'meh' in my book, and then Phineas and Ferb, which I feel could be the best show on TV.  The other third of what they watch are dinosaur and animal related shows, and recently 'Beakman's World'.  Educational stuff.

It's good to see I haven't broke them yet.


I feel for them, I do but...

Last year, a tragic accident took the life of an 11-year old girl.  While her family was visiting the ice caves on the Mount Baker National Forest, the girl was struck by a large piece of ice, and due to the remote nature of the area, she died from the injury.

Her family, looking to blame someone for this accident, is suing the federal government for wrongful death.  Their opinion is that the forest service failed to post sufficient signage to warn people of the possible dangers of falling ice.  They further state that the ease of the trail to the ice caves gives you a false sense of security.


I can't imagine the pain this family has gone through.  I can imagine dad or mom planned a little day trip...let's head up to the ice caves for a little hike...it will be something nice to do on a beautiful July day.  You think you are making plans to give your child a nice experience, and due to a piece of falling ice, all of the sudden your plan lead to your child's death.

It's a horrible, horrible thing.

I just don't think it's the kind of thing you sue the US Government for. 

Let's be realistic...even if there were signs every 20 feet warning of the potential dangers of falling ice, it's not going to change what you do on a family outing.  I know when we went to Palouse Falls, there are signs that warn you not to go too close to the edge.  I still let my kids go put their hands on the fence. 

I have to think that this is the same type of situation. Signs would not have changed anything...this little girl would probably still have ended up standing at the same place at the same time, and it would have had the same horrible result.

If it makes them feel better....if it gives them some closure...then by all means, go forward with the trial.  But, don't give their jackal, sue happy lawyers a single shekel. 

Christmas songs: The Bad.

As I sit here, cruising youtube so I can re-work my Top 20 Christmas Song List, I decided it might be easier/faster to come up with my worst Christmas songs.  Because it is Christmas, a time for happiness and cheerfullness, and forgiveness, I can't come up with 20, or even 10 'Worst Songs'...but I was able to come up with 5.

Top 5 Worst Christmas Songs   

5.  Happy Christmas(War is Over) by John Lennon.  This one kind of hurts a bit, because I'm a pretty huge Beattles fan...but then, I always liked Paul more than John.  If I wanted to make this list longer, I could have added a few more songs, the common theme being 'Downer' songs(The Christmas Shoes, for example).  I want Christmas to be happy and cheerful...not John Lennon asking me what I have done.  I just don't like this song.  It's massive over exposure probably does't help it either. 

4.  The Little Drummer Boy(any version except the Bing Crosby/David Bowie one).  The only real traditional song on my list, this one makes it because I just find it to be a boring song musically.  There isn't much to it, which might be why I am okay with the Bing/Bowie version of it.  It has some feel and soul. 

Bonus on this one is that my wife had never previously seen the video of the Bing/Bowie version.  Her reaction: 'David Bowie looks so young!  And so stereotypically British!'

3.  Where are you Christmas(Faith Hill)  Faith Hill is a pretty, pretty woman, who's voice isn't bad.  However, I would never put her in the same catagory 'vocal chops' wise as some of her contemporaries, like Martina McBride or Trisha Yearwood.  'Whistful' is not in her wheel house.

This song isn't helped in my book by being associated with a completly uneccessary remake of one of the best animated specials ever, The Grinch that Stole Christmas. 

2.  Feed the World(Don't they know it's Christmas Time). Yuck.  And over played.  And yuck.  And going back to John Lennon, stop trying to make me feel bad about my overly commercial, spoild my kids WAYYYY too much Christmas.  I give what I feel comfortable giving...I don't need to feel bad about working hard for nice things. 

1.  Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer(after the first 3 times of hearing it).  Yeah...last year, this song made my top 20, just because you knew Christmas was getting closer when you heard it on the radio. 

Now though....I find myself changing the channel when it comes on, which is once an hour, I think.  I'm so tired of hearing it I didn't even feel like linking too it on youtube.


Oh, just legalize it already...

State officials here in Washington are considering the petition of a man who is looking to get the state to extend it's medical cannabis allowance to folks with ADD and OCD.

Yup...we have gone from medical marijuana being for the terminally ill and permanently debilitated, to considering it for folks with Attention Deficit Disorders, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 

State considers adding ADD to medical pot list

For now, the state hasn't approved anything...it's still just listening to the guys case.  Three other petitions to have depression and other mental illnesses added to the 'Legal Pot Use' list have failed...but the fact that they are listening to them at all makes me kind of giggle.

I am not against extending the legality of pot.  In fact, I just signed a petition for a ballot measure in the next general election to have marijuana fully legalized in Washington State.  If we are going to legalize...just legalize it. 

Expanding a legal exemption to folks with ADD or OCD and placing those 'disorders' on the same level as terminal illnesses like cancer and MS would be insulting, if I didn't recognize the progressive, 'one-step-at-a-time' effort to expand the legality of pot.

It feels kind of the same as what happend to first curtail, and now re-expand gun rights...one little step at a time. 


I wouldn't try that twice...

Friday, in Bremerton, a lady got home about noon, and encountered a burglar 'in the act'.  Upon being confronted(and screamed at) by the homeowner, the bad guy bolted, carrying a jewlery box and another box full of coins. 

The full story is here.

Good for her confronting this guy, and getting her stuff back, and not playing the victim.  Hopefully, the eventually catch the guy, and she can identify him in a line-up. 

But good golly lady...confronting a guy in the middle of robbing your house without arming yourself first?  You can't count on being able to defend your castle with strong language. 

She's pretty lucky this story HAS a happy ending for her. 

Someone's looking for a new job...

Things have actully been busy at work lately, so I haven't had the opportunity to mine the darkest corners of the internet for things to enrage me.  Luckily, with this being the Holiday's, you don't need to dig too deep.

I don't know what kind of day this Fed Ex driver had prior to this delivery...but I know his day(or his week, or his month) can not have gotten any better now that this video of him has hit the internet.

Seeing things like this, and Jay G's story about the nice clearly labled box he had left on his porch makes me glad I have yet to pull the trigger on the 'free shipping' to get a new TV delivered to my apartment. 

We really need a trial for this?

Two Thousand Dollars.  To some people, that's a few weeks pay...for some it's chump change they throw away on a big screen T.V(sometimes, that's the same people).  For still other people, $2000 is worth setting someone on fire over.

73-year old Deloris Gillespie was one her way home from some grocery shopping.  She got in the elevator to go to the 5th floor. Someone was waiting for her at the top.  That someone sprayed her down with gasoline, then stepped out of the elevator before setting Deloris on fire with a mini-molotov cocktail.

Holy Crap.

The next day, 47-year old Jerome Isaac turned himself in for doing the deed, saying he did it because Deloris owed him $2000.

Prior to turning himself in, Jerome lit some fires around his apartment, setting himself up for a likely insanity defense.

If I ever decided to set someone on fire in front of several surveillance cameras, I plan on doing it in the U.S.  I mean...this guy is caught on camera doing this.  He walked into a police station with burns, smelling of gasoline, and ADMITTED doing it.

And it's still going to be a year before he is convicted of ANYTHING.  And then I feel there's a 50-50 chance that he will be ruled insane, and get treatment instead of punishment. 

Sigh.  Guess that might be my big trouble...I'm much more interested in seeing the guilty punished, than disciplined. 


Not crying...it's just a bit dusty.

While flipping through news and analysis from all the NFL games this weekend(on my lunch break), I came across an atypical Monday Morning story.  Most Monday football stories don't make me weepy...but this one did bring a little bit of moisture to my eyes.

Scott Wood was a U.S. Marine that died from injuries sustained in the service of his country.  He was also a big fan of the Houston Texans football team.  So big of a fan that his wife Sara had him buried with a Houston Texans shirt under his uniform. 

Sunday, the Houston Texans invited Sara and her son to see a Texans football game, and told them that they would them to participate in a half-time cermony honoring Scott and other fallen veterans, and that they would like to give young Landon a bike.

Well, it turns out the Houston Texans were liars(in a good way).  In addition to giving Landon a bike, the Texans, along with 'Operation Finally Home' gave Sara and Landon a house to live in.  Since Scott died, Sara and her son have been sharing a bed at her parents house. 

It's a bittersweet story.  I'm sure Sara would trade a new, free house to get her husband back, but if she can't have him back, she now has a new home to get her fresh start. 


You know my methods...

Date night last night, and since we have both finished our Christmas Shopping(well, not totally...still need to finish stocking stuffers...hey, lying doesn't hurt if we lie to ourselves), my wife and I went to go see the new Sherlock Holmes movie.
First off, this was about the most crowded movie theater I have sat in for a long, long time.  I'm sure a big part of that is that my wife and I will usually go out of our way to avoid attending a movie the weekend it opens.  Full theaters usually mean noisy theaters...and I can't STAND that.  This time though, it was a pretty mature audience...I was pleased with the crowd..very well behaved.

I was also pleased with the movie...it was a rollicking good time, very comparable to the first Sherlock Holmes movie(well, the first with Robert Downey Jr.).  If you didn't see the first, you don't NEED to see it to enjoy this one(although you will be a little left out of his relationship with Irene Adler(played by a 'Gosh, isn't she pretty' Rachel McAdams)).   If you liked the first, you will like this one.  If you didn't like the first one...I'm not sure what's wrong with you.

Oh...I can see you not enjoying this movie if you don't like Downey's portrayal of Holmes.  He's not at all the staid, 'deer-stalker' cap and magnifying glass carrying Holmes that most of us grew up seeing in other portrayals.  He's younger and much more active than I remember Holmes from the stories, although, it's not a total departure.  In the short stories, Holmes was a big fan of disguises, and a formidable fighter, so it's not like Downey's take on the character is totally out to lunch. 

I like his way of playing Holmes, and there is a definite chemistry between him and Jude Law's Dr. Watson.  They seem to be mightely enjoying themselves even as they jump into the gravest of danger.

I wasn't blown away by the female lead, Noomi Rapace.  I mean, she did a good job as a gypsy princess, but...I can't picture her carrying the 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' series(and she's not Rachel McAdams).  Almost makes me want to see those movies to see how different of a character she can be.

The plot is...well, it's a mystery/Adventure.  There aren't long periods of Holmes sitting around trying to work out what's going on...he must do a lot of his thinking on the run. 

Very Styalized, very fast paced, and if not quite very, then at least really good.  I give it 8.75 out of 10.


Zero Tolerance Strikes Again!

A 14-year old Freshman at North Kitsap High School had the time his life Thursday, after being expelled from school AND arrested for posing a dangerous weapon on school grounds.

The Dangerous Weapon in this case?  An Airsoft Pistol

Two issues here, with two seperate sources of disipline. 

If it was school policy, and it was expressed to the children and their parents at the beggining of the year that bringing a replica firearm onto campus was an offence that would get them expelled...then, while I'm not 100% happy with that, the kid got what he deserved.  While we might not always agree with the rules, one breaks them at their own risk.  When I speed in my car, or drive home from the bar after even just ONE beer...I know I am breaking the law, and if I am caught, I have no one to blame but myself. 

Similar thing here with this kid getting expelled.  Over the top, but he assumed the risk.

Now...totally not okay with him being arrested and charged with Possessing a Dangerous Weapon on School Grounds.  I realize that in this case, the police officers are just following the law.  RCW 9.41.280 is very clear in what qualifies as a Dangerous Weapon on School Grounds, and it ropes the police into a course of action.  This is something that is entirely up to the law-makers to fix.

My opinion is that these airsoft pistols are only dangerous to the people that are carrying them.  If a police officer happens to shoot someone whose decided to arm themselves with an airsoft...sounds like natural selection to me.  The only one I feel bad for in that scenario is the police officer who might find himself feeling guilty about killing someone who didn't have a real gun on them...


Much Ado about Nothing.

This picture was making the rounds on the internet today, and much rage was being expressed in the accompanying story:

Air Force Times Picture
Ummmm...I really don't get it.  I mean...it's a group of bored Air Force NCO's and Airmen posing with one of their buddies in a coffin.  Once the picture was taken, someone then wrote 'Suck to be U' on it. 

Okay then...doesn't look like any intentional attempt to 'Add grief to the families of our fallen soldiers'.  Heck...this picture could have been taken because the guy in the casket is getting married.  It's a non-issue in my book...a little bit of gallows harbor that is being very blown out of proportion.  If they were posing with an actual dead body...then we could be outraged.

And outraged we should be about the story alluded to in the last paragraph of the main story...the inappropriate disposal of the partial remains of more than 274 service members upon their return to the states in Dover, Del.  Reading the full story here, things are slightly less heinous than I had originally thought...it wasn't like they just dumped remains in the landfill, but if family members had already recieved the 'primary' remains, they could elect to not recieve any additional remains...I guess if you didn't want to be reminded anew of your lost loved one.

I guess that makes sence...what doesn't make sence is that the unwanted 'extra' remains were cremated, and dumped in a land-fill.  Luckily, Air Force brass found out what was going on, and directed the 'unclaimed' remains now be buried at sea. 

Small comfort to the families who had loved ones come back prior to 2008.


Modern Medicine is AMAZING.

Earlier today, my wife showed my this story about a palm-sized baby that is among the world's smallest babies to survive.  It's a pretty amazing story...in August, the baby was born by C-Section weighing 9.5 ounces, at an estimated gestational age right on 24 weeks.

From a cynical side, you know that since this baby was born and kept alive (by much hard work) at the Univeristy of Southern California Medical Center, it was done just as much to see if it could be done, and for medical research purposes, as it was for the parents well being.  Even if this child had passed away at some point, or goes on to have long term health problems, things will have been learned from this case.

From the parents side...you don't care about any of that.  For almost 4 months, their baby girl has lived inside an incubator, with tubes running into and out of her.  Now...they are getting to get her dressed, and bring her home in time for Christmas.  When our older daughter Bella was born, she had a few problems, and she was airlifted to a larger hospital for Mild Respiratory Distress, which quickly went away, but she then developed a bad case of jaundice, and got to spend a week in the hospital before we could bring her home.

That was a tough week...I can't imagine 4 months of it.

Then, there is the final, jealous side of me.  Before we had Bella, we had lost a previous baby.  At the time, my wife was estimated to be just past 20 weeks, and the doctors said that based off that gestational age, no medical action would be taken for the baby.  She was almost 8% heavier than the baby girl in this story...

Granted, this was 10 years ago...at the time, I had no idea what the lightest baby ever saved was.  We didn't take pictures...but in my mind's eye, she didn't look much different than the pictures of the baby in the story. 

Heck of a thing to look back 10-years and maybe wonder if you didn't fight hard enough for something...

The buck stops here...

As your children get older, you have to let them start doing more and more things on their own. Our 6-year old is at the point where all I do for her now at bath time is set the water temperature for her, then get out of the way.  When bath time is over, we make sure she has a suitable 'shampoo' scent about her, and she gets dried off and dressed herself. 

As nice as that is, I realize that I am still responsible for what happens in the bathroom...like we learned in the navy, you can't delegate responsibility.

I had to remind myself of that this morning.  Without really paying attention, I reached into the tub and got the shower running.  I let the water heat up while I brushed my teeth, and then jumped right into the shower.

Landing in the 8-inches of icy cold water that was still in the tub from last night.  The little bit of new water from the warming shower didn't make much of a difference. 

Talk about a wake up. 

Before I went and dumped a bucket of water in my daughters bed, I remembered that it was ALL MY FAULT.  I didn't follow through on my responsibilities in making sure she properly finished her bath.

Lesson learned.

A spoonfull of sugar.

I tend to keep to a pretty tight schedule when I wake up in the morning.  I'm not the 'sip a leisurly cup of coffee while I watch the news' kind of guy.  Realistically, I only have about 10 minutes between when I wake up and when I head out the door that I'm not in the bathroom.

Most of that 10 minutes is spent flipping back and forth between The Weather Channel and ESPN while I wait for the apartment to warm up a bit.  I try to avoid watching The News, just because it's 95% depressing, and I don't like starting my day anymore depressed than I usually am to be going to work.  Occasionally though, I will flip to Headline News.  The news is not any less depressing, but it's usually not as in depth as on the other channels, and what bad news there is is delivered by Robin Meade.
picture borrowed from www.manolith.com
What a pretty, pretty lady..there is very little she can say that comes across as bad news, even if she doesn't do much more than touch on the headline's(guess that must be why they call it Headline News).  If Obama does get re-elected, I hope I hear it from Robin Meade first...



But our schools need more money!

The Seattle School District came out this week and admitted to having themselves quite the little budget FUBAR

A decade ago, the Seattle School District built themselves a brand new shiney Head Quarters and Administration building for the low, low price of 54.5 MILLION dollars. There wasn't really money in the budget for it...why would you need cash on hand when you can offer bonds and get voters to increase levy's?  You don't need to tell the taxpayers WHY you need more money...just threatedn to lay off teachers if you don't get more money. 

And if there was no money ear-marked for this little plan a decade ago, after three straight years of state-wide budget cuts, there really isn't money now.  Things have limped along for the last decade...the school district did sell off a few old buildings, and shuffled some money from one account to another.  There was sooooo much shuffling of money that it took the school districts new Executive Director of Finance several weeks to figure out just how things had been getting paid for the last 10 years, and where the loans currently stood.

What a cluster. 

What got my goat the most in this whole article is when the Executive Director of Finance revealed the possible courses of action for fixing the problem.  The 4th option blew my mind:

Finally, the district could find another source that would generate a significant amount of revenue. But what that source might be is unclear.
Ummm...what does that mean?   They are holding out of finding a herd of unicorns, and selling unicorn horn aphrodsiac?  My wife said maybe the could sell Avon...who doesn't remember soaking in a tub with a cap-full of Avon Skin So Soft? 

Oh...or maybe the could decide they don't need an Executive Director of Finance.  Having an 'Executive' Director means you have other Director level folks working for him...just how big and convoluted is the Seattle School Districts Financial Department? 

What matters is that this yahoo stood up in front of reporters, and reported that 4th Statement as an actual OPTION!?!?!?!?!? 

Crap.  The worst thing is that 2 years from now, Seattle School District will be saying 'if you don't raise property taxes, we'll have to get rid of teachers'...just like the State of Washington always says 'If you don't let us raise taxes, we will have to get rid of nurses and dental care for poor kids'! 


The war on Christmas

I stopped at Safeway on the way home after work today, and I was totally flabbergasted by the blatant disregard I saw for the Winter Holiday Season:

Yup...they tried hiding it behind some stockings and the fresh bread rack, but there is no mistaking the fact that on December 13th, Safeway is already selling Easter Candy.

The bad part is that I was tempted to actual pick up some of the Cadbury Creme Eggs for my wife...there is nothing else quite like them at Christmas time.  Myself...I'm more a Reece's fan...peanut butter and chocolate are two great tastes that go great together.

Friendship Tea

Yesterday, my wife was trying to come up with a recipe for something she calls 'Friendship Tea'.  It's a pre-mixed powder that you add to some hot water.  Her intent was giving jars of it to the ladies who run the co-op workshops that our daughters go to for home-schooling.  Since I had never heard of 'friendship tea', I told her I would help her by being a test subject.

After some talking with some of her online friends, she came up with a lower calorie recipe, and we started testing. 

It wasn't half bad.  I'm not entirely certain why it's called 'Friendship Tea', since it didn't taste remotely like tea...it had much more of a cider feel to it.  It was so much like cider I told my wife I thought it would make a great 'toddy' base, with some rum added to it.  Lacking any open rum, we did some experimenting.  I made one with some Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, and she made one with some Peach Schnapps added to it.

Yum on both of them.  I am sure a spiced rum like Captain Morgan's, or my preferred Sailor Jerry's would be just as tasty an addition.

I told my wife if she really wanted to show appectiation for the ladies teaching the work shops, she would pick up a few sample bottles of alcohol at the liquor store to throw in with the powder mix...


And how does 2 years in jail fix the problem?

Local story here...a group of young vandals repeatedly abused a high school in Prosser, Washington, causing roughly $400,000 in three seperate incidents.  One of the rocket scientists was found guilty of participating/organizing all three of the occurances, and was scentenced to two years in jail today.

 Prosser teen to spend 2 years in jail for vandalizing high school
Read more: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/12/12/1750523/prosser-teen-to-spend-2-years.html#ixzz1gNXR96Iu

How could part of the sentence NOT include putting these young punks to work fixing what they destroyed?  Sending him to prison for two years is the easy way out!  The amount of damage they caused amounts to roughly 2% of the Prosser School Districts budget...other things are going to need to be cut to pay to fix/clean up the mess these guys made...

Sigh.  I know...trying to supervise these kids doing the work to fix things would be tough...but sending an 18-year old to prison for 2-years(heck, 6  months by the time they reduce his sentence because of crowding) isn't going to fix the kid, OR the damage they caused.


Who needs plans?

I am a planner.

Often for me, planning for a little weekend trip, or date night adventure with my wife, is just as much fun as the execution of said plan...especially when things start going south in the execution of that plan.  I spend hours on yelp, figuring out what restaurant looks the best, which travel path between points of interest is the most effective, and sometimes going as far as trying to figure out how much time I think we will spend at each stop.
So yeah...I'm not just a planner, I'm a freak. 

I'm better than I used to be.  For the first few years of our marriage, my wife used to refer to me as her 'Time Nazi'...and not always in a sweet way.  I was forever tapping my watch and my foot waiting for her to get ready in the morning, and got flat-out pouty if I saw my schedule slipping.

This weekend, The Plan had called for swinging up to Leavenworth Friday evening to wander around and look at how pretty the town was after dark with all the lights on.  We would then go back to Wenatchee for sleep, before heading back up to Leavenworth on Saturday to hit the shops, and see how cute the town was with the sun up, and then bailing before it got dark and the crowds congregated for the Christmas Tree Lighting, since we would have seen it glowing the night before, with smaller crowds.

Ready? Break!

The plan started out good...as previously stated, Leavenworth was every bit as pretty as I hoped it would be.  There were two things I hadn't planned on though: First, I was unaware that Wenatchee, and the town of Cashmere would have so much to offer...several antique stores, a few wineries, a cider mill, a candy factory, and an all around pleasant atmosphere.  Second...we were not prepared at all for what kind of crowds we would face in Leavenworth on Saturday.

Friday, it had taken us about half-an-hour to get from Wenatchee to Leavenworth, and find a parking spot.  Saturday, it took us 20 minutes to do the last mile and a half into town, where were found out that any parking spot was going to cost us $10.  Ten bucks to wander around in shops full of tourist stuff?  The free parking around the antique stores, wine tasting rooms, the cider mill and candy factory seemed pretty inviting after that...so, we punted.  Good Bye Leavenworth, Hello Cashmere.

It was a good day either way.  The kids were GREAT at the antique stores, and had a great time trying the samples at the candy factory.  Liberty Orchards has been in business since 1920, and is best known for producing Aplets and Cotlets.  Aplets and  Cotlets are a candy made with fresh apples and apricots(although they now make them with all kinds of fruits) and pieces of nut in them, then lightly covered in powdered sugar.  It's the kind of thing usually sold at a 'Made in Washington' store, and shunned by the people that actually live in the state...but, they were pretty darn good.  Proving my weakness, my wife and I convinced ourselves to pick up two cases of their little sample size boxes(buying it buy the case was a good deal) to send out with Christmas presents.

The tasting room at the Cashmere Cider Mill was neat.  The girls loved it(although neither was blown away by the Apple-Lavender Cider).  Just like at a Winery Tasting Room, I was weak, weak, weak.  We walked out of there with two bottles of Cider...their Spiced and their Heirloom.  We had a sample of the Heirloom...I can't begin to describe it...I've never tasted an apple flavor that pure before.  You pay for what you get though...two bottles of cider were over 30 bucks...I've had moments of weakness at Wineries that cost me less than that...

It was a good, good day, and a good, good weekend. 

I only thought about work 3 or 4 times...


Pushed to the edge...

Had a great first evening in Leavenworth last night...it IS a very pretty place.  We swung by our hotel in Wenatchee first(about a 20 minute drive, and orders of magnitude cheaper than staying in Leavenworth itself), and made it Leavenworth about 4:30.  With the temperature hovering in the mid-20's once the sun went down, you can't do much drifting around looking at pretty lights before you start thinking about ducking into someplace warm.  For us, this meant trying to beat the rush and ducking in someplace for an early dinner.

Since it feels contrary to visit a 'Bavarian Village' without eating somewhat ethnic food, we didn't fight the trend(well, the kids did...one had fish sticks, the other had grilled cheese).  We stopped at a place called The Baren Haus.(Daddy..they spelt the name wrong!)  I had their Sauer Braten, and my wife had the Wiener Schnitzel.  I'm not an expert on german food, but things tasted good to me.  I thought the Schnitzel was better than the Sauer Braten(it tasted like a pot roast with gravy) but the sauerkraut and cabbage were both good.  Grumble, grumble, grumble about tourist town prices.

A little more wandering through the lights, and then it was back to our hotel.

I love my children, I really do(it's the only reason they are still around)...but I can't believe how I always forgot how badly they sleep in a hotel room.  It's one of those things we only do every 4-6 months, and every time I hope that that extra 4-6 months of maturity will have kicked in, and allowed them to co-exisit in the same bed, and every time daddy is disappointed.

Last night was one of the worst.  We turned the TV on in the hotel room, and let the girls watch The Santa Clause.  Halfway through, they were fading, but when the movie ended at 10, our younger one just refused to GO TO SLEEP!!!!!!  At 10:45, my wife and I split up, and I got to share a bed with the younger one.  45 minutes later, we did the unthinkable...we piled 6 pillows on the floor, stripped each bed of a blanket, and told the youngest one she was voted off the island and had to sleep on the floor.

5 minutes later, she was asleep. 

And this morning, she is brighteyed and bushy-tailed.

I think next time I just rent two hotel rooms, and let the girls play Lord of the Flies in theirs...


Playing tourist

Heading out with the wife and kids this afternoon to go the picturesque Bavarian(tourist trap) town of Leavenworth.  Located in central Washington, on the eastern down-slope of the Cascades, Leavenworth is supposed to be a very pretty town to go visit in the winter.  Despite living in Washington for a long time, I've never been to Leavenworth before...when we lived on the west side of the states, I was never adventurous enough to brave the mountain passes to spend a day wandering around in the cold, looking at Bavarian facades and Christmas lights, while wishing I was inside a warm bar drinking a cold beer.

Now that I am on this side of the mountains, I don't have that excuse...nor do I wish I did.  I think the rest of my family will have a great time if it is even half as pretty as other folks have said it is.  The tricks going to be spending Saturday wandering in an out of various knick-knack and tchotchke filled shops without going harm with a car full of crap.

Gotta love the towns advertisements though...


Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Maybe not frightful, but at least interesting today.  Here in the Inland Pacific Northwest, we are dealing with some pretty stagnant conditions and temperature inversions, which means some days the fog comes in, and just never leaves.

Today was one of those days, meaning I'm able to take pictures like this:

This picture was taken at One O'clock in the afternoon, with the temperature hanging steady at a balmy 25 degrees.  It actually was kind of pretty...frozen sagebrush is somewhat appealing.

The only real negative when it is that cold and foggy, you need to scrape ice off your windshield every two hours...



Mythbusters is one of my favorite shows.  It's very entertaining, yet scientific enough that one could rationalize it as being 'educational'.  In addition to their CYA disclaimer at the start of every episode, they do a pretty fair job of documenting all the safety precautions they are taking to keep things safe and sane.

Accidents will happen though...and when you are trying to test myths involving a cannon that fires a 10 pound ball at over 1000 feet-per-second, your accidents can catch some attention.  Especially when those cannon balls leave your 'experimental test facility(the Alameda County Sherrif's Department Bomb Range, where they have done many, MANY experiments) and punch through bedrooms and minivan's in the neighborhoods around the bomb range.

The good news here is that no one was hurt.  It sounds like the cannon ball missed it's target(several barrels of water) and skipped up and over the berm behind their target.  The show coveres insurance for just this reason(well, not this specific reason, but...you get it.)

The bad news is, this episode isn't going to be aired now!  In typical knee-jerk overreaction fashion, the show's producers already said that this episode won't be shown.  Lame! 

The damage is already done...finish strong and cash in on the ratings you could get showing the hole you punched in this house! 


Not so quick on the mental draw..

Another one of those 'With Friends Like this Who Needs Enemies' stories:

Quickdraw practice puts bullet in neighbor's house

A few thoughts here:  First...shame on this guy for being dumb and letting this happen.  Also, shame on this guy for firing a round, and then not only NOT showing some initiative to find out where his bullet went, but lying when the police showed up.  Lying to the police when they initially show up is not going to start them down a path of understanding.

Final thought would be I'm a little bummed, but not surprised, that the police took the guys gun's from his house.  I'm not sure if this is standard procedure in cases of an accidental discharge or not...or if it's just something they reserve for cases where the guy lies to the police when they show up.


Ain't no hole in the washtub!

Netflix hasn't done a lot of things right in the past year(and now they are saying the USPS decision to not do 'next day' shipping anymore may kill them) but one thing they have done right, and just in time for Christmas, is add Emmet Otters Jug Bang Christmas to their streaming selections.

Emmet Otter's is my favorite TV Christmas Special.  Along with Scrooged, A Christmas Story, Die Hard, and the Original Grinch who Stole Christmas, it would make my Top 5 Christmas Video's list.   

Anyway...we watched it last night(yup, daddy sacrificed some of that unwatchable Sunday Night Football game)...and, it's still as good as I remember.  The only thing missing from the netflix version is the Kermit the Frog intro, but that was more than made up for by the two girls who took turns sitting on my lap.  With my older onebeing 9 now, I'm not sure how many more times that will happen, and I try to treasure each remaining opportunity. 

The one thing that has always kind of impressed me about Emmet Otter is how, despite the fact that everything works out in the end, THE BAD GUYS WIN!  And make no doubt about, the River Bottom Nightmare Band, is one bad ass bunch of Alice Cooper Wanna-Be's, and not just a few hooligans like Emmet's mom thinks they are...they also deserve to win...


Cowboy Logistics

About two weeks ago, the amazing Oleg Volk had a post wherein he introduced me to a firearm I was not previously familiar with, the Just Right Carbine.  Now, admittedly, it was more his choice of model(her hair is the perfect shade of red, and Oleg's picture are always The Best), than the gun that caught my eye.  Despite the intriguing camo schemes on the pictured guns, it looked almost like any other M-4gery with a pistol conversion kit on it.  Ho-Hum.

I do like the concept of 'cowboy logistics' that Oleg talks about though...having a common caliber for use in both a handgun and a long-gun.  I already have that basis covered somewhat, with my S&W 686 and Marlin 1892 both being in .357.  It means I stock up on a lot of .357 and .38...would it be so bad to have a similar deal going in 9mm?
By coincidence(or maybe not coincidence) I was at my local ACE yesterday looking for a gift for a White Elephant exchange(got a sling shot), and I noticed the black rifle section had an M-4 with a Glock magazine hanging out the bottom.  'Why yes, I would like to see something...'

I still don't know if I was totally blown away or not.  It felt like a well madevM-4...balanced nice, and it was quick to the shoulder and pointed well.  The controls were almost, but not quite where the belonged...and all in all, it seemed an attractive pistol caliber carbine. 

The two negatives about it, for me anyway, were the price, and the magazine.  Asking price on the gun was $538.  Not that much more than some of the dedicated .22lr AR trainers out there right now, but twice as much as the Hi-Point Carbine they had next to it on the shelf.  Now, don't check out on me now...I'm not here to sing the praises of Hi-Point firearms, but I have seldom heard many complaints about their pistol carbines.  I think they are ugly as sin, but I actually know two people who own them, and they seem happy with them.  Under 50-yards with a red dot, they are a good time.

The other issue, and the killer for me from a 'cowboy logistics' standpoint, is that they run with Glock magazines.  I don't currently own a Glock...my 9mm of choice is a CZ.  If I bought this carbine, then I would need to go pick up a Glock or two also...and then a couple of 33rd magazine...

You can see how expensive this would rapidly become...


Knocked me out with those American Thighs...

My wife was shopping yesterday, and found a sale going on for chicken thighs...99 cents a pound.  Since we were low on 'ready use' chicken in the freezer, she picked up 8 and a half pounds, which might seem like a lot, but ties into my little rant yesterday about paying for convienience

Growing up, I was not a chicken thigh fan...ewww....dark meat.  Now, though, I have found that the thigh meat stay's moister and jucier, and more flavorful than the boneless/skinless breasts we used to use for most of our chicken applications. 

So...start with your chicken thighs, and give them a light olive oil massage, and then rub in some of this(garlic powder, 'chicken seasoning', Montreal Steak Seasoning) and that(cumin and paprika).

Then, get yourself a big, heavy skillet heated up, and throw in a little olive oil and some bacon fat(shame on you if you don't have some in the fridge).  Sear each piece on both sides(gives them some color, AND gets rid of a little of the fat), and then throw them in a baking dish, and once you have that all loaded up, cover it tightly with foil, and toss them in the oven. 

I do mine at about 350 for 1 hour(if I have longer, I will do 325 for 1.5 hours).  Even in the oven that long, in a sealed backing pan, with all the fat in the skin, they still come out juicy, juicy.  I had pictures to prove this, but due to a communication error, they were deleted priot to making it on the computer...whatever, you've seen cooked chicken before.

I then give them a few minutes to cool, before peeling the meat off the bones, and shredding it up.  Once totally cooled, we package it in zip lock bags(somewhere between 12-16 ounces each) and throw them in the freezer.  Now we have single use packages of cooked chicken meat that just need to be thawed and mixed in with anything...chicken taco's, chile, chicken alfredo...never mind, I feel like Forest Gump. 

So...was the .99 cents a pound a good deal?  Well...from a weight standpoint, I started with 8.5 pounds of raw bone in thighs, and ended up with 3 pounds, 14 ounces(fudging here a bit...I ruined the true scientific part of this by eating like two thighs worth of chicken during the process...yum.)  Redoing our math, we come out with $2.17 a pound, and that's not bad for a 'in-the-freezer, ready to go' protein source. 

Looking forward to chicken pot pie this week, now...


Finally found a reason to carry a Judge...

While I was helping my daughters cruise some educational websites earlier today, I happened across this terrifying article:

World's biggest insect is so huge it eats carrots.

Oh my Gosh...Take it AWAY!!!!!!!

Everyone has their 'thing' that gives them the heebi-geebies, and for me, it's bugs.  You couldn't have paid me enough to do that 'Sounds like fortune cookies' scene from The Temple of Doom...I'd have run out of the room screaming. 

picture borrowed from The Telegraph Website
If these things ever got off their island, it would be the perfect excuse to finally go buy that Taurus Judge.  I don't trust myself to hit a 6 or 7 inch bug every shot, but a cylinder full of 3" #4 or #6 .410 loads should put a hurting on a crowd of these things.


Not just an Indiana thing...

One of the things Tam likes to occasionally rant about is Police Officers doing silly things, in particular, getting caught doing stuff that would get you and me in serious trouble...like DUI

Proving these things can happen in the idealic Pacific Northwest, a Sherrif's Deputy was pulled over driving home from Tacoma on Thanksgiving Weekend. 

Stephen Argyle is a 30 YEAR Vetran of the Kitsap County Sherrif's Department, and was pulled over because he was "drifting in his lane," and had "grazed" the sides of his lane. 

It's unfortunate.  There is nothing to indicate that Deputy Argyle is anything other than a good cop...and I am not saying that you through the book at him just because he is a police officer that showed poor judgement driving home after drinking on a holiday weekend.  I am saying that you look really closely at whether or not he get's to continue his job as a Sherrif's Deputy. 

When I was in the Navy, I saw more than one guy have his career cut short because of a DUI.  You weren't necessarily bounced, but you knew your career path would be altered.  The Navy's Nuclear Power Program felt that drinking and driving showed poor judgement and made you a person of questionable integrity. 

I don't think it is too much to expect similar levels of judgement and integrity from our police officers. 

What price convienience?

Things have been busier than normal around here.  Not super busy, but, 'having to go to the storage unit to get our Christmas Decorations Out, and then leisurly decorating the apartment, until we got a phone call from a friend 'sorry about the late notice, but I need a break for the weekend and I was hoping I could come visit you guys' sure we would love that!(and we would!) but now we need to finish decorating and get things cleaned up again' busy.  Things haven't been winding down until past 9 in the evening, at which point I feel more like snuggling with my wife on the couch that ranting about all that is wrong with the world. 

Today is different though.  Today my wife has herself a doctors appointment at 10:30, and so rather than go in for a few hour on Friday, just to leave and then most certainly NOT go back in at 1 in the afternoon, it seemed the perfect justification to take the whole day off.   This 'every other Friday Off' schedule has spoiled me...now I'm taking using a 1 hour obligation where I need to ride herd over my kids as justification to take the whole day off.

Since we need to make a few dishes to bring to a Christmas/Bunko Party Saturday evening, I found myself at Win-Co bright and early this morning, and my thoughts turned to paying for convienience.

I am as guilty of this as everyone else, and often times it just comes down to what I've got going on with my life.  There have been times I have bought a few boneless 'In-Bag' Pork loins, and brought them home to slice them in to pork chops myself to save 50 cents a pound, and there have been times I have bought pre-cubed stew meat, because it just didn't feel worth my time to cube up a rump roast. 

One example of this 'paying for convienience' that I just don't get is this increasing fascination with 'K-Cups'.  For those of you who haven't seen these before, it's a little self-contained plastic cup, that you load into your single-shot brewing machine, and in a matter of seconds, it procudes a cup of coffee, or cocoa, or even tea or apple cider now. 

My mother-in-law had one of these one of the times we went to visit her in Connectiicut, and don't get me wrong, it is a DAMN convienient gadget...it produces a hot, tasty beverage lickity split.  But, it's not cheap...for an actual Keurig Brand Personal Mini-Brewer, you are talking $99 at Target right now, as opposed to under $30 for many different types of normal drip machines.

Then there is the price of the 'cartridges'  Today at Win-co I saw a 12-pack of Folgers Cartrdiges for $5.88, and a box of cocoa cartridges were 12 for $4.88  Conversely, a big can of Folgers was $11.71 for 240 servings, and then $5.72 for a 43 serving container of Swiss Miss Cocoa, with mini-Marshmellows. 

Before I do the math, I am going to apply a correction factor...the serving size on the Folgers is a 6oz cup, and the Swiss Miss an 8-ounce cup.  That's a tiny serving...I measured on of my coffee cups, and before cream and splenda, I'm putting about 10 ounces in each cup...so, correcting for that we get:

.49 for a K-Cup of Folgers, vs. .08 a cup of home brewed Folgers, and then .40 for a cup of cocoa(with NO mini-marshmellows) vs. .167 cents a cup of Swiss Miss. 

That's a pretty huge difference...but what really blows my mind about all this math is how expensive hot cocoa is...who knew that all that sugar was so expensive...


Just throw the first load of dirt on my coffin now...

I guess one sign of officially being 'Old' is that I have decided 10PM is entirely too damn late to stay up to watch the Victorias Secret Fashion Show on TV.

Especially when I've already got all the catalogues...

You say Protest, I say Riot.

Here in Washington, they are trying to hold a Special Session of The Legislature, so they can get a jump on the projected 1.4 BILLION dollar deficit we are looking at here in Washington State. 

I say 'trying to hold' because Monday's Special Session was interrupted by protesters...not just outside the building, but inside the Capitol, including fighting their way into the conference rooms where some of the Committees were meeting. 

In their effort to get protesters out of the Capitol once it closed, and then keep them out of the conference rooms where the committees were, several protesters were hit with stun guns, and 6 police officers were injured, two of them being bitten on the arm!  When people start getting bitten on the arm, things are going a bit beyond the 'peaceable protest' stage...you either need to start calling it a riot...

Or a Revolution. 

Christmas List!

SWMBO is losing patience waiting on my Christmas List, so I figured, why not do it here, where I can build my word count and post links for her, ALL while I put products I would be more than willing to test out there for different suppliers to look at! 

Machete: Not the movie...an actual tool.  I am wanting some kind of a hacking blade for my zombie/bug out kit.  For a while, I was leaning towards something in the tomahawk family, and then something like the Ontario SP-16, before finally settling on something machete like.  A Gerber Gator or  SOG SOGfari would make me happy indeed.

Les Miserable 25th Anniversary DVD: Nothing useful, firearms, or survival related here...I just like Les Miserables. 

First Aid Kit Stuff: Not the sexiest Christmas Present, but I wouldn't mind finding a few things of Celox, or even some of their pre-jimmied up gauze bandage under the tree.  So far I have always deferred to my wife in getting first aid stuff thrown together. 

Eton Scorpion: Earlier this year, I aquired an Eton Microlink 160, which was nice, but didn't blow me away.  The solar panel took A LONG time to charge the radio, and it lacked an A/C Adapter.  The Scorpion has a larger solar panel, AND you can get an A/C Adapter, so...yeah. 

Shotgun Stock: A few months back, Carteach did a write up on a new folding Knoxx Recoil Reducing Stock, and I have been jonesing one for my Mossberg 500 ever since.  I think, being the type of guy I am, I would prefer the collapsing version to the folding version...but either one would work. 

Grown Up Pellet Gun: Not a B.B. Gun...something like a Gamo Whisper.  Now we are getting into Dream World type gifts.  While up at hunting camp this year, one of my buddies sons put a hurting on a number squirrels with a Gamo Air Rifle...I was pretty impressed. 

Ummm...that's quite a list.  Not sure I will get more than 2 or 3 things on the list, because one thing I haven't talked about yet is a the new TV.  Currently, we have an 8 or 9 year old 25-inch Zenith in our living room(does Zenith even make TV's anymore?).  My wife and I agreed that the time had came to move up in the world, and get something in the 37-40" range for the living room using the latest technologym with 1080P resolution. 

What ever that means. 


Good, Clean, Wholesome fun.

A few days ago, while my mom and wife recovered from their 11PM-6:45AM Black Friday shopping experience, I packed the girls in the car, and took them to see The Muppet's Movie.  On an Arm Twisting Scale(1-10) this bit of Fatherly Heroics only rates about a 0.8, since I was more than 50% leaning towards seeing the newest Muppet Movie all by myself. 

Being a child of the Mid to Late 70's and early 80's, the Muppets are right in my wheel house.  I remember many an evening spent watching The Muppet Show(and yes, my mom and dad used to watch along with me.)  It never failed to entertain...to this day, I can kill LONG periods of time watching Pigs in Space and The Swedish Chef on youtube.  One of my favorite Christmas movies, Emmet Otters Jug-Band Christmas, is a Muppets spin off.

My Muppets 'street cred' firmly established, allow me to put every one's mind at ease...this movie is pretty good.  More important than it being good...it FEELS like the Muppets.

The plot isn't very important...we follow two brothers, one of the felt, and the other normal, Walter and Gary, both of whom are pretty big muppet fans.  Gary is going to Hollywood with his girlfriend of 10 years, Mary, and brings Walter along so they can tour Muppet Studio.

Big disappointment, and...what the heck...Walter finds out an evil guy is going to tear down the studio to put in an oil well in Hollywood(What zoning?).  They then go visit Kermit, to get all the gang together, so they can have a telethon, and raise 10 Million dollars to save the theater?

Any Questions?

In addition to Gary and Mary, there are really only about 3 or 4 other named human characters in movie...and most of them are cameo's.  Jack Black has a pretty big role, as Animal's 'Sponsor' and then as an involuntary host of the Telethon.  You also have Alan Arkin, Zach Galifi-whatsis, Sarah Silverman, Whoopi Goldberg, Micky Rooney, Judd Hirsch, Neil PATRICK HARRIS, Dave Grohl, and Selena Gomez, who gets to deliver one of the better lines in the movie.

Amy Adams, as the female lead is...well...sigh.  She's amazing.  With the 'dated' feel the movie is going for, she gets to spend the movie in cute little June Cleaver-type outfits, an advantage she doesn't need in her pursuit of being the worlds Most Adorable Woman. 

I'm not saying she can't do flat out sexy also, but in this movie, she is 100% Wholesome Take Her Home to Mom CUTE.  Dig it.

So yeah...there are a few cute songs in the show, and not nearly enough Swedish Chef...but there is some Beaker, and plenty of ANIMAL!!!!! 

If you have kids of your own, or just liked the muppets Back in The Day, I give it 18 out of 20...


Tragedy Averted.

Woke up this morning, and things were going pretty good until the internet stopped working.  One minute, things were going fine...the next, I got up to unload the dishwasher, and when I came back, the magic was gone.

I gave it about an hour to come back on it's own, but nope...so, instead of carefully turning the wireless router off, and then turning the modem off, I lost my patience and used the switch on the surge protector to give EVERYTHING(TV, WII, Modem, router, cable box) a power-on-reset.

It didn't fix the internet.  I gave it about another hour, and finally called the fine folks at Charter.  'Ken' stepped me through unplugging this, resetting that, 'please wait, I send signal!'  Eventually, the right chicken bones landed in the right postions, and the internet came back!

With the internet problem solved, I went to fire the Wii back up, so that my wife could have Netflix waiting for her, but, there was a problem.  After my little 'power-on-reset', the Wii no worky-worky.  In fact, the little light that said it has power going to it wasn't working at all.  I tried more than one plug, and pouted.  It was quiet obvious...venting my frustration at the internet had caused something with the Wii to stop working...the question was, was it something with the adapter/cord, or something internal to the Wii?  And it was a $120 question...Fred Meyers(luckily) had replacement adapters/cables for $30, whereas Wal-Mart wanted $150 for a new Wii.

I almost bought both the new cable, AND a new Wii, with the plan that at least I could fix the problem right away, and once the wife was occupied watching dramatic British Series, I could safely return what I didn't need.  Kind of like bringing two dresses home, since you couldn't decide which one looked better in the store.  In the end though, my anticipated displeasure at having to deal with the customer service desk outweighed my lack of a back-rub from my wife if she had to wait two more hours to watch North & South.   

In the end the new power cord fixed the problem, and I learned a $30 lesson about letting my temper get the better of me when dealing with electronics.



It's just two initials!

During the Black Friday sales today, my mom bought a couple of new memory cards for her camera and her Blackberry.  Until yesterday, when I showed off with my phone, she didn't know that you could load songs on a micro SD card, and then put that micro SD card into your phone to play music. 

Proving I'm not really the best person to show off new technology, I didn't know enough to warn her than in additon to Micro SD cards there are now Micro SDHC(high capacity) cards, and that older equipment(like her Blackberry, and my Samsung Cell Phone) that were designed for Micro SD cards don't play nice with the newer Micro SDHC cards...

Sigh...at least my wife is excited now...when we get home tomorrow she should have her new Droid waiting on the front porch, and at least two Micro SDHC cards available to choose from.