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


Color me intriqued.

Because I frequent many entertainment-type websites, I had been aware that a remake of Godzilla was coming out this year.  After the 'baby Godzilla's are just like velociraptors' suckfest that was the Mathew Broderick staring take back in 1998, I really didn't care much.

Even the news that the had Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston, fresh from his Breaking Bad success didn't excite me much.

However...this trailer...it's got me a little tiny bit excited.

Godzilla comes out May 16th...and that's going to make things tough on me, because(especially if I want to take my wife), we really only get to see a movie every month or two, and the weekend after Godzilla opens, we get what is probably my most anticipated movie of 2014...

Choices, choices, choices.  Of course, my wife could send me to see one of them alone, like I did to her with Monuments Men...but, I kind of like watching movies with my wife. 


I'm not going to question the official story, but...

Happy ending(well, sad if you were the cougar) for a wild animal/hard working family encounter.

11-year-old Twisp girl kills cougar

Hey...if dad wants the official story to be that his daughter is a hero...I've got no problem with that.  I'd be willing to bet a sizable amount of cash though, that what really happened is that dad put a round into said cougar, and then drove his daughter to the local hardware store and got her a cougar tag, instead of wasting his...because that is hypothetically something I would think of doing in a similar situation.


The bigger story here is that, if I do my math, this is the 10th cougar killed in this area this winter...5 by hunters, and 5 by a special hunt done using dogs by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Department.

You mean as we allow the wolf population to grow unchecked, cougars are suffering and being forced into more and more contact with humans. 

Kind of quiet.

Yeah, sorry about the lack of content and all that.  We are about three weeks out from opening night of the show I am in, and rehearsals have stretched out to right around 4 hours a night. In fact, lately this blog has reminded me of this picture I saw of North Korea.


Sometimes, that old saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is 100% true.  Folks, that is one backwards living in the dark country. 

On the positive side though, think of what the night sky must look like there.  I'm sure that's a huge relief to the 25 million people living their lives in darkness at night, and terrified of their own government every step they take.


Got that one marked on the calendar.

I'm blessed in that I have a wife who, if she doesn't actually enjoy action movies, she humors me. She grew up with two brothers, and thinks that the best movie to come out of the 1980's was Red Dawn.

Now...as for comic book/super hero movies...she doesn't get quite as excited for them as a genre as she does 'action' movies(even though most super hero movies are action movies). Still...it looks like Marvel might have another winner on their hands, because even though she wouldn't know the Guardians of the Galaxy from the Masters of the Universe, after watching the newly released trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, my wife said(with no sarcasm) 'Ooo...I can't wait to see that one!'

August 1st, I'll hold her to that. 

They certainly did the right thing with this first trailer, focusing more on the characters(actual characters!) than loud noises and explosions. 


Thanks for the help!

Out doing a little bit of yard work today.  I really can't wait until I can start planting, but realistically, I am still almost 8 weeks away form the 'average last frost' for here in the Tri-cities. 

The weather is nice enough to work on yard/garden improvements though.  One of my changes for this year is that I pulled out a bunch of Virginia Creeper that had been growing along the fence, and recently started breaking up the dirt along the fence line, with the goal being putting in a row of scarlet runner beans this spring...hopefully a nice edible ornamental. 

Since it is nice out, and green(weeds!) is starting to show around the yard, I decided to give the chickens the run of the yard for the day.  They are very helpful on weeds.

So, other than 2 inches or so of top soil, my ground here is very sandy...which is one of the main reasons I have raised beds.  However, thanks again to the chickens, I have no shortage organics to blend into the soil this year...and I don't have to just use a shovel and pitch fork to work it into the ground.

Of course, they are animals, and sometimes they get into the places I don't want them to.  They seemed to take particular joy in tearing up the straw mulch on my raised beds.

Good help is hard to find...but they work cheap.

Gotta keep the shotgun handy.

As I mentioned earlier, my wife and kids are off visiting the World's Greatest Nana, with the primary purpose being bridesmaids/flower girl dress fittings for Nana's wedding in July. 

This of course leads to the impossible to ignore photo evidence that my daughters are growing up.

Here is my 8-year old, slotted in as a flower girl.

I'm not sure if the sweater is part of the outfit or not, but....women's fashions, who knows.

As for my 11-year old, who was playing with Legos and tinker toys on Wednesday...always a bridesmaid, never ever a bride if daddy has his way.

As you can tell, she is almost as amused as I am. She really isn't much of a dress girl, but she had a conversation or two with mom about the need to humor Nana in this case.


Yeah, I'm a pig.

No, this confession isn't about my eating habits.  As far as that goes, I'm trying to be good, even while my wife is gone.  We had out costume fittings for my show last week, and with the measurements being taken back before Christmas....well, mine fits, but dropping 3 or 4 pounds would help prevent some kind of tragic wardrobe malfunction when I bend over.

Nope...I realized I am a pig because I am fascinated by the culmination of scientific and marketing prowess that resulted in Sports Illustrated send Kate Upton out in one of the specially modified 727's for a zero gravity bikini shoot

In the interests of legality(and my happy, happy marriage to a wonderful woman), if you are the type of male(or female) that would find pictures of buxom, blondes with and amazing smiles worth looking at(in other words, you have a pulse), feel free to click on the link above.  Ms. Upton, one of the few mainstream(non-plus sized) models with what I would call Curves(notice the capital C), benefits from zero gravity...but let's face it...she is pretty even without it. 

Just like my wife...and don't you forget it. 

So Ronery.

Well, I'm all alone this weekend.  My mom is getting married in July, and so my wife took the kids over to visit her and get some flower girl/brides maid dress fittings done.  Due to the 'wet' weather pattern we've had the last few weeks(bad for travel, good for drought threats) my wife decided that rather than try to make it through the mountain passes(which have been closing for hours at a time for avalanche controls), she would play it safe and take the longer way, driving south to Portland, and then north on I-5.  It's 7.5 hours in ideal circumstances vs. 4 hours in ideal circumstances going through the mountains...but recent conditions are not ideal.

It's a 'devil you know' type situation. 

Anyway, she made is there safe and sound...but, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do a 14 hour round trip for one night, so she headed over Thursday, and will come back Sunday.

That means I have to entertain myself, and the cats, and the spider, and the snake, and the chickens for three days.

It also means I have to take care of the litter box on my own for a few days, which is the real source of my pain. I mean...I do miss the wife and kids.  After the first two hours or so, 'alone time' starts to get boring.  But....I know for certain, that if I ever find myself 'alone' for long stretches of time...I will have cats, but I will also invest in one of those automatically cleaning litter boxes.

I recommend you click on the song...it's funny, but turn off your 'takes offense easily' switch first.


All the more reason you aren't getting my guns.

I would ask who paid for this 'study', but I'm sure if you pull the string hard enough, it get's back to me and thee.

Climate change will boost crime, study says

So...climate change(not Global Warming...if you can't win the argument, change the argument) is going to lead in increased crime because we currently see more crime during periods of higher temperature. 

What it doesn't take into account is the fact that our major cesspools(I mean cities), are going to be underwater, chasing all these vermin and predators out in the suburbs, and rural areas, where victims have an increased chance of fighting back. 


What's more Navy than that?!?!??!

It's a new world out there, and if you don't believe it, here's a story out of Florida, where a Captain and a Command Master Chief have been relieved of duty because they  “wrongfully affiliated the U. S. Navy with businesses that are not representative of the Navy and DoD's high standards,”.

The businesses in question?  Local strip clubs.

Big sigh here folks...and at the risk of offending people, I'm not joking when I say there is not much MORE representative of the Navy than nudie bars in Cocoa Beach.  Some of the most memorable(and expensive) nights of my single life took place when the boat I was on was in Cocoa Beach for Weapons Testing.  I helped many a struggling college girl pay for a semester or two.  I was a regular White Knight. 

The funny thing is, that's it's perfectly okay for commands located in Connecticut to seek out Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun Casino, places of adult entertainment, as sponsors for events, but god forbid the commands in Florida seek out the deep pockets at The Inner Room, or Lido's Cabaret. 

That is just not very good.

I stopped by the grocery store yesterday on my way home from work for just 'one or two' things, and of course, the marketers know what they are doing, and I totally fell victim to an end cap display of Lay's potato chips.  Not just any end cap though...an end cap promoting the 'flavored' Lay's, and their new contest to help them pick the next flavor of Lay's to take mainstream.

My impulse buy was a bag of 'Chicken and Waffles' flavor chips.

Color me unimpressed. 

Now...not being from the south, and having never eaten at a Waffle House, I don't have a lot of baseline for what Chicken and Waffles are supposed to taste like...but it can't be what these chips taste like. I have more faith in my fellow American's...even the southern ones, than to think they would be excited for the flavor that is coming out of this bag. 


Something missing

With us doing a homeschooling lesson on the Olympics(and tying it into geography and culture for the gold medal winners), I'm watching a fair amount of the coverage...and it has felt like something is missing.

Today, it finally popped into my head.

NBC is not showing the medal award ceremonies. 

I don't expect them to televise every awards ceremony, but it would be nice if they showed the ones where the U.S. was on the podium...especially the gold.  The tears and national anthem add another level to the games...it's increasingly the only thing that separates the Winter X Games from the Winter Olympics.


More successful than I had hoped

Well...I continue to be impressed with the Victor Power Kill Mousetrap...probably too impressed.  Since Saturday, I have gotten rid of 5 mice(including a double Monday morning!) from the garage...and if I find another one tomorrow, I'm going to think that I have gone past the point where I am eliminating the population in my garage, and actively baiting the mice in from outside. 

Now that it's dark, I think I'll put on my shoes and go walk around the garage...see if I can see any light shining out, so I can try to fill in the holes with some steal wool, at least as a stop gap for right now. 



Expensive Kitchen Experiment.

Around Valentine's Day, some consumables go from being prohibitively expensive to just 'kind of expensive'.  I decided to take advantage of that momentary dip in prices to make attempt to make something for my New England born and raised wife that she has been suffering in silence without for years: Lobster Bisque.

While my wife enjoys lobster, what she really thinks of when you mention lobster are either lobster rolls, or lobster bisque.  Since you can't find the proper slit-top hot dog buns anywhere in Washington to make lobster rolls, it had to be the bisque.

It's not a tough recipe to pull together...the hardest part is make sure to get every last bit of not cheap meat out of the shell, before you essentially use the shells to make a lobster stock, and then you add everything else in, before heating the lobster meat back up and adding it to the individual bowls at the end. 

The only thing I was less than satisfied with was the thickness.  Bisque should cling to a spoon, and this one wouldn't....but, my wife likes her bisque over mashed potatoes, and that helped to thicken it.

Now that I know what is involved, and that I can make this properly, I suspect that the next time I try it, I will try to use slightly cheaper, locally sourced ingredients...something like Dungeness Crab, or shrimp.


Recall Warning.

I just checked our pantry and we don't have any dried egg products, but in case you are more prepared than I am, this is worth spreading the word on.

Nutriom recalls 100 tons of dried egg products

Build a better mousetrap.

We have mice in our garage.

I'm hoping this is less a reflection upon ourselves, and more that it is late winter, and by this point, most garages that are not 100% vapor sealed have a chance of having mice in them. 

I had seen indications that there might be something like this going on for a few months, but after Christmas, we placed a box of 'stuff' in the garage to go to goodwill 'sometime'.  Last week, while going through it make sure my wife wasn't donating them anything of mine I was unaware of, I found proof...little black proof of mice.  So, sorry goodwill...that is why your didn't get a box of lightly used clothes and housewares from me this year.

While locking my younger cat in the garage for a week was a potential solution, I decided to try more modern methods, and picked up a few traps on clearance at Che Target earlier this week.

The results were less than satisfactory.  I found the trap tripped two mornings in a row, with no mouse.  The 2nd time, it had been moved over a foot, and a close forensic inspection showed a little fur and maybe even a little flesh...but no dead mouse.

Time to use a bigger gun.  I stopped at ACE yesterday and picked up a pack of these bad boys.

That badboy is the Victor Power Kill Mouse Trap...and I'll spare you the picture proof, but let's just say, it got the job done in classic, medieval style fashion. 

I have redeployed, and the chickens are waiting patiently.  I'm glad the mouse was already dead when I gave it to the chickens this morning.  They played keep away with each other for about 5 minutes this morning before the mouse came apart on them. 


Date Night!

Historically speaking, my wife and I don't 'go out' on Valentine's Day.  Our first year after getting married, I kind of screwed up...I figured if we went out early enough, we wouldn't need reservations.

Yeah...we ended up at home eating pizza, after giving up at several places, and thus was born a 'pizza at home on Valentine's' tradition.

This year, with Valentine's being on a Friday, we decided to try the 'going out' thing again.

Yes, I made reservations this time, at a place called Cheese Louise here in Richland.  Other than the many wineries, it's one of the nicer/fancier places in town.  They were advertising a Four Course wine matched prix fixe meal, and the price sounded nice.

The food was good, as was the company. 

That was the desert course...three little tasties...a berry crumble, a cookie dough truffle, and a celebration of cream: Irish Cream, Hazelnut Cream, Chocolate Cream, and Whipped Cream, and it was as good it sounds(and was), the best dish we had was the kale/mango salad, in a peppered parmesan crisp bowl.
If you then were smart enough to have saved some of the hummus from the first course, the combination of the parmesan crisp and hummus was one of the best flavors I have ever had.
The only discordant note of the meal was the wine.  Not the flavor...the wines, showcasing the lineup of Spring Valley Vineyard(in Walla Walla), were excellent...my favorite being the Cabernet Franc.  My issue was the pouring size. Umm...not that I am a greedy glutton, but when you are advertising four courses and four wines, I don't expect 4 full 5-ounce pours....but I expect enough to drink and enjoy with the flavors of each course.  What we got were 'tasting room' pours with each course...and that is actually selling short some of the pours I get at local wineries like Terra Blanca or Tagaris.  The fact that it was the first thing my wife mentioned when we got to our cars shows I am not too out of the box in my thinking. 
After a wonderful dinner, we had some tome to kill before heading to one of the local bars for karaoke, so we did what all couples do on dates...we went shopping!  Yoke's was having case sales on canned goods, so, since that was in the same general direction of our karaoke bar, it just made sense to do some stocking up.
I would like it noted that while I was making her pose for this picture so she can't say I never take her any where for Valentine's Day, my wife called me a goober.
Karaoke was fun, and it was mostly to kill time until we could justify paying our baby-sitter enough  to make it worth her while to drive all the way from Pasco.  We finished the evening at home, watching the first episode of the 2nd season of House of Cards, which was just as good as the first season.  


That's a lot of breadsticks.

What with the wife and I actually heading out for a Valentine's Date Night, the kids were being left home with a sitter, and pizza. 

Since it's Valentine's Day, tradition dictated we get the heart shaped pepperoni pizza from Papa Murphy's.(which looked a lot more heart shaped on the photo-shopped poster).

However, the point of this is not to make fun of how different things like pizza and Kim Khardashian look due to photo-shop.   I was at Papa Murphy's pretty early in the day, planning ahead, so they were pre-staging, and using every bit of their free time to make up these heart shaped pizzas before the evening rush.  Good time management.

Now, I had assumed that the heart shaped pizza dough's came that way...but it's more economical for them to just crank out a bunch of their large pizza dough forms, and then use a man-sized heart shaped cookie cutter to get it to the right shape. 

The downside of this is that there is an apple sized bundle of dough that is removed from each pizza crust, which the guy behind the counter was tossing into a plastic tote box.

After five minutes or so, my curiosity got the better of me, and I asked if the removed dough went into the back to be recycled into more pizza's, or...?

It turns out, no.  By the Papa Murphy's rules, the dough has been prepared for serving once, and even though it is trimmed off before going to a customer, it is no No Good.  I'm guessing, just during the time I was there, at ONE Papa Murphy's, I saw two pizza crusts worth of dough go into this tote.

I'm pretty sure the guy behind the counter sensed my disappointment...of course, with the frown and sad head shake, it wouldn't have been tough.  There didn't seem much sense in blasting him though...I'm not guessing this policy was created by the 23-year old kid who was behind the counter yesterday, and the fact is, the folks at my local Papa Murphy's have always been polite and friendly.

I am kicking myself though for not asking if I could be standing at the dumper when they disposed of that tote of dough.

My chickens would LOVE a weeks worth of pizza crust to snack on.


One less Goblin.

Looks like we had a home defense shooting right here in the Tri-Cites this morning.

Now...it's possible that I might be jumping the gun on labeling this guy a goblin.  The early stories have been updated to include a name, but that name has not yet been attached to a rap sheet.  However, let's just assume for a second that trying to get in the door of a house that is not yours at 2:30 in the morning is not a good idea. 

I suppose it's possible that this guy is drunk/stoned guy who made his last mistake(and that does happen, and I always feel bad for both parties when it does), but...for now, it looks like the homeowner did right. 

I'm not in marketing, but....

Sometimes, the right product name makes all the difference.  I mean, 'zipper' vs. 'hookless fastener'.  People aren't buying Kindle's if you call the 'Nook's'. 

Yesterday one of the guys I work with brought some of these in:

I mean...I'm enough of an eater(plus, the container is transparent) to know that these are glazed cake donuts. But, you stand back and say 'glazed yeast rings' three times fast, and it sounds like something that would cause you to breakup with a girlfriend(yup, she's pretty, but I found out she got glazed yeast rings from her previous boyfriend).

Did I eat them?  Well, yeah...I mean, the guy brought them into work for that reason...I'm not gonna be rude.

I did stop at one though...I would hate for my wife to ask me what strange woman gave me glazed yeast rings.           



While I was off gallivanting around with Whore 1 and Whore 3(hey...that's really their roles!) at rehearsal last night, my wife was busy in the kitchen.  I came home to two batches of muffins, and one loaf of chocolate chip banana bread.

I've got to tell you...sometimes I lead a hard life.

In this case the 'hard' part is doing the right thing, and just having a slice or two of this bread for breakfast(leaving some behind for the wife and kids) instead of just throwing the whole thing in a bag and bringing it in to work to gnaw on all day.


But the race is only so long...

The wife of one of my friends posted this on facebook, and it took major effort on my part to not reply in a snarky manner(which I seem to do too often). 

I'm not going to argue with the fact that some kids learn at different paces...or that even the same kid will learn different topics at different rates.  We homeschool, and even thought I am not the primary teacher, I'm willing to bet I am more involved than your 'average' father.

What can't be overlooked though, is that there is only a finite amount of time to get the kids to learn...so, in a way, it IS a race.  You only have 18 years to produce functional adults, and learning the basics, like reading, writing and math, make that job easier. 


Making Due

The other day, my wife sent me a funny.

Not only did it make me laugh, but it made me want to make bacon cheeseburgers.

Problem...I used the last of my propane tank last weekend, and being a horrible, unprepared prepper, I don't have a spare, and I didn't feel like heading out for more.

Solution: Modify the Bacon Explosion.  Used some ground venison instead of sausage, and added a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese into the middle.  Then I baked it in the oven at 400 for about an hour.

Yeah...it came out pretty okay, even if a lot of the cheese oozed out.  Luckily, I had reserved some cheese.  Then I just sliced it up, and it fit very well on a toasted English muffin, which is the preferred hamburger bun in our house. 


It sounded like a good deal at the time.

Leading up to Christmas, one of the things my older daughter wanted was a tarantula.  You know...a spider, to be her pet...something she could keep in her room.

Well, my wife and I had already kind of worked out what we had planned to get for her, and a tarantula was NOT on the list.  Instead, we made a deal.  If she completed her responsibilities to the other animals(cats and chickens) satisfactorily for the month of January, without needing to be reminded, we would help her out with getting a spider.

Of course, my daughter had a kick-ass month of January...and after stalling last weekend because of the Superbowl, the time finally came to pay up.

Meet the newest member of the household.

Chickens outside...cats, a snake, and a spider inside.  Quite the menagerie we are building around here.

Might be time for me to move out. 


I know folks in 3/4's of the rest of the U.S. might not be impressed by this...but we have actually gotten snow accumulation here three days in a row, which is quite unusual in the Tri-Cities area.  We are usually cold enough for snow, we just lack the moisture.

Not this weekend though.  I'd say we have about 5 inches on the ground right now, which is as much as I have seen on the ground in my three years of living here.

The chickens are less than impressed...but they are easier to see against the white background.

I'm enough of a spoiling freak that I went out with a rake and shovel to clear them a path between their coop and the food/water...before I did my own stairs and walkway.  Luckily, as cold as we have been, it's a very dry, flighty snow...it's easier to clean the snow away with a stiff bristle broom than it is with a shovel(which I lack...just call me Atlanta...I'm unprepared!)
They are currently taking turns sitting on the feeder and water fountain, which makes more work for my daughter, because when chickens need to poop, they just poop, even if it goes into the food/water. 
I am currently enjoying a 2nd cup of coffee while I watch The Soup and eat my peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes that I made 'for the girls'.  The snow is nice on Sunday's when you really don't need to be anywhere.
We'll see if I am as accepting of it at 5:30 tomorrow morning.


And stay off my lawn!

I took my kids to see The Lego Movie today...and it was quite entertaining.  Never once did I feel like I was being drug along to escort them to a 'family' movie.  I read a review yesterday that said it was kind of like the guys from Robot Chicken decided to make a Matrix spoof, but had to keep it PG. 

Just because I enjoyed the movie surrounded by a bunch of doesn't mean I didn't feel like an old man at one point.  In fact, I was downright curmudgeonly. 

Because we had some actual honest-to-goodness snow accumulation the last two days(3-4 inches), and the Tri-Cities doesn't handle that so well, I wanted to make sure I left us plenty of time to get to the theater.  Of course, the street we live on is the only one in a 15 mile radius which hasn't been plowed, so we got to the movie 25 minutes early. 

Sweet...good seats, which was nice, because the theater filled up pretty fast.  5 minutes before the movies scheduled start time, bigger groups were already having to split up...kids one row, parents another type things.

So...when a family of 5 walked in at 11:35 for what was supposed to be a 11:30 start time, and asked me if I would be willing to slide to the end of the row(where my kids and I had been sitting for half an hour by this time)....I said no. 

I didn't pick a fight about it, or lecture...I just said I wasn't going to give up the premium seats I had been sitting in for 30 to slide 5 seats off center. 

The dad kind of stared for a minute or two, before moving off. 

I felt guilty about it for about 12 seconds, but the theater got dark, and the trailers started, so I didn't feel guilty anymore.

Although...the trailers did suck.  It was all kids movies.  I guess I was kind of hoping they would slide one in for something Transformers: Age of Extinction. 

There is always a negative.

Canning.  There are a lot of positives to it.  It's a useful skill to learn, and I am proud of what my wife and I have done with it over the last three years or so.

However...there is a down side to canning...and it's those stupid glass jars.  They are much less forgiving than metal cans, or the plastic jugs store bought syrups and jellies come in. 

This morning, I went out to  the garage to grab a few jars of a strawberry/peach syrup my wife made a year or two ago.  It was a supposed to be a jam, but it didn't quite set...but it makes a great sauce base.  I was going to combine it with some chili sauce to get a crockpot of meatballs going for a card game I'm going to tonight. 

Of course, as I was trying to reach back a row, I scrapped my hand on the shelf above, dropping a very unforgiving 12-ounce jar on the hard concrete jar of the garage.  Calamity ensued...it looked like someone's throat had been cut out there. 

Even better...even though I swept, I'm sure every time I run out to the garage for something over the next 6 months, and I'm in too big of a hurry to put on shoes, I'm going to find one of those little glass slivers I missed. 


Made his day.

As if you needed any proof at this point that Clint Eastwood is The Man.

Clint Eastwood saves golf director from choking

You go Clint.  84 years old and he is still able to lift a 200 pound guy off his feet while giving him the Heimlich.  Adrenaline is a wonderful thing...Clint might feel that in the morning.  The guy said he was drinking water, and choked a piece of cheese...and right there is his problem.  Everyone knows you drink wine with your cheese.



Hey, I warned y'all that things were likely to get slow around here what with my musical rehearsals and all. 

Rehearsals are eating into my time, I'm actually being expected to do work at work...and things are kind of mellow right now out there.  The gridlock in Olympia means there isn't a whole lot of potential legislation to get all frustrated about.

That doesn't mean I can't find something to anger myself about though, and the push to increase the Washington State minimum wage to $12 an hour(it's already the nation's highest at $9.32 an hour) by 2017.  This is on the heels of the Port of SeaTac raising the minimum wage in their are to $15, and a pledge by the mayor of Seattle to push for the same $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

Of course, this is all part of the push to redefine 'minimum wage' as more of a 'living wage'...and I highly disagree with it.  I do not agree with either of those numbers, and I am totally against the idea of a 'living wage.'  It's highly possible that the level of technical training I achieved in the Navy has led me to be an elitist(but, since that technical training led to me having to survey the occasional sanitary tank, I don't think that' the case)...but when you get right down to it, I do not believe all jobs are created equal...and I do not believe that getting out of bed, and showing up for a 40 hour week at just ANY job should guarantee you ANYTHING. 

Even my wife, who has a slightly different set of political view than I do, is not happy with either of these numbers.  She is curious why she would go to school to get her LPN certification, to earn $15-$16 an hour(you can earn more if you are willing to work goofier shifts), when she could earn  that for doing just anything. 

I doubt she is the only one who feels this way.  Which then leads to...what?  Increased openings in jobs in that $15-$18 range, which require special technical training?  Until they increase salaries on those jobs, passing it onto the consumers? 

You can't continue to mandate a higher and higher minimum wage without having to mandate other wages and compensations. 

Which is probably what they are looking for an excuse to do.


An answer I can believe.

A friend, who knows our plans for our chickens, sent me this.



Wow.  I did not see that result coming.  I thought that the Seahawks had a 50-50 shot at winning the game, but I did not expect it to be the wire to wire ass-kicking that it was.

My inner(and obviously, outer) Patriots fan is very satisfied.  People at work will be much easier to deal with tomorrow.

None of the commercials really blew me away...but both the new Captain America movie and the Transformers movie have moved up my list, and in the beer off, the Iron Horse Brewery Mocha Death beat the Elysian Split Shot.  I was the ultimate loser though, because after drinking two dark coffee accented beers like that in one afternoon/evening, I don't think I'll be able drink another beer this week, OR sleep tonight. 

Yay! Commercials!

Football Good. 

Due to geography, being a Patriots fan, and one little man, I am cheering for the Seahawks.

And good commercials(already had a Captain America sighting).

The real challenge of the afternoon is having my wife help me out with a taste test, so I can figure which beer reigns supreme.

Enjoy the game.  And the to the fine folks in our military unable to watch it live(been there once or twice myself)...thank you.

I'm no expert, but...

The shower faucet in my bathroom has had a bad case of the drips.  For a month  or so, I seem to have been the only one who can close it in such a manner that it doesn't drip...but this last week or so, even I seem to have lost that ability.

With all signs pointing towards it being a bad cartridge, I watched a video or two and said...yeah...I can do that. 

The job started well.  I correctly isolated water to the house(last time I tried a shower repair, I didn't do this correctly.  Things went BAD.  Really BAD.  It's why I'm making a big deal out of fixing my shower this time), and got things taken apart with no problem.

Than we had a problem.

The shiny cartridge on the left is what the internet had led me to believe I would find inside my shower.  The scuzzy looking one on the right is what I actually found.  Now, even though my butt-crack occasionally shows up, I'm not a plumber.  Even so, I recognize a problem when I can see one...I mean, one is translucent, the other is white!  That can't be right!  Screw you internet.

Because I'm learning, I headed back to the hardware store, and this time, I actually brought the cartridge I removed from the wall with me, and completed the job. 

So far, so good.  I turned the water back on, and no dripping.  I turned the water on and off, and no dripping. 

Watch out, Bob Villa. 


Doesn't look like much, but...

If you are in to cooking, and you don't already know about foodgawker, allow me to recommend it to you.  Essentially, it's like pinterest...but it's nothing but recipes.  So far, there isn't one I have tried that I haven't enjoyed.

Of course, that could just be my mad kitchen skills.

Today was an attempt to find something to do with the bags of lentils we have...other than sprouting them for our chickens.  The beef and lentil soup I made did not disappoint...even if it looked a little uninspiring in the pot.

Instead of the lean ground beef the original recipe called for, I used a pound of ground venison.  I also subbed a scallion, so I could use what I had in the house. 

Right from the pot, the soup/stew reminded me of the best chipped beef I had ever had.  It would be outstanding on baked potatoes or even a good toast(which is what we intend to do with the leftovers).

The little romano potato puffs?  Perfection...and the porter from Scuttlebutt Brewery in Everett was a great compliment to the meal...and the result was almost photogenic.

Somber, and not nearly thankful enough.

Our new world of 'social media' makes it much easier to stay in touch with people we don't get to see regularly.  Unfortunately, that doesn't always bring good news.

The sister of my long time good friends...a girl I have known for 25+ years, is going through a bad time...and has for quite a while.  You see, both her sons have Muscular Dystrophy, and in both cases, it's the Duchenne type, which is the worst of a bad lot.  Symptoms get bad between ages 8-10, and the disease can prove fatal anytime after the mid-teens.

In this case, the disease has pretty much followed this timeline.  The young man(whom I have written about before) has been in a wheel chair since 11....and has spent the last two weeks in an out of ICU.  His 14th Birthday is this Sunday...and earlier this week his mom expressed the hope that he would make it through his birthday, and get to see the Seahawks win the Superbowl(no pressure, Seattle)...because, it's looking really touch and go.

In addition to this....they had to have The Talk with him.  You see...it sounds like the have never really totally discussed with him just how sick he is.  I can't fault them for that, because I have no freaking idea how you have that conversation with your own barely teenaged child.

When my oldest was born a few weeks early, she was having some immediate breathing problems, so she was air-lifted away to a hospital with a NICU.  By the time she got there, her breathing was fine, but prior to release, she got a bad case of jaundice.  All told, she spent about 5 days in the hospital, and has never had much more than a sniffle since. 

Both my girls are surprisingly healthy.  I think they got some of my constitution...and stories like this make me realize how much I have taken this for granted.

I don't pray often...but I am praying for Quincy and his family...as well as saying a prayer of thanks.