Why?

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

10.31.2013

Go get me some candy.

My wife and I took turns on Halloween chores tonight.  She took the kids out for the first candy basket filling, and I took them out for round two.  My younger daughter went as a Super Hero Cat, and the older one went as Adam Savage from Mythbusters, because she rocks.


During my stay at home to hand out candy, I decided I had to get myself in the mood by watching one of the....lets say 5 best horror flicks of all time, Poltergeist. Gosh, what a good movie, even if a few of the special effects(like the face peeling scene) don't quite stand up.  What I can't get over is that it's rated PG. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be rated that now. 

1st Halloween in this house, so we didn't know what to expect for visitors...I'd say we got somewhere between 30-40 kids, and while the Kit-Kats were the #1 requested treat from the bowl, the little gummi-bear packs my wife bought(gluten free!) were more popular than I thought they would be.
Still, we have three or four bags of left-overs for me to bring to work tomorrow so I can try to effect the number of diabetes cases we have at work. 

10.30.2013

Yahoo!


No band wagon jumping here...I was born in Quincy.

There are two questions at the old homestead though: My wife wants to know if the players are going to have some kind of ritualistic beard shaving party.  I want to know if this means I can't complain when the Patriots win their division, but don't manage to win the Super Bowl?

10.29.2013

Penciling it in.

I now have something to do May 23rd.


10.28.2013

I guess I didn't care enough.

Found an interesting article today about sailors and soldiers that are desperate enough to pass the militaries physical fitness standards that they are going out and getting liposuction, hoping that those inches removed in the belly will help them out. 

Now...the fact is, all 9 years I was in the Navy I was in constant danger of exceeding the Navy's body-fat standards, determined by comparing your neck and waist measurements with a height chart.  It's safe to say that the years I did pass was just as much due to a large neck measurement as the years that I failed could be blamed on my waist line. 

Still, never once was I tempted to go get liposuction to try to pass the 'rope and choke'. 

It's entirely possible, that because I was a nuclear trained operator at a time when we had a growing economy, I wasn't as worried about my fate should I get kicked out as a grunt less technically trained soldier in today's job market is. 

Possible bordering on certain. 

Paging Andy Rooney.

Why is it that I just can't go to the store and buy regular, plain old light bulbs?  The folks we bought this house from must have decided they wanted to stick to whoever bought the house from them, because the only thing in this house that uses 'standard' incandescent bulbs are the table lamps we brought with is. 

The spot lights in the kitchen and living room use the funky GU10 base bulbs.  Overhead fan lights use a circular 22-watt fluorescent light, OR an incandescent with a smaller 'candelabra base', while today I learned that the security lights out front have a funky G8-type bi-pin base. 

I'm smart enough(and I have learned my lessons) that I bring an example of the bulb I need to replace to the store with me.  Today, that didn't help.  Next time you are at the hardware store, take a look at the 'specialty lights'...there are about 6 different type of 'bi-pin' bases...G4, G6, GX6.35, GY6.5, G8, G9.5...and I'm sure there are more. 

Of course, the bulb I pulled before going to the store this morning wasn't labled around the base...but I wasn't worried...I mean, how hard can it be to find the right type of bi-pin base bulb?(read the paragraph above again.'

Grrr.  Of course, I picked the wrong kind. The G6 base looked right, but when I swapped out the 2nd bulb...it was labled G8.  Grrrrr.  Back to the store.  Would it have mattered?  I don't know.  I'm not willing to risk it for a bulb that is mostly on when I am asleep, and not able to quickly identify any problems. 

I'm going back to oil lamps. 

10.27.2013

Putting the beds to bed.

One of the nice things about being in a house you have bought after three years of renting other places is that you can actually plan ahead for the next year.  Planning often means work though, so I decided that Saturday, a beautiful not rainy day, would be a good time to prep my raised beds for next spring. 

Was not nearly motivated to take stage by stage pictures...but, I'm sure you can imagine what it looks like to rip out whatever is still growing in a raised bed.  Now, the fact is, a lot of things that I read said that ripping your old plants out is BAD, BAD, BAD.  They say just cut your plants off at ground level, and as the roots decompose, they will leave nice little aerated channels in your soil.  I'll buy that...but ripping them out is more satisfying, and since I had planned on turning everything over and raking in a bunch of stuff, I didn't want all those root balls in my way.

The next step was getting a bunch of organics in the soil.  I was not at all happy with my soil this year, and so boosting it before next year is a huge priority.  Once I had all this years growth(and weeds) pulled out, I mixed some commercial compost, a couple of big handfuls of mulched up leaves, and chicken manure into each bed.  I know that adding fresh chicken manure to the garden is bad, because the nitrogen levels are too beaucoup, and it will burn your plants, but with 4 or 5 months to mellow, I didn't see any reason not to mix it right into the beds.

Finally, to keep the weeds away, I set a nice blanket of straw over each bed.  The big decision in the spring is whether I want to pull all the straw off, or just plant through it, and leave it there as a mulch. 

Luckily, I have a few months before I need to make that decision.

10.26.2013

Circle of life.

Got to drive to Wapato today to pick up my second deer.  She was a little bigger than the first one, yielding 10 pounds more of venison.  The first one I did strictly steaks, chops and ground...this time I had 10 them do steaks, chops, 10 pounds of Italian sausage, and then do the rest as ground.

All total, the two does I shot this year gave us just over 80 pounds of venison in the freezer. For comparison, my boss shot a decent 4-point whitetail buck this last week, and I am sure he will get at least 80 pounds from that one deer...but mine is more tender. 

While there, I also picked up some of the butcher shops usual fare, including bacon cheddar brats, and beef bacon, which I have never tried before.  Reports on how that tastes to follow. 

Three times a lady!

Yesterday was a pretty A-Okay day.  Our daughters were going on a Homelink(the alternate learning experience program my wife goes through for homeschooling) field trip to the SAGE Center(Sustainable Agriculture and Energy), which meant after we dropped them off at the bus at 7am, my wife and I were going to have several hours to ourselves.

We started off by heading to a local bagel shop, for a light breakfast and some life sustaining beverage, where I decided my wife looks better before her coffee and under fluorescent lights than I do all day.


After that, we swung home and loaded up the truck for a trip to the range. 

I don't get my wife out shooting enough, although she has mentioned that now that I have renewed our family membership at the local range, she might even swing up there by herself on Wednesdays when she has a 4 hour block that the kids are in co-op type classes. 

.22's are her preference, and right now, her preferred gun for carrying in her Walther P22.  We also have a Firestorm .380 that I wish she liked more...but it's snappier, and actually the trigger is not as nice as it is on the Walther.  I'd rather she be able to hit with the .22 than miss with .380(which isn't actually a death ray anyways).  Where I am not John McClain, she is not Evelyn Salt, and neither gun will turn her into that...but should she need to shoot, 3 or 4 rounds of .22 in a bad guys face/chest should give her the opportunity to break contact.


Following shooting, it was back home to pick up the kids, and do some housework while waiting for our baby-sitter to show up, so we could go on a 3rd date of the day. 

For dinner, we went to this place in Kennewick we had never tried before, Pho Le.  Pho(Vietnamese Soup) is one of my wife's favorite things, and Pho Le which opened up about a year ago, has been getting pretty good reviews on yelp, which it lived up to.  The Pho was done right, with the thin sliced beef raw so it could finish cooking in front of you. The spring roles were also good, as was the Vietnamese Iced Coffee my wife drinks like it's crack(they bring a rig to your table so you can drip brew your strong coffee right onto a cup full of sweetened condensed milk, which you then pour over ice.  It's just a little sweet, like my wife.



All fed and caffeinated, it was time to go to our last stop...the Project 13 Haunt in Pasco.  It was not the scariest haunted house I have been to; The town of Belfair where we used to live was 'lucky' enough to have a few scrap yards in town, and one of them used to set up a Haunted Junkyard each year, and it rocked, but...Project 13 was well done.  Inside, the stuff was fairly standard...but the best part was the pacing...at no part did my wife and I catch up to group ahead of us, or get run over by the group behind us, which is nice.  Now...we were also on the early side...it might be as the night goes on, they have to send groups through on shorter intervals, but when we went through, they were still giving each group about a 4-5 minute spacing.

 Then it was bed time.  Having to drop the girls off at 7 for their field trip meant it was an early day for us, and neither my wife now I were in any kind of shape to stay out super late...but in retrospect, I think I used the wrong terminology earlier...the day was WAY better than okay. 













10.25.2013

Someplace else doesn't want my money!

With Washington State having very strong anti-preemption laws(localities can't make gun laws more restrictive than the states law), Seattle's newest mayor, Mike McGinn is finally giving up trying to pass potentially expensive law-suit susceptible laws in Seattle, and is now encouraging business owners to declare their business to become gun free, establishing a 'gun-free zone' in Seattle.

Yesterday, a (dubious) milestone was reached, with the 100th Business  joining the mayor's efforts, Big Picture Theater.

Hey...a business owner has that right...and as gun owners, we have the right to vote with our wallet.  Luckily, they have provided us an easy to reference list of the companies that don't want our business, right on their website!

It's too long for me to want to post the list directly here...but if you find yourself visiting Seattle, you might want to look at the list.  I know I did...and a few of them make me kind of sad...Spud's Fish and Chips is some of the best fish and chips I've ever had...it is the standard to which I measure other fish and chips...but hey, if they don't want my business, they don't need to have it. 

The same thing goes for the Tangletown Elysian Brewpub...which is actually going to cause me to have to write a letter...I need to find out of this is a decision by the brewpub itself, or if the whole Elysian Empire is looking to lose my business.  They make some tasty beer, but it feels like there is a brewery a week opening in the Northwest. 

10.24.2013

Ahh....deep sigh of relief.

After several stressful days of waiting, I got the news today that I was lucky enough to earn an ensemble role in the Mid-Columbia Musical Theater companies spring production of Les Miserables. 

Not sure what actual lines I will have yet, but Les Mis is a big enough show that everyone will have at least a few featured lines, and for not having done any kind of theater in...well, decades, it's nice to just get to be involved.

So...just throwing this out there, but mid-to-late March is a great time to come to South-Eastern Washington for some wine tasting and cultural enrichment. 

10.23.2013

Better be some good burgers...

Spokane Valley homeowner detains alleged burglar at gunpoint

A Spokane Valley homeowner caught a burglar trying to break into his home Tuesday night and detained him at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Devin Hughes, 19, Gage Hughes, 18, and Darien Rhoads, 18, all were booked into Spokane County Jail on suspicion of second-degree burglary, a news release said.

Deputies got a weapons call around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and went to the 10000 block of East Sands Road. They took Devin Hughes into custody and found a black ski mask and a knife, the release said.

The homeowner caught Hughes attempting to break into his garage and detained him at gunpoint.
Hughes told deputies that his brother, Gage Hughes, and their friend, Darien Rhoads, had been with him and fled the scene. A deputy found them a short time later, walking down Highway 27.

Devin Hughes also told deputies that the three men had burglarized two other homes that evening, but he wasn’t sure where they were located, the release said. Deputies found Hughes’ car at the Sands Road home and saw beef patties, a box of steaks and other food items inside the car

They robbed two other houses, and all they found in the car were burgers, steaks and 'other food items'?  Doesn't seem worth going up against armed homeowners for. 


10.22.2013

73!

Now, not that Heidi Klum doesn't look pretty okay for 40(or 30, or even 25), but Gosh Darn...never in a million years would I guess the lady on the right(please tell me you know it is Raquel Welch) is 73 years old.



Man, I can't wait until my wife is 73 years old.

10.21.2013

The waiting...it is the poop.

Had auditions tonight for the Mid-Columbia Musical Theaters production of Les Miserables.  I choose to do 'Why God Why' from Miss Saigon...and I did as good as I could do.  If I don't get a part, it will just be because I am not a good enough singer...which will be sobering. 

Anyway...the tough part of the audition is over...and now the tougher part starts...the waiting.  Since I auditioned on the 2nd night, I don't have as long to wait as folks who auditioned Sunday.  They are supposed to have the call back list out tomorrow by 1, and then the final casting calls made by Thursday. 

Tick, tick, tick, tick.

I hate waiting.

10.20.2013

Fire her!

Sometimes, I am not a very forgiving person

This is going to be another one of those times.

NM Teacher's Aide Tapes Mouth of Autistic Student

Okay...she hasn't escaped scott-free: the school district suspended her for a week without pay, but...that's not enough.  Even she AND the teacher in the room at the time admit that the tape was applied...but insist it was done 'playfully'.

Um....no. No, No, No.  What if the kid had a stuffed up nose, and had a hard time breathing?  Doesn't sound much different than waterboarding. 

I'm more than willing to give someone a 2nd chance because of an accident.  But not for doing something willfully stupid to a handicapped kid in a wheel chair. 

Fire her. 

Just a little spoiled.

It's been fairly...brisk the last few morning, temperatures hovering(and even dipping a bit below) the freezing point.  That has me feeling kind of bad for the chickens.  Everything I've read says they handle cold weather fairly okay, and I have a few things I can do to help them out when things get really cold, still...I feel bad for them, waking up to their cold pellets and crumble.

So, yesterday, I made them up a batch of oatmeal, mixing some apple sauce into it for them.


This morning, I made them more warm food, nuking up some leftover mac and cheese/venison burger.

 
video



The funny part was watching them jump on the burger...heck, I couldn't get the camera going in time. My daughter had a pretty good theory on why they like the venison burger so much:
'Well dad, chickens evolved from therapod-type dinosaurs...and deer are a prey animal, so it's only natural that the chickens predatory instincts kicked in.'

10.19.2013

I'd buy that.

It's as good a theory as any.

Grrrrrrrr.

I didn't have to dig deep for this one...it's been on the national news...but it angered me at such a primitive level that I had to talk about it.

Charges possible for toppled ancient Utah rock

So...you've got a couple of chuckleheads at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, a park known for its strangely eroded rock formations. 

picture from A Trish out of Water.
 
Looking like nothing so much as a couple of drunk college students, Chuckleheads one and two knock a large boulder off it's perch, while chucklehead #3 films it all, and they all record raucous high-fives when they are done.
 
But...even worse then destroying a millenniums old geological structure is the excuse they have been clinging to since this story went public: They did it for the children!
 
Yup...they noticed as one of the kids(Oh yeah...they are frigging Boy Scout Troop leaders!) was climbing on the rock in question, it seemed unstable.  So, they knocked it over to keep some kid from getting hurt on it.  And that is the story they are clinging to like a drowning man. 
 
Here's a better answer: How's about you not let your Boy Scouts climb over unique geological formations like they are a school yard jungle gym?  Then they don't have to worry about hurting themselves on a rock.
 
The state of Utah is still deciding if they want to press charges, and I pray that the answer is yes...and I am also upset that the Boy Scouts haven't been more public in disowning these guys.  I guess the lesson is, Gay Troop Leaders are bad, idiots who destroy irreplaceable rock formations are okay though.
 
This is exactly the kind of place where public punishment would be the best solution.  While you could probably convince me that the death penalty is warranted, it seems something like tar and feathering, or 48 hours in stocks in front of a mall in Salt Lake City would be a more appropriate solution.
 
Heinlein does have something to say about that, though:

 
“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”

10.17.2013

Probably didn't have anything to damage.

Good on fighting back with what you had, boo because he is still running around out there. 

Vancouver woman smacks intruder with dumbbell



VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Police in Vancouver say a 48-year-old woman smacked an intruder in the head with a dumbbell after he entered her home through the garage and made sexual comments.
The Columbian reported that police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said the woman initially thought someone she knew was coming home, then saw a male stranger in his 20s walk into her living room Tuesday afternoon.
Kapp said the intruder reportedly grabbed the woman's legs and made sexual comments. That prompted her to pick up a nearby hand weight and hit him in the head. He ran back out the way he came in.
A K-9 unit searched but did not find the man.
The unidentified woman was not hurt and nothing was taken.
 
I wonder what size weight she used...it's just like caliber wars...'if you had had a 10 pound weight instead of one of those wimpy 5-pounders, you'd have had a one shot stop!'

My busy bee.

Earlier this week, my wife took the kids on a home schooling group field trip to a local orchard/pumpkin patch.  While there, she fell into 'target of opportunity' mode, and ended up picking 70 pounds of apples with the girls.

So, for the last day and a half, the house has smelled like apples, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Which is not a bad thing.


I'm going to need to rearrange things in the garage...not all the apple stuff is going to fit on the apple shelf now. 

10.16.2013

Deja Vu.

So, things were on the verge of getting pretty tight on the home front.  My company, a government contractor, was running out of money, and we have been making plans to go to minimum safe manning on Monday, meaning 95% of us were going to get to stay home, which is nice, but we weren't going to get paid, which is not so nice.

All that has been averted, with an 11th Hour Deal that kicks the can even further down the road, solving nothing, but hey, at least it's politics as normal, with Senate Minority Leader McConnel getting a 2.9 Billion Dollar earmark for a Army Corps of Engineers Dam project in Kentucky.  Oh...a project that is already years behind and hundreds of millions over budget. 

Excuse me...I think I just threw up in my mouth. 

Now...it's easy for me to say this now, but the fact is...I was more than willing to give up a few weeks worth of paychecks if we got a balanced budget plan in the process.  I said as much on facebook yesterday, and you would have thought I had a 3rd eye growing out of my forehead. 

Whatever.  This is just like last year.  Pass an extension, set up a 'Legislative Panel' to come to some kind of budget agreement.  They won't(like the couldn't/wouldn't last time) and to kick the can further down the road in January, they will agree to another panel and another extension, and then maybe some kind of automatic Sequestration.

Stupid. 

There will never be a better time than now to fight this fight.  There will never be a good time to do this for the global economy.  There will NEVER be a time it doesn't cause a recession.  There is NEVER a time it won't hurt the poor, and the rich, and the middle class.  As the debt continues to increase, it isn't going to get cheaper to address the problem.

But hey, at least we can have a Happy Christmas. 

10.15.2013

Scratching my head.

I like Bruno Mars.  The dude has a very unique voice, that takes me a long time to get tired of listening too. 

His new song 'Gorilla' really leaves me confused though.  It's just that never once in my life have I looked at a gorilla and had that trigger sexy-time thoughts in my head, or other areas.  So...when he sings 'you and me baby, making love like gorillas'...ummm...yeah.

Maybe you can decipher it, but...be warned, there is cursing. 


Ahhhh...

If I ever win the lottery, or even become wealthy to the point where I can spend money on stupid things, one of the first things I am going to buy is some kind of towel warmer. 

Now that it's starting to get...brisker, in the morning, I'm a big enough wimp that I will spike the heat in the house(changing it from 66 to 68 degrees) before I get in the shower. It's nice to have a little bit of warm air circulating when you turn the water off.  It's also nice to be able to lay my towel out on the bathroom floor near the ventilation ducting so that when I pick my towel up it's a few degrees warmer than ambient temperature. 

Having an actual towel warmer...and I know they aren't super expensive(but there is no way I can justify spending $150 on something like that right now), that would be my idea of luxury. 

10.14.2013

White European = Bad Guy

Sometimes, I think I just need to stay of facebook.  Yes, it is a good look inside the daily lives of friends and families that I did not have 5 years ago...but sometimes...the stupid, it makes my head hurt. 

 With today being Columbus Day, I think I must have seen at least a dozen post's by people that where running down Christopher Columbus.  Here is a perfect example:


Sure...looking at the history books, some horrible, horrible things happened to the native cultures as the Europeans moved into the Americas.  Disease was spread, whole cultures were wiped out for their land and precious metals and gems.  But, you know what?  Prior to coming to the America's, the European's had done that to themselves for centuries.  Little things like the Crusades, and the Inquisition, and the Roman's keeping the early Christians down(not to mention destroying Carthage).

Meanwhile, the peaceful Native's of North America were not exactly clean as the driven snow.  When the Nahua(founders of what would become the Aztec Empire) moved into central Mexico, they 'dislocated' the unorganized tribes who lived there.  They also brought the whole 'human sacrifice' thing to new levels, sacrificing an estimated 20,000 people a year, with some occasions, such as the consecration of the Great Temple at Tenochtitlan calling for extra blood...an estimated 80,000 people over the course of 4 days.

But yes...let's all feel bad, and be mad at Columbus...because he did it all.  Hell...I don't think any serious historians even believe that Columbus deserves any real credit for being first anymore.  Maybe for being the loudest and proudest...but not first. 

I mean...would all these folks rather live in an over crowded, disease ridden Europe(waiting for a plague to pop up once a century), while a resource rich continent sits here under-utilized?






 

10.13.2013

It's a conspiracy!

On a Sunday that was too nice outside to ignore, there were no morning NFL games that interested me, so I decided to run to Home Depot and pick up the stuff for a little project/chore I've been wanting to do for a while...like, 5 or 6 months, but I'm a wimp when it comes to working out in the hot summer sun, so, 50 degrees is the perfect temperature for outdoor work for me. 

It wasn't anything huge...I just wanted to put some nice looking 'mulch' rings around my fruit trees. 


Really, I should have done it when I put the trees in, but...better late than never.  After putting the rings around the trees, I added about three inches of a nice, nice compost, and then topped it off with anther three inches of bark, so...hopefully I'll have some happy trees next spring. 

10.11.2013

Mobius

With hunting season over, we used my Friday off for a nice little home-schooling field trip, going to the Mobius Science Center in Spokane. 

Now, an initial disclaimer...the science center was not as big as we thought it was going to be. Our kids were pretty much done with it in about 2 hours.  Since it's a 4+ hour round trip Tri-Cities to Spokane, I would say it might not be worth it just to go to Mobius, but since we had other things to do, it was a nice, pleasant day. 

Despite being smaller than we thought, Mobius was neat. It's almost 100% hands on, which is nice for kids(oh, and parents!) 


My wife stole my heart, and used it for a science experiment!  My older daughter is biting down on a piece of metal to prove bone conduction of sound. She finally stopped after 5 minutes because her teeth were starting to hurt. 

After that, we had to run to the headquarters for the Eastern Washington/Idaho Girl Scouts so my wife could drop a few things off and buy a sash for our older daughters uniform.  Then, it was a few antique stores, because one can never have enough lard containers.

 
 
We finished up our Spokane trip with an early dinner at The Flying Goat, where we had some really, really, REALLY good pizza.  To get nit-picky, the pizza was kind of thin.  I mean, it was nice, crispy crust, but I prefer a little more dough...but the toppings were tasty, tasty, tasty.  We had the special, which had spinach, roasted chicken, and roasted garlic, with a cream sauce, and then little dollops of hot chili sauce on it.  It was yummy, yummy, yummy, and I'm bummed out it's 4 hour round trip away.
 


10.10.2013

Not sure you need a tag for that...

Naked man accused of attacking hunter in Oregon
The Associated Press
HILLSBORO, Ore. — Washington County authorities say a naked man was arrested after attacking a hunter south of U.S. 26 near Manning.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Ray says the hunter sustained head and shoulder injuries, but managed to hold his attacker at gunpoint until deputies arrived.
Ray told The Oregonian the incident started Thursday morning when the hunter noticed the naked man trying to damage his all-terrain vehicle.
According to Ray, the man then jumped on the hunter, struck him with a rock and tried to choke him. The hunter grabbed his rifle when the naked man stopped attacking.
The hunter was taken by ambulance to OHSU Hospital. The suspect was taken to Washington County Jail after receiving treatment for a broken finger

Nothing exciting like that EVER happens when I go hunting...

10.09.2013

It's not nice to laugh, but...

After reading this headline 3 or 4 times, I had to read the story. 


Packwood woman stung by bee runs over self

Yeah...it's just as horrible/funny as you might think it is.  Poor lady got stung, and in her rush to get in her SUV and get away, she then slipped out of the car, which proceeded to roll over her leg.  Adding insult(and more expense) to her injury, the car continued to roll until it finally stopped by hitting a parked car.

Makes my day feel a little less poopy. 

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/10/09/2829137/packwood-woman-stung-by-bee-runs.html#storylink=cpy

10.08.2013

Friday.

When I go hunting, I usually always throw a paperback into my back pack.  It is a quiet, peaceful way to pass the time as I sit on a hill side, or draw...waiting...sometimes for hours. 

This time, before heading out, the book I grabbed was 'Friday', by Robert Heinlein.  Duh.

'Friday' is not one of my favorite Heinlein novels. It was nominated for the Nebula and the Hugo, so obviously people(and critics) liked it...I just didn't like it as much as 8 or 9 of his other books.  You can't even blame it on being one of his later books, because I'm one of those folks who actually enjoy the 'World-as-Myth' stories he was writing at the end. 

I think my problem is the plotting...there isn't much of it.  The characters are good, the dialogue is fine...it just doesn't feel like the story is going anywhere. 

That doesn't matter though...because it is still Heinlein, and there are still things that stick out at you.  One is his prediction(and yes it's writing...but it's also a prediction of sorts) of a Balkanized United States in our future.  It wouldn't surprise me to see this come to pass...and have it be worse than even Heinlein thought it would be. In his future, it seems that the U.S. has broken down into 3 or 4 'countries', with a few 'free states' thrown in. 

One he missed on though, was his use of house hold 'terminals'.   Essentially, he predicted the internet, and home computers that could access them...but he totally undershot the potential. For 1982(30 years ago!) I'm sure he felt he was already risking looking crazy enough...but with his 'terminals' you were still tied to a cord...what would he have thought about this wireless world we live in now with a 'terminal' in every pocket? 

It's tough to remember sometimes, but, we are LIVING in the future. 

10.07.2013

I don't have a tag for those!

So, there is a reason it's called hunting, and not killing.  From the point of view of filling my tag, my trip elk hunting was not a success. 

As far as spending time in the woods?  Well...that was nice.


It's a little different type of terrain than where I was hunting deer a few weeks ago.  Pend Oreille County(pronounce Pond-a-Ray, one word, and not like PEND ORIELLE, as I learned this weekend)(Oops), is located north of Spokane, and for the most part is between the Pend Oreille River and Idaho. It's home to some 13,000 people, spread over 1,425 square miles(about 15% bigger than Rhode Island, with 1.5% of it's population).

That makes it a great place for white tail deer, and even moose...but no elk, as far as I could tell.

I'm not alone in lacking success...in 2012, 205 muzzle loader hunters harvested 11 bulls in the Selkirk GMU.  Which is better than the 9 elk harvested by 209 hunters in my historical hunting ground, the Bethel GMU. 

Sigh.

Anyway...it wasn't a bad hunting trip. I didn't get rained on, or snowed on.  I saw plenty of deer, and moose.  It was the first time I have seen moose, in the wild.  Wow.  They almost don't look real, they are so big.  Their hind quarters look bigger than the deer I shot this year...but, then you see their lower legs, and it doesn't look like they should be able to stand, their lower legs are so coltish.

Moose is a once in a lifetime harvest in Washington.  You can expect to apply for 10-13 years before getting enough points to be selected in the lottery, and if you are successful in filling your tag, you are done moose hunting in Washington.  If you are not successful(success rate is 93%), then you can draw again...in another 12-13 years.  I have been paying for the points a few years now, and it's nice to know that in 8-10 years, I might know where to find a moose. 

For now...I know where to find my family, and my shower.



10.04.2013

Goin' north.

I'm loading up the truck now to head out soon for some elk hunting. 

Despite having a fairly successful hunting season so far, I am heading in to elk hunting with fairly low expectations, because, well...I'm winging it.

For the last 8 years, I have hunted with the same group of guys, in the same area...Bethel Ridge, just west of Natchez.  The overall success rate for that area is 3%, but we have always hunted there because 'hunting is about more than hunting'...and it has been a fun time.  We always have a really nice camp set up, and the camp side of stuff with all my buddies is fun. 

A few years ago though, I ruined it, and shifted from modern methods of hunting to muzzleloader, to increase my success rates.  A few other guys shifted with me, kind of splitting the group in half...but since we only live two hours from where we have been hunting, guys still came up to visit, and hang out as one big group.

This year, it was shaping up like most guys were going back to Modern, except for me and maybe two other guys, who, frankly, spend more time drinking than hunting.  In the end, I decided to punt for elk season, and strike out on my own.  I bought a tent and a propane heater, and studied some maps for a bit, and decided the area with the best combination of success rate, and easy access to public land is in the Selkirk GMU, in the North-East corner of the state. 

I have never been there before.  I'm heading in with no scouting, and a few maps. Best case, I get an opportunity to shoot an elk.  Worst case, I'll get a chance to see some new, pretty country, and enjoy some solitude.  The weather is supposed to be decent, with overnight lows dipping into low 30's, upper 20's, and daytime highs in the 50's. 

The absolute worst thing about it all is that I am going to be missing my younger daughters birthday.  She turns 8 tomorrow, and is at a serious guilt trip age. 

Oh well...maybe I can bring her home a few hundred pounds of elk meat for a present. 

10.03.2013

Dead Goblin

Suspected burglar shot, killed by business owner

The hero of our story is a runs a farm stand from his property, and heard some folks rattling around in his office at o'dark-thirty.  He grabs his trusty shotgun, and goes to check his office, where he finds two youths in his office practicing some financial redistribution.  A few moments later, one of the youths is lying dead on the floor, and the other is calmly waiting for the police to arrive and take him into custody.

The initial stories coming don't say anything about any weapons being found, but I have to tell you, I would buy the fact that a 64-year old man finding a 20 and 21 year old rooting around in his office would have a legitimate fear for his life, justifying the use of force. 

10.02.2013

Without Remorse

Sad news today from the world of literature(well, at least the world of Techno-Military-Suspense Thrillers), as Tom Clancy passed away last night, at the age of 66. 

Now...I thought he was older than 66.  Over a decade ago, a buddy of mine went to a Tom Clancy book signing, and he said Mr. Clancy had just looked rough even back then.  Much chain smoking and coffee. 

I haven't read most of his later books, and I have read none of the books that use his name as a 'brand'(Op-Center, Net Force), but I think there can be little doubt that few authors have had a 12-year period like Clancy did from 1984(The Hunt for Red October) to 1996(Executive Orders).  I would concede J.K. Rowling, but that is about it.

If I was to really make a list of my 10-favorite books, I think that two of Tom Clancy's would make the cut: 'Red Storm Rising', and 'Without Remorse'.

'Red Storm Rising' is without a doubt, the finest novel written about WWIII that I have had the honor of reading.  If there is one that folks feel is better, please recommend it so I can read it.  Due to the level of detail, I find 'Red Storm Rising' to be infinitely re-readable.

It's not my favorite Clancy book though.  That would be 'Without Remorse', his book that he wrote to fill in the much hinted at back story of one John Clark.  Maybe it's the fantasy aspect of it...the hope that if something horrible ever happened to one of your loved ones, you could do even a quarter as good a job as the former John Kelly at getting your revenge.  Or it could just be it's a really good book.  It's one of those books that could make one hell of a movie, but I almost hope no one tries, because it won't be good enough.

As a side note, Mr. Clancy was also a gun owner, who once gave an interview/tour of his house where he showed off his H&K 94 as a his home defense gun, and showed off his own indoor gun range in his basement. 

R.I.P. Mr. Clancy. 

A long, slow burn.

KIRO T.V. posted a quick summary of which Washington State Lawmakers are giving up their paychecks during the shutdown, and which are still collecting them. 

Which WA. State congress members will take payment during shutdown

Now, I know that their pay is protected, and I KNOW that the ones who are potentially turning down paychecks aren't doing it because they 'feel the pain' of my former shipyard brethren...it's politics.  That's why the letters are going on facebook and instagram, and press conferences are being given. 

However. The answer that has my brain ready to explode is from Jim McDermott.

'How do I pay my mortgage payments?'

Jim McDermott has been a member of the U.S. Congress for 23 YEAR now.  Are we supposed to believe he is living paycheck to paycheck? 

What a LAME answer.

Next year is an election year.  If this doesn't come up during the campaign next year, something is broken.  Even if someone runs against McDermott and all they do is answer each interview/debate question by saying 'remember that time when McDermott said he didn't know how he would make mortgage payments during the shutdown?'

You might not win, but wouldn't it be worth it to the Libertarian Party to trot someone out there just to keep dropping that turd over and over again?

10.01.2013

Lot's of scared people out there.

As we lurch into this government shutdown, there are a lot of folks in my facebook family who are running scared, and frustrated.  A large percentage of folks I know working at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard have been given their furlough papers.  They were sent home today with no real idea of when they will get their next paycheck, or how much it will be written for.  Even the ones that were labeled essential personnel might have to wait for a pay check.

That's unfortunate...and I can't begin to imagine how frustrating it is to flat out NOT KNOW. 

What's blowing my mind though, is how many of them are already running scared...terrified even.  How many of them have NOTHING.  Nothing in the bank, no dry stores in the pantry, no meat in the freezer, no cans or jars in the garage.  Just flat out nothing.  It's very topical with something Commander Zero talked about last week

Add in to that the number of them(at least three hands worth) who rolled their eyes and said something like 'but you can afford a much nicer house than that', when we decided to a buy a house that was valued at roughly 60% of what we could have reached to afford. Instead we played it safe, and frugal, and continued to do what we could to get ready for something like this. 

Right now, I am safe.  I'm not longer directly employed by The Man, and as a contractor, my company has cash reserves to keep going...at least for a bit.  The initial guess is at least 4 weeks before we need to start reducing staffing.

If things get back to the point where I am not safe...well, it's nice to know that we have been trying to do the right thing.  The 30 pounds of venison I picked up yesterday from deer #1 when I dropped off deer #2 is a nice bonus, and by the time we ate all that, there should be another 35-40 pounds ready from deer #2. Plus, there is bacon...and eggs.  And more eggs.