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


The same, but different.

One last reflection upon my 'family weekend' before moving on with my life and getting back to the 'real world' of impending election year politics. 

I am amazed at how my daughters, with the same genetic background and similar upbringings, can be so different. 

The way they spent their time at the camp this weekend drove it home.  My younger daughter engaged in the active pursuits...playing soccer, running around with other kids...climbing the rock wall part of the play set. 

Bella, my older one, is a much more internal child.  My wife calls her sensitive.  She can get on the play ground and play with other kids, but she isn't a risk taker.  She would prefer to sit and read a book or do sidewalk chalk to jumping on the zip line they had at camp.

The zip line was a neat experience for Maureen.  It's not a huge one...probably 100-120 feet long, with an average height 10-12 feet over the ground.  Since my daughter was interested in using it, I volunteered to help run it.  With 10 minutes of training, I suiting youngin's up in their harnesses and helping to clip them into the zip line.  That was a the scariest part to me...knowing this kid was going to through themselves off a 15-foot platform with only the harness I strapped them in to keep them from bouncing off the ground. 

Maureen was the youngest kid to try it...granted, the first time, I had to kind of nudge her off, but after a half-second of panic she decided to enjoy it.  She couldn't wait to go a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th time. 

Bella didn't like the zip line.  She went to the top, she put on a harness, and couldn't bring herself to step off.  I can't blame her...I'm not a big heights guy.  Down the ladder she went, very, very upset with herself.  I've been there...disappointment at not being to measure up to expectations.  Plus, she was bummed because it meant I spent time with Maureen, and not with her.

To make it up to her, the next day we had about an hour to kill before lunch, so I offered to take Bella for a little hike in the woods.  There was a cute little stream behind our cavern so we followed that.

After a few minutes, we swung up over a hill with a clearing, and sat to just look around.  Along the way, we had passed a sign for 'Chapel Rock'.  Bella asked me what that meant, so I took it as an opportunity to pass a round a bit of my philosophy. 

I told her that some people feel closest to God inside a church, but that some people(like her father) felt closest to God sitting on hill, or a rock, or a stump, listening to the wind, a babbling creek, and enjoying nature.  I think some of it sunk in.

We sat together in the little clearing just looking around for a few minutes...which is something Maureen would not have been able to do.  For her to sit still, and quiet for about 15 seconds is an accomplishment....which goes to prove what I am saying...both girls have their own strengths and weaknesses. 

As long as they stay not just sisters, but friends, I think they will be able to balance each other out.  The trick is going to be directing them back to the center...keeping the extreme portions of their personalities from taking over. 

Happy Birthday!

81 years ago today, a BIG baby was born in San Francisco, California. 11 pounds, 6 ounces is a large baby by any notion...but that big baby was going to grow up to be an even larger man...and one of the Top 5 Names in American Cinema...Mr. Clint Eastwood.

81 years old...it's hard for me to think of him that old, almost as hard to imagine that it's been over FOURTY YEARS since he filmed the Man with no Name movies.

I like Clint Eastwood.  I haven't seen EVERY movie he's ever been involved with...heck, I still haven't sat down myself and watched Grand Torino...netflix doesn't have it streaming yet. 

The first Clint Eastwood movie I can really remember watching was Firefox...I can't say I was overly impressed...granted I was young...but the star of that movie was the MiG-31...not Clint Eastwood.

As a teenager, my appreciation for Clint as a western star grew...my dad loves the Man with No Name movies, and it's one of the few things I didn't decide to be contrary about with him.  Hang 'em High was good, and certainly Pale Rider was worth watching.

Heartbreak Ridge let me see he could do more than a Western, and I enjoyed seeing him in Where Eagles Dare(even if the book was better, Clint piles up quite a body count.)  Kelly's Hero's was different, and Doanld Sutherland made that movie for me more than Clint.  Also in the 'different' catagory was Clint's role in Paint Your Wagon, which my dad said was one of his favorite Clint Eastwood roles. 

A confession on my part is that I am not a huge Dirty Harry fan.  Based on my age, the Lethal Weapon movies were more up my alley. 

Unforgiven was perfect...and it upsets SWMBO.  If I am flipping through the channels and Unforgiven is on, she knows I am lost...I will be there for the bitter end.  This really cheesed her off a year or two ago, because TNT was showing it as the movie of the night all week...and I think I watched at least 50% of the movie 4 nights in a row.

The third movie, along with The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly, and Unforgiven, which would compete for the title of Clint Eastwood's best movie, in my opinion, is The Outlaw Josey Wales.

What an awesome movie.  I didn't watch it as a teenager...I didn't see it for the first time until I was in my late 20's(after Unforgiven, even)...and I loved it.  Not just Josey the Bad-Ass, but Josey the reluctant hero and protector.  Josey the changed man, who figured that he couldn't win, but he could still live.  He has some of the best lines in any of his movies as Josey, but also delivers one of his best dramatic speechs when dealing with Ten Bears near the end.  Heck, it was directed by some guy named Clint Eastwood also...pretty good director.
Speaking of him as a director, there are some people who think that his legacy as a director will get him more acclaim than his past as an actor....it is certainly more varied.

81 years is a pretty good run...I hope he has another 20...I do know that when the end finally comes for Mr. Eastwood, I am going to call in sick to work, and just enjoy watching a few western's on TV. 

A good time was had by all...

Doesn't seem right...2.5 days of camping, 1 full day of recovery. While I am glad we are going to have more storage space in our laundry room for pantry stuff courtesy of our stackable washer/dryer, I see problems catching up if we ever let our laundry back-load get too big.  I've been 'spoiled' by laundromat machines that you can pack stuff in on...with our stackable unit, I have done 7 loads today, and will have to do 2 more today.

Still and all, a full days laundry and sorting is worth it for the good time we had at family camp.

There was plenty(maybe even too much) for the kids to do....a nice playground and all kinds of activities.  Our youngest developed a huge crush on the zip line and the rock wall, while the older daughter enjoyed the more passive pursuits...arts, crafts, sidewalk art and snuggling with mommy and daddy.

Not all my time was spent at the camp...I was convinced by one of my friends to go for a ride early Saturday morning to do some driving/scouting.  It was worthwhile...the wife and kids were still sleeping, so it's not like I gave up some family time.  We saw a couple of deer, 4 or 5 elk, and a whole mess of yearling Big Horn Sheep having their breakfast.

Makes me want to apply for my Big Horn tag...nice to see the imported population is doing well.

Sunday was more of the same...more games, more playing, more sub-par food(but lots of it!) ...and another drive to look for animals.  Since this drive took place at 1pm instead of 6AM, we had less opportunity to enjoy the wildlife.  In fact, the only thing that stood still long enough to have it's picture taken was this elk we found while walking around:

Yummy.  As much as Brigid's website makes me wish we had a 'smell' function, this picture should make you happy it doesn't.  Things were still a little bit juicy.  Yuck. 

We got to meet some good folks, and make a lot of new acquaintances in the church...sort of forced interaction.  My wife learned how to play Hearts...and I got to watch my kids enjoy themselves.

They have already asked if we get to go back next year, so I guess that is a good sign.


Unpacking...not quite as much fun as the camping...

We have returned, alive and in one piece, from the Church's Family Camp.  Today is a day of unpacking, resorting clothes, washing what is dirty, and starting to get the house squared away for my mother-in-laws impending visit. 

Both girls had a good time at camp...there was plenty to keep them active.  It felt more like were there 4 days instead of just two.  The camp was supposed to run through Monday morning, but all that was scheduled for Monday AM was breakfast, and goodbyes, so...since the food was nothing to be proud of, we decided to leave Sunday night, and get a good nights sleep at home instead. 

More to follow when chores are all caught up.  Haven't even tried to read a newspaper or catch up on what going on in the world...prefer not to remind myself how crazy it is until I have to.



Family Camp!

This weekend, we are heading up into the hills a bit...the church we have been attending has a Family Retreat Camp this weekend.  It sounded like a very neat idea, 2 months ago when we signed up for it.

It still sounds like a neat idea...a weekend spent in the woods, with my wife and kids, camp fire at night...but it would have been neater if the weather wasn't expected to be drizzly with highs in the upper 50's in the hills this weekend.  Plus...oh boy...it's church sponsored Family Retreat.  I am not sure if this is the type of camping retreat where I can add a dash of peppermint schnapps to my wife's hot chocolate.  I worry how much of the retreat will be camping, and how much will be 'churching'(think I made that up).  I have ZERO problems being the supportive husband for two hours most Sundays, but I am slightly worried that my facade might crack at some point this weekend.

My boss, who also is someone I go hunting with, has told me not to worry too much about that side of the camp.  He said there are prayers before meals, and a service on Sunday, but that is about it.  

The camp has the added advantage of being only a ridge or two over from where I go elk hunting, so we are even talking about slipping away for a bit for some scouting.  Or maybe biscuits and gravy at The Woodshed.

Either way, I'm sure it will be a better weekend than if I was at work.

Hey, a positive gun-use story in the Seattle Suburbs!

Found this story today, about gentleman who playing fetch with his German Shepherd at a park in Kirkland, Washington, when his dog was attacked by three pit-bulls.

Being a loving gun owner, with perhaps more love than sense, the man jumped in and physically tried to stop the pit-bulls from attacking his Shepherd.  With the owner of the pit-bulls help, the attack was stopped momentarily..but after a moment of regrouping, the pit-bulls resumed their attack on both the dog AND its owner, and that point the man made the correct decision:

Lewis, a legal gun owner who has a concealed weapon permit, pulled out his handgun and opened fire at that point, shooting one of the pit bulls and scaring away the two others.

A witness near-by obviously felt that Mr. Lewis made the right decision:

Charles McLennan was nearby and watched in horror as pit bulls attacked.

"If he didn't have that gun, he would probably be dead," McLennan said of Lewis.

But of course, denial isn't just a river in Egypt, so the pit-bulls owner disagreed:

LaValley acknowledged that the dogs were fighting, but said Lewis should not have opened fire.

"At no time whatsoever was his life in danger," LaValley said.
Whatever...when being attacked by three pit-bulls(or ANY THREAT) the time to act is before it's too late...

No wonder no one wants to buy my house...

This story, about a daughter who responded somewhat aggressively when her father took away her cell phone, happened about 5 miles from my house in Belfair.


Teen shoot father with hungting bow after he took cell phone.

Not only did she shoot him with the hunting bow, she then refused to let him use the phone in his OWN HOUSE to call 911 to report  the injury. 

She then ran into the woods, forcing the SWAT Team to go drag her out.  Normally, I would question the need for the SWAT team to be sent in for a teenager, but there is little between a teenager slinging hunting broad heads and someone using a gun.

The story goes on to say that when she was apprehended, the girl was 'found to be despondent with a serious medical issue' according to the Sheriff's Department spokesman. 

That has the potential to add a level of sadness to the case...was she off her meds maybe?  Will investigation prove some abuse(not to turn the victim into a criminal without investigation)?  Or, is it really just a case of where a dad finally cracked down on an out of control child, and she reacted poorly? 

Either way, maybe it will get more action at my house.


At least they knocked...

Let's say you are a 91-year old lady.  To supplement your social security, you decide to use the internet to sell people a plastic bag and some tubing for $60.  Highway robbery, to be sure, but worthy of the FBI's efforts?

Well, apparently so, especially when you advertise your plastic bag and tubing as a 'Suicide Kit', and then some guy in Oregon uses one of your 'Suicide Kits' to kill himself.

Having solved every other problem in the State of Kalifornia, a dozen Federal Agents payed a visit to 91-year old Sharlotte Hydorn this morning, breaking up her little plastic bag and tubing sales shop. 

Having no religious opposition to the concept of suicide, I am totally okay with someone deciding that they have had enough, and punching their own ticket.  I also think that that person should have the technology available to make this happen in as pain free and failure free a manner.  The FBI spending the time and resources to send a 12-man team to take down this operation is offensive to me as a tax payer. 

Maybe if all these 'green' cities didn't start charging extra for using a plastic bags at the grocery store, these folks wouldn't need to pay $60 for a bag and some tubing.  That is the real crime here. 

And that's why we never say never...

This last Sunday, after church and lunch with my boss, we went out to a highly recommended used appliance store to look at washers and dryers for the new apartment.

While the new apartment has more square footage than the one we are moving out of, it actually seems to have less 'pantry' space.  To combat that, we decided to look at stacking washers and dryers so that we could move one of our shelving units into the laundry room, and use the space saved by buying stacking appliances to make up for lost pantry space.

Groovy.  We found a unit we liked, and the price seemed good, a Kenmore unit for 50% off what it would have cost for the same thing brand new at Sears.  You had the choice between a 30-day warranty(where you bring the machine to them) or a 60-day where they come to you.  Having had to use our service plan on our own Kenmore's in the house more than once(we seem to like to run BIG loads) we splurged for the 60-day warranty.

After buying the washer/dryer, I still found myself at the laundromat Sunday afternoon.  Upon returning home I almost jumped on the computer and bragged about how I stoked I was because I was NEVER going to have to go to the laundromat again.

Good thing I didn't.  The washer/dryer were delivered and installed on Tuesday, and today I went over to do our first load in the new apartment(yeah, living in one, doing laundry in the other...that 'living the dream' enough for you?).  After 45-minutes, I swung back over to move the wash into the dryer...and...hey, look...a puddle under the new washing machine.  Yay!

So, depending on how long it takes them to fix my leaking machine, I might be back at the laundromat Friday morning.

And that's why we don't brag, friends.


Like a mad dog in the streets...

Saw this one coming from the moment they took him alive.

Judge Rules Arizona Shooter Incompetent for Trial.

I'm one of the first to admit that I would not make a very good police officer.  Stories like this are part of the reason why.  I think if I came upon a scene like what happened in Arizona, where my eyes told me there WAS ZERO DOUBT that a person was guilty of shooting multiple people, I would have an accidental discharge...three or four times. 

It's wrong...either this guy knew what he was doing, was guilty, and deserves to die, OR he is mad dog crazy, and needs to be put down like any foaming at the mouth mad dog you found wandering in the streets. 

Either way, the results are the same...and I am willing to donate both the time, materials, and trigger finger. 


It’s funny the things that can stick in your brain.  I learned a lot of stuff at a rapid pace back during my baby Nuke time in the Navy.  Some of it stuck, some of it didn’t.
One of the things that stuck better than most was a story we were told about while learning about air compressor safety. In this particular lecture, our instructor was talking about a guy he knew that suspected he had a leak from one of the fittings in the 100psi air system.  The chucklehead was looking for the air leak by running his fingers over the different tubing and fittings on the air compressor.  Well, he found the leak with his fingers also…
The picture our instructor painted was quite graphic and horrific, which probably explains why it is still rattling around in my brain while many other things have moved on.  The 1000# air punched through the skin on this guys finger, and quick as you please, worked its way up his arm, separating the skin from his muscles, inflating his arm like a balloon. 
Right then and there I was convinced to follow his guidance and use a sheet of paper to look for pin hole leaks in air systems.  I was also convinced that what I had heard was a ‘sea story’…but it was an effective sea story, because I was well and truly trained. 
Now this morning, I find this story about a gentleman who slipped off his semi-truck in New Zealand, fell, and broke the tubing off his trucks 100# compressed air tank.  For good measure, he had that broken tubing penetrate his buttocks, where it proceeded to inflate him like a balloon. 
I sat at my computer slack-jawed for about 5 minutes this morning after reading this.  Man, am I glad A-gang took care of the HPAC’s back on the Seawolf.
The worst part of the story is the quote at the end:
McCormack said his skin felt "like a pork roast" - crackling on the outside but soft underneath.
Guess I’m not eating pork for a few days. 


Is this like golf, or bowling?

Yesterday afternoon I got out of work a bit early because I had an appointment to donate blood at the Red Cross.  Donating blood is one of the few things I do that I hope will help me get into Heaven someday.  When we lived back on the west side of Washington, I gave every 8-9 weeks, as my schedule allowed.  I was half-way between my 4 and 5 gallon pins when we moved.

There is a first time for everything though, and yesterday, for the first time, I was denied on my attempt to donate.  Nothing like a new tattoo, or unprotected gay nooky...instead I was turned away because of my blood pressure.  They have a band of acceptable blood pressure for the donors...in my case, it wasn't because I had a low score, like golf...it was because my numbers were a bit too high.

My blood pressure has traditionally been on the high side of normal/healthy...in the 130ish over 75ish range.  SWMBO, ever the observant one, noticed when I came home that there was no hole in my elbow.  I saw nothing to gain by not being absolutely truthful with her, so I admitted the reason I hadn't given blood.

Yesterday afternoon, my blood pressure was 174 over 106.  A retest a few minutes later had it 174/104. 

I think I would have been better off telling her I was having unprotected gay nooky.

We did some talking.  Prior to quitting the shipyard, I had one last appointment with our family practice doctor through group health....at that time, all my blood work came back good, and my blood pressure was in the acceptable range.  That was only about a year ago, so I can't see everything else going out to lunch that soon, but, I am worried enough about it that I was willing to take a beating from my LPN wife about it.

More to follow...I can see less beer in my future.  

Gunsmithing isn't my strong suit...

Got home today to find out that the package of stuff I ordered from Midway on my birthday had shown up.  Yay!

Big time confession...not only is gunsmithing not my strong suit, I'm not very good with my hands in general.  Oh, I'm not a total nightmare...during my time in the Navy I found that with sufficient practice and DETAILED procedures, I was actually a pretty fair mechanic.  The theory was always pretty easy for me...it was making the sausages on my hands do what I wanted them to do that was tough.

I decided to start easy.  It doesn't come much easier than swapping out grips on a pistol.  Two screws, and Victory!  Had a new set of cocobolo grips on my CZ-75.  They're nice.

Next, it was time for a challenge.  Replacing the stock and forearm on my Saiga with a TAPCO forearm and collapsible stock/pistol grip.  This wouldn't have been a challenge, IF the battery on my drill was charged for drilling the pilot holes, and IF I was able to locate the 6-inch extension for my socket wrench.

Eventually though, despite my own efforts, I achieved victory.



I like it much better now...next I think I need to look at a scope mount, maybe try to through a red dot on it.

And that was my final project for the night...mounting a weaver rail and red dot scope on our Ruger 10-22.  No pictures of that...just imagine a walnut stocked 10-22 with a TASCO Red Dot on it.

Can't wait to get to the range again.


I've heard of paper tigers and crouching tigers, never knew you had to be worried about the stuffed ones...

So, now that the politicians in the country known as Formerly Great Britain have removed the citizens ability to defend themselves, the Police are here to keep them safe, whether they need it or not. 

British police send chopper, tranquilizer guns to face tiger.

The only problem is that it wasn't a real tiger....it was a huge stuffed tiger in a field behind someones house.

That didn't keep them from shutting down a highway, evacuating a golf course, and spending all kinds of the  money chasing the stuffed tiger around with helicopter before discovering the truth when the tiger didn't show up on thermal imaging. 

I'm surprised they didn't call out the Torchwood team while they were at it. 

They won't do THAT again.

Some peoples Monday's start rougher than others.  Just found this story out of Tacoma...I look forward to more details, but initially it looks like a good shoot.  2 on 1 is a bad situation, and you could certainly claim 'fear for your life' at 4:30 AM in a gargage full of tools.

Tacoma homeowner shoots 2 men breaking into garage, kills 1

TACOMA, Wash. — Police say a homeowner shot two men he caught breaking into the garage of his home early Monday in Tacoma, killing one and wounding the other.
Spokesman Mark Fulghum told KIRO-TV the man was holding the two at gunpoint just before 5 a.m. Monday when they charged him and he fired.
One man was found dead in an alley and the wounded man was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center.
Information from: KIRO-TV, htthttp://www.kirotv.com/index.html



Last night being the third Saturday of the month meant that it was Movie Night for the wife and I.  Since we lost interest in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise about 2/3rds of the way through the 2nd movie, we had zero interest in sitting through another 2.5 hours of CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW.  Instead, my wife let me indulge my comic book side by taking in Marvel's latest superhero flick on the Road to The Avengers: Thor!

When it comes to comic books, I mostly identify myself as an X-Man fan...so, Marvel's Mutant stories are what interest me the most.  What I know of Spider Man, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor come mostly from their cross-overs with the X-Men and are nothing that would single me out as particularly geeky. Luckily, this hasn't kept from enjoying the most recent run of comic book movies..if we just forget that Daredevil and Electra(and Fantastic 4 #2) ever happened, comic book movies have been pretty decent the last ten years or so.

Thor was a good movie.  Comparing it to other comic book movies, I would say it is right about up there with the first Iron Man movie, which means it still falls short of The Dark Night.

The two concerns I had heading into Thor were could you find an actor that could pull off Being Thor, and would Sir Anthony Hopkins, playing the role of Odin, phone it in for a pay check?

Well, Sir Anthony didn't phone it in...he did a fine job playing Odin, even if Odin did sound a bit like Hannibal Lecter.  On the other concern, Chris Hemsworth did an outstanding job as Thor.  I was a little worried because with the Hulk, you can use CGI.  With Iron Man, it's CGI in suit...but Thor has always just been a big, blond haired guy...and Chris Hemsworth was big enough to pull it off.  The added benefit of this was that as my wife was oooh and ahhing over how nice he looked, she didn't notice me making the same noises over the female leads.

Natalie Portman is Natalie Portman.  She sure is pretty, and she is recognized as being a good actress.  She plays the mortal Jane Foster, an astrophysicist researching the atmospheric convulsions caused by the Asgardians making the jump to Midgard(Earth).

Kat Dennings plays Natalie's Portman's assistant.  She acts as the films comic relief element, and she is criminally under used.  I have dug her quite a lot ever since seeing her in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.  While reading reviews of the movie, I came across pictures taken at the premier of Thor, and found this one.  Allow me to indulge my baser red-blooded male instincts for a minute.

Hubba Hubba...that's your comic relief?

Okay...back to the movie.

Tim Hiddleston, playing Loki, has just as much effect on the movie as Thor....every good hero needs a good villian, and Loki is a good one.  It's amazing what happens when you bring in actual actors to act in your comic book movies....people care about them.  While there is no doubt in this one Loki is the bad guy, Hiddleston makes you at least feel some sympathy for him.  He's bad, but he's not slimy bad.

The final bit of casting that threw me for a loop was seeing Rene Russo playing Frigga, Thor's MOM!!!!!!  Yes, I guess she is approaching 60(just turned 57) but...it's Rene Russo...she's a hottie..she's not supposed to be playing a God's MOM!!!!!

Good movie...give it a B+.  Now, we just need Captain America not to suck, and we can all have high hopes for The Avenger's next summer.

The only two disappointments from this movie are that Natalie Portman drives this kick-butt 4WD white van that my wife wants BADLY now.  As near as I can tell, it is a Austrian Model 710K Pinzgauer.  Not exactly a dime a dozen.

The other disappointment is ZERO usage of the KISS version of God of Thunder.  Could have at least had it playing on a car radio or something.

I'll take the blame...

Being all kinds of motivated, SWMBO has began moving all kinds of stuff we don't need every day into our new apartment.  The goal is to take of moving all the small stuff ourselves, since we have 5 weeks to get it done, and then bring in a company like Help-U-Move for a few hours one day for the big stuff...couch, dresser, table, hutch's, bunk beds, book cases...that kind of stuff.  I am just at the point where I would rather pay a few hundred bucks to get it over and done with, instead of doing the big things myself...stairs kick my butt.

Not to be outdone by my wife, I decided to get into the action, and so yesterday I made a run of stuff myself...bringing over, among other things, the 75 pounds of ammunition we had in the closet.  

I'm glad to make some progress on the moving thing, I just worry that by separating ourselves from most of my ammunition stash, I habve removed the last block that was holding back the zombie apocalypse.  I have enough ammunition in my range bag for most 'social situations'...but not enough to hold out against a zombie siege. 

I guess one of the good things about having two kids is I can send one out to act as a diversion, while the rest of us head to the new apartment to get the ammo.

It's looking like good long range planning on my wife's part to get my older daughter started on her running program.



I'm not much of a runner.  Even back in my motivated high school wrestling days, I only ran because they yelled at me if I didn't.  Left to my own devices, I would do just about any other form of aerobic activity than running.

Which makes it someone ironic that my older daughter has expressed an interest in running.  One of my biggest reservations about homeschooling was the potential lack of outside the house interaction for the girls.  Knowing this, my wife signed our girls up for various activities, one of them being a program called 'Girls on the Run'.  While it is a running program, there is also a fair amount of Rah Rah 'Girl Power' stuff, which I have been told is very important in proper development of young ladies.

Not being an expert in the social development of young girls, who am I to interfere with that. 

Today was the culmination of the first 4 months of her attending 'Girls on the Run'....participation in 5K run at one of the local parks.

Heck, neither my wife or I have ever attempted a 5K run...so for my daughter to complete one was very impressive.  Now, she didn't run the whole way(I'm not sure she actually ran half the way...but she did keep moving all the time.

I was very proud of her, and told her so.

It wasn't until later that I had a talk with my wife over something that had been eating at me. 

Being of a different generation, and a different sex than my daughter, I never once participated in an organized sporting like event where scoring wasn't emphasized.  Doing a 5k just to do it, with no real interest in where you finished, just that you did, was a foreign concept to me.  Seeing my daughter participate, with no real interest in dominating, worried me, at least a little bit.  I was raised that if you are going to go through the effort to do something...you are in it to win it. 

The conversation with my wife centered around how/when I should bring up the topic of not just participating, but the importance of winning.  I see the younger kids play flag-foot ball or t-ball with no score keeping...and I guess I am fine with that....just like I am fine with my daughters first(and hopefully not last) 5k being a 'just in it to do it' kind of thing...but I would like to install in her the drive that next time even if she doesn't compete against other people, she should think she is competing against herself. 

One thing that we agreed is that when she does this again in the fall, at least one(and hopefully, both of us) would do it with her, instead of just having the 'Girls on the Run' people support here.  While we were there for all of it, I think being out there running it with her will show even more active support.

As well as being good for us, and her. 

But it's just symbolic!

So, the Washington State Legislature has been called in for their 'Special Session' for over 3 weeks now. Unable to figure out how to cut FIVE BILLION Dollars from the bi-annual budget in their scheduled 105 day session, the Legislature was called back by Governor Gregoire to finish their job.

Progress made so far includes passing a parks bill which will require park users to pay $5 a visit, or $30 a year to use the parks, and another bill which would allow cigar lounges and tobacco stores to buy 'exemption passes' to the state indoor smoking ban. The best case estimate is that these two measures will raise about $120 Million in the next two years...so, they have solved about 2.5% of the problem in 3 weeks. Other than that, they have all agreed that SOMETHING needs to be done to pay for the roads. At this rate they should have the budget problem in Washington State solved...let's see, carry the one, subtract the interest...and the answer is NEVER!!!!!!!

Another thing that they have agreed upon is a 3% percent pay cut for all Washington State Employees. Well...not ALL State Employees...elected officials wouldn't be effected by this pay cut.


Joe Zarelli who at least made the attempt to introduce a constitutional amendment that would have allowed a change to elected official pay, doesn't exactly seem crest-fallen that his motion isn't going anywhere. 

"Symbolically, it's important. But it amounts to very few dollars," Zarelli said. "You can only fight for so many things."
And in my opinion, the symbolic things are the things you need to fight for the hardest.  The whole reason you guys are still in session(making more money than is budgeted for!) is because you were not able to get your job done in the properly scheduled time, in the first place!  Not only are the not giving money back, but they are like some hourly employees that I might know, where you find enough problems with the job to push from day shift, to O.T. at night. 

The Washington State Legislature is supposed to be a citizen legislature.  It meets for 60 days in even years, 105 days in odd years, the extra time being devoted to budget work.  The rest of the time, you are supposed to live your life, and work at your real job.  As such, being a member of the state house pays $42,000 a year...not bad for 3 months work, but, not enough to live on comfortably if it is your only source of income.  

I am not sure if being a member of the Legislature gives you any job protection.  In other words, I can't find anything in writing saying that if Jessie the Nurse somehow got elected to the State House, her doctors office would have to let her go serve her term AND ensure she had a job to go back to.  One would think that the advantages of having a State Representative working for your company would the inconvenience worthwhile.  

Senator Ed Murray says that this makes it difficult for many people to serve in the legislature AND hold a job, so I am not sure there is any job protection.  As a result of this difficulty, he points out that many of the state lawmakers are wealthy and or retired.

He uses this to point out why cutting salary's would be BAD, making it even tougher to have a Citizen Legislature.  

His is the cup half-full approach.  I'm a half-empty guy, and I would ask if they are all already so wealthy, why are we paying them at all?



Hey...Cut that out...

 The Initiative process adds a fascinating dynamic to politics. It gives The People a chance to make their voices heard directly, without it being 'misunderstood' by their elected representatives. Get an agreed upon number of voters to sign a piece of paper to get your idea on the ballot. An initiative making it on the ballot is not a bad thing, per se...it still takes a majority of voters to pass it into law.

Sometimes this results in good thing, like the lower tax, smaller government Initiatives that have been championed by Tim Eyman here in Washington.

Sometimes, it has the potential to result in a very, very bad thing, as in the in the initiative that is going to be on the San Franscisco ballot this fall, that would make circumcisions a misdemeanor offense.

Okay...in the big scheme of things, this is just a one goofy, totally out to lunch city.  That San Francisco has 7700 people willing to sign this initiative to get it on the ballot does not surprise me.  That they weren't smart enough to leave a religious exemption in the measure surprises me.  I don't think the initiative has a chance to pass as written now...but with a religious exemption, it might have had a chance.  Even if it passes, I am assuming you can still leave town to get your child circumcised, so at most it's an inconvenience. 

If you couldn't tell, I am against this bill.  I don't think a circumcision is 'Genital Mutilation'...I had mine and don't remember a thing...I continue to be fascinated by my winkie.  My wife sees things a little different...as an LPN, she had to assist in a few of these procedures.  The little baby boys SCREAM.  It's bad...but then it is over.  She thinks they need to go back to doing it before the baby leaves the hospital instead of a few weeks later...she thinks things would be easier that way.

In several of his books, Robert Heinlein talks about his 'Bread and Circuses' Theory.  It's his idea that once the masses find that they can vote themselves 'bread and circuses' without needing to consider how things will actually be paid for, the end of the Republic is not far away.  A dangerous variant of this would the ability to introduce any measure you can get a certain number of people to say 'yeah, I like that!' about.  This anti-circumcision bill is a first, dangerous step in this direction.

The main thing I am looking forward to in the next few months is ow many times I can read/hear the word 'Penis' in story's about this topic.

Not sure I am that nice a guy...

The big 'feel good' story on yahoo this morning is about a family in Salt Lake City that bought a house, and then found $45,000 CASH in ammunition boxes up in the attic while cleaning.  After finding these 8 ammunition boxes full of unmarked, untraceable CASH, Mr. Josh Ferrin did the right thing, and returned those 8 boxes to the family of the man he had bought the house from.

Oh My Gosh.

I am not sure that I have that in me...I think best case for me would have been telling myself that secretly keeping half of that UNTRACEABLE CASH for a finders fee, and turning over the other $20,000 to the family would still make one heck of a heartwarming story. 

Josh Ferrin, you are a better man than me.


Just like the Good Old Days.

Today, in the safe confines of the State Department, The Obamessiah delivered a rousing speech about the status of The Middle East, as well a glimpse into his hopes for the future.  The two big things he did during his speech was lay the smack down on King telling to either lead the transition in his country, or get out of it's way.  Hey didn't exactly say 'or else', but I've seen enough movies to know the or else was there.

I'm not quite sure what the 'or else' would be...another No-Fly Zone maybe? 

In a different time, we could have asked Israel to deliver a little message to the Syrian's for us, but, after Barry's other big policy development, I am not sure they are feeling too friendly towards us, since Barry said...hey, let's just reset everything to 1967 borders, and replay the down, and try again from there.

I don't pretend to be able to solve the Middle Easts problems.  Frankly, I don't think there is a solution...there is no scenario I can see where there will not be at least a continual mild dislike in the air over there.  Drawing arbitrary lines on a map are not going to fix that. 

It's a messy situation over there...and at times, both sides have acted in a less than polite manner.  However, while I am not a practicing Jew, I do respect my Jewish heritage, and I have never had any crisis of faith labeling the Good Guys and the Bad Guys.  It's much easier for me to see things from their side that the other side.

National Security, which has traditionally been Israel's reason for holding onto the West Bank and the Golan Height's, is always a concern.  While things are pretty stable with Jordan right now, as The Obamesiah himself pointed out, things in Syria are changing.  Without those territories, Israel does not have very good defensive depth against invasion, however slim a possibility it is. 

The other reason Israel is leery to give up the West Bank is that they have had it for 40 years...Israeli families have grown and bloomed thinking of that as Israeli territory.  Possession is 9/10th of the law...Does The Obamessiah propose giving back the South West to Mexico(never mind...don't answer that question...it's already in progress).

The only bone thrown to the Israeli's in the speech today was that our President feels that the Palestinian's should move forward without input from Hamas.

Like most of the President's plans, he didn't go into detail about how any of this should happen, just kind of a 'Make it so' speech.  Although, he does expect me and you to help pay for it:

He implored the American people to see that it is worth devoting U.S. might and money to help stabilize a dangerous region and help people fighting for freedom.
Better get on raising that debt ceiling for all the important things....

There is wrong, and there is WRONG...

Well, looks like I found a good article to get my rage all fired up first thing in the morning.

Two Million Dollar Lottery Winner Defends use of Food Stamps.

So, basically, this guy has won 2 Million Dollars in the Michigan State lottery...but that money counts as an asset, and not as income...so he still qualifies for the food stamps that he was on BEFORE he won the lottery.


Okay, before I totally go off on this guy...once upon a time, when I was an E-5 in the Navy, we qualified for WIC here in Washington.  A few months later, I made E-6, at which point it was possible that my income may have put us above the WIC threshold.  I confess that it's also possible that I didn't have my wife go right in an pull us off WIC...we possibly waited until the next re-certification period(3 additional months) and continued to collect the benefits during this time. 

It's possible that I was a bad person.  My wife, daughter and ended up with probably about $100 worth of milk, peanut butter, cheese and baby formula that we probably weren't entitled to anymore by the letter of the law. 

What this guy is doing is worse.  If the WIC office had called us in, and it turned out that my income WAS too much to qualify, I would have at least acted chagrined, and apologized for working around the system.
Not Mr. Leroy Fick.

"If you're going to try to make me feel bad, you're not going to do it," Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday.

Now, in reality, one person on food stamps is less than nothing in the State Budget.  I'm sure the cost of running the paperwork to cancel his food stamps will end up costing more than just keeping them going for another year would cost.  I'm not saying he needs to be drug on in the street and publically flogged. After all, he is just doing what the totally infallliable, 100% efficient government run system is letting him do.

But man, if you have just won 2 MILLION Dollars in the State Lottery, at least pretend to be embarrassed when you are asked about it. 



I can think of many, many places I would rather be than an 80-degree day than inside a laundromat.  Hot, muggy...nasty.  I can't believe I am actually excited to go washer and dryer shopping this weekend.  If we are lucky we can find some machines this weekend, get them delivered to the new apartment next week, and start doing our laundry there. 

But here in the REAL world...

Yesterday, the Senate failed to pass a bill that would have repealed tax breaks for the 5 biggest oil companies.  I haven't read the wording on the bill, but supposedly it would have directed that the money go to paying down the debt, which, is a good thing.  But, who knows if the final version of the bill would have still directed that...I personally, have very little faith that the money saved would have had ANY effect on the debt.

I am for this bill, because I don't believe that the big, bad(EVIL!!!!!) oil companies NEED these tax breaks.  But, passing it will have consequences, and I think that Mr. Menendez, the Democratic Senator from New Jersey is dreaming is naive if he believes otherwise.

Oops, looks like he is naive:

Menendez argued that the five oil companies affected by the bill — Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP America, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips — are projected to report $125 billion to $144 billion in profits this year, and the companies could get by with $2 billion less without raising prices.
Yes, they could... but they WON'T.  You think you can take away a whole 1% of their potential profits, and they won't pass that along to the consumer?  Heck...it would only take another 1-2 cents a gallon to recapture that money...and as they tell us here in Washington State every time they want to nudge the gas tax up another penny or so a gallon, a 1.5 cent a gallon increase 'is not going to be real noticeable' because it is a deminishing component of the overall price.


The Happy Side of Happy Birthday.

After being all full of melancholy and self-pity earlier in the day, my mood has greatly improved.

Beer, pizza, presents and cake and hugs can do that for you.

The beer and pizza were from Atomic Ale Brew Pub.  If forced to make a decision, I would say it is our favorite restaurant in the Tri-Cities.  They have very good sandwich's, and THE BEST Potato Soup I've ever had.  Their pizza is one of the two best pizzas we have had since moving here...if we want a crispy, thin crust you get Atomic Ale Brew Pub...if we want a chewy crust, we go to Apollo's Greek Restaurant.  Today we(I) had The Four Kings...pepperoni, sausage, Canadian Bacon and Bratwurst.  Yup...beer braised brat's cut up on pizza.  Plus a pint or two our their Plutonium Porter to go with it.  Tasty.

Presents, along with being a good excuse to leave work at 11am, are one of the few perks of even a melancholy birthday.  SWMBO bought me a collection of 20 magnetic spice containers that I can fill and use in the kitchen in the new apartment.  No more cabinet full of unorganized spice bottles!  My mom bought me two new sets of swim trunks...I assume sometime this summer it will get used.

At one point it looked like there might be a new gun in store for me for my birthday...SWMBO gave it her blessing, going as far as to take the money out of the bank for me so I could go to the gun show armed with cash.  After I didn't buy anything at the gun show, I then wasted a good portion of the money at the Ducks Unlimited Banquet the other night.  This left me enough budget left to purchase some new firearm accessories, but not an actual gun.  Sometime in the next week I should be getting a new TAPCO stock and forearm for my 7.62 X 39 Saiga, new wood grips for my CZ-75, Weaver Scope Mount for the 10-22, and a few magazines.

The cake was chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. 

The hugs were from the wife and kids, and are the cherry on top of a pretty close to perfect day. 

Climbing Mt. Melancholy(Happy Birthday to me!)

Today is my birthday, and if there is one thing I am certain of, it's that's when you get to my age...birthday's really don't matter all that much.  Actually, birthday's cease to matter well before my age. 

I am pretty sure I once heard a comedian say what I am about to say, but since he stole the idea from someone else, I really don't feel bad about sharing the concept.  He basically said all birthday up to age 18 should be recognized.  After than you got age 21, then 25...and every 5 years after that to expect other people to care about your birthday.  When I first heard this theory, I found myself nodding along...because I agree 100%.  In a few years, when I turn 40...I expect something...maybe a parade...but, today, turning 36?  It was a convenient excuse for getting out of work early. 

Whether you expect the rest of the world to acknowledge your birthday or not doesn't change the fact that it is happening...it's a reminder to all of us that the clock is ticking.  A reminder that I, like most people don't need.  I see it every day in the mirror when I brush my teeth...'That grey chest hair wasn't there yesterday'  Heck, even before that I see it, I HEAR it...I sound like a bowl of rice crispies when I roll out of bed in the morning. 

I can't say I feel it yet...not everyday.  I do notice that it takes my body longer to bounce back from things than it used to(drinking) but I don't have a trick knee, or a trick back yet. 

What I do have is that ticking clock...and the suspicion that at age 36...I am half-way There.  Whatever you happen to believe There is. 

The truth is, I am not really worried about getting There..it's what pitfalls wait for me near the end of the trip.  I admit that my biggest worries about getting old don't revolve around death(we are all going to die) but about the things that some people go through before getting that final release.  For me, aging is okay...my wife thinks I will make a cute old man.  My own worst nightmares revolve around the idea that it is possible to become...'trapped' in ones own body....suffering from a stroke or accident that keeps the mind going, but removes the ability to use your body or communicate with the outside world. 

Alzheimer's would be even worse...I can't think of a more horribly, horrific thing than forgetting all the good times. 

For the last few days, my wife has seen the melancholy mounting...the long stares and deep sighs that signal things are getting deep and dark inside my head.  She has done her best to head it off.  In her world, birthdays are a time celebrate your life and where you are...not worry about the future.  She's given me lot's of hugs and kisses, thinking that this will help me focus on all the good stuff, which is very appreciated...if unnecessary.  I do appreciate what I have...so much so that the worries about not having it someday add fuel to the worries about the future. 

Not everything is bad...in the end melancholy is not the same as depression.  This is fleeting...tonight there will be a tasty dinner with three of my favorite women in the world(alas, it is my wife and kids, not Christina Hendricks, Scarlett Johannson and Miranda Lambert, which would be an okay trio to have dinner with also).  Tomorrow is Wednesday, which is back to being just another day.

Maybe, if I can keep faking some blank stares and deep sighs, I caneven  keep getting an extra ration of hugs and kisses from my wife. 


Would LOVE to see that math...

Washington state cancels 2012 presidential primary

The Associated Press

Washington state has canceled its 2012 presidential primary.

Gov. Chris Gregoire approved a bill Thursday to skip the primary after state leaders agreed that it would be better to save the $10 million it costs to manage the vote. Democrats and Republicans in the state typically rely on caucuses, not the primary, to choose candidates and allocate delegates for their national conventions.
Secretary of State Sam Reed prefers the primary system over caucuses because it draws more participation. But the Republican supports suspending the 2012 presidential vote as a one-time way to save money as lawmakers try to deal with a $5 billion shortfall in the coming budget cycle.
The state will still hold its top-two primary in August for other 2012 races.

While I am all for saving 10 Million dollars, I just have a hard time believing doing the normal primary election for everything else, but just leaving the presidential candidates names off the ballot will save 10 million dollars. 

Maybe the state needs to start buying those refilled printer cartridges instead of brand new. 


Waking up this morning, and finding myself with a few extra minutes to kill before needing to head out the door from work, I jumped on yahoo to read the headlines real quick, and I couldn't even make it past the 2nd paragraph of the FIRST STORY before I turned off the computer and decided it would be better for my health to sit in the dark for 10 minutes instead of watching the news.

Boehner says ready to cut budget deal today

The 2nd paragraph in question reads thusly:

Obama warned that congressional failure to raise the debt limit could lead to a worse financial crisis than 2008-09 and urged that debate stay separate from spending cuts.

It's really that last section I italicized that blew my circuits.  How can you responsibly talk about raising the mandated Debt limit without also having a serious, detailed discussion about how you are going to cut spending to prevent having to do this again in three or four years?

I know...this is a rhetorical question...there is no 'responsible' way to let the debt get bigger...AND NO ONE, even Boehner, wants a 'serious' detailed discussion about what spending they are going to cut.

I'm also tired of hearing about the 'Financial Crisis of 2008-09'.  As someone who is trying to sell a house that I owned for 6 years FOR THE EXACT SAME PRICE I BOUGHT IT FOR...how's about we man up and start calling it the Financial Crisis of 2008-???????

Hello Monday...



Won't voluntarily do that again...

Yesterday, we went to visit my dad, my step-mom, and my two nieces/sisters in Lacey.  (long story...they are my nieces, their mom is worth than useless, so my dad and step-mom fought for custody, and now I guess they could(legally) at least be my sisters),  They are good kids, and my dad and step-mom have sacrificed a lot to give them their best shot at growing up normally.  My dad is retired Navy, and as he approaches 60, should be free to enjoy life...not raising another family...but, he choose to do it, and I salute them for what they are doing.  As much as I appreciate their sacrifice, I will do everything I can to raise my children so that I never have to make the same decision they have. 

Lacey is located in the South Sound, right next to Olympia.  From where we are, you can either head over I-90 through Snoqualmie Pass, or Highway 12, over White Pass.  There is a third choice, but Highway 410 over Chinook Pass(5240 feet) is still closed because there is an estimated 15 feet of snow over the road.  Total accumulation at Chinook Pass was estimated at 700 inches(58 feet!) of snow this season. When heading north of Seattle, to my moms house, Snoqualmie Pass makes the most sense from both a time AND mileage standpoint.  When heading to the South Sound, the difference between any of the three passes is negligible.  Due to some construction planned in I-90, we took White Pass. 

The problem with White Pass is that for all of Highway 12, it is one lane, and a curvy one lane at that.  Which means if you get stuck behind a convoy of Army Humvee's and diesels doing 35mph, there isn't much chance to pass them.  Which also means if you DO get a chance to pass them, and you pretend you are in a German car commercial going down hill on windy mountain roads, there is a good chance one OR both of your daughters might get car sick.  Which finally means you are going to have to pull over to clean your car, letting those Army trucks pass you again. 

Drive there(and the drive back home) aside, it was a nice visit.  The girls recovered from their car sickness to enjoy playing with their aunts/cousins, and had a good time visiting Grammy and Pop-pop.  SWMBO had a chance to do some major home-schooling talk with my Step-Mom, because she home schooled their girls.  We then went out for dinner because it was my step-bothers birthday. 

Then it was time to drive back home.  Usually, when we go to my moms house, we spend the night...but it just wasn't going to work out doing that at my dads house, so, on the way home, since we were eating dinner in Tacoma, we swung back up to I-90 to go home.  Since I drove there, my wife volunteered to drive home...and folks, conditions were miserable.  Very heave rain the whole way, and me being a crappy, back-seat driver in the passenger seat.  I offered to drive a few times, but she wouldn't let me...I have a horrible time staying awake driving, and driving into a pouring, monotonous pounding, rain, was a tailor made head bobbing situation. 

We had left the house at 9:45 in the morning, and got home at 1:15 the next morning...that was a long day trip.  If I have my way we won't do it again...not that we won't visit my dad...but I will make sure have something else planned that can justify spending the night over there, instead of a 500 mile round trip in one day. 

Now, we wasted a whole Sunday, sleeping in, going to breakfast at Sterlings, then snuggling on the couch watching Dr. Who, before cooking venison sirloin steaks for dinner. 

I wish I could waste every Sunday this way. 

I'm such a sucker...

Had a pretty good time at the Ducks Unlimited Banquet the other night...even if it did end up being far from 'free' for me. 

I'm a sucker for raffles and other some such games of chance.  Once upon a time, I guess you could say I had a gambling problem, although, as a single sailor, I didn't have a lot of expenses...so..I never really went into debt, or my car payment...I just didn't have as much money left over at the end of the month as I should have.  I just flat out liked gambling. 

Getting married seemed to take care of some of this.  For a few years, I just flat out didn't gamble at all(other than lottery tickets, which IS gambling).   This wasn't because I didn't like gambling anymore, but SWMBO has expressed her displeasure, even prior to our marriage about some of my gambling habits.  It was made easier by moving away from the vicinity of Fox Woods, and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. 

After about 5 years, and more than a few 'responsible' gambling conversations with my wife, she let me relented and said it was okay for me to start visiting the glorified card rooms that pass as casino's in Washington....oh, there are a few Indian(Native American, sorry) that are sizable, but nothing like Vegas, and nothing at all like Mohegan Sun.  These smaller casino's made it easier to change my habits, going from a gambling budget of 'whatever the ATM would let me take out' to $60-80 a trip. 

I found out something else...now that I had a wife and kids, the guilt I felt from a bad gambling trip outweighed the 'yay' from a good trip.  So, for the most part, it's safe to say that I am over my gambling issues...other than being a sucker for raffles, with their 'It's for a good cause' approach.

There were several guns being raffled....a nice little Henry Golden Boy .22, a Weatherby Vanguard, and a nice looking Browning Maxus 12ga...very pretty gun, and it would have looked out of place in my gun safe...but that didn't stop me from buying chances to win it.  There were a few other chances to win a couple of other shotguns, including a cute looking little Mossberg Bantam 20ga, that I thought my wife would enjoy.

Alas though, a raffle is a form of 'gambling' and not a form of winning, and while I did not leave empty handed, I did not win any of the guns either.  Lame...especially, when you do the math on how much money started the night in my pocket vice what finished the night in my pocket.  I'm pretty sure I could have gone and bought that Mossberg Bantam for how much I put in all the different raffles.   

I hope the ducks appreciate what I have done for them...



In a bit I'm heading out the door to attend the Ducks Unlimited Tr-Cities Luau Dinner/Auction.  Our company is sponsoring 2 tables, and so my boss, whom I have hunted with times for elk and deer, offered me one of the seats. 

While neither of us is much into(as in at ZERO) duck hunting, I am a big supporter of wetlands conservation.  I also respect the shotgun as a useful tool, even if my idea of an ideal shotgun is a $300 12ga pump gun, and not a $3000 Browning Citori Ultra O/U.  Therefor, I don't feel like a total hypocrite for attending and eating, drinking, and making merry on the Company's dime. 

As for the ducks...I don't feel bad for them.  I am certain that I will donate WAY more to the raffles and auctions than I will consume at the buffet line and open bar.  Well, maybe not the open bar...depends on what kind of Top Shelf stuff they have.

Curses, Foiled again

Yesterday afternoon, I had this idea for a blog rant that would have allowed my to convert the masses and Take Over The World, but due to blogger being down, I fear my opportunity may have slipped away.

So, instead of spending the evening blogging, I strapped my wife to the couch and made her watch Kick-Ass last night.  After about the first 5 minutes of the movie, she quit her struggling and just settled in to enjoy the movie, which I find highly enjoyable. 

Of course, because my wife is a human being, her favorite character in the movie was Hit Girl, and because she knows me so very well, she specifically forbid me from 'getting my daughter used to being shot at by making her wear a bullet-proof vest'  like was done in this movie.  I think her REAL concern is that I am not a good enough shot to guarantee a torso shot. 

As a positive sign, that is ALL she forbid me from doing...so, I've got some serious thinking to do about what training to start first. 


Wonderful Weather...wish it wouldn't change.

Not to talk about something as mundane as the weather, but the last two days here have been pretty close to perfect...sunny and 78-80 degrees.  I would enjoy it more, if I wasn't the type to dwell on things.  In this case I am dwelling on the fact that while this would have been a Beautiful Summer Day back in Belfair, it's only the beginning of May, and we have 20-25 degrees to go before we top out. 

Living on the Kitsap Peninsula, I would estimate there were maybe 20 days a year the temperature was over 80 degrees...I am not sure I am ready for a summer where you have those 20 days in the bag prior to the end of June.  It was one of my concerns with taking this job...not being able to handle the hot, hot summers.

Thank gosh for A/C...we've already run it the last two nights to help me fall asleep.  I'm one miserable SOB if it's hot or stuffy when I am trying to sleep.  There are some summer nights my wife has slept on the couch so she doesn't need to listen to me toss, turn , pout and whimper. 


Likely to be distracted a day or two.

Not sure how much blogging I'll be cranking out the next few days...today I got home and found out I had received my copy of Hard Magic: The Grimnoir Chronicles in the mail. 

My SIGNED copy...

Poor Larry's hand...


I must be hitting the big time!

Just when I was wondering if my little blog would ever hit the big time, I finally drew the attention of a spammer!  About 2 months ago, I did a post about frugality, and if it possible for a whole generation to be too frugal.    Well, that finally must have hit someone search engine, because I received this comment just last night:

Coupon Chief is one of the leading online coupon code sites because of its great design and how easy it is to use. Online coupon codes are another great way to save money online. Check for coupons for your favorite stores here:


Amanda on behalf of Coupon Chief 

I wonder if I should try charging Amanda for the free advertising for 'Coupon Chief'?  


Range trip!

Went to the range this morning with one of my buddies from work, and it was my first trip to the Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility since joining the Tri-Cities Shooting Association. 

It's a very nice facility, and getting better as volunteer labor is available for improvements.  Today I used the Rose-Iris Public Range, and the .22 Plinking Range.  Separate from these ranges there is skeet and trap, an old west themed Cowboy Shooting Facility, a Practical Pistol facility, and a 1000-yard high power range. 

There are no pictures of targets to be shown, although the one of the range officers DID complement me on the groups I was getting out of my Marlin 1894.  That little 16-inch barreled lever-action .357 continues to be the favorite gun I own.  The RO was jealous of mine...he said he had been looking to pick one up, but couldn't find the 16-inch barrel option anymore, and he was going to be forced to console himself with the stainless 18.5 barrel.  I'm sure he'll survive.

My other challenge today was getting my AR on paper.  This was my first trip to the range with the carbine upper on, and that gun was WAY off.  Took me about 30 rounds to get it some what zeroed in at 50 yards.  After that it was a blast...but still not quite as light and handy as my Marlin.

The plinking range is a hoot and a hollar all rolled up into one.  There's about 4 different tiers of spinners and other reactive targets, and it was flat out a blast.  I really can't wait to get a chance to bring my wife there...I could probably leave her on the plinking range for an hour while I go play with the bigger stuff.  Supposedly, on of the plans for the future is a slightly more manly pistol caliber plinking range. 

I would gladly sacrifice one of my weekends to lend my strong back and weak mind to that project. 


Was hoping to be tempted.

I'm not a big gun show guy.  Truth be told, today was the first time I have actually been to one.  I'm not a big crowd guy, but with the family out of town, and nothing else pressing on my schedule, I figured Why Not?

It was amazing!  There were stacks and stacks of POOP!!!!!!!

Okay, it wasn't that bad, but I never seen so many worn out .22 pump guns in one location in my life(probably because I've never been to a bigger gun show).  There were also a fair number of old, excessively rattling shotguns.

Part of the reason for the lack of 'blown away' I was feeling could be that I was looking for a few specific things.  I was looking for a PTR-91, a PMR-30, or a .22 conversion kit for my CZ.  I was also willing to look at stainless 1911's if any caught my eye. 

I wasn't just looking to buy just  'any new gun'.  If I was, I could have spent the money I brought, and walked out happy.  One guy had a nice looking CZ-75 for $550.  Going off the 2 is 1, 1 is None principle, I could have made room in the house for another CZ.  There were NO PTR-91's, and there was not a chance in Hades I was going to pay the $800 being asked for the only two Century Arms G3's I saw for sale.  They were on two separate tables, so the guys must have gotten together before the show to agree on a price to see how crazy folks were. 

While there were no Kadet Conversion kits, I was tempted by an EAA Witness someone had. It was a .45, but it came with a .22 conversion kit also...can't remember the exact price, but it was less than $500.  It just didn't feel good in my hand.  The same guy had a Kel-Tec Sub 2000, but it was in .40 and not 9mm.  If it had been in 9mm, I would have been highly tempted.  I can think of less useful things to keep in the truck than a 9mm SUB 2000 with a couple of big glock magazines.  The only other 9mm Carbine on site was a beat up looking Marlin Camp Carbine.  Wasn't impressed.

None of the things above really tempted me though...not enough to make me feel self-sacrificing anyway.  On my last swing through the place, I found two Garands...but they were both the new .308's.  Then I saw the only thing that actually had me check my pocket to see if my money was still there...it was something I had heard of before, but never seen in person.

A Beretta BM-62, the sporter version of the BM-59 that Italy was making after WWII.  What an interesting cross between an M1 and an M1A.  Chamber in .308, using M-14 magazines.  The gentleman was asking $795, which seems a fair price compared to what little I have been able to find on the internet machine.  The price point had me tempted...it was cheaper than both the LR-308 and the PTR-91 I have been interested in....but...I couldn't see my wife like it.  Compared to the two other choices, this thing was a boat anchor.  I can not see my wife throwing it to her shoulder and blazing away. 

While I don't expect her to like/use every gun that we will ever own, it does make a man's life easier if his wife also enjoys the toys he brings home.

Flying Solo

After last weekend, during which I did many pleasant 'family' things(including our trip to Palouse Falls, which I haven't blogged about yet, but SWMBO did) this weekends theme is a little bit different.

With my moms birthday being last Thursday, and Mothers Day being this weekend, my wife thought that the proper thing to do would be to pay The World's Greatest Nana a visit.  Great idea.  From a realistic 'loading the car, actually making it to the freeway, making child(or adult) related rest stops, and pulling into her driveway' it's about 4-4.5 hours from here to my moms.  As gas increases in price, it's approaching the point where the round trip is about $100, even in the wife's Subaru. 

Here is where many would accuse me of being a cold fish.  With those stated logistics, I didn't necessarily think it made sense for us to hop in the car, drive to my moms and visit Saturday afternoon and evening, then turn back around Sunday to come home.  More than the price of gas, is the effect that a trip like that has on our girls.

I would be willing to wager that my children handle the 4-hour time frame car ride better than 90% of the rest of the children out there...especially when you throw in that we don't have a mini-van/SUV with a mobile entertainment center.  My kids entertain themselves with books, singing along with the radio, and telling stories 'in the round' in the car.  Sleep in the car is a last resort for them, as it is for my wife.   Me?  Heck...I fall asleep driving.

All this combined to have me say that with this being my normal two-day weekend, it might not make sense for us to all go visit my mom, but if my wife wanted to go spend a 2 or 3 nights over the weekend, that would make more sense. So...being a kick-ass wife/daughter-in-law, she did.  She left Friday afternoon, and will head back over Monday morning, meaning I am on my own for the weekend.

No tears...although, coming home after work Friday to no hugs and kisses was a bummer...I have PLANS for the weekend.  At 9am this morning, there is a Gun Show at the TRAC Center in Pasco.  I have no idea how big it is, having never gone...but I will go find out.  Then, I might go so Thor...although it is getting pretty good reviews, so I might just wait to see it with my wife.  Sunday morning, I am going shooting.  I got my membership card to The Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility like two months ago, and have yet to use it. 

Following all that, there will be some cleaning, and I guess some laundry.

Boredom is not likely to be a concern, although I am sure that at sometime on Sunday afternoon, loneliness might be.  Sniff, Sniff.

Now to do some price research on a few things, so I know if it's a 'good deal' or not at the gun show.


Now, that's an interesting way to raise revenue.

One of the problems with the Initiative Process is that sometimes, an imperfect law can be passed by the majority(as opposed to the Legislative Process, where imperfect laws are passed by people voted in a by a majority).  Back in 2005, Initiative 901 was passed in Washington which outlawed smoking in ALL public spaces(well, except for Indian Reservation property).  This included ‘private rooms’, card rooms, and cigar bars, which many other state recognized as being common sense places to continue to allow smoking.
Now, in a move that I’m sure has everything nothing to do with lowered tax revenues from smokers, the Washington State Legislature is working to instill a a little common sense.  For a low, low $17,500 annual you can get a ‘Cigar Lounge Endorsement’ (only the first 100 need apply!) or for $6,000 you can be one of 500 people to get a ‘Tobacco Retailer Endorsement‘.  
The purpose of these endorsements is to ‘help out local business hurt by the smoking ban in 2005’ according to generic ‘supporters’  in the Seattle Times article. 
It has NOTHING to do with the almost $5 Million that would be raised by these annual fees.  You can tell it has nothing to do with helping the 'small businesses' because if it did, the State could have modified the Initiative wording 2 years after it passed...but they didn't need the money THEN. 
Whatever…it all comes back to the State doing what it can to get theirs.  For the life of me, I can’t see why they would place limiting numbers on these ‘endorsements’ other than to prevent EVERYONE who owns a bar from calling it a ‘Cigar Lounge’ 

I swear, it’s not my fault.

Last Thursday, as silver was hanging out in the $47-48 range, I decided to call APMEX and sell of some of my 10 ounce bars, which had been bought mostly for investment purposes. 
A few different things spurred my timing, one of which was the price.  While the price had climbed rapidly and flirted with $50 once or twice, it had been hovering for a day or two.  If profit was my motive, this felt like the time to sell.  In addition, we just agreed to rent a new apartment starting at the end of May, meaning that for June we would be paying the mortgage on our house that won’t sell, rent on the apartment we are moving out of, AND rent on the townhouse we are moving in to. 
Oy vey. 
Oh, and finally, there is a gun show in Pasco this weekend, AND I am going to the Ducks Unlimited Auction/Banquet next Friday night, AND my birthday is rapidly approaching. 
I took it all in as a sign.
A week later, the price of silver has fallen off(I guess the correct term is ‘corrected itself’) and come down $12, to the $35 range, and I look like I have amazing timing. 
I don’t think it’s permanent…if it falls back below $30 an ounce, I intend to buy some more. 
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to having a swell time at the gun show this weekend.  Firearms wise, I wouldn’t mind finding someone looking to profit off a PMR-30, or a .22 Kadet conversion kit for my CZ-75…or a PTR-91.  Other than that…the jones isn’t that bad.  I’m not going to buy something just because we have cash in hand from the silver.  I would be just as happy to have another 50 pounds of ammunition on hand.


Drink-Oh de Mayo.

Growing up in New England, we really didn't know anything about Cinco de mayo.  I'm not sure if it was the minimal Hispanic population, or more the puritan mores that still rule in much of New England, meaning a holiday meant mostly for drinking would be frowned upon. 

To our family, the 5th of May was already a special day...it's my Mom's Birthday! 

I remember the first time we went out to dinner for my mom's birthday after we moved to Washington.  We had NO reason to expect the restaurants to be as crowded as they were when my mom wanted to go to her favorite Mexican place. 

Each year Cinco de Mayo seems to be bigger than the year before, but I tend to lump it in with New Years Eve and St. Patricks Day under the file 'Amateurs Night.'  Even during my rowdy 'single sailor' days, I avoided these events like the plaque. 

Too many cops out looking to bust law-abiding young sailors such as myself.