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


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

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

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

You say Protest, I say Riot.

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

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

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

Or a Revolution. 

Christmas List!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What ever that means. 


Good, Clean, Wholesome fun.

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

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

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

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

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

Any Questions?

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

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

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

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

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


Tragedy Averted.

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

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

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

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

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

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



It's just two initials!

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

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

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


I'm not someohe who has a lot of 'Thanksgiving Traditions'.  What with my parents being divorced, and living about 2 hours from each other(and about 4 hours from our place in Richland), we seem to do something different each year in an effort to keep everyone happy.

When we lived in Belfair, things were close enough together that we could get in the car and make a big loop of everything, doing one parents for dinner, and the other for desert, or just host everything.  That would be one of the things I am thankful for...even through they got divorced, by parents still get along good enough to spend time in the same room together civilly for the sake of their grandchildren. 

This year our plan was to come over Wednesday afternoon, and use my mom's plave as a base of operations until we head back Saturday.  We went to my dads yesterday for dinner and desert, while my mom went out with some friends. We ate too much food, and had slivers of two types of pumpkin pie, apple-cranberry pie, and peacan pie, just so I could say I tried them all.  Then my mom mom and SWMBO headed out at 11PM last night to wait at Target for them to open, then had breakfast at Shari's before hitting Fred Meyers at 5, finally dragging themselves back in at about 6:45.

The rest of today is recovery for them.  I am getting to ready to roll with the plan of taking both of my youngin's out to see the new Muppet Movie.  Huge sacrifice on my part, although no movie with Amy Adams requires that much arm twisting on my part.  You want me to see your movie, put an asthetically pleasing red-head in it.  And the Swedish Chef.

As for everthing else I am thankful for, it can pretty much be summed up in this picture:


I don't need much justification...

Jay G is pushing Jack Daniels today, and recommends that everyone pick themselves up a bottle to thank the fine folks at Jack Daniels for their Operation Ride Home.  Jack Daniels is donating over $100,000 to help pay for plane tickets and other travel expenses to help soldiers at Fort Cambell make it home for the Holidays, a very worth cause.

They are also accepting public donations.  I plan on showing MY thanks by splurging for a bottle of Gentleman Jack.


New tires!

Nothing like waiting until the last minute.  The weather in the mountain passes was crap the beggining parts of this week.  Over the last 72 hours Snoqualmie Pass has been everything from Bare and Dry to totally closed for avalanche control.  This caused me to do something I should have done like 6 months ago...give the tires on my wife's car a close look.

Mmmm...not so good.  I wouldn't go as far as to call them bald, but to meet Washington States definition of a 'traction tire' you need to have a Mud and Snow identification(check) and at least 4/32" of tread(not sure why they didn't reduce their fraction and just say 1/8") which she didn't still have on her car.  I could barely get a finger nail down into the tread anymore.

So...this morning I was up and moving early, waiting in the parking lot of Les Schwab about 5 minutes before their scheduled opening time of 8.  Which wasn't early enough...there were already 4 cars up on the lifts being worked, and another 7 or 8 checked-in in front of me.  So much for me thinking I was motivated. 

With a weather report calling for just rain, I almost chanced it...but, she was going to need new tired sometime before winter really set in, and I was there, and the wait quoted seemed acceptable, so I settled in with a bag of fresh popcorn for breakfast, and waited...and watched.

Since moving back to Washington in 2000, I have never gotten tires at any place other than Les Schwab.  They have a very good customer service reputation when it comes to people with flats(which I have luckily never needed to test), and quite a system going. 

I want to say that this morning, I counted somewhere between 14 and 17 tire jocks working on the cars, and about the only time they were not moving in hustling type manner was while a tire they were working on was spining on the stiping machine.  Always active, always professional...quite an operation.  It could just be that as someone who works someplace where people are expected to work 3 whole hours someday, I am easily impressed by people doing their job in professional, courteous, complaint free manner. 

Either way, it took them 16 minutes from when our Subaru went up on the lift until it was done...which is pretty impressive, since a few months ago at work it took me something like 98 minutes to do one tire on my F-150. 

The wrong things catch my eyes, sometimes...

Floating around on Yahoo this morning, and there is a story about a broken tanker truck that dripped 100's of gallons of driveway sealant across tens of miles of Pennsylvania turnpike.

Over 150 cars that drove through the spilled sealant were disabled when their tires started to stick to the road, making a pretty major mess of things. 

All that's a bummer, but what really caught my eye was this statement:

Laura Frick told WTAE-TV she was traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey for the holiday.
"Now we have to turn around and go back home," Frick said. "It's horrible."

Lady you said it...if your only choices for the Thanksgiving Holiday were Cleveland, or New Jersey, that is pretty horrible. 

Gotta go pack for my trip now...it's raining in Snoqualmie Pass today, which at least means it isn't snowing...


I don't get it.

What with politics and most of the real world depressing the hell, I have decided to focus on the mysterious and, well, not real side of things.

Some mysteries are bigger than others though, and today we will focus on the biggest ones out there:

How the HELL is this thing as popular as it is??!?!?!?!?!?!?

Picture stolen from Time Magazine, because for some reason this sandwich qualifies as news.
For those of you who enjoy The Finer Things in Life...that is the McRib sandwich.  3 guesses who sells it. 

Let me start by saying that McDonalds is pretty far down my list of fast food restaurants, if I have a choice.  In fact, it's at the bottom of my list.  I also despise onions, and that means The McRib already has two big strikes against it. 

This is the 3rd Strike:

Picture borrowed from SFGATE article comparing McRib meat to a yoga mat.
That is what the McRib patty looks like prior to be slathered in nasty candy-flavored BBQ sauce. 


I'm not even going to address the 'it's not healthy' argument('Restructured Meat Product with some heart, and tripe, glued together with 960mg's of sodium).  If you are eating fast food, you know what you are getting into from a 'health' standpoint.

It's just FOUL!  The texture is wrong...the BBQ sauce doesn't taste like BBQ sauce...and, and...it's just plain wrong. 

Go to Dairy Queen and get a Flame Thrower Burger instead...now that's good. 


It's my Friday today.  Because we work a 9 X 8 compressed schedule, I get every other Friday off normally, which falls the day after Thanksgiving.  Add to this the fact that once upon a time, my company and the Union decided that instead of taking Veterans Day off, we would just take an extra day at Thanksgiving, and that means we get 5 days off at Thanksgiving, without having to burn vacation time.

Or more properly, you can have 9 days off (Saturday to following Sunday) for only burning 2-days of vacation time.

Not a bad deal, and one of the 'good deals' that wouldn't have happened back in my cushy Federal Job.

Of course, because I am sick, disturbed Glass Half-Empty kind of guy, all I can focus on is that after we have these 5 days off, next week is a full 5 days on...

Buck up little camper...We'll beat that mountain together. 


It's a Deadline!

Only a political body like Congress could set a 'Deadline' for automatic cuts that goes into effect 2 years from now.

Only a political body like Congress could punt all their decision making ability to a made-up 'It's not MY fault Super Committee' to make hard decisions, and then let that Super Committee recess without making it's hard decisions. 

If it was really the Will of the Congress(and The People, but who cares about them) that this Super Committee come up with a plan before a 'Deadline' wouldn't we have locked them in a room and fed them their Thanksgiving Dinner through a slot in the door?

They are all to blame...and I am certain that out of the 12 members, at least 10 will be re-elected next time they run for office.


Wish I had deadline's like that where I work...


I'm so weak...

I'm not someone who runs the heat very often in the apartment...no where near as religiously as I run the A/C in the summer.  The only time cold bothers me is in the morning.  I'm fine hoping out of bed with it chilly in the house, but I would really prefer that there is some warm air moving around before I get out of the shower.  So...usually, before hoping in the shower, I will turn the heat on...this gives it 20 minutes or so to warm things up.  While the thermostat usually only goes up two or three degree, it gets warm air moving, and that is good enough.

Just how chilly is chilly?  Well...most mornings last week when I made it downstairs it was about 62, 63 degrees, which is only a few degrees cooler than when we go to bed(as I type this, the thermostat says 66 degrees in the living room, and that's only because my wife has a little heater running over by the couch for her feet.)  If I am just sitting around, watching TV at night, I am fine with anything over 62 or so...that's in my comfy shorts and T-Shirt.  Sometimes, I will feel a chill and put on socks.

This infuriates my wife, who spends most nights in sweat/yoga pants and a hooded sweat shirt, while snuggling under a blanket. 

Well, infuriates is a strong word....how's about 'frustrates in a slightly amused manner?' 

Anyway, this morning when I made it down to the living room, it was down to 58 degrees. 

That's a little too chilly.  I turned the heat on just for the heck of it for about half an hour, and turned the heat back off when it was up to 65...but it was cold outside this morning, and I think I actually turned it on and off about 3 other times until it actually stayed comfortable in the apartment.

Might actually have to set the thermostat before going to bed tonight. 

What one might call an 'upgrade'...

Earlier this evening, I was flipping through the channels, and I noticed that the ION Channel showing The Quick and the Dead(1995 Sharon Stone version) from 3:30 until 6, followed immediately by The Outlaw Josie Wales.

Isn't that kind of like swinging through the McDonalds drive-through while you are on your way to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse? 

I actually think I paid to see The Quick and the Dead at the movie theaters.  I mean...Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russel Crowe and Leo Dicaprio...you wouldn't give a movie with that cast a chance?  With Gary 'Lt. Dan' Sinise, Lance 'Bishop' Henriksen, and Tobin 'Jig Saw' Bell in supporting roles?  Yes, you would hope that movie wouldn't totally suck.

And you would be wrong. 

If you're gonna pick a mid '90's Western to run before The Outlaw Josie Wales, wouldn't you pick Tombstone? 


Different Strokes...

Earlier today, I swung into ACE hardware, with a stated purpose of trying to meet the intent of National Ammo Day(nothing fancy...just two boxes of CCI Mini-Mags.)  No trip to ACE would be complete without looking at the guns, especially if I am already that close to them getting ammo. 

The gun selection at ACE is impressive for a hardware store, but falls short of what one could find at Ranch and Home.  What I enjoy about the guns at ACE(other than being really close to home) is that it usually reflects what people are buying.  ACE doesn't carry a lot of things on the shelf long...they carry what is selling. 

And apparently what is selling right now is a lot of goofy guns.  ACE had no fewer than 8 Taurus Judge's of different barrel/cylinder lengths, as well as 3 different versions of the Rossi Ranch Hand

I've never made a secret on my opinion of the Taurus Judge.  To sum it up, I'm somewhere between 'meh' and 'ick'.  Having never really seen the Rossi Ranch Hand in person, I couldn't resist the urge to do some fondling.

I don't know what to think.  I LOVE my little lever-action Marlin.  But...this Ranch Hand...um.  I mean...it's got a 12-inch barrel, but it's being sold as a pistol.  I tried holding it one handed, like one would a pistol and...no.  I'm sure you can do it with Cowboy level .45 Colt loads...but it just felt awkward...very not user friendly. 

As a pistol, I feel it is a bigger failure than the Judge.  As a rifle, well...it's illegal as hell.  I tried throwing it to my shoulder, to see if it could work as a rifle, and Rossi did a good job of making the grip/stock short enough that it is really uncomfortable, but not impossible.  Throw a couple of recoil pads on their though, to get another 3 or 4 inches of stock, and it might work. 

How long do you think it will be before an ATF Agent or two sees a guy doing that at the range, and a letter comes out declaring that all Rossi Ranch Hands are no longer pistols, but are now officially Short Barreled Rifles?

What I find curious is that ACE hardware carries an even dozen less than useful guns(in addition to the Rossi's, they also had a Henry's Mare' Leg in Brass.  That bad boy was pretty, and weighed about 6-pounds...good luck using that as a pistol).  I know...it's just my opinion that these guns are not useful, and what people want to spend their money on is their own business.  It just blows my mind that in this time of economic DOOM and GLOOM, that there are that many people willing to throw away $450 on 'Fun Guns'.  I will stick to my opinion that there are many better choices out there for ANY purpose than the Judge or the Ranch Hand.

Now, the Rossi Circuit Judge...that's different...I might have to add one of those to my wish list. 

Somethings different....

I used to love playing the board game Stratego as a kid.  Heck, you could probably say it was my introduction to turn-based strategy role playing games(what, you didn't give your little tiles names?  Major Johnson...you will find that flag and capture it!

Some of my enjoyment doubtless sprung from the fact that my major competition growing up was my younger brother, and I racked up something like a 173-2 record.  Games are always more fun when you are winning, I don't care what they are telling this 'scores don't matter' generation now.

Anyway, yesterday as I was making my daughters watch Phineas and Ferb, a commercial came on TV for Stratego.  I think something is different...I just can't put my finger on it...

Ummmmm...so what, today's kids aren't hip to Napoleonic Field Marshall's and Miner's? 

Guess I've got something new to add to my Christmas list...


Gotta follow the doctors instructions...

Went to the doctors this afternoon.  Over the past 6 months, I've been having blood pressure issues.  For most of my adult life, I've been a fairly consistent blood donor...I got my 4 gallon pin from Puget Sound Blood Center before moving to this side of the state. Every time you give blood, they check your blood pressure, and mine was usually in the 130/80 +/- 5 range.  Not good, but not bad either.

Yeah...the last three times I've had it checked, I've been roughly 150/106.  Yikes.  That was twice at the blood bank(turned away...you'd think I had AIDS or something) and then just two weeks ago at my annual work physical.  Enough was enough...finally decided to make an appointment with a real doctor.

Things went about like I thought they would.  It couldn't be as easy as 'sure, here's a prescription, carry on smartly'.  We had to talk about some of my lifestyle choices.  I knew I would regret not lying to the nurse when she asked how much beer you drink each week.  My told me when she was working as an LPN at Group Health, they used to tell her to double what people actually said.  If this poor girl didn't take me at my word and doubled my reported 8 a week...well, no wonder she rolled her eyes.  I DID NOT let the doctor know about my jar of bacon grease in the fridge...he didn't ask, why would I tell...I was there to talk about blood pressure, not my cholesterol. 

Lecture over, I was given my prescription for lisinopril, and sent on my way with a list of other instructions.  It was recommended that I keep my sodium intake between 2000-4000mg a day(this caused my wife to lose her mind...her marching orders are not to exceed 2000mg...even a healthy person shouldn't be eating 4000mg of sodium a day.) 

There was also a list of high sodium foods that I should avoid...and number one on the list was not bacon(thank gosh, it was #4) or beer(didn't even make the list)....it was canned vegetables.  Doctors orders to not eat nasty canned green beans?!?!?  

I should have seen this guy when I was 8 years old!

Burn the witch(s)!

Okay...I take it back.  I would never want to malign the many fair Wican's I know out there by comparing them to these disgusting pieces of filth in Ohio.

Ohio mom charged in death of 28-pound teen girl

Nope...there isn't a digit missing in that weight up there. 

Back in March, this poor malnourished 14-year old girl with cerebral palsy was rushed to the hospital by paramedics.  She died shortly after arriving at the hospital.  Her weight at check in was listed at 28-pounds.  14 years old...28 pounds.  Ken Betz, director of the local coroner's office, said 'She was the worst malnourished child this office has ever seen'

Oh MY  GOD.  I mean..in the movie 7, the guy he kept strapped in the bed that ate his own tounge had to have weighed more than 28 pounds.  What kind of filthly F-ing animal mistreats a 14-year old girl with CP to the point she weighs 28 pounds when she dies.

Oh...the type of animal that is HER MOM!!!!!!   And, this isn't even a 'Wicked Step-Mom story.  This lady starved her own daughter. 

Also facing charges are the LPN who was providing 6-day-a-week home care, and then there are lesser charges(neglect vs. involuntary manslaughter). 

First of all, what is this crap about charging the mom and the 6-day-a-week LPN with INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER.  Letting a 14-year old girl waste away to 28 pounds isn't like forgetting to feed the neighbors gold fish while they are on vacation.  It's MURDER. 

I see red when I read this kind of story.  Cerebral Palsy is not a fatal disease.  Yes...people striken with it require aid and assistance...but it's not usually fatal. 

I'm just as mad at the nurses in this case as I am the mom.  My wife is an LPN, and she has considered going the home health care route to earn a few extra bucks, and stay current on her hours while still home-schooling our children.  If I found out she was engaged in something heinous like this, I might just put the bullet in her myself to save the state the cost of two trials.  Okay...probably wouldn't shoot my wife...but I would never speak to her again.  She had to take the Nightingale Pledge(I'm a simple guy...it's the Hippocratic Oath for nurses).  She takes it very seriously.  Obviously, not everyone does.

This has me so mad I can barely see straight.  Another article I read on this made me even more angry, because it said that the state 'Began an investigation into this case last month'.  A 14-year old girl is brought into the hospital weighing 28 pounds, and it takes them from the beggining of March until NOVEMBER to actually arrest someone and press charges. 


Well, as long as no one in Ohio was late getting their food stamps over the last 8 or 9 months...


Potluck FAIL!

So, today at work, we were having a pre-Thanksgiving potluck.  I signed up to bring stuffing.  If I do say so myself, I make a pretty mean cornbread stuffing, chock full of sausage, apples, and dried cranberries.  It's pretty much a meal unto itself.

Things started out good.  I had to work a double the other night, so my amazing wife cooked up two batches of jiffy cornbread for me, so it could dry on the counter for a day or so.  I got home early yesterday from work, and browned up two pounds of Jimmy Dean sausage, and after dinner, threw together everything, and tossed it in the oven.  It came out of the oven about 9, and I set it on the counter to cool for a bit before I put it in the fridge.

The I made my only real mistake of the evening, sitting next to my wife on the couch to snuggle for a bit.  She was watching some new reality show(Work of Art, about artists with names like THE Sucklord, and no I am not joking).  Soon, I was snoozing.  She woke me up because my snoring was interrupting her viewing pleasure.  So, up the stairs to bed I trudged.

Notice I missed a step there?

When I woke up the next morning, the 5 pounds of stuffing was right where I had left it on the counter.


Did I hate my co-workers enough to take the chance that all that sausage left out at room temperature overnight would hurt them?  For an experiment, I ate a big spoon full before heading upstairs for my shower.  My original idea was using myself as an experiment...if I ate some and didn't feel any ill effects in a few hours...serve it up.  I had worked hard on that stuffing.

Well...I didn't need to wait long...within about half an hour my stomach was making strange noises(and later, smells).  I threw the stuffing out, and picked up three things of frozen mini-eclairs at Safeway on my way into work.

Good thing I already got my one big Thanksgiving cooking mistake out of the way.


Favorite time of year.

This afternoon, at approximately 1:15, we started getting out first snow of the year in the Tri-Cities area. 

It didn't last long, about an hour and a half before fading away...but, hey, at least it didn't just turn into rain.  It tried valiantly to stick around, but with an air temperature of 36 degrees, the odds were against it.

I LOVE this time of year. 

Football seasons are in full swing...college football is getting exciting, with the non-conference cupcake games a thing of the past, and the NFL is at that point where we know who is good and who is not, but the Superbowl is far enough away that I'm not already dreading the end of the season.  Even better this year, there is no Pro-Basketball to distract ESPN from what is important.

The weather is perfect...crisp, and sometimes actually cold in the morning, but warming up to the mid-40's, and sometimes 50's in the afternoon.  This temperature range is great, because it signals the start of my 3rd favorite season(#1. Football, #2. Hunting):

Dresses and wool skirts with tights and knee-high boots.  Hubba Hubba.  I'm just shallow enough to admit that that look does it for me.  

Sorry...no pictures of that...y'all just gonna have to use your imagination.  That's a group of photo's that once I start looking at them, you never know what dark corners of the internet you might end up in. 

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

Had to work a double shift yesterday, so to stay awake I was driving home at 11pm, with the windows rolled down(28 degrees) and listing to Coast-to-Coast AM.  Early in the broadcast, they were touting some study that tries to prove good dental hygiene reduces your risk of heart disease. 

Really?  For some reason, this just stuck in my craw.  Isn't it more likely that rather than good dental hygiene reducing your risk of heart disease, people with good dental hygiene eat better foods and exercise more?  That instead of good dental hygiene being a cause, it's yet another personality trait displayed by people who's life style minimizes the risk of heart disease?

Now, since then, my wife pulled out some nursing terminology trying to prove that poor dental hygiene leads to plague build-up and inflammation...and inflammation of ANY part of the body can lead to inflammation of heart tissue.

Whatever...in my superstitious world, this is just a case of shaping the numbers to make dentists more money. 


Y'all need to find something else to get worked up about.

As the world goes rapidly to Hell in a Handbasket, some people pick strange things to get all angry about.

Earlier this week, a pretty young actress took time out of her schedule to promote reading at Emerson Elementary School, by reading to a group of 1st and 3rd grade students.  The fact that her decision is possibly motivated by a desire to get positive press is not important...I'm cynical enough to believe that 99% of what 'celebrities' do is decided by their managers and PR folks.  What SHOULD matter is that she took time off from her schedule, and spent in a classroom with some kids...which is more than you can say for 80% of the parents of the kids in the class.

Instead, a number of the parents(and the article doesn't say how many...is it one trouble maker, or 10-12 clueless ones?) decided to complain because the pretty young actress started her career in the Adult Entertatinment industry, before deciding to go 'mainstream' a few year ago. 

Unless the staff at the school decided to introduce the young lady to the students by playing a collection of her best scenes from her former career, this is a stupid thing to get mad about.  When I told my wife about it, she said that in her opinion, as long as the young lady in question had to go through the same background checks that SHE did when she volunteered in my daughters classroom, her method of earning money shouldn't matter. 

As bad as our public schools are, they shouldn't complain about ANYONE who wants to help. 

My guess is that half the complaints are coming from fathers who didn't know that would be a good day to pick up their kids at school. 


Not the only diet.

Well, it turns out my wife won't be the only one on a diet around here...I took this picture of our cat, Rueben, today while my daughter was trying to get him to play with her.

I've had more than a few cats, and I've never had one that had his widest spot be in the middle while he's lying on the ground.  He's starting to look like some kind of genetic experiment to cross a house cat with a Holstein. 

Luckily, I get to go to work to get away from his non-stop 'Feed ME!' meowing.  He doesn't bother my wife that bad...he knows I'm the sucker in the family.

Yes I'm bragging...

Today, before heading to church, my SWMBO asked me to take a few pictures of her, so she could put them up on a few of her online groups.  You see...today she hit another milestone in her weight loss...45 pounds since June.  

This was the picture that made her finally decide she wanted to do something:

We had gone to Bickleton for a day with her mom...small county fair, with the main attraction being one of the oldest carousel's in the U.S.  I took this picture, thinking my wife was beautiful.  At the time I was forbid to post it on here, because she was very unhappy with the way she looked.  She was quite surprised by the picture...ANYONE who has every struggled with weight knows how things can just kind of creep up on you.  Numbers don't matter...she simply decided that she had to do something.

She has done something...the right way.  No surgery, no pills...the only thing slightly 'strange' she has done is turn into a green tea drinking machine...she feels it helps bump up her metabolism.  She has just reduced caloric intake(only drinks wine once a week, because it's like 35 calories and ounce) and increased calorie burn.  Very old fashioned, and very successful.

Hubba, Hubba.  She still wants to lose about another 20 pounds or so...but with the Holiday's coming she is very realistic...if she can wake up January 1st weighing what she weighs now...she will be fairly estatic.  I would love to take some credit for this...but she has been entirely self-motivated.  About all I have done to help is reduce(not even eliminate) the amount of unrequested sweet's and sweet beverages I bring home.

 'Being Nice' fails to be nice when you are bringing home a 300 calorie latte for your amazing wife who is counting every calorie.

Strange definition of dangerous.

Earlier this week, a 14-year student at Kamiakin High School, in Kennwick, Washington was an idiot.  I just want to get that clear upfront...at no point am I defending/justifying what this chuckle head did.

What did he do?  While, fearing that he was going to be 'jumped' he decided that he was going to arm himself.  He the let folks all around the school know that he was heeled, and he was not going to be afraid to use his gun to defend himself if he was attacked...going as far as to flash his firearm to other students.

Well, of course, the fact that he had a gun made it to school officials, and the school was placed into lock-down while police were notified.  Within 12 minutes of their arrival, the police had rounded up our young toughie, and found out that what he was actually carrying around was an Airsoft Pistol. 

Dumb Ass.  His stupid behavior earned him a trip to the police station, and on Friday, he was charged with 2nd Degree Assault and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on School Grounds.

I was actually motivated enough here that I went and checked the Codes of Washington to find out what 2nd Degree Assault looks like...and I don't see him meeting that definition.  By the way.,.I was surprised to find that attacking a peace officer with a stun gun is only 3rd Degree Assault.

I also had a trouble with them charging him with Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on School Grounds, because the only person an Airsoft Gun is dangerous too is the person carrying it.  They look very realistic, and more than one when facing them in a stress filled situtation, police officers have shot people carrying them...and I don't blame them!  But...reading the RCW's on Dangerous Weapons...it flat calls out 'Any Air Gun'.

Silly.  Silly, silly, silly.  Can't we just make up something where we can charge people with being a dumb ass?  I mean, that would make me much happier to read in the paper than what they are charging this kid with. 

'Yes your Honor...we the jury find Shae Smith guilty of Being a Dumb Ass in Public'.   The only problem with that is the proper punishment would be making him sit in a chair in front of the mall holding a sign saying 'Yes, I was a Dumb Ass...don't do what I did'.  I'm sure that right up their with displaying them in stocks...not sure why that counts as cruel and unusual punishment...commiting a stupid crime SHOULD be embaressing. 

When I am in charge, things will be different. 



Yesterday, my little rant about Taylor Swift caused me to head down a tangent of bands or acts that should have made it.  Of course, the only opinion about why they should have made it is mine. If I like a band, they should be popular.

One of those bands that almost made it is The Corrs...which is funny, because as an Irish Band...they did make it in Ireland and the UK...numerous #1 songs and albums. 

We American's are strange though.  The classic 'New York, New York' says 'If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere'.  The opposite is also kind of true...we assume that anyone who can't make it here, hasn't/can't make it anywhere...even if they had 6 #1 in the UK over a 11 year period.  

Anyway...these three sisters and one brother can sing, AND play their own instruments.  You might have heard this song on the radio back around the turn of the century.  I prefer this live verison to the slighty 'slicker' version they had on the radio...shows a bit more pure talent. 


Well, I've been wrong before...

I'm not perfect...it's something I have just had to come to grips with.  This time of year, with Jeopardy running their Tournament of Champions, and breaking out the hard questions, it really drives home how wrong I can be.

Seldom have I been as wrong about ANYTHING, as I have been about Taylor Swift.

Back in the middle of 2006, Taylor Swift released her first single...Tim McGraw, which peaked at number 6 on the country charts.  A few months later, she released her first self-titled album, with 4 more singles coming off that album in 2007, two of which hit #1 on the country charts.  The two that didn't hit #1 managed to peak at #2, and #3.  So...5 singles off her debut album, and all of them peaked inside the Top 6 on the Country Charts. 

That's not too bad.  I'm also going to say that I figured that was that for her.  She had had a HUGE debut albumn.  My own opinion was that she had achieved that initial success because people were grading her on a curve...you know...there are different expectations for a 16-year old girl than there is for Reba McEntire.  There was also some novelty...when her first single dropped, if I'm doing my math right, she was a cute 17-year old girl...that doesn't hurt album sales.  She was also writing her own songs, some of which actually had a point if you listened to the words.

As someone who doesn't have a totally horrible voice, I have a much higher level of respect for singer-songwriters than I do for people that always sing other peoples songs.  This means a Taylor Swift will rank higher on my admiration list than the high asthetic appeal Shania Twain.  My wife would then point out that Reba doesn't write most of her own songs, which I would point out doesn't matter...She's REBA.  She's been doing this almost 35-years...and still looks good doing it.

Anyway...sorry...got distracted.  I figure Taylor's 2nd Album would produce 1, maybe two decent songs that would chart, maybe make the top 10, and then she would kind of fade away.  There is a fairly steady rotation of cute young blonds in country music, and I figured she would join the rotation.

Well...based of the list awards she has racked up the last 4 years...it's a good thing you can't bet on that type of stuff in Las Vegas...because I would have lost the house, and my first born child. 

2008 Grammy for Album of the Year(not just country)

AMA Award for Artist of the Year.  AMA Favorite Female Country Artist THREE years in a row. 

Finally, just earlier this week, she won the 2011 CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. 

And I still don't get it.  I'm not saying she's bad by any means...she has a pleasant voice.  She has gone from a cute 17-year old girl to a beautiful almost 22-year old young woman, she still writes her own songs, which are maturing with her...I just don't think she is The Best.  Of the current crop of country females...well, Miranda Lambert's The Best...no real need for discussion.  She has a much more distinct voice than Taylor, she also writes her own songs, she has a woman's build(Taylor's a bit willowy for my picky taste)...and Miranda's a Hunting and Shooting kind of gal!

It might just be part of a bigger frustration for me about who makes it and and who doesn't in the music industry.  Taylor Swift is good...but you can't tell me she is that good that she keeps Matraca Berg off the radio! 

Look at that video: Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Kathy Matea, and Patty Loveless...and the country music stations still never gave her a chance!

Maybe she should have dyed her hair blonde...

It costs a buck o' five...

Time for a confession.  Despite serving nine years in the Navy...I don't feel much like a veteran, especially on Veteran's Day.  While everyone else is talking about the sacrifice's made by young men and women that have helped ensure not just our freedom, but the freedom of people in other countries, I am forced to admit that I haven't sacrificed very much. 

I joined the Navy right out of High School, and as a single young man, it's not like I was sacrificing time away from my wife and kids.  My first two years were spent slaving away in a class room, and then I was assigned to a nuclear submarine.  While this meant long hours, and the occasional week or two spent underwater running drills, it never really felt like I was Going into Harms Way.  I mean, I spent hours upon hours in a warm, dry engine room, then I went forward to my warm dry bunk, or the mess decks to play cards, or watch movies while drinking chocolate milk and eating popcorn.

This isn't something that our WWI Doughboys would think of as a hardship, even if you have to allow for the fact that there IS some inherent risk in running around many hundreds of feet under the water using a nuclear reactor. 

I'm the one in the foreground, with the molestache.  The distinguished gentleman posing with us is former Secretary of the Navy Dalton.  One of the dubious perks of being on the first submarine of a new class was lots of high ranking folks going for rides.  All I really remember is my buddies and I had to stop a game of eucher to pose for this picture...so I guess I did make sacrifices. 

So...on this day, I am extremely thankful for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and also thankful that I was never called upon to do so, despite having been willing. 

In case you have never seen Team America: World Police, and don't get the buck o' five reference...please to enjoy.  Beware...it does have an F-bomb in it somewhere...

Not sure I would have done that...

As a gun owner, one of the things that you need to be very careful about is keeping your temper.  There was a story in the Kitsap Sun a few days ago about a gun owner that could have placed himself at risk.

Olalla man grabs rifle, chases down apparent burglar

I'm not sure I blame the kid(23 years old) for doing what he did...I just hope I would have the restraint to not place myself at the legal risk that he did. 

3PM in the afternoon, dude comes home from work and spots someone leaving HIS house with a backpack.  That's not a nice way to come home...but at that point, the 23 year old grabbed a rifle, and proceeded to chase the guy who was leaving his house a mile down the beach! 

No shots were fired, but eventually the suspect gave up, at which point the pursuer used his belt to tie the thief's hands up behind his back, and then march him back to his house to call 911.  When the police arrived, they found two camera's and a laptop in the bad guys back pack.


I'm glad things worked out for the resident.  He got his stuff back, and so far has avoided any charges being filed against him...but...MAN.  Running down the beach chasing a guy while carrying a rifle?  And then marching the guy a mile back DOWN the beach at gun point?  There are a lot of movie fans out there who upon seeing that, might not be able to figure out who good guy and the bad guy is.  This is not exactly a heavily populated area...someone seeing this might think someone is being marched down the beach to a secluded execusion spot. 

Hey...sometimes I'm an over-thinking pessimist.  I just don't think I would have made the decision to chase a guy a mile down the beach with a rifle...

Like I could even run a mile anymore...sheesh. 


Yes, you try him as a man!!!!!!!

Boy, 15, charged with 2 rapes in Kent
King County prosecutors filed rape and kidnapping charges Wednesday against a 15-year-old boy accused of raping two teenage girls over the Halloween weekend in Kent.

The victims, ages 17 and 19, were both attacked after they got off buses. A young man riding a bike said he had a gun and forced them into secluded areas where they were raped.

Investigators identified a suspect and arrested the 15-year-old Monday at Kentwood High School. Charging papers say DNA evidence matched him to the attacks.

Prosecutors are seeking to try him as an adult.

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/10/1900469/boy-15-charged-with-2-rapes-in.html#ixzz1dMGs8qoc

Don't bother clicking on the link...there isn't much more to read. 

Holy Crap, why would you not charge this turd as an adult.  It's hard to pick a much more grown-up male(hence, ADULT) crime than Rape, so yes...try him as an adult, and put him in the GROUND!!!!!!  What?  Rape isn't a capital crime?  Lame.  So, instead, he is going to be in jail on my tax money for 35 years.  Yay.

We are so lame as a society. 


Joe Pa

As a college football fan, you knew that at some point, you were going to have to accept watching a Penn State game without Joe Paterno coaching the Nittney Lions.  As his teams rankings have waxed and waned over the last few years, it was looking more and more like Joe might finally be let go for decreasing ability...but then he got his team out to an 8-1 start and a top 20 ranking this year, claiming his 409th career victory, making him the all time leader in Division 1 Football.

45+ years as Head Coach at Penn State...5 undefeated seasons, the all time wins leader, and now, none of it is worth spit, according to the media.

In case you have been living under a rock, early this week the story broke that since 2009, former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been under investigation by a Grand Jury for various charges relating to child molestation.  Monday, he was arrested and charged on 40 counts, several of them felony level. 

Despite the fact that Sandusky officially retired in 1999, his 'contributions to the Penn State Program' were such that he was named a Coach Emeritus.  We learned this week that his unexpected retirement in 1999 may have been tied to an unreported molestation investigation.  But, he was still allowed to have an office, and have access to the Penn State Football teams facilities, including the locker rooms, which he used to impress kids going to his football camps.

The first nail was pounded into Paterno's coffin in 2002, when an Assistant Coach, then a graduate assistant, found Sandusky using the Penn State Football Teams showers to engage in 'anal intercourse' with a 10-year old boy.  Unsure of how to handle finding a coaching legend(Sandusky's defenses helped Penn State win two National Championships) the young man called his dad, who said 'you've got to let your boss know'.  Reporting to your boss that one of his best friends in a child molester CAN'T be easy.  Doing the Right Thing seldom is...but he did it.  Paterno then called his boss, Athletic Director Tim Curley.  Two weeks later, the Athletic Director AND University President met with the young grad assistant.  One can only guess what he was told...but there the trail goes cold.  No phone calls were ever made to the State Police...and that is where Joe Pa is feeling the wrath of The People.

One can't hold anything against Mike Mcqueary, the grad assistant who initially reported what he saw.  He screwed up all his courage to talk to his boss, and then was told by his bosses Boss and THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT to 'forget about it(at least one can assume that was how the conversation went').  I have very little anger in my heart at him for not going over the heads of the three people who could decide his future.   Now...I do have some anger that he didn't stove Sandusky's head in when he first saw things happening.

You walk into a locker room, and see a 50-year old man ENGAGED in a sex act with a 10-year old boy....and you don't hit him over the head with a locker room bench!?!?!?!??!  I think seeing something like that with my own eyes would cause me to come down with a bad case of The Boondock Saints...

Even back in 2002, Joe Pa didn't have the excuse that he was a wet behind the ears grad student.  Anyone who thinks Joe Pa couldn't have told the University President AND the Board of Regents to go take a fly leap doesn't understand major college sports.  He had a reliable eye-witness report of heinous wrong doing...most people, myself included, feel he should have done something more than call his boss.  He did all he was legally required to do...but, no one ever succeeded in life doing the minimum.  Why didn't he follow through and ask the Athletic Director what was going on a month later? 

Because he didn't want to.  I'm not sure if Joe Pa was in on the discussion about what to do with Sandusky(basically, they told him keep his nasty, perverted stuff off the main campus, but they did nothing to keep him from moving his football camps to the satellite campus in Erie, Pennsylvania.)  'We don't care who's lives you are ruining, as long as you don't ruin it here!'

Highly lame.  Who knows how many more lives this pervert may have scared between 2002 and now because these folks were worried about protecting the Penn State Brand. 

How's that brand looking now? 



Felt the need to share this...it's floating around facebook today, and having spent the last week and a half up hunting, and seeing some serious attempts at 'Make it Work'. 

Election Day

Since Washington has gone to all mail in ballots, things just don't quite feel the same.  Last year, for the help of some friends and other Washington resident, I wrote my own opinion about some of the State wide ballot measures up for vote, but due to hunting and other things, I didn't get to that this year.  My adoring public complained(well, I got one text from a friend who said she was confused because I didn't tell her what to do).  While it is late, since things had to be in the mail today...here is how you should have voted if you are a Washington resident.

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 Concerning the length of time a voter must reside in Washington to vote for president and vice president.

Over the past 40 years, there have been different attempts to change the amount of time that someone must reside in Washington to be able to vote for President and Vice-President.  There are also other conflicting periods of time you must have lived in your county and precinct.  The State Supreme Court has basically overruled all of these extra restrictions, and basically resets the State Constitution to a 30-day residency requirement.  Sure...whatever...mostly because it removes some double-speak and other confusing wording from a Governing Document. 

Senate Joint Resolution 8206 Concerning the budget stabilization account maintained in the state treasury. 

The State currently has a requirement that each fiscal year, 1% of revenue must be transferred to a 'Budget Stabilization Account'(rainy day fund).  This resolution requires that during years of 'Extraordinary Revenue Growth' this percentage needs to go up.  I voted yes, despite that fact that I think it will be 100-years before we see any 'Extraordinary Revenue Growth'.

Initiative Measure 1125 Concerning state expenditures on transportation.

This initiative adds some additional restrictions to how tolls are set, and used in the State of Washington.  It would require that tolls be set by the Legislature, and be project specific, and the revenues generated only be used for transportation projects.  One of the big things that requiring the legislature to set the tolls instead of the State Tolling Authority, is that the tolls must be Uniform and Consistent.  This comes into play because right now, there is a toll on the 520 Bridge into Seattle, and at peak travel hours it costs $3.50...down to free between 11PM and 5AM.  I'm voting yes.

Initiative Measure 1163 Concerning long-term care workers and services for elderly and disabled people. 

This initiative is a complete Ponzi Scheme being almost 100% backed and funded by the SEIU.  Even the Seattle Times says so.  It would require the State of Washington to pay for training to Home Health Aides, and then let the SEIU monitor and charge for testing the workers.  NO!  Can't believe I agree with the Seattle Times.

Initiative Measure 1183 Concerning liquor: beer, wine, and spirits (hard liquor).

This is the big one on the ballot this time around.  As everyone in the state has heard by now, Costco has donated 22 MILLION DOLLARS to passing this initiative, more than has ever been spent on any other initiative in state history.  Basically, this initiative will get The State out of the liquor sales business.  Right now, every bottle of alcohol in Washington passes through the States hands at one point or another.  Beer and Wine can then be sold in different retail outlets, but the hard stuff can only be sold in State Liquor Stores, at the State's Price(which is where Costco gets involved...they would rather be able to buy directly from distributors than having to go through the state...so would everyone else, including Safeway, Wal-Mart, and most restaurants.)  Me too...one of the few things I miss from The Packies in Connecticut was stuff going on sale, and price wars!  That doesn't happen in the Government Run Monopoly here in Washington.

Contrary to what the anti's are pushing here, hard alcohol still won't show up in Mini-marts.  The new law will require it to be sold either in liquor stores opened where there used to be State Stores, or retail sites of greater than 10,000 Square Feet. 

I am SOOOOOO looking forward to finding out what a handle of Crown Royal costs at Costco....


My God...it's full of stars...

Since I was unable to provide for my family by bringing home large chuncks of bloody meat, I felt compelled to provide for them other ways.  For breakfast, I whipped up plates of chocolate chip pancakes for the girls(and went the extra mile by putting whipped cream smiles on them). 

After cleaning up the breakfast mess, it was back into the kitchen.  The menu for dinner was potato soup, which calls for some type of bread product on the side.  My usual default 'dinner bread product' is Jiffy Corn Bread, but since it's Sunday, I couldn't justify not making something from scratch. 

I have this fear of yeast(the whole blooming thing is SOOOOOO complicated) and so if I'm making something from scratch, I usually make biscuits...baking soda and powder don't need blooming.  When I went to the cabinet this morning though, the unopened jar of yeast was staring at me.  Feeling guilty, I decided to finally tackle a bread recipe that required yeast. 

The recipe I decided to try comes from perhaps my 2nd favorite source after Alton Brown...Brigid over at Home on the Range. 

An expert observer would point out that mine look different than her's.  True...I only have one 6-pack muffin pan, so I punted, and just formed the rolls into balls and placed them into a 9-inch round pan.  I refuse to believe this method of cooking affected the finished product, because if they were any better, my head would have exploded.

The ONLY negative about these rolls is that it took my soup longer to thicken up than I thought it would, and the rolls cooled to room temperature before we were ready to eat them.  Luckily, I had one shortly after they came out of the oven...had to make sure they were okay to give to my family!


You're looking in the wrong place...

If you were hoping to find a review on the terminal effects of Hornady's new Superperformance in .35 Whelen, I'm afraid you have come to the wrong place.  One would have to observe said effects by shooting an elk to be able to review them. 

Enough self pity.  I saw elk every day I was out hunting, they just weren't legal spike's.  The fact that roughly 66.7% of the elk I saw were from the relative warmth and comfort of the seat of my truck, vs. the 33.3% I saw sitting in the woods and hills is frustrating, but is not a sign that I am bad hunter(I hope).  I put in far more effort this year than I have in any previous year, and the fact that NO ONE shot a spike(and only two of my fellow hunters even reported SEEING one) means the problem is not likely me. 

I guess it is good news that I can't blame myself.  It's not like I missed...that would be tough to live down.  I can live safe in my delusion that I am a crack shot. 

A major change is needed.  This spring I will look hard at what my chances are of being selected for a cow tag using modern firearm vs. muzzle-loader.  I don't want to make a hasty decision, but right now I am thinking there is a 75% I will be muzzle-loading next year, at a minimum for deer, but quite possibly for both deer and elk.

The only real reluctance to switch methods comes from my fellow hunters.  These are guys that I have hunted with for 5 years, and worked with longer than that.  Only 2 of the 7 are interested in switching to muzzle-loading.  Not only will my possible switch create a possible skism in the group, but umm...I'm kind of a moocher*.  The fact that all these guys have the tents and trailers has meant I have become very spoiled. 

I will not get to sleep in this kind of luxury if I go on my own...

Or have these kinds of cooking facilities:


I might have to actually spend some of my own money if I go hunting next year!

*Clarification...I help pay(more than)my share of money for food, beer, gas for the generator's and propane...I'm not a total leach.  It just hasn't made sense for me to buy my own trailer or wall tent yet..and until the house sells, I probably won't be able to.


One last chance...

Heading back up to the hills to spend a last two and half days elk hunting.  At this point, I am more likely to find Big Foot than a spike bull elk, but...what the heck...it's better than going to work!

Damn, I've got an amazing wife for letting me waste four weekends in row chasing animals that don't exist...silly woman... falling for stories about buck deer and bull elk...


Touch and Go...

Taking a 48-hour break from hunting to come home and play daddy.  Modern firearm elk season always seems to coincide with Halloween, with the result being I have not been involved with taking my kids Trick-or-Treating for 4 years.  Halloween is a tough day to miss, because it is one of the few days when your kids are ALWAYS going to smile.  How often do you have that guarantee?

There is certainly no guarantee with hunting, which is why it is called hunting, and not killing.  In two and half days of elk hunting, I had seen about 6 cows, which is more than some of fellow hunters had seen, and less than others.  Only one guy had seen a spike, and that was at about 800 yards and opening with a group of 12-13 cows. 

Without going into to too much detail...I am frustrated.  I have been going out of my way this hunting season to Do the Right Thing...walk further and deeper into the bush than my fellow hunters.  From driving by various other camps, I would guess the group I go hunting with is fairly typical. Roughly 50% of the guys I hunt with are not as into the hunting as they are into drinking beer and complaining about their 'Old Ladies'.  Since I have zero grounds for complaints about my wife(she is certainly no 'Old Lady'), I am looking to bring home some meat.  Between guns, ammo, tags, and camping costs, it's too expensive of a hobby not to take seriously. 

An example of my frustration: Sunday afternoon, a few of us where working a series of ridges where our friend Dave had reported seeing his spike.  Shortly after 3, one of my friends heard a jeep driving up the road, which was just one ridge away.  About 120 yards past his position, it stopped.  He said he almost pooped his pants when the gun fired.  These two guys driving by in their jeep has killed the spike we had been looking for about 70 yards off the road.


Still, it's hard to be all that frustrated when you can eat your morning pop-tart looking at this:

Mission accomplished by supporting Halloween, I decided to save my leave balance by working Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading back up to the hills Wednesday night.  I will then hunt Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning before we break camp.  

Work was tough today, and it will be even tougher tomorrow.  Even a rainy day up in the mountains has it's bright side.  I might not write about hunting as well as Brigid, but luckily, a picture is worth a thousand words.