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



I'm willing to go on record as saying the peanut butter and chocolate belong together...and Reece's Peanut Butter Cups are as close to a perfect blending of the two as you can get(although Drake's Funny Bones come close).  I always look forward to Easter, because then you can get the Reece's Peanut Butter Eggs, which are really just bigger peanut butter cups...how can you go wrong there?

Well, I'll tell you...some joker of an Easter Bunny can decide to give you the White Chocolate Reece's Peanut Butter Eggs instead of the regular kind.

Not close...not close at all. 

That's alright though...she made it up to me by getting me some microwave Bacon Popcorn. 

Might have to try a bag of that while watching the season finale of Walking Dead later tonight.  


My Easter.

Not having a very religious background, I tended to learn about the holidays my own way, and for me, the Easter Story will always be told this way:

Yeah...it's a little out there, but that was 40 years ago, and no one has yet to do it any better than Mr. Neeley and Mr. Anderson. 

Into the Sunset

Dropped the kids off at Nana's(for like the 2nd time this month!) to go have a nice anniversary dinner at The Main Street Ale House in Kingston.  It's all kinds of sentimental, since it was the place we went to on our first anniversry, and every so often thereafter.  Thanks to the badly losing money Washington State Ferry system, it's just a quick half hour ride from Edmonds to Kingston, and then a walk up the hill for a nice romatic dinner. 


How many more need to die?

Earlier this week, a 34-year old new mom went for an afternoon walk with her in-laws, with her 13-day old baby in a sling across her chest.  Sounds pretty idyllic, right?  And it might have been too, until 50 year old Mark Mullan came driving by in his pick-up truck and killed the grand-parents, and left the new mom and her 13-day old baby in comas from which they might not wake up.

A tragedy, yes...but a tragedy that should NOT have happened, because the filthy animal driving the truck had FIVE previous DUI's arrests...3 of them back in the 1990's, and two of them in the last half of 2012. 

Holy crap.  So...that is 5 previous times when he could have killed someone and didn't, and now, because our legal system is broken, he finally did, potentially wiping out a whole family.

I just don't get it.  Back in January, prosecutors said since Mullan's had not been charged with a DUI since the 90's, they had to treat him like a first time offender.  The fact that he had been arrested two weeks earlier in Snohomish County was not admissible...because he hadn't actually been found guilty yet.  So...dude is arrested for DUI in October, doesn't go to court until January...but the fact that he was arrested on Christmas Day for driving his truck into a HOTEL...TWICE! can't be used against him?

Yes...please, take my semi-automatic guns...they are certainly the problem. 


One Dozen, Please.

A dozen.  It's not a lot when you are talking eggs, but it's increasingly impressive when you are talking marriage. 

The picture above was taken in a nice little Japanese Garden Park in Virginia Beach Back in 2001.  Below, as you can tell by the extra snow on my mountain top, is one of more recent vintage.

I'm not sure how she does it. She looks better each year, and makes each year better than the one before.


If A = B, and B = C, then...

A must equal C.  Math can't lie in that manner.  So...when Joe Biden says "We believe that weapons of war have no place on our streets," what he is really saying that we could save A LOT of money by replacing all the select fire M-16's and M-4's out of troops hands and replace them with AR-15's, or heck, even 10-22's!  Think of all the money we will save when give our troops semi-auto .22's that are too dangerous to own in California! 

Damn, I so sick of hearing that an AR-15, or my Saiga 7.62 X 39 'are weapons of war'...

Okay...I'm over it now.  Tomorrow will be a better day. 


Not sure this one has a happy ending.

There is a story out of Spokane yesterday about an 'alleged' car thief who ended up very dead. dead, dead.  However, some of the details coming out so far...well, let's just say they are raising some questions about the justification of the shooting.

At first, it started out sounding like a good shoot.  The car owner called it in properly and said the guy had been armed.  But, once the police got there, it's looking like while that may be true, it appears the bad guy was shot in the back of the head through the rear window of the truck.

As he drove away down the street.

That paints a little different story, and means all you are really hanging your case on is that you were stopping a felony, and is different than if the bad guy was sticking a weapon in your face, and you drew your gun because you feared for your life at the beginning of the encounter.

Nope, this smacks a little too much like 'dude swiped my car out of the driveway, and he ain't gonna get away with it!'.  I'm not saying he is going to jail...but I wouldn't be surprised to see charges filed.  The shooter should just say his prayers that no one else got hurt after the Suburban lost control.  I imagine if it had wiped out three kids waiting for the school bus, the story would have a different slant.


I'm beaten!

For the last two weeks, we have had many hundred boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in the house, and I was strong. 

Today though, a box of Tagalongs got open, and..wow, are they good.  Peanut Butter and Chocolate in all it's forms is wonderful...but the Tagalong ranks up there near the top.

Oh, it's a game!

Currently, the State of Washington is facing a 1.3 Billion shortfall in the next two years budget.  The Yakima Herald has a neat little program that lets you take a shot at balancing the budget yourself.

The truth is, it's not tough to fix if you don't care about being a human or being re-elected.  Cut, cut, cut, and extend a few 'temporary' taxes, and that 1.3 Billion goes away in a hurry.  It's when you start thinking emotionally that things get tough.  I mean, no one really wants to cut money for the elderly, or lunches for poor kids, or pay teachers less.  However, I get a little uptight at at the thought of adding new taxes, even though adding the proposed capital gains tax would wipe the 1.3 billion deficit right off the table.

It's easy to think like a politician.  Even I found myself thinking things like 'hey, extending the temporary 50-cent a gallon beer tax' isn't the same as adding
new taxes.  I drink a lot of beer, and even I don't have the date circled at the end of the year when the price of a 6-pack drops 20 cents.

Still, once you start thinking that way, it's tough to stop.  You go back and look at the capital gains tax again.  It's not like it's an income tax...this is extra money beyond tnat...and only rich folks need to worry about that.  Plus, they were smart enough to exempt house sales from the proposal, you know, in case the market ever turns around and houses are worth more two years from now than they are today.

I'm looking forward to when I am Dictator-in-Chief...then I won't need to worry about keeping anyone happy.

Except Mrs. Dictator-in-Chief.


Easier than it could have been.

I HATE buying things that need to be assembled.  It's one of the reasons I am okay haunting around antique stores with my wife...no assembly required.  Still...for bookcases in the library/guest bedroom, we ended up finding some ones we really liked from Office Depot.  The looked deep enough for lots of books, and the cube design gave lots of room for different ways of organizing books, plus space for decorative items also.

The bookcases arrived as scheduled early in the week, and at 130 pounds a box, we decided to unpack them upstairs and move them down stairs in pieces pre-assembly, which was a smart plan. 

One of my usual complaints about having to assemble purchased items is poor directions...but, these directions were pretty decent.  Even more impressive was the way the parts came shipped.  Instead of having to sort through a bag and try to figure out which was screw 'B' and which was screw 'D', the parts came all bagged for the step they were supposed to be used on!

Yes...we are back to me being easily impressed...but it made my life easier.  On the 2nd one, I actually cheated a bit, jumping ahead and doing all the cams, cam locks and dowels ahead of time, so I just needed my beautiful assistant for the final assembly. 
We are pretty happy with the finished products.
They are not small...and plenty deep.  Just starting to unbox books and lay them out, we found you can go three deep with paperbacks.
I fear that the easy part is done though.  My wife and I have very different ideas of the proper book layout on these shelves...


Hooray for pots!

After a week in which my wife was teasing her east coast relatives because she got to wear sandals(the high hit 71 degrees one day last week), much like the whole rest of the nation, winter seems unwilling to give up quite yet, and has come back.

While there is no snow for us in the Tri-cities area, we have gotten a return of cold weather...overnight lows last night in Pasco were 21 degrees, with Richland staying a balmy 25. 

As you might imagine, this can do a number on agriculture.  The two cherry trees across the street which looked all beautiful and springlike on Thursday now look like something the cat drug in.  On a more local level(like my backyard) I'm very glad that I decided to concentrate on container gardening to start the season out.  All five of my pots that I put seeds in are well and truly sprouted, with the kale and spinach being further along than the lettuce and swiss chard.

It's well worth the two minutes it takes me to bring the pots into the house each night, and then to put them all out again in the morning. 
By Monday, the weather is expected to shift again, with day time highs being back to a more seasonable mid 60's, and overnight lows about 40ish.  It's really about the time that I need to be visiting Home Depot to start getting things ready for my raised beds.  I suspect this cold snap in the last hurrah, and I should be able to start putting things directly into the ground in about two weeks.   

It's STILL just a piece of paper.

A few years ago, Ken Paulson's daughter, Jennifer, was killed by a guy that had been stalking her for years. The only good news is, the douche that killed her was himself later killed by Sheriff's Deputies. 

Now, like most family members who have suffered a horrible loss, Mr. Paulson has been working within the system to make sure no one else has to go through this type of pain, an honorable undertaking.  This current legislative session, it's looking like we might actually see a bill passed that would allow for the creation of a 'Stalking Protective Order', which would be closer to what victims of Domestic Abuse get than just your basic civil 'Anti-Harassment Protective Order'.

Oh boy..three pieces of paper that still don't protect people. 

Even one of the bills sponsor's almost gets it.

“Anti-harassment orders aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on,” said Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, who sponsored the House version of the bill, House Bill 1383.

The problem is, he said that in support of his bill, indicating that he thinks the 'Stalking Protective Order' would maybe be worth the paper it's printed on. 

The article is kind of light on details of how this bill will protect people better.  The only two things it really talks about is making stalking an aggravating factor in sentencing, and it might give judges the authority to make folks wear a tracking bracelet.  But...unless you are going to put a tracking bracelet on the person being stalked also, and it alarms if the two bracelets are within 100 yards...it's still not going to PROTECT the person.

Oh...it will make easier for police to track and punish the bad guy, and easier to sentence them to longer jail terms...but in the end, it's not going to make these people any safer. 

I understand why the dad is doing it...and I hope this gives him the closure he needs....I just hope that 3 years from now there isn't another young lady who thinks this piece of paper will keep her any safer than any other piece of paper. 

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/03/23/2526501/father-close-to-goal-of-new-law.html#storylink=cpy


Still...I'm a little jealous.

Back when I was in high school, we didn't have no internet.  That meant while we could pine away at the beautiful actress and model's we saw in magazines, it never really went any further than that. 

In the last couple of years though, some of that has changed.  With the popularity of sharing videos on youtube, and twitter, and facebook, sometimes viral videos can spread like, well, viruses.  Anyone with a cell phone can shoot a video of themselves doing sweet and crazy things, and there is chance(and a chance is all it takes), that the target of your affection will watch the video.  There is even a smaller chance(and once again, all you need is a chance), that they will say yes.

It's the 21st century equivalent of Martha Brady getting Davy Jones to the prom with her.

The first I remember really working was when the high aesthetic appeal Mila Kunis attended the Marine Corps Ball. 

Picture from www.tablemag.com

Classy, classy act...and it started a run on these things, with Justin Timberlake(sorry ladies, find your own picture) and even Kim Khardashian(which makes up for a lot of negatives about her) attending similar events on the arms of service men/women.

I kind of thought these things had run their course though, until this news that two time Sports Illustrated Cover Girl, Kate Upton, had gone as far as calling a 17-year old kid from California who asked her to prom via youtube, and was leaning towards saying yes, as long as her schedule allows.

picture from vogue.
Let me tell you, it took exhaustive HOURS to find that picture.  Trying to find a picture of a swimsuit model wearing clothes on the internet isn't the easiest thing, but it's a sacrifice I made for you.

Anyway...assuming she says yes, how cool.  Even if she doesn't say yes, how cool.  I mean...I mean...back in 1993, I would have traded my brother for a 1 in a million chance to go to the prom with Kathy Ireland, or Reba McEntire. 

Then again, I would have traded my brother for a used candy bar wrapper. 


It doesn't really mean anything, but it's still nice.

Yesterday, the Kennewick City Council voted unanimously to oppose Legislation in the State House and Senate that would require universal background checks in Washington. 

The vote is mostly symbolic, for two reasons.  First, there aren't really a whole lot of things that Kennewick could do if these bills had passed, and second, both these bills are fairly dead.  It's really a case of local politicians figuring out which way the crowd is going, and getting there first. 

Of slightly more useful news, the City Council also sent a letter to the National League of Cities, opposing it's position on gun control.  I say it's slightly more useful, as I'm sure the city of Kennewick kicks a buck or two to this League, and as always, money talks, especially when it walks away. 

Welcome to your world.

Where a guy carrying an umbrella and wearing a turtleneck can be mistaken as a guy wearing a ski mask and an 'assault rifle', resulting in a multi-jurisdictional manhunt and three school being locked down.

Holy Moly...over react much?  Makes me think twice about going between my house and the car without putting all my long guns in a case first.

The funniest part is watching the police and schools put a positive spin on it, saying 'You can't get much better training than that'.  Or 'we would rather check it out and be wrong, than not check it and be right'

How's about next time you check it out with one of those 'patrol car' things, instead of helicopters?

Guess all the drones were busy.


I know...I'm easily impressed.

For most of the first 2.5 years we lived in Richland, we made do without a microwave.  There just wasn't enough counter space in the kitchens we had to justify one.  Whatever...we survived.  Now, our new house has a nice over the range microwave, and we are still learning everything it does.

Case in point...the popcorn button.  Unlike my last microwave, where the 'popcorn' button just had the microwave run for 3 minutes, this microwave senses when your popcorn is done, and automatically stops the microwave before you have any burnt kernels.

I know...automatically.  If things are going to be like this after the robot apocolypse, I'm ready to surrender now.


Learning a lesson

A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.  This story about a guy that shot himself in the hand while cleaning his Glock, and is the main reason I didn't clean my guns after my range trip last night(or more correctly, after the two beers I had with my dinner).

Not that this guy was drinking...the story doesn't say that, and I don't want to imply anything.  It simply proves that cleaning your gun is something you should do with 100% attention.  Even as boring as last nights Walking Dead was, I still didn't feel like I should be handling my guns.

Talk about that justification for being a procrastinator.


Luck of the, well, Scottish I guess...

Yeah, I know...St. Patrick's Day is the one day we can all be Irish, just like Cinco De Mayo is the one day we can all drink too much tequila and Dos Equis(I refuse to drink Corona).  Looking back on 'ye old family tree, my Celtic half hails from the Highlands, and not the Emerald Isle.  That doesn't mean I don't like corned beef or wear green, it just means, yeah...it's another Sunday.

A Sunday that I finally got to take my daughter shooting so she could try out her Christmas present!

It wasn't a long day at the range...while it was trying to be warm(temp in the mid 40's) the winds were pretty steady 20-25, and it got chilly in a hurry.  Still, it doesn't need to be a long day to be a good day.  My daughter liked her new Rossi, and she also had a blast with the Walther P22. 
You can't fake that smile, and that makes it a lucky day no matter whether you are Irish or Scottish.

Savor? What's that?

A little bit over a week ago, the newest book of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series hit the shelves.  Now...I'm increasingly a cheapskate when it comes to books.  A few months ago, I was quite dismayed when I learned a new paperback was going for $10...so, when faced with the idea of having to pay $20+ for a new hardback, I balked.

Not for long though...just long enough to miss the book signing she did at my local Hastings earlier this week...but not so long that I wasn't able to get one of the signed books she left behind.

Was it worth the $20?  Yes...it's a good book...I just need to learn to slow down and enjoy things a bit...I picked it up Thursday night and finished it last night..of course, it helps that this was my Friday off.

Man, I swear I have written about this book series before...but I can't find ANYTHING in my old posts to link to. 

So...Mercy Thompson is a mechanic(Mercedes the Volkswagon Mechanic) who also happens to be a half Native American Walker.  She has the ability to transform into a coyote(and other abilities she develops as the series goes on), and lives in a world populated by werewolves, vampires, and Fae. 

The series starts with Mercy somewhat on the outside looking in, but as a romance begins to develop between herself and the local pack Alpha, she finds herself getting drawn in, and often fighting out of her weight class. Yes...there is romance, and there are vampires...but this isn't Twilight.  These books are much darker(one of them revolves around Fae artifacts that sap your willpower, leading to the rape of a character).  The romance stays romantic, and never gets too juicy, which is good.  Talk about love is fine, talk about throbbing parts is slightly icky.

What initially drew me to these books is that they are set primarily in the Tri-Cities area, where Mrs. Briggs is a resident.  It's neat to be able to read a scene and know exactly what the author is talking about.  That might make me a bit biased in my opinion towards this series, but I don't think so.

There is a negative about the newest book, Frost Burned, and that negative is that it is the 7th book in the Mercy Thompson series, and the 10th story in this 'universe'(somewhere in between books 4 and 5 of this series, Patrica Briggs started another series 'Alpha and Omega' in the same universe...slightly juicier than Mercy Thompson, the have more of a 'crime' feel than an 'adventure/horror' feel...still worth reading).  At this point, I can't recommend jumping right in at 'Frost Burned'.  You might still enjoy it, but there is going to be a lot of references flying over your head. 

Nope...the proper place to start 'Moon Called', and the rest of the reading order can be found here.  If you are at all into supernatural fiction, you should certainly give the Mercy Thompson series a chance.


Welcome to the 21st Century!

Earlier this week, my wife finished painting the walls and cleaning the carpet in the downstairs 'guest room/library'.  Her hard work done, it's now time for my painful part...spending the money to actually decorate the room...actually, more than decorate..actually furnish.  To use the room for it's intended purpose, we need book cases, and something to sleep on. 

I'm fairly used to shopping online, but shopping for furniture online is new to me.  However, since we did the whole Amazon Prime thing to watch movies/TV shows that we can't always find on netflix, we figured we should look at our options and see what we could get with our 'Free Shipping'.

We ended up finding a suitable futon on Amazon, but decided to go through Office Depot for the book cases

Now...the futon is nothing fancy...but it's a place someone can sleep when they come visit for a weekend.  You might not want to spend a week or two there, but...dang it...it will work for a few years.  Chances are, it's not big enough for two people to sleep on unless they REALLY like each other, but we also have a folding bed.  If our guests are married, they might just have to sleep in separate beds for a night or two...we run a very Ozzie and Harriet operation around here. 

Those book cases are just the beginning...the two 'big' ones.  We figure there will be another two or three shorter ones to fill in the room.  We have a LOT of books, but those two shelves should let us start getting boxes out of the garage, which will be nice. 

That would be...interesting.

With the defeat of a 'Universal Background Check' bill in the Republican controlled State House, the newly formed Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is already looking ahead on how to get their agenda fulfilled.  This article in the Everett Herald outlines the various way's of getting it done. 

As long as the Republican's control the State House, I don't see the bill making it through there...even if they bring it back as an 'election year issue'. 

Trying to make it through the initiative process though...that would come down to which side gets their votes out.  In an off-year (no Governor, no President), I think the advantage would come down to our side...but it wouldn't be a sure thing.  There are a LOT of people that live in the I-5 corridor who would vote in support of an initiative like this.  Our side would have to attack in terms of increased cost and increased work load for the police running through all these background checks.

The end result it, we have to accept this is now a constant battle.  In the past, if an attempt at passing gun control legislation was defeated, you could rest reasonably assured it wasn't going to come back for a few years.  I think now though, we should expect to see things like this yearly...or at least until the failed attempts start hurting the checkbooks on the other side.

Now...it's important to keep writing letters, and contacting the politicians.  Thanking them for doing the right thing is almost as important as writing and asking them to to it in the first place.  A little positive reinforcement never hurt anyone...and today's State Representative is next decade's U.S. Senator. 


More than I can chew.

My new front yard has a large juniper growing in it, and inconveniently imposes on one of the drive ways.  I have only dealt with it a month, and it's really not the growing season yet, and I'm already annoyed by it.  I can only figure that the previous owners trimmed it back weekly during the summer to be able to use the drive way. 

Neither my wife or I are emotionally attached to it, or willing to put in that kind of effort on a weekly basis..so out it goes! 

You can see the juniper in the right foreground, and the way it overhangs the drive way.  There isn't really anything to give it scale, but it's not tiny.  Also, much like The Doctor's Tardis, it's bigger inside than outside, and a much bigger chore than I thought it would be. 

It's not just a matter of cutting the three main beams into manageable pieces...that would be easy, even just armed with a Greg Powered Bow Saw.  This tree is OLD, and the branches and limbs inside are badly grown together.  Just cutting the main beams isn't enough, I then have to go inside to cut things apart, like a jigsaw puzzle that has been grown together. 

Taken individually, the pieces are much bigger than the whole, and they don't want to play together nicely in my truck.    Instead of one evening and one big load in my truck, it's looking like 3 or 4 loads, and probably most of a weekend. 


At least they don't say 'accidental'.

Thank gosh he's a highly trained Police Officer, or someone may have gotten hurt.

Oh, wait...

—A 46-year-old Washington State Patrol trooper was accidentally shot in the leg Wednesday afternoon during a training exercise at the state patrol’s academy.
The trooper, in the state patrol’s commercial vehicles division and based in Poulsbo, suffered an entry wound to the thigh as a result of an unintentional discharge, according to state patrol Sgt. Freddy Williams.
The injury occurred shortly before 4 p.m., Williams said. The 46-year-old is stable and being treated at Mason General Hospital.
The incident is under investigation.

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/mar/13/poulsbo-based-trooper-accidentally-shot-in-leg/#ixzz2NTOS71sO

Since he's going to live, it's okay to joke. 


Sacrifices must be made!

Sometimes, you get the feeling that some actors and singers are putting on a face, and the real them is something different.

Miranda Lambert isn't one of those.  I believe that there is some of the slightly(more than slightly) crazy, 'gonna' make you pay if you cheat on me' lady in her personality.

I also know I would find a way to deal with the crazy for at least a few months because she is just AMAZING.


What is that noise?

I very seldom sleep until my alarm goes off in the morning.  Whether you want to blame it on my matress, my back, my small bladder, or just my natural 'early to bed, early to rise' circadian rhythm, I'm just up early.  Usually, I am out of bed with the alarm turned off 20 mintues early.

Thanks to daylight savings time, I actually had the chance to operationally check my alarm clock this morning, and it caused no small amount of panic from my wife.  With it being almost a year since she has heard an alarm clock in the morning, I had to spend a moment or two convincing here it wasn't the smoke detector.  

Hopefully by tomorrow, my body will catch back up to the clock...my alarm is set such that I don't have a lot of 'nothing' time in the morning...I one of those who normally just take care of three 'S's, and heads out the door.  I kind of miss my peak or two of Robin Meade in the morning.


Woot! Woot!

Season 3 of Archer showed up on netflix this week, and my wife and I have made a solemn vow to only watch one episode a day, so as to not lose the productivity have been displaying the past week. 

It's a sacrifice, but it helps that I already got to hear the Greatest Line Ever, delivered by Patrick Warburton, as he and Archer are trapped on a lifeboat.

'And then I'll shoot you, with a flare, and then I'll use a D ration bar and two survival crackers to make Smores over the crackling fire that used to be your chest cavity.'

Really...if you haven't watched Archer, you need to give it a try. 

Trace isn't always right.

A few years ago(2005?  Really...stop, it can't have been that long ago), Trace Adkins had a hit with 'Songs About Me'.  The point of that song is the relatabilty of country music(to us country music fans, or anyone giving it a chance), and that's why we like it...and for the most part, it's true.  Heck...part of it just might be that it's sung in a way you can actually understand

No one is right all the time though, and while I enjoy her voice, and I like listening to the song, I don't get 'Merry Go Round', by Kacey Musgraves.  I like her voice, and I find the song and the hook enjoyable to listen too...it's just that one time Trace is wrong(the exception proving the rule, I guess).

Now, don't get me wrong...if this was a song was strictly about work, I'd 100% agree...but, I like my life in the Tri-City Burbs.  Oh...I could use some more green, and a better view of the mountains like I had in Belfair wouldn't suck...but I don't have any of this Debbie Downer/Stuck in  Rut...meloncholy that she is singing about.  Right now, I'm watching my kids slog through their bowls of Apple Jacks, trying not to giggle at their Day Light Savings induced 1000-yard stares...and I am perfectly happy.

There I go, bragging again at how much I don't hate my life. 

Hope everyone is having a good Sunday. 


I can feel it already.

After weeks of online research, I finally headed to the local nursery this morning to pick up a couple of plum trees.  Despite all that research about which varieties are self-pollinating, and which work best in different hardiness zones, it really came down to what the nursery had in stock.  In the end, there I was, standing between a row of plum trees and using my magical internet machine phone to look at the Spokane WSU Extension Office's webpage, and bouncing it off the choices actually available to me.

The closer/smaller one is a Green Gage, and the bigger one is a Stanley.  Both are of the European Prune Plum family, and while they are supposed to be self-pollinating, everything I read(which is quite rare) says that they will pollinate, they will produce more fruit with a pollinator available. 
After that, it was just digging a couple of holes, which had to wait until after I brought my younger daughter to soccer, and a healthy lunch at Jack-in-the-Box afterwards.

I needn't have worried about the calories at lunch...digging those holes burned them off.  I had to go deep, but in the end I go them in, and staked up.
Yup...the other one looks like this, only different.
The worst part is having to wait to see if I screwed it up.  According to the lady at the nursery, these were both trees that wintered over, and they both produced fruit in the containers at the nursery last year...so if they don't produce fruit this year, it's something I did.
All that complete, I settled in after dinner with a Piper Canyon Scotch Ale, from Laht Neppur Brewery in Waitsburg, which I purchased at Mid-Columbia Wine and Liquor's new 26-tap Growler filling station.  What a wonderful world we live in...and what a great thing to do the day/evening before we roll the clocks forward. 
I forsee NO trouble falling asleep tonight.

Fair and balanced.

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a few times where I have railed against the amount of police resources being used to achieve a few misdemeanor charges, in this case, aimed at cracking down on 'bikini barista's' showing more than they are supposed too for larger than normal tips. 

Now...I realize that the Seattle area has long been on the cutting edge of coffee marketing, but for those of you who don't have this in your area, in addition to major chains like Starbucks and Tully's, there are hundreds, nay, thousands of independent coffee stands located in the Northwest.  When I lived in the town of Belfair, counting a stand-alone Starbucks and shops inside grocery stores, there were 8 latte stands in less than one square mile...in a town of 6000 people.  So...marketing is important. 

All coffee stands(except maybe Starbucks) hires with aesthetics in mind.  A cute girl is just good marketing.  I'm not trying to be misogynistic...but if two places are selling the same products at the same prices, I(and I think most people) are going to go the one with better scenery.  Having aesthetically pleasing, friendly young ladies selling your coffee helps with repeat business...especially when you are trying to get folks paying $3.50-$4.25 for a cup of coffee to say 'keep the change' on the 5 spot they give you.

So...it didn't take long for some folks to find out that by putting their baristas is less clothing, they might be able to sell more(and more expensive) coffee.  So, you now have a load of places with names like 'Twin Peaks Espresso', 'Big Jugs' and Naughte' Latte' where the ladies usually wear bikini's, or even lingerie.

I visited one of these once in Belfair, and only once.  I wasn't willing to pay 35 cents extra just because the barista was in a bikini.  Besides, when you get right down to it, in the summer, even at the 'normal' stands the aesthetically pleasing young ladies were wearing shorts(sometimes SHORTS!) and halter tops, which don't cover much more than bikini's.  But...Oooo  Bikini's!  Ooo...Lingerie.  The very words strike fear into the hearts of soccer moms, and so these type of stands constantly find themselves under attack with new laws concerning just what is 'adult entertainment'. Plus, spending the day in bikini's or less does make it easier to pull the bikini aside and show a little extra when someone tells you to keep the change on a $10 or a $20 for your $4 cup of joe.

History lesson over.  The end result is hard to argue with...some girls are showing things they shouldn't show, and the police have the evidence to prove it.  Misdemeanor charges have been filed and the world is safer for soccer moms after months of police work.  Now...news comes out from the Everett Police that the one of the owners of a few of these stands is facing actual felony charges, and hey, we might have spent months investigating, but it was really only 8 hours of so of police work.

The felony charge in this case is 'Sexual Exploitation of a Minor', because you see, one of the ladies charged with showing too much is a 16 year old. 

Now...I want to focus on the law here, but what kind of parent let's their kid do this?  I'm on record just a few paragraphs ago as saying their isn't much difference between shorts/halter top and bikini...but there IS a difference.  My oldest is almost 11.  I know working at a coffee stand is a good way to make money...but I also guarentee you if my daughter choses this as a way to earn some cash, mom, dad and friends are keeping an eye on things...and bikinis/lingerie aint' flying.

From the RCWs:

Sexual Misconduct: A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor if the person:

(a) Compels a minor by threat or force to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that such conduct will be photographed or part of a live performance;

(b) Aids, invites, employs, authorizes, or causes a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that such conduct will be photographed or part of a live performance;

So...the word is that the owner had surveillance video at his stand...so, while I am not on the jury of his peers, I say things don't look good for him. And they shouldn't.   I also say they shouldn't look good for whatever other barista's were working with this 16-year old.  These ladies(especially at the bikini places) aren't usually left working alone.  If this 16-year old was on shift with one of the older ladies, they should face the same kind of charges that the owner is facing, because they stood there(heck potentially encouraged it because they split tips) and let it happen. 

You know, this kind of thing never happened at Dunkin Donut's, where I could get a large french vanilla(light and sweet) and a bagel with cream cheese for the same price as a 16-ounce latte out here.

Man, I miss Dunkin Donut's. 


Dudes lucky to be alive

A week or two ago, Roberta had a post about a pizza robbery that was attempted by a 15-year armed with a 'BB Gun'.  One of her points(which I highly agree with) is that if you are holding something that looks like a gun, you better expect other people to react like it's a gun. 

A perfect example of this happened this past week in Lake Stevens, when a police officer got involved in a foot race with a guy who skipped out on paying his taxi fare.  After tripping and falling, allowing the officer to reach up to him, the bad guy pulled something that looked like a Beretta out of his waist band, and pointed it at the officer.

Luckily for the bad guy, the officer had already drawn his taser during the pursuit, and he used that to defend himself rather than attempting to draw his service gun.  Pissing your pants because you are being shocked is a cheap price to pay for pointing something that looks like a gun at a police officer. 

I'm glad for the officer here.  I've never been called on to shoot anyone, so I can only imagine the mental stress Officer Thor(what a kick ass name) is avoiding because he tased this guy instead of killing him. 


He won't do that again.

Slightly confusing story, because the way I read it, the guy that was shot actually lived at the house where he was trying to break into, but...potential domestic violence situations sometimes end up confusing.

Man killed after forcing his way into Spokane home

There are somethings that aren't confusing.  The guy was not wanted at the house at that time, because he had been fighting with his baby momma.  He was armed with a knife, and was making threats against the life and safety of other people.  He crawled in through the doggy door, and posed a threat to people, and the homeowner shot him.

The only thing I would second guess the homeowner on is when he called 911.  With that many people around, someone shoud have called 911 before it reached the shooting point. 

Not that it sounds like the bad guy deserved a 2nd chance...I'd hate to celebrate anyone's death, but I do not think this guy will be missed by society as a whole. 


75th Anniversary Stock-up!

Congratulations should go out to the fine makers or Spam, which is celebrating it's 75th anniversary.  I know that because recently there was a display set up at Safeway, advertising several 'special annniversary' varieties of Spam.

Now...I'm not a huge fan of Spam.  I can and have used it diced up in scrambled eggs, or fried rice, or macaroni and cheese, but I've never been the type that can cut off a slab o' Spam and eat it on a bun.  That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the shelf stable nature of Spam.

Anyway, I ignored the 75th Annivesary Spam special...until they ended up on the 50% off shelf. Combined with the sale and the discount, it brought the Spam down to $1.42 a can.  I don't need to like it very much at that price.  I didn't buy all of it, but I did buy about two dozen cans.  I'm hoping it will probably taste better than crows I shoot in my backyard when I am furloughed later this year.

I'm kind of looking for an excuse break into some of it I bought...the two new varieties are 'Black Pepper' and 'Jalapeno'.  I'm thinking that jalapeno flavor might be okay diced into some eggs or mac and cheese.


Sometimes, karma comes through.

Heart warming story out of Oregon.

Stolen rifle fires, killing burglar in Oregon

I'll have to ask Jay if this qualifies for his dead goblin count.


Got home from work yesterday to find out I had created life!  The first of my pots I seeded a few weeks ago is sprouting little baby kale.

Now, obviously, it would appear that I got a wee bit over zealous with my seeds, and I will have some serious thinning out to do, but seeds are cheap...I'd rather have too many sprouts than not enough.


Watching the birth of a dream.

After picking up our new car in Everett this weekend, we slowed down to about 10mph to kick the girls out of our car at my moms house.  From there, it was onto the ferry to go spend the weekend with some friends of ours from our shipyard days. 

Melissa had an early marriage that didn't work out, but she got to keep the house.  Rather than sell it because she couldn't afford to pay the mortgage, she moved out and rented out the house while she got a roommate in cheaper place.  This paid off, and allowed her to purchase a nice looking log cabin(well, 2500sf ain't quite a cabin) on just under 5 acres north of Poulsbo when it was foreclosed under it's previous owner.

Now, her and our other friend Joel are working hard on their self-sufficiency.  Joel has always been handy, and has gone beyond being a toolmaker for the yard who also knows how to weld to be something approaching a black smith.  They have cleared part of their land and added an enclosure for 4 Nigerian Dwarf goats and 2 Kunekune pig sows, that they want to breed sometime in the future.

In addition to their own efforts at sufficiency, they have gotten in good with the local small business community, particularly some farmers and brewers.

Saturday evening, we went to a 'Retirement Party' for one of their friends, at Slippery Pig Brewery.  I was expecting someone in his 50's, making the move into semi-retirement so he could focus on a little bit of recreational beer making.  Instead, we met Dave, who is about my age.  After 16-years of working at a job he doesn't enjoy very much, Dave was quitting to focus on his growing brewery business, and the family farm, where they raise chickens, turkeys and pigs, as well as vegetables. 

I'm more than a little jealous...but man, the faith in yourself it takes to make that type of decision is amazing.

For my part, I can give their beers two thumbs up.  They use some of the things they are growing on the farm to come up with some interesting beers: Rhubarb I.PA, Cranberry Scotch Ale where the two that stick out, while they also had a white chocolate stout that my wife, who HATES stouts, drank a glass and a half of.  In addition to the beers, they also make their own vanilla cream soda that was the BEST cream soda my wife says she can ever remember drinking.  If we go there again, we will have to get her a growler filled with the cream soda to bring home.  Worst case, when my friends Melissa and Joel come visit us in the summer, I'll have them bring one over. 


Setting a bad precedent.

We like to joke about how, since put the offer in on our house in mid-December, it is the biggest Christmas present we have ever bought for ourselves.  Now, half way in between Valentines Day and our Anniversary, we have bought ourselves our biggest Valentines/Anniversary gift ever.

It's a 2014 Mazda CX-5, purchased yesterday from Mazda of Everett, where we got a really, really good deal.

Only had it for an afternoon, but the immediate impressions(my wife test drove one without me) are favorable.  Compared to what it is replacing, a 2004 Subaru Impreza, it's just MORE in all categories: longer, wider, taller, faster, better gas milage, quieter, has a fancy backup camera...and yes, more money.  However, we bought that Impreza for around 18K almost 9 years ago.  With it being paid off, ANY new car payment was going to feel ouchy, and there was no realistic chance of finding a replacement in that price range.  The deal we got, combined with what we were putting down, kept payments at less than half our mortgage, which is acceptable to me.  I know Dave Ramsey says to not buy new cars, but the deal we got combined with under 2% interest on the loan caused me to justify ignoring that.

Still, it's almost scary the convienience touches even Mazda, which I wouldn't describe as a luxary car maker, is putting in new cars.  The back up camera, bluetooth that lets you use buttons on the steering wheel to operate your cell phone, CUP HOLDERS!  A cynic might look at all this and just think it's 'more stuff to break'.  I'm a cynic, but also wonder how long it will be before the computer tries to kill me for waiting a week tooo long to change the oil.


Since October.

After it was proudly revealed that the Everett Police Department ran a two month 'sting' with the end result being three misdemeanor charges against a few baristas, the Kent Police Department has now claimed their own bust, stating that an investigation being run 'since October', has resulted in the arrest of two baristas. 

I'm sorry folks.  I know that my libertarian frame of mind does not reflect the same morals of most of our society, but you can't tell me that multi-month investigations to get a few misdemeanor charges is good use of a police budgets, even if I'm sure there are plenty of officers willing to volunteer for the job.  Heck...they probably even offer to pay for their own latte's(who am I kidding, I'm sure the tax payers are paying for that).

Plus, let's do some extrapolating.  If the Everett Police(North Sound), and the Kent Police(South Sound) are doing this...it stands to reason most jurisdictions in between are doing it also. 

Oooh...maybe we should just use the 10 cent Gas Tax Olympia wants to introduce to fund a State Wide Bikini Barista Task Force!  I mean, the Kent Police tell us they are not resting on their laurels:

“These arrests do not signal the end of this investigation,” Kent Police Assistant Chief Pat Lowery said in a statement.

Nope...I'm sure there are many more aesthetically pleasing young ladies to be looked at out there police stings to protect society from these hardened criminals to be run. 

The ONLY thing that came out of either of these investigations that made me feel slightly less nauseated by this use of tax payer money is that one of the ladies in Everett, was in fact a girl of 16.  A 16-year old didn't come up with this idea on her own.  If the result of this is that she is able to find a job with slightly better mentorship elsewhere, then this isn't going to be a 100% waste.