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


And we have a victor!

Having been born and for the most part, raised North of the Mason-Dixon line, I'm not someone who lives and dies by hot sauce.  Being surrounded by women folk(young and tender ones at that) in my house, I have gotten in a habit of creating fairly wimpy mexican food, and then adding Chipotle Tabasco to get the right amount of kick for me.  Other than that, I mostly limit my hot sauce usage to scrambled eggs and pizza, and either the green Tabasco or Chipotle Tabasco provide all the heat I need.  There is no need for Dave's Insanity Sauce in my household. 

Recently at work, one of my co-workers has been badgering me to try HIS hot sauce of choice on my lunch, Cholula.  I did, and it wasn't bad, but it lacked the flavor of my Chipotle Tabasco.  Earlier this week, he stopped playing fair, and brought in the new Chipotle Cholula.  It was better than okay...it was quite good.  So good I stopped on the way home to buy some for the house. 

This evening, the dinner menu included scrambled eggs...so, I decided to run a little taste test on myself.  I know such things can't be 100% trusted without someone else running a blind 'pepsi challenge' type scenario, but, in my unscientific test, I would say the Cholula Chipotle was about 15 times better than the Tabasco Chipotle...it just had much more flavor to it, and slightly less heat, which is fine by me. 

Now I just have to finish the other three bottles of Tabasco that I had previously stocked up on...


Well, there's something you don't see everyday...

This picture was taken by a gentleman named Nick Gonzales.  Nick just happened to be walking in front of the Roosevelt Hotel in Seattle Monday evening, and being the eagle-eyed type of guy that he is, he spotted this handy-dandy AR-15 sitting on the trunk of a police cruiser, with no police officer in site.  After taking the picture to preserve the scene for posterity, Nick then flagged down a couple of nearby polie officers on bike patrol.


The Seattle Police Department admits(especially since there are pictures to prove it) that this is a 'very embaressing' occurance. 

Really?  You think?  The police spokesman could not comment as to whether the gun was loaded or not...but a picture is worth a thousand words...and I highly doubt that that is an empty magazine inserted into the gun.

People make mistakes...and police officers are people...but there are little mistakes and the are BIG mistakes.  One of the things I am trying to work on with both of my daughters is that saying 'sorry' doesn't always fix things.  If this rifle had slid off the trunk at some point, or otherwise been used by a crazed homeless person or gangbanger to light up a Seattle street on a Monday night...well, it would probably have gotten a little more press than the story has so far.

Wish I was in a financial situation where I didn't consider $1000+ of gun and accessory important enough to keep track of...


Just keep them distracted...

Last night, SWMBO tasked me to keep the girls distracted while she put the (almost) finishing touches on cleaning at the old apartment.  Her 'suggestion' was that I take them to one of the many parks in the area so they could have some fun outside.

Yesterday was a warm day...right around 90 degrees, and after dinner it was still 85ish.  I did in fact keep the girls occupied at the park for 40 minutes or so, but by then daddy was finished with sitting outside.  My younger one was complaining about being hungry, and the older one mentioned that ice cream might be nice.  Since I am easily lead by intelligent women, I ended up with both the girls at Dairy Queen, which DID keep the youngin's distracted. 

I was responsible though...older daughter got a mini blizzard, youngin got a small chocolate dip cone, and I only ordered a SMALL Blizard....

I figured at some point, I was going to have to help eat that ice cream cone before it could melt and run all over the place. 

Oops....guess I missed the point on that story...

Having spent most of my life in Western Washington, huge, thousands of  acre wild-fires are something I have only seen on the news.  Fires in Western Washington are usaully limited to grass fires on the side of the road...while August is usually dry enough for fires, we don't get a lot of lightening storms to start them. 

While reading this story, about the 46,000 acre fire in New Mexico which is encroaching on the Los Alamos site, all I coulf focus on was the fact that the labs were closed yesterday, and whill remain closed until the danger has passed. 

Meaning someone is getting a better deal than me today, since they are off for the day without being charged vacation time.

Lucky S.O.B.s...but I do hope everyone is safe. 


There you are!

One of the most rewarding parts of moving is finally finding something that you have been looking for for the last 6 months.

One of the most frustrating things about moving is realizing the next day that you stuck that certain something in some random box that you felt sure you would remember, and now you aren't going to find it again for at least three months when you have completed unpacking.

The old apartment is now empty of everything that is not trash, and I find myself looking at a box of various USB/recharging cables.  This time, I am going to follow through on labeling each cable with it's use...

as soon as I can find the lables..


Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today...

One of the best of the many good things about being a parent is that I have a built in excuse for watching cartoons that I like, but as a grownup, I can avoid the ones I don't like. 

'Phineas and Ferb' is one of the better ones.  Not only do the kids love it, but I find it quite funny...the humor is there on many levels, kind of like in the best Pixar films.  So, this morning I find myself plunking the girls down in front of netflix to stream some Phineas and Ferb...

But, in the true feelings of 'what I'm gonna do today'...my father has been visiting for a day or two, and after he takes off this afternoon, I am going hijack the wife and kids to head over to the old apartment and get every last thing out of there.  We have been trying to avoid turning our living room into a storage unit by finding a home for everything before bringing something new over...but the clock is running short on that, so...today is the big push. 


Cut off it's head and burn it so it can't come back to life!!!!!!!

I realize that we have sayings like 'Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder' for a reason...they are true.  You know, different strokes for different folks. 

Seeing the pictures that hit the internet today of Yoda, selected the world's ugliest dog, drives this fact home.

Picture borrowed from here: http://rohnertpark.patch.com/articles/pint-sized-pooch-steals-the-show-at-worlds-ugliest-contest#photo-6746715:

Not being much of a 'dog guy' under the best of circumstances, I am flabbergasted that anyone loved this creature enough to feed it.  There is 'So Ugly it's Cute!' and then there is this dog.  
It looks like it could have filled in a stunt double for Bill the Cat if the ever filmed a Bloom County movie.  

Finding a use for useless items...

While unpacking and organizing at the new house, I came across my box of accumulated gun locks.  Tired of carrying them around for several years(and unsure why I had been doing it at all), I headed for the trash can with them.  SWMBO stopped me short, asking me to save at least one for her.  With a deep sigh(since this is how the box began in the first place) I did. 

Yesterday I came home, and found that she had made me proud, using Ruger's lock to keep the gate leading out off of our patio closed. 

Guess it serves both as a lock, and a warning...I mean, if you find a guy using a S&W gun lock on his utility shed, are you gonna try to mess with it?


Naughty Latte'

So, over the past two years, a trend that has caught on and begun spreading in the Northwest(can't speak for the rest of the country) is Naughty Latte stands...a coffee stand where the attractive young lady preparing your double-tall, soy milk, sugar-free caramel macchioato is scantily clad.  The level of scantily cladness can range from lingerie, to Bikini Barista's and even at some stands, cut-off shorts and pasties on top.

Being a happily married but still terribly shallow man, I am pretty much okay with this trend.  I have TONS of respect for any young lady who is willing to don a bikini(or less) in a grey, drizzly Northwest winter, and serve coffee at a little drive-up shack.  While winters on the west side of the state are not cold, they can be nipply nippy...despite teaching my daughters that drizzle is liquid sunshine, it DOES NOT make it feel warmer.

Strangely enough, a large percentage of the soccer moms who live in Western Washington are not happy with this trend.  They have taken to calling such establishments Sexpresso stands, and referring to the healthy young ladies that work in that as Joe-Ho's.  Since they can't come out admit that what really has them upset about these stands is that they can't force their husbands to stop going there, what we really need to do is shut them down for...you guessed it...The Children. 

"As an adult, I can make the choice not to look there, but I have minor children who I travel with," said Marnie Ferraro, mother of four boys, ages 6 through 18
Horse pucky.  Trust me...when I drive by(not through) these places, I TRY to look in, and I can't see anything.  Like the article said, most of these places are already located a little further off the road then normal, and with fences and screens around them, so that unless the young lady tries to lean down into the car, you can't see anything!  

For the record, I don't go to this type of latte stand...any more.  Once or twice I went through a Bikini Barista type place, but...well, come on...look at what most 20-year old girls are already wearing!!!!  You aren't seeing much more at a Naughty Latte stand then at a normal stand where the girl is wearing shorts and a halter top in the summer.  Plus, most of the places where the girls are scantily clad charge 35-50 cents more for a cup of espresso and milk foam that already costs too much.
From a 'real world' point of view, I could probably be convinced that there is no need to run an espresso stand wearing bikini bottoms and pasties...but that would make me as hypocritical as a duck hunter who says 'You don't need no 10-round magazines  to go hunting!'  

J.J. Wilson of Espresso Gone Crazy in Gorst decried the proposed code changes, saying the county can ill afford more roadblocks for businesses.
That's right J.J....with a double-dip recession looming, can we really afford to punish small business owners(or hard-up guys who just want a cup of coffee?)


This is wrong on sooooo many levels...

When I was in the Navy, and we had been underway for a few weeks, we used to joke about how it would have been better to be a criminal than a sailor, because at least in prison you got to see the sun, and they gave you time every day to work out. 

Looks like we weren't the only ones who felt this way:

Man robs bank for $1 to get medical attention.


Okay...part of me wants to say it's too bad the bank guard didn't bust a cappa in his assa, but...this guy probably doesn't deserve to die...but he also doesn't deserve free health care at the tax payers expense, nor does any other convicted convict.  Having lived a life of the just, I have never done jail time...so it's easy for me to take the position that our prisons are soft, soft places, and Mexico, with their throw them in a box with the cockroaches mentality, has the right idea. 

The happy ending here probably would have been if one of the nice police officers responding in North Carolina had pulled out a $1 bill to repay the bank's losses, and then told this guy to hit the road and get lost. 

If the judge gives this guy his wish and sentences him to 3 years for robbing a bank of $1, I'll move to North Carolina just so I can register to vote against him. 


Setting a bad precedent.

The other day, I found myself agreeing with something that was being done out in New York.  Today, I find myself all kinds of cheered up by this news out of Californinia:

Botched Budget means no pay for California Lawmakers. 

Way to go to Mr. John Chiang, who is the California State Controller.  Since we don't have one of those in Washington, I had to do some research.  It seems the Controller is essentially the CFO of California.  It is a 4 year elected position, and Mr. Chiang is currently in his 2nd term. This is a brave move on the part of Mr. Chiang, since he, an elected Democrat, threw out a budget passed by the Democratic State Legislature.  One would think since he is in his 2nd and final term as Controller, Mr. Chiang already as his eyes on his political future.  Making a bold(correct) move like this is a good first way to get some wide name recognition with the voters.

In not-so-surpising news, several members of the legislature who are no longer getting paid, are not happy with his action.

The decision sparked sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakers and could be challenged in court. Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, said Chiang decided to withhold pay for political reasons.
"I halted a fulfilling private sector career path to enter public service. I now have to explain to my wife and daughter that we won't be able to pay the bills because a politician chose to grandstand at our expense," Gatto said.
Shut up.  Resign and go back to work then. 

Quite telling is that non of the Democrats that are all butt-hurt by this are trying to say 'Yes the budget is too balanced!'...they are tying to take the position that the Controller doesn't have the power/abilty to decide if a budget is balanced.  Ummm....it's math folks, either the comes in equals/exceeds the goes outs, or it doesn't.

Now here, in Washington, the State Constiution doesn't allow for an unfunded budget...but if they don't get it done on time, we pay them extra to stick around for a 'special session'.  I do believe that California has it right this time. 


Yes, it's EXACTLY like that...

Whether it is out of a desire to increase participation in what it takes to keep our family running on an even keel, or shear greed, both of our children are showing an increased interest in find chores to do around the house.

SWMBO and I already expect a certain amount of unpaid assistance from the girls.  They help set the table for meals, they clean their plates off, and they put their own laundry away.  They even cooperate on this with the younger shorter one putting away the socks and undies, and the taller one putting away the stuff that needs hanging.  We both also agree that increased motivation should provide some opportunity to make money for the girls.

The newest job I came up with for our older daughter was helping to keep the cat's litter box clean.  For this task she gets 25 cents a day, and if she does it for 7 straight days, I will round up to an even $2.  Since the litter-box is currently my responsibility, I consider it worth the price.

This evening, I finally brought her upstairs to show her where we keep the baggies and scooper, and show her what the standards are.  I told her it wasn't good enough to just scoop the stuff she could see off the top...you kind of had to dig around in there, looking for stuff.

Her face brightened at this, 'Oh...it's like a treasure hunt!!!!'

I better not find the buried treasure stashed in her room. 


Admiting you have a problem is the first step...

The Social Security system is broken, and even the most liberal of minds admit that at some point, it will also be BROKE. 

Recently, even The AARP admitted that just maybe, possibly, sometime in the 'far off future' the Social Security system might need some tweaking. 

They offer up no specifics, and state that reductions should be 'minimal' and also shouldn't effect current recipients...but at least they are admitting things can't continue like this forever. 

Not everyone is happy about the AARP's position shift. 

Doug Henwood, the editor of a liberal business blog and Internet-radio program who has written on Social Security, said AARP's willingness to consider cuts in benefits "reads like a sign that this former lobby for the interest of older Americans has now transformed itself completely into an insurance company."
I would say 'Oh, Boo-Hoo' but I know for a fact that this is exactly how folks have felt about the NRA in the past when they have offered compromise solutions.  I'm glad that the people at the AARP are finally willing to face up to the reality of a situation(But the NRA still sucks for caving on the Assault Weapons Ban). 

Even if I was ever installed as Dictator for Life, I'm not sure I could go cut Social Security off at the knees.  There are people who had to pay into Social Security for 40+ years, and it would be totally improper to not give them what they thought they were going to get.  I do think though, that a couple of mathematicians could come up with some plan to buy us a few years by bumping the age from 62 to 66 or 67, and then work on some kind of sliding scale of payments/benefits, so that folks in their 50's know they are getting 75% of what they thought they were, but paying in 75% each month, at 45 you are doing 40% payments and benefits, and at say 35...you are on your own...better get investing.  

Of course, I picked 35 because I just turned 36...screw those young kids...don't touch my 20% that my plan would let me have. 

Well, that's genius!

Some common sence news from the East Coast:

Airport geese to be cooked for poor. 

It's about time...and I hope this is just the beggining...if any New York started trend needs to spread like wildfire, it's this one.  Routinely over the course of the summer, we hear about local beaches at lakes and ponds being closed because of too much duck/goose related fecal matter being deposited. 

I am all for this 'culling'.  The only part that makes me say a little grrrrrrrr is where the city  is paying for this(HELLO...SPECIAL Hunting permits?!?!?!?!?) and that they had to look to neighboring Pensylvania to find someone willing to take the birds. 


Father's Day

Well, except for the white socks with sandals, please to enjoy.

First Class

This evening my wife and I went out to see X-Men: First Class.  It is a proper name for the movie, as both my wife and I found it to be a first class evening of entertainment.

First, I must confess that I am not just a comic book geek, but an X-Men geek in particular.  I thought that I would be a little pouty because the First Class in this movie where NOT the first class in the comic books...but I turned out to be okay with it.  Havok was a good character to use to show the struggles controlling a power...without Jean Grey, you don't need cyclops.  Banshee allowed you to show character who could learn to use a power differently.

Mystique is a fan-favorite character...she is also, especially when used with Beast in this movie, an excellent mutant for driving home the 'acceptable' part of being a mutant, with her ability to 'hide' in society as an attractive blonde girl.  All she as to do is hide everything she is.  Beast meanwhile, is someone who can look normal while just wearing big shoes...and despises it.

As far as the mentors go...my opinion is Magneto was a much better character in this movie than Charles Xavier.  Magneto has lived a hard life, and has an honest, though jaded, opinion of the world. Charles has spent his time in country estates, going to Oxford, and quite frankly, is a bit of a prig. 

There isn't a lot of character time spent with the bad guys...but Kevin Bacon, as the big baddy Sebastien Shaw, does a really good job.  He is believable as a Nazi doctor, and very believable as a power brokering, behind the scenes mastermind.  He fit's perfectly into the 60's, and you have to believe that Sebastien Shaw would have had a secret entrance into the Playboy Mansion to hang out with Hef and the girls whenever he wanted to.

I was not overly blown away by January Jones as Emma Frost.  In her defense, Emma is a tough nut to crack.  One of the more overly sexed-up characters in a genre that makes fan-boys happy by sexing up even their most mundane creations, it takes more to be Emma Frost than just a white bustier.  There needs to be a charisma that Ms. Jones didn't bring to the role.  Early rumors had said that Alice Eve, from 'She's Out of Your League' was going to play Emma...this might have been better...more lifelike at least.  

My only other real problem with this movie was the use of Moira Mactaggert.   Now, I would rather have seen Eve Myles play the part than Rose Byrne...but Rose wasn't bad...it's more the fact that the character was warped from a Scot's geneticist to a CIA Agent.  I know it fit the plot better, but instead of trying to cash in on the Moira MacTaggert character....make up a new one!  They already created two (new to me anyway) mutants for this movie....would creating a CIA liaison have been too much? 

Minor complaints, all.

 For the fan-boy's out there(SPOILER!)...there was a cute little scene with Hugh Jackman, and another nod to Marvel continuity with a cameo by Rebecca Romijn as an older Mystique.  I liked the girl(Jennifer Laurence) playing Mystique...I know she has been cast as Katniss in the upcoming Hunger Games movies...so...I look forward to her showing her acting chops playing a very different type of character. 

8.5-9 out of 10.


Farmer's Market Fail.

Yesterday, I had to take a qualification exam for work.  Once that wrapped up, I was feeling pretty mentally exhausted, so my boss and I decided that it didn't make sense for me to head out to the site in the condition.  Instead, I headed home to give my wife a hand moving and unpacking.  Progress was going good on that, so after a bit, I suggested we get out of the apartment for at least a little bit, to enjoy the day.  SWMBO was not hard to convince.

The Richland Farmers Market is not huge(supposedly, the Pasco Farmers Market is the largest one in the area) but it's a good size...probably 50-60 booths. About 3rd of them are veggies...you have a couple of bakeries, candles, soaps, two organic meat dealers...farmers market stuff.  It was only our 2nd time going yesterday, so I'm not sure how much rotation there is of vendors. 

One of the stands we noticed for the first time today was selling honey...we have plenty of honey at home, but we don't have any honey comb.  One of the good things about having kids is that you can use them as an excuse to get out of things you don't want to, or justify things you shouldn't do.  In this case, we really don't NEED honey-comb, but I convinced the girls they just had to have it.  There were also some folks up from Oregon selling nuts, so we picked up some walnuts and hazelnuts. 

To call the girls underwhelmed by the honey-comb would be an understatement.  It was a challenge to teach them the technique of chewing but not swallowing(But daddy...you tell us not to spit stuff out of our mouth!).  They thought it was a lot of work for a little reward.  'Daddy...can't we just have a spoonful of honey?'

The nuts were even worse...neither my wife or I could remember if we had a nut cracker, or if it was just packed.  I was able to crack some walnuts by squeezing two of them in my hand...but the hazelnuts were tougher.  Add a nutcracker to today's shopping list. 

It wasn't all fail.  Strawberries are in season, so my wife bought a nice looking package of those.  If we were set up for canning, it is certainly stock up prices out there.  We also bought a nice looking bundle of kale for soup, some asparagus,  and two tasty looking loafs of Apple Strudel Bread.  I plan on slicing those up tomorrow and turning them into french toast.

Next time we will remember to bring our little rolling cooler to keep stuff cold while we do some walking around. 


And this is why The Commander is always ready...

You just never know when, or how you are going to lose power out there in the wilds of Montana.  I have to guess a fawn ending up tangled in the power lines was low on the list of probabilities. 

I hope it doesn't effect hunting quota's. 

Ah...back to normal.

The internet is connected in the new apartment, which is good and convenient, but now it is available to distract me from helping SWMBO get things moved, unpacked and organized. 

Back to work. 



As we continue to chew our way through the series offerings on Netflix, a few weeks ago, my wife and I, having developed an interest in British television programs, could no longer ignore the ultimate British series…Dr. Who. 
It’s not bad…as with any series that has been around as long as Dr. Who, it has it’s highs and it’s lows, but on average is a highly entertaining show.  The Doctor is a very neat character, and I like the way David Tennant plays him.  One of the things that intrigue’s my wife and I are the women on British T.V. shows…Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman, who play the Doctor’s Companion’s on most of the episodes I have watched so far are both attractive young ladies, that is not up for debate.  However, neither one of them is as overly sexed up unbelievably attractive as you would expect to find on in a similar American show…just look at Yvonne Strahovski, the lead actress on ‘Chuck’.  She is a classical version of the leading lady on an American TV show…and compared to her The Companions are ‘attractive in a quirky way’ other than bombshells.  And Dr. Who is not alone in this…most of the BBC stuff we have watched is like that…maybe they just don’t have that many pretty girls in Britain, although Page 3 would test this theory.  This isn’t bad…it actually causes me to go that old guy standby where an 8 ‘seems more obtainable’ than a 10. 
Since we were enjoying the Dr. Who we were watching, and in particular had liked the character of Captain Jack Harkness, we started watching the Dr. Who spinoff, Torchwood.  Torchwood follows the Torchwood Institute’s efforts to control the alien threat here on Earth, and use recovered alien technology to defend the Earth into the 21st Century…because that’s when it will all change. 
In my own humble opinion, Torchwood, which kind of has a bit of an X-Files feel to it, is about 17 times better than Dr. Who.  The character of Captain Jack Harkness(much, much less annoying than captain jack sparrow) played by John Barrowman, is one of my 10 ten favorite TV show characters.  Due to something that happened to him on Dr. Who…Captain Jack can’t die.  This doesn’t mean he can’t be killed, because that happens quite often, but his body regenerates and he awakes with a gasp each time it happens.  This causes Jack to have a different life-style…and I kind of think the character ends up feeling a bit like Lazarus Long …gruff exterior, but he does care about people, even though his long view on things causes him to have to make some very tough decisions, decisions that he has to live with, because even blowing his mind out won’t make his ghosts go away.
In a somewhat interesting twist, it turns out that Captain Jack, who was very much a flirt and oh-so-cheeky on his Dr. Who run, is a Modern Day Man Whore, and that in pursuit of his love life, Jack is an ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’.  You wouldn’t see this on American TV, even though it’s just kind of taking Captain Kirk’s sleeping with green alien women one step further…if a green alien is okay, why not a human person…or whatever else it takes you make you happy.
The supporting characters on Torchwood are a good bunch of well fleshed out folks.  The female lead, Gwen is played by Eve Myles, and she is a tasty Welch dish(hey, a strong female role model is nothing to complain about).  At the beginning of the show, she is a beat cop who kind of happens into Torchwood, kind of like Will Smith in ‘Men in Black.’ By the 3rd season, she is obviously the 2nd in command, and much more the action type than even Captain Jack.

Now my wife and I are bummed…we have watched the three seasons on Netflix, and find ourselves in the same dilemma with Torchwood that we do with Bones and Dexter…new shows are coming out, and because we are not paying for full cable, we can’t watch them.  Season 4 of Torchwood begins July 8th on the STARZ network…not sure if they will have it online through them after it airs on TV like AMC did with Walking Dead, but we can cross our fingers and hope. 


Sweet Child O' Mine.

Today is my older daughters birthday.  Isabella Hunter is turning 9 years old, which means that my wife and I have already used up half the time we have to shape her into an incredible young lady.

It doesn't feel like we are half-way there on her.  I know I am not half-way ready to give her up into the world.  She is still my little girl, and I am not sure I will ever be ready to let her go out into the world.  It's a scary place out there, and it's even scarier when you are a dad letting your pretty little girl head out into that scary world.

She is a good kid(even if she did pick Red Robin over Atomic Ale House for dinner).  So far, I think my wife and I have done an outstanding job.  She is very polite in dealing with other people, and LOVES to read.  She is eager to please almost to a fault(in her rush to keep everyone else happy, she will often do something that makes herself miserable...this is my fault, as it is something she got from me).  She is much better at entertaining herself than I remember being at that age, with her current fascination being dinosaurs.

I think that ALL children go through a 'dinosaur' phase.  I know I did, and my wife remembers going through one, but, neither of our parents indulged our interest the way we have done for Bella.  My parents bought me a book or two.  We have bought Bella has AT LEAST 10 books.  On the Wii she has watched all the Discovery Channels Walking with Dinosaurs/Pre-historic Beast shows.  What with us doing home schooling, our opinion is that if she WANTS to learn about something, who really cares WHAT that something is.

 My only concern for the next 9 years is getting her over some of her shyness, and some of her fear.  She is very logical in her approach to things, to the point of being timid if she doesn't totally understand something...she also has a slight fear of heights.  She is fine in airplanes, but can't stand being 5-10 feet off the ground.  If I try to pick her up and throw her over my shoulder in a fireman's carry, she clamps down on my shirt hard.  She couldn't do the zip line at camp, and SWMBO told me that just today, she seized up major on the the climbing rocks at the local park.

I am not sure how to get her over either of these things.  Being a guy, my usual way of dealing with these things is direct confrontation/immersion therapy...kind of a 'Just get over it, kiddo' attitude.  My wife ensures me this is not the correct way to do it.  Her shyness seems to be slowly fading...at the park, she tries to introduce herself to other kids, but, as my wife puts it, she 'has an old soul' and sometimes just doesn't connect.  Apparently kids have 'phases' that they go through, and Bella seems to be moving out of this one.

I could not have a dreamed a better child than what she has become, and I am terrified/excited for what the next 9 years will bring.  


The Drawing.

Results came out today for special permit applications in Washington.  I went 0-4 after applying for a Quality Deer Tag, Quality Elk, Bull Elk, and Antler-less Elk special tags.  I paid the five bucks to keep earning points for Antler-less deer, but didn't actually apply for any hunts this year. 

Antler-less elk should be self-explanatory.  The difference between Quality Elk and Bull Elk tags is more subtle...Quality Elk offers a 'better quality' hunting experience...earlier in the season and fewer hunters in the woods.  Failing to draw any special elk tags means I am on the hunt for a spike elk only....the area where I have hunted the last few years with my buddies has a 3% success rate.  I have not seen a living spike elk for the three years I have hunted this area. 

It might be time to shift back to black powder.

I am not as nihilistic over not drawing a special deer tag as not drawing an elk tag.  If I decide to try white-tail with my boss in the North East corner of the state this year, I am limited to a 4-point or better white-tail, or I can go Central Washington where I am limited to a 3-point or better Mule Deer.  That's during the general season.  If I don't get one then, I have another shot in Mid-November, when most areas shift to any buck for a week before wrapping everything up. 

Not good news, but it means hunting season is one step closer to being here.  I already put in for my time off at work.  Having been here less than a year, I don't have a huge time off balance yet...but I have enough that I am going to make 4 long weekends out of it....2 for deer and 2 for elk. 

That will still leave me enough left over for a day or two with the family....see the sacrifices I make?

Moving Week.

We have rolled right from having my mother-in-law visiting to getting ready to move into our new apartment..the moving company shows up Thursday morning to move the things that are too heavy for me to feel like tackling with just my wife and I.  We have made a pretty good dent in stuff...the pantry contents are are almost completely moved. 

The only time I regret having stocked up on so many consumables is when I need to move them from place to place. 

Any how, I beg forgiveness of the 6 people who religiously follow this blog, as things could be light around her until things get established in the new apartment the last part of this week. 


Mini-range report

Yesterday morning was the last morning that my mother-in-law was going to be in town.  Figuring the morning would be full of tearful goodbyes and packing, I snuck off for 'quick' trip to the range.  Two and a half hours, and one sore shoulder later, I figured it was time to head back home.

I really need to go more times, with shorter, more efficient trips.

I proved that I am not a totally incompetent craftsman...the pistol grip and collapsible stock I installed on my Saiga didn't fall off after 100 rounds.  It made the Saiga a much more comfortable gun to shoot.  The hill side above the 100-yard range has 6 metal gongs on it, ranging from 200-500 yards out.  With my last ten rounds, I was able to hit the 250 yard gong 4 times...not bad for me with open sights on a first attempt.

I then zeroed in the red dot scope I put on my 10/22, before breaking out my .35 Whelen.  The first two shots I made we not happy making. 

I was FLINCHING.  I couldn't believe I had gotten that used to my Saiga, my AR, and my 10/22 that the .35 Whelen had me flinching.  Sloppy too.  My 2nd group of three was much better once I slowed down, took my time, and paid attention to my breathing. 

While letting the rifle barrels cool, I put about 50 rounds through my CZ and and another 50 through my 686.  As usual, I love my CZ, but I need to work more on the double-action trigger on my S&W.  Just sloppy and tired. 

When I settled back in behind the .35 Whelen, I decided to take aim at the 300 yard gong, and I was pretty happy...I went 3 for 3.  It's not a tough target...the gong's are about 2 foot diameter circle. 

I finished things up on the .22 plinking range.  If I had thought the plinking range was fun on my first trip using my Ruger Mk II, it was more fun than a basket full of kittens using my 10/22 with the red dot scope on it. 

Well worth a little bit of a sore shoulder. 


Saturday Lunch near-catasrophe.

Yesterday afternoon, on the way home from visiting the fair, we made a decision to stop for a late lunch at a Whitstran Brewpub in Prosser that my wife and I had previously enjoyed.  What we did not realize is that minutes before our arrival, a 'Wine Country Tour' bus had swung in to get 22 people their lunch. 

This isn't a big place...maybe room for 40-45  folks total, plus a patio with 2 more tables, so, there was plenty of room for us to sit at a table.  What was NO GOOD for us was having those 22 people all getting their order in right before us.  As a result, we had a 55 minutes wait for our food.  I was okay with this...there was air conditioning, pretzels, and BEER.  Previously I had highly enjoyed their Highlander Scotch Ale, but they were in-between batches of that, so instead I tried their Pale Ale(very Hoppsy) and their Hefeweizen(which was very good).  My wife and mother-in-law had some of the birch beer brewed on site. 

The people that were not okay with a 55 minute wait for food were the kids.  'You drug us away from the carousel for this!' 

Talk about making a parent feel like he has failed....

Luckily, when the food did show up, it was okay.  I am not saying it was worth waiting an hour for, but it was worth a normal restaurant wait. I also sacrificed having my growler filled with Hefe so my wife could bring some of the birch beer she really liked home. 

I'm not sure I would have made it home in one piece if the food had been less than pleasing. 

Pay no attentiton to the man with the towel.

Getting ready to head to the range this morning.  For me, going to the range is really a two day event.  I spend the evening before getting the guns picked out, loading magazines, and getting the range bags ready to go.  Sometimes,  I will even clean a gun or two that got ignored after the last range trip...sometimes.

I don't have enough rifle cases to go around.  I have a very nice hard-sided rolling case I bring up hunting in the fall, but it is currently buried in my storage unit.  Then I have one rifle case suitable for scoped guns, and one shot-gun case.  Now that I have put a red-dot on my 10/22, it won't fit in the shot-gun case anymore...and neither will my saiga, now that I mounted a pistol grip.  Ummmmmmm. 

Obviously, I need to buy another few gun cases.  It won't be a huge expense, I just don't have time to do it today before heading to the range.  The solution for the day was to wrap the guns up that don't fit inside a beach towel, and oh-so-carefully carry the beach towel down to my truck. 

As long as no one calls the police about someone carrying an 'assault towel' I should be okay until I can buy a few more soft sides cases this week. 

Someday, when I'm a real blogger, some manufacturer will offer me samples to try out and review.  Someday...because really, free stuff is what it is all about.


Save a horse...

A few months ago, we had driven down to the town of Bickleton to look at some property that was for sale.  While there, we visited the East Klickitat County History Museum, which also acts as a carousel museum for one of the oldest carousel's in the country.  The horses stay inside all year, except for the 2nd weekend of June, when they are placed on the carousel, and folks can ride on them at the Alder Creek Pioneer Rodeo and Picnic. 

This being the 2nd weekend in June, we loaded up in the truck to head down to Cleveland, population 20, a few miles south of Bickleton. 

It was a cute little fair.  The kids got to ride on the carousel, not once, but twice.  Tickets were 50 cents each, or 3 for $1, so mommy and daddy got to take turns riding with the kids. 

Other than the carousel, there wasn't all THAT much to do at the fair.  There was a bounce house for the kids, and a few stands selling crafts.  Most important there was Fair Food!  The kids got some cotton candy, SWMBO got a sno-cone, and I got to have some funnel cake, with powdered sugar. 

On the way home, we took advantage of the nice weather to head back up the hill and look again at the 20-acre lots that were for sale...big mistake...I have fallen in love all over again, and so did the wife.  I hate spooking a group of does bedded down on property I am driving by to look at. 

If we decide that living in the 1200 SF, 2 floor town house is HUGE amounts nicer than living in this apartment, and the house sells soon, we might head down a path where we buy one of the two 20-acre lots that are available, and just suffer in the town-house for 18-24 months. 

Stock-up opportunity

Passover being long gone, and a few months remaining until we get to the other major Jewish Holidays, Safeway is clearing out some of their 'ethnic' items.  I stocked up on some matzoh, and saw that they had a few boxes of Shabbos candles on the 50% off shelf. 

Nothing fancy about them...just a plain white candle...about 3.5 inches by 3/4 of an inch.  Rated to burn for 3 hours.  This compares them to 7.62 X 39 rounds(look...now my post is vaguely gun related!)

A box of 72 was on sale for $6, which is....let's see...carry the one..and we get...$17 just over 8 cents a candle.  My wife had picked up some emergency candles at the dollar for for about 20 cents a pop...so, this was a pretty good deal.  I picked up two boxes, which with the Chanukah candles we bought on clearance last year, and a bag of tea-lights I found on clearance at Fred Meyers gives us well over 400 candles stored in the house.

I think they had two more boxes on the shelf I might pick up if they are still there next time I hit the store.


Charging a 5-year old?

Last week, a tragedy occurred in Kansas City...an 18-month old little boy drowned in the bath-tub.  As police looked into the situation, they found out that the tragedy was worse than it appeared to be...the 18-month old was actually drowned in the tub by a 5-year old, while a 16-year old babysitter slept through the whole thing.  This story, about how the police were investing the act as a crime, and possibly looking into charging the 5-year, fired me right up. 

I guess, from further research, there is no minimum age for 'legal responsibility' in Missouri, so there is nothing saying that the state CAN'T file criminal murder charges against a 5-year old...but, in this case, my initial thought was the person guilty here was the 16-year old who slept through this happening. 

A little research, and reading more than one take on the story, has changed my mind yet again.  This story provides a little more detail, and changes who the blame belongs to.  According to the newest story, the two children were left home with a teenager who was mentally handicapped. 

Mentally handicapped can have a wide range of application...but, of course, I picture the worst...like someone with Down's Syndrome( no offense to folks with Down's...but it is the image that comes into my mind when the media uses a term like 'mentally handicapped'). 

IF someone left an 18-month old and a 5-year old home alone with someone that has any REAL degree of mental retardation(once again, not a PC term, sorry) then THAT someone is the guilty party. 

After all that offending, and backing and filling, it's obvious that the 5-year old will need some help.  If 'pressing charges' is what it takes to get her some help...well, so be it.  I am the first one to jump up and say 'punish the guilty, punish them NOW, and punish them harshly'...but...a 5-year old, while she can commit a crime, can not be 'mentally guilty'.  I would like to think my own 5-year old would not do this...but I can see a 5-year old thinking 'This kid is making noise, and I know holding him under water will make him stop' but not realizing that the 18-month old will never make noise again. 

Another 'sad all around' thing. 


Got a text from a buddy of mine yesterday.  Not only was he off work all week, and taking a trip our around the Olympic Peninsula, but he also decided to buy a new gun.

He was very excited about the deal he got on his new Taurus Judge?!?!?!? 


Now...a gun is a gun, is a gun.  At some point in every gun collection, you are going to start purchasing guns 'just because you want it.'  It doesn't really need a purpose, which in my opinion, describes the Taurus Judge.  I already have a gun in .45 Colt...and I am not sure I can find a use for .410 in my life.  Even with some of the new 'Personal Self Defense Loads' that are being put out by the ammo manufactures trying to capitalize on the .410/.45 craze, .410 would come in somewhere between .22 and .380 on my '1st choice of self-defense loads.'  As far as 'needing' a snake gun...if I start hiking here a lot in Eastern Washington and find the rattlesnakes to be that big a deal, I will pick up a box of CCI shot shells for my .357.

So...jealous he got a gun, it's just not the gun I would buy...still waiting for a PMR-30 to show up in stock. 

Sleeping in.

Got held over last night to work a double.  Things wrapped up a little early, and so I was out of work by 9, home at 9:30.  Crawled into bed about 10:30 with my wife, and said 'Thank Gosh tomorrow is my Friday off so I can sleep in.'

Yeah...good luck on that.  I did sleep in...all the way until 6:30, which is a whole hour and a half later than  I usually get up.  This is the norm for me.  Even if the wife and I are having a 'parents night off' or something, spending the night in a hotel...sleeping in LATE for me is 7ish.  It's been this way for me as long as I can remember, and was a major 'growing' point in the early parts of our marriage(oh, who am I kidding, it still is!) because my wife is one of those people for whom 'sleeping in' means just not getting up today. 

Left to her own schedule, I think my wife's natural rhythm would have her going to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning, and sleeping until 11 or 12.  On a weekend, if I am able to keep the kids quiet(much tougher in the apartment than in the old house) she would sleep in until about 10o'clock.  Which is fine...now that I am used to it.  I simply get up and go about my way...getting the dishwasher unloaded, heading to the laundromat when I had too, blogging around the internet...it was fine.  If it was a weekend we had plans, I would simply make sure I had a cup of tea or coffee ready before I went in to wake her up.

It's funny to watch our kids...our oldest daughter is like me...out in the living room to read a book at 6:45, while the other one has to be woken up at 8:45 if we want to do anything. 

Things are a little tougher for me right now, because my mother-in-law is in the living room right now, sleeping...and it's not right for me to punish others because of my own inability to sleep in.  I tried to unload the dishwasher quietly, and finally decided to put on some jeans and head out the door.  Just cruised around town for a bit before finally ending up where I intended too all along...Spudnuts

Tasty donuts....I rank them ahead of Dunkin' but behind the Morning Side Bakery in Port Orchard or Voodoo Donuts in Portland.  The real difference with these potato flour doughnuts is the texture and heft...very light and fluffy...and good.  My only problem with them IS the texture and heft.  Usually, I'm a two doughnut guy...but these spudnuts, while the size of a 'regular' doughnut, don't sit in my belly the same way...two just leaves me craving a 3rd. 

Maybe it's the cocaine they put in the dough...


Sometimes, folks ask for it..

Back when I was in the Navy, one of my good buddies had Diamond Dave’s Rule’s of Nuclear Power.  Rule #2 was  ‘The Stupid Shall Be Punished.’ 
It’s great to see that these rules are not just limited to Nuclear Power. 
The Methow Valley, located in North-Central Washington is a very beautiful area.   Located on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, it’s also one of the areas that wolves are getting a good foothold on establishing themselves in Washington, which means human/wolf interaction in on the upswing.
A father, his son, and daughter-in-law were indicted yesterday for shooting at least two wolves, and attempting to mail one of the skins to a friend in Alberta for tanning. 
The reason they were caught is that when the daughter-in-law went in to town to mail the hide to Alberta, the clerk at the FedEx office because I wee bit suspicious when the package, you know, began LEAKING BLOOD!!!
Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Dad and the son also used a little thing called the ‘internet’ to brag about what they had done with some friends of theirs.  Oh, and took pictures of it.
THAT is why they should be punished.  I really have no problem with a person eliminating a wolf that is encroaching on their property…truthfully, I don’t.  As I have learned, in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, they call this the 3 S. rule: Shoot ‘em, Shovel ‘em, and Shut Up’.  But…when you go out of your way to pursue them, leave them skinned on the side of the road, destroy the radio collars on them, and then whip pictures of it around the internet, AND try to mail bloody boxes containing ‘rugs’ across borders…
I look forward with great anticipation to the actual trial.  Hopefully, these folks plead guilty and take their lumps to save the cost of a trial.


We NEED the rest of the story!

As the newspaper wanted it to, the following headline caught my eye:

Washington man with dead weasel accused of assault.

Except, it wasn't a weasel...it was marten.  Still, the only thing that would have made it better is if the dead member of the Mustelidae family was actually used to make the assault, instead of just as a tool of distraction. 

Before people start attacking how strange Seattle is(and really, I have no cause to defend Seattle) Hoquiam is not close to Seattle...probably around a 3 hour drive to the coast....it a little logging/shipping town out past Aberdeen.  It's also not the kind of place where a story like this is entirely out of place.

 I didn't even know we HAD marten's in Washington.  I have seen two of what I thought were badgers before...they looked to big to be either weasels OR martens.  

I'm just waiting for the rest of the story...what we know so far, like the astronaut driving 900 miles wearing Depends...is almost too good to be true. 



So, at least I've got that going for me...

My wife and I had a talk with our real estate agent the other night, and he had what I guess is some good news...he said that over the last month, the housing inventory in Kitsap County went down, indicating houses are leaving the market at a higher rate than they are being listed.  Of course, when I asked if all these houses where leaving the market because they were being sold, or if people might just be getting frustrated instead and trying to rent, he couldn't answer that question.

Following that bit of good news, he than said this: 'I'm not going to tell you that you need to drop your price(again) to sell, but if you want to sell quickly, you might want to think of droping the price(again).'

I added the 'again' for emphasis.  if we decide to drop the price(again) then we will probably end up below what we bought the house for almost 7 years ago. 

Sorry...some of the vomit leaked out of my mouth and I had to clean it off the keyboard. 

The good news, is since we were in the house almost 7 years, and we do have relocation assistance in my new job, is we won't end up underwater...but it is looking more and more like I should have just rented the nicest apartment I could have found for the last 7 years, and I would have come out ahead.

And in other good news, Barry says we don't need to worry about a double-dip recession, even though we are already dealing with a double-dip in housing prices.

And THAT is why we always listen to our moms...

A few months ago, I visited the Black Heron Distillery, and did some tasting, and some buying.  One of the things I liked when I tasted it was their huckleberry cordial.  I bought two bottles...one for me, and one for a gift, because it looked like the sort of classy alcoholic beverage you can give for a gift.

When I got home, I was very excited to have my wife try some of the huckleberry cordial...because she is a girl, and girls like fruity, berry stuff.  The only problem was...well, it was pretty strong ju-ju...72 proof, and, when my pallet was totally fresh, I had to admit it was OVERPOWERINGLY sweet...very tough to sip in a cordial glass.  Down trodden, I placed both bottle back in the cabinet, uncertain of how many uses I would find for huckleberry cordial.

One use I did find was as an ingredient in a marinade for deer back-strap.  The sweetness of the liquor perfectly cut the flavor of the venison...it was a perfect leap of genius on my part...and still left me with one and three quarters bottles.

About a month ago, I gave the unopened bottle of classy looking liquor to a classy looking lady...my mom.  Sucker!

Last week, she called and asked if I can pick up two more bottles of the liquor.  Totally blown away that she had not only used her one bottle, but wanted two more(while I still had 2/3rds of a bottle at my place) I asked what she was using it for.

She told me that her friends and her had found out that if you drizzled some of it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, it was pretty damn okay.

Sunday night, the hottest day of the year so far, we decided to make ice cream sundaes with the girls.  After getting them eating their bowls of whipped cream and sprinkles, I made myself a little bowl that I drizzled some huckleberry cordial over and...yeah, my mom was right...it was pretty okay.

Okay enough that I am now down to less than half a bottle of huckleberry cordial left in the pantry.


Tougher than I am...

The list of people that are tougher than I am is not a short one...and certainly somewhere on there is room for SWMBO.  Today, she loaded herself, her mom and the kids in the car for an overnight trip to Portland, Oregon. The plan was to stop on the way down at Multnomah Falls, get to Portland in the early evening, then crash at the hotel, before doing the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry tomorrow, and then heading home.

Not a killer trip, but deciding to go on a road trip with her mom and girls maybe makes her braver than smarter.  All in all though, it's a much more sane plan than her original idea for her mom's visit, which involved a possible 2000 mile round trip, and three or 4 nights on the road.

My only real mission while she is gone to ensure that I get some stuff moved over to the new apartment, catch up on laundry, and make sure there is a glass of wine waiting for her when she gets home tomorrow night.

Might just have to open the bottle tonight to make sure it tastes okay, and gets a chance to air out tonight.

I think I'm okay with this.

Last week, Florida Governor Ed Harris Rick Scott, signed a bill into law which is going to require all adults applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF) to submit to a drug test prior to receiving their benefits.  The drug test is paid for out of pocket by the applicant…if they pass, the money if refunded in their benefit check.  If they fail?  No soup for you. 
Now…this is the kind of thing that real people, at least the crazy ones I work with, have been talking about for YEARS…so I really have no problem with the act of drug testing people to receive state benefits.  Yes, as someone who is okay with the legalization/de-criminalization of most drugs, this might make me a bit of a hypocrite…but, these drugs ARE still illegal.  Once these drugs are legalized, we can revisit my opinion on this issue.
Because everything we do is ‘for the children’ if a parent does fail a drug test, they can designate another person to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.  Being a cynic, I fear that this means that someone will pocket 25% of the benefit as a carriers fee, and then the other 75% will still get spent the way it would have anyway…and that most likely, this new law will change nothing, other than making us crazy, real people feel like we have accomplished something. 
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is pleased with this new law. 
"Governor Scott's new drug testing law is not only an affront to families in need and detrimental to our nation's ongoing economic recovery, it is downright unconstitutional," said Rep. Alcee Hastings. "If Governor Scott wants to drug test recipients of TANF benefits, where does he draw the line? Are families receiving Medicaid, state emergency relief, or educational grants and loans next?"

Ummm…as for the last sentence…yes please!  Totally okay with testing all the folks in those different categories, except for maybe the emergency relief one.  If a tornado destroys my house, a little toke on some MJ to calm my nerves is going to be the last thing I am worried about. 
As far as the unconstitutional part of things…as long as this data is not used to open/pursue criminal cases, I see nothing unconstitutional about it. 
Finally, there is something in the last paragraph of the article that concerns me a bit. 
Controversy over the measure was heightened by Scott's past association with a company he co-founded that operates walk-in urgent care clinics in Florida and counts drug screening among the services it provides.

If this new law ends up funneling money into the pockets of a company that was in-fact co-founded by the Governor, that is a pretty severe conflict of interest, and is exactly the kind of thing that the media should be looking into. 


Proud of my resolve...

Recently, my wife asked me to start stopping at the liquor store on the way home to pick up boxes for packing, as we get ready to jump from one apartment to another. 

This plays right into my salesman and shopping related weakness.  Historically, I have been unable to swing into the liquor store 'just to get boxes'...I feel compelled to purchase something if I am going to partake of the bounty of free, empty boxes they have lining the front wall of the store.

Today was the 2nd straight time I have walked in, and left with boxes, without buying alcohol. 

Of course, what I am not as proud to admit is that I still walked around the store for 10 minutes looking at alcohol, I just couldn't find anything that was a good enough deal to justify buying it.

Sad Monday story.

Well, sometimes, bad things happen in life, and there is no one to blame, and no real reason for it.  This story, about a 13-year old kid that was killed during a baseball game is one of those times. 

What a freak, freak thing.  You wearing a batting helmet because it's a credible threat...they are already working on taking away the aluminum/composite bats, because that is a somewhat credible threat...but how do you protect a child from something that has less than 150 reported incidents of occurring...EVER?

It is thin, thin sauce for the family to note that he died playing a game he loved.  Plus, how does something like this effect the kid who threw the pitch?  Never in a million years did he think the result of that pitch would be another child his age lying dead on the field.  My heart, and the prayers of our family go out to all involved.


It's all about the marketing.

Last night, my mother-in-law offered to ride herd over the youngin's so my wife and I could get out for a while.  Not really knowing what the cool kids do in the Tri-cities(our 1 night a month without the kids is usually spent at the movies) I called one of my buddies, and we decided to go out with him and his wife.

Wanting to enjoy some of the beautiful evening, our first stop of the night was Clover Island, a miracle of marketing.  Located in Kennewick, Clover Island is, for all intents, a large jetty that was built out into the Columbia River, and built up to allow placing a marina, a hotel, and a few restaurants/bars on it.  Supposedly, there really is a Clover Island under all the concrete...you just wouldn't be able to tell by looking.

So, that marketing gets you there, and then, it really doesn't matter.  You are far enough into the river that things are somewhat quiet and calm, with a nice breeze to keep things cool along the river.  Once the sun goes down, you get views like this:

 Once the sun was well and truly down, things began to get chilly for the women-folk, so we headed up and went to another bar(The Rock Reactor), where there was a live band playing 70's funk and some 80's rock.  The band was called Plastic Soul, and they weren't half bad.  I do think we were the youngest folks in the place...but it was only 9:30 when we got there....the young kids were still home pre-loading.  It was a good time, with good friends,  and we made it until about 11 before deciding it was time to head home and get our beauty sleep.  

Kids have little sympathy for parents who try to burn the candle at both ends. 

Hoist with my own petard.

So, yesterday I rubbed down a few pork picnic roasts with Alton Brown's brown-sugar based rub, then wrapped 'em in tin foil and tossed them in the oven at 250 degrees FOR EVER. 

This gave me a good excuse to chase my wife and mother-in-law out to have a good time together, while I stayed home with the girls, because it would be unsafe for me to leave the house with the oven on.


SWMBO and her her mom went out and had a good time.  One of the stops my wife had talked about making was at Tagaris Winery, for some lunch and a tasting.  When they came home, she asked me if I wouldn't mind going to the car to help carry up the wine.  Because she smiled and kissed me first, of course I said yes.  I went happily down to the car, and this is what I found:

A full case of Chateau Clonk de Plonk red wine.  She said it was her 2nd favorite thing she had tasted(her favorite had cost $54 a bottle) and buying it by the case was a really good deal.

After all...wasn't I the one who always talked about 'buying it cheap, and stacking it deep'?

Hey...at least she'll let me help drink it...


Let's not throw dirt on the old girl, yet.

Once upon a time I was the sort of guy who gave in to temptation without stopping to think about whether something was logical or not.  It was exactly that sort of lifestyle which caused me to end purchasing my 'dedicated elk rifle(which is also used for deer hunting) in .35 Whelen.  Once upon a time, as an impressionable hormonal teenager I had read an article in Bugle about the .35 Whelen, and I swore that someday, I was going to have one.  Well, eventually, I got my wish.

Another part of that vision was that I was also going to learn how to reload...someday.  That part of the dream hasn't come to fruition yet.

.35 Whelen ammo being a little bit unusual, I kept an eye out for it.  Back then there were only 3 factory loads I could find in the stores...2 from Remington, and 1 from Federal.  The Remington loads were both in their basic 'Green Box' line...and uninspiring.  The Federal load was a nice 225gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw load...but it wasn't cheap.  A bit of internet research found me a few online manufactures...one place called Conley Precision Cartridges, and the The Hunting Shack in Montana.

Both were cheaper than what was being asked for the Federal load in stores, and had more impressive ballistic tables than the Remington loads.   All things appearing equal, I went through The Hunting Shack, because shipping was cheaper from Montana than Mississippi.  A short time later, Sportsman's Warehouse decided to get out of the .35 Whelen business, so I was able to get 4 boxes of the Federal stuff for 50% off. 

This gave me about 300 rounds of .35 Whelen, and 4 years later, I still had 80-100 rounds of it...which is nice for some hunters, but is starting to hit the worrying point for me.  About a year ago I did some looking, and it was pretty tough to find, even online(forget stores...hadn't seen .35 Whelen other than Remington's 'Green Box' loads in person for a while).  Conley still had it, but their prices had gone up a bit since last time, and The Hunting Shack didn't have it listed.  I guess the nice thing about getting worried with 100 rounds left is it gives you time to keep an eye out instead of panicking.  Was I going to be forced to learn to reload...or would it be easier/cheaper to use this as an excuse to go pick up something new .30-06? 

Finally, I jumped back on the computer today and did some more searching...and to my mind at least, there seem to be many more choices available for me than a year ago.  I have found .35 Whelen offerings from several 'custom order' places($$$$) but there was a loaded offering from Nosler, Double Tap, Buffalo Bore(They call it 'Supercharged'), and a new Superperformance load from Hornady.

It was the Hornady load that caught my eye...both because of it's ballistics(2900FPS!!!!!!) and the fact that it is actually in-stock at Midway's website.  I see an order in my future. 

The only real concern I have is that the load uses a standard soft-point bullet.  This doesn't worry me for deer, but on elk, I would have to do my part to avoid the near-side shoulder(which is the right thing to do anyways).  The ammunition industry, in addition to trying to convince everyone that the NEED the newest Ultra/Short Mag cartridge, does a pretty good job of marketing the newest 'controlled expansion' bullet. 

But, just like the .30-06 and .30-30 can drop game just as good as .300 RUM when the bullet is in the right place, a basic non-name brand SP bullet can do the same thing. 


Oh please, just stop talking...

I want to like Sarah Palin...I really do.  In fact, I felt pretty good about her shortly after she was selected as the Vice-Presidential nominee.  What wasn't to like...an attractive, seemingly pro-gun libertarian minded politician from Alaska, and young enough that if the first four years in office aged John too much, he could just pass the torch on to her.  Seemed like a good set-up.

I don't think she cost the Republican's the election.  Oh, her 'aw-shucks, yeah sure you betcha' routine(she watch a lot of 'Fargo' you think?' might have alienated a few of city-city independent voters, but...it was just Obama's time I think.

Now let's fast forward a few years.  She is still an attractive lady(it's not germane to her qualifications as an office holder, but anyone who denies that being at least moderately attractive HURTS you in life is lying to themselves)...but now it seems every time she opens her mouth, I want to 'accidentally' stick a q-tip too far into my ear. 

Now instead of being a pro-gun semi-libertarian sounding Republican, she is the poster child for the 'Which way is the wind blowing' crowd.  More often than not, this has her siding with the so-called Religious Right...which is one of my less favorite political groups.  If she isn't with the Religious Right, she is using her Star Power to steal away the Tea Party name. 

In short, I really don't like her much anymore...except when she isn't talking.  Because when she does talk, even if she isn't talking about bad politics, she is just saying less than intelligent things.  Case in point is her recent answer about the importance of Paul Revere.

I guess now we know why Obama takes his teleprompter with him everywhere he goes...think he'd be a nice guy and let Sarah borrow it?


Congratulations to Sgt. Leroy Arthur Petry.

Lewis-McChord soldier will receive Medal of Honor

Sgt. Petry is getting himself a free trip to the White House for saving the lives of two of his fellow soldiers back in May of 2008 in Afghanistan.  While withdrawing following a raid, his group came under fire.  Sgt. Petry was shot through both legs, and him and his group hunkered down behind a chicken coup.  While taking cover, two grenades were lobbed in their direction.

The First grenade landed about 10 yards away, causing the Marines to take cover.  The 2nd grenade landed close enough to their group that Sgt. Petry picked it back up, and while he was attempting to throw it away, it went off in his hand.  One can guess the result.  He then applied a tourniquet, and the group was able to fight their way out.  

Their is little doubt that Sgt. Petry's actions saved both his life, and those of his two fellow Rangers.  It seems perfectly acceptable to me.  Sgt. Petry will join Salvatore Giunta as the only 2nd Medal of Honor winner to survive the action which won him the award since the end of the Vietnam War.  

Curious, I did a little research.  Overall, 17% of MOH's have been given posthumously...but this a bit skewed by the Civil War, when there was only a 2% mortality rate associated with the award.  Throw out the Civil War, and it's a 30% mortality rate...and from WWII on, it's over a 50% death rate.  A Hero's Death, but Death none-the-less.  

Even the liberal Seattle Times is proud of Sgt. Petry.  While not everyone can agree with the reasons for the fighting, one MUST give proper respect to the people doing the fighting, and willing to die to save their fellow man. 



And we will write you a letter...

In the epic movie Team America: World Police, there is a scene where Hans Blix goes to confront Kim Jong-il about not being given access to all areas to look for WMD's. When Kim calls his 'Or Else' bluff, Hans tells him 'We will be very angry...and will write you a letter telling you how angry we are.'

Hans then's get fed to sharks...and we get a great song by Kim Jong-il.

It looks like the House of Representative's didn't watch that scene all the way to the end.

House Scolds Obama on Libya, Dozen's of Dem's join in. 

So...a non-binding resolution to demand some answers in the next 14 days.  I guess the only really interesting thing here is that 45 democrats seem to have seen some form of writing on the wall and voted against something for Obama.

You can't tell me The Obamessiah wouldn't be calling Boehner and Kucinich over to the Oval Office right now if he DID have a trap door into a shark tank.

And, because I need cheering up, here is the(more than a little) inappropriate scene from Team America: World Police.


Cramping my style...

My mother-in-law flew in from Connecticut today for a 10 day visit.

I like her...I mean, she raised the woman that I love more than anything else in the world, so she can't be all bad. There is none of the in-law related tension that we are told should exist. I don't feel any different about her spending 10-days in our 2-bedroom apartment than I would feel about ANYONE spending 10-days with us in our 2-bedroom apartment.

I'm an equal opportunity privacy invasion hater.

Oh, it's the right thing to do...she has paid money to come visit us...there is no way I am making her spend money to not stay with us. If it means I can't sit around in my undies and watch T.V. snuggled on the couch for a few days...so be it.

I can sacrifice undie time for a few days...


Well, thank gosh for 'Policy and Procedure'.

I am almost speechless after reading this story: 

Cops, firefighters watch on shore as suicide victim drowns

Almost but not quite speechless...I can probably sum up what I want to say with: 


Now...if their ONLY answer was 'we thought the guy might be dangerous, because suicidal people are often unpredictable'...I might have bought that answer...but as soon as you through out we didn't have the right training, and it's all the budget's fault...just stop.

You couldn't find a couple of hundred yards of rope to throw around someone's waist, or a jet-ski to run out there a couple of hundred yard?  You really going to try and blame this on a budget issue?  

 It's not even the guys death that bums me out that much...I don't know him, or anything about him.  If a person wants to kill themselves, I am fine with it...slowly fading away in neck deep 54 degree water must be a pretty peaceful way to go...talk about some will-power though.  

Nope...I'm more upset by the different stories that say the fire department and police did nothing but watch from the beach for an hour...typical government workers, always looking for a chance to take a break.  Wasn't there a cat they could rescue somewhere else to earn their paycheck instead of standing around watching this guy drown?

The guilty shall be punished…unless you are a college football coach.

I like football…I tend to watch professional more than collegiate, just because SWMBO makes me choose…she would not abide by me spending all day Sunday AND Saturday in front of the TV watching football.  I find the professional game a little more compelling, especially with a real play-off system to determine a champion at the end of the season. 
There are some people though, who swear by the college game.  They say it has a ‘pureness’ that is missing in the professional level, because the kids are playing for the love of  the game, and not big piles of money.  To which I say B.S…
I will concede that the small college(Division II, III, NAIA) level…football is being played by kids who just want to play the game…the fact that some of them are getting scholarships is the icing on the cake.   Big college football, played by teams with names that everyone would recognize AND watch on national TV, is a huge business, and it most certainly just as much about the money as the NFL is, even if none of that money can legally end up in the hands of the players.
THE Ohio State University is the latest school to get busted for having financial gains illegally ending up in their player’s hands.  It seems for several years, players at OSU have been selling Ohio St. merchandise, uniforms and even Big 10 Championship Rings to fans and boosters for marked cash, as well as goods and services(tattoos are the big things they have been busted on).  They have also been receiving special ‘Players Only’ discounts at car dealerships in town. 
These activities constitute what the NCAA calls an ‘Improper Benefit.’  When he found out in a manner he could not ignore(he had to suspect something), that these improper benefits were being enjoyed by his players, Coach Jim Tressel screwed up.  Instead of letting his boss and the NCAA know by coming clean, he e-mailed some of the folks he knew to be doing it, and said please stop.  Eventually, the story broke anyways…and for his poor judgment, Jim Tressel was forced to resign. 
I suppose some might think that is punishment enough…I mean, he was forced to give up a job that was paying him 3.5 MILLION a year, with a guaranteed ‘working retirement at $150,000 a year included(as well as other disgustingly sweet things detailed here). 
There will be no ‘long term’ punishment for him though…no suspension from coaching….the only thing keeping him from landing another major college job is going to be public opinion.  Even that public opinion will not keep an NFL from hiring him…Pete Caroll, who left USC under similar accusations, was hired pretty quickly by the Seattle Seahawks, at 7 MILLION a year.  That’s some punishment for letting his players run wild. 
Most of the players themselves will not be punished either…they will get to keep their tattoos and car deals, and get drafted by NFL teams, where they will sign big contracts.
The punishment, like it always does, will fall on THE Ohio State University.  They will probably lose scholarship spots, and maybe the ability to go to a Bowl Game, which could cost the school 12 MILLION dollars.  The football squad won’t feel the lack of that money, because boosters will make it up…but the general fund might.  You might even see the Athletic Director and a few other senior administration folks resign because of a lack of ‘Administrative Control’ at the school. 
It’s not a good time to be a Buckeye fan.