Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama

Judging by the Electoral College counts that I'm seeing on TV, McCain pretty much got his ass handed to him tonight. We've just witnessed a very powerful demand for a change in direction for this country, and to be honest, much more of a majority than I expected to see. The Democrats are poised, with the presidency and strong majorities in both houses, to pretty much do as they see fit with impunity for at least the next two years. Interesting times indeed.
I have to give it to the man - he is an incredible speaker. I can only hope that his talk of uniting the country and working together is not so much hot air, but I fear that there is really no incentive or need for him to do so with the mandate he's been handed.
The Democrats have the reins of power now. Whatever happens in the next couple of years will be entirely their responsibility - they will have to own it. I will pray that they use that power wisely.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pimp my Ruger

Since that rifle match I took part in a few weeks back, I've been filled with a desire to "hop up" my plain-jane Ruger 10/22 in an attempt to coax possibly more accuracy out of it. So, patiently biding my time on several gun boards out there, I managed to pick up a clean laminated Fajen stock for $40 plus 100rds of 7.62X39 and a Green Mountain sporter barrel for $65 shipped.
Well.... the barrel came in Friday afternoon and I finally got an opportunity to make the switch today...
Before:

My bone-stock Ruger 10/22. Not much more to say, really...

15 minutes and one bottle of Hornsby's Crisp Apple Cider later:


I know the pictures suck - the lighting was suboptimal - but that stock is frikken beautiful.
Here's a close-up:


I am an absolute sucker for pretty furniture...
Here's a closer shot of the new barrel:

Now just to add a decent scope, take this bad boy down to the range and see if the setup will shoot as advertised...

I'm not down with that

As you all know, the election is coming up on Tuesday. Here in California, voters will also be asked to vote on several propositions on the ballot - an attempt at government by direct democracy rather than having the legislature do its job.
One such proposition is Proposition 8, which would change the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Since the courts here pretty much gave a green light to gay marriage, this is probably the last weapon in the arsenal of those who oppose gay marriage.
I have a huge problem with this.
My understanding is that a constitution is written up to limit the power of government.
What we have here is an attempt to amend a constitution to restrict the liberties of the people.
See the difference?
Whether you care for gays getting married or not, using a constitutional amendment as a bludgeon to smack down folks you do not agree with can NEVER be excused.
That way lies peril.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness does not come with an "only if you're straight" qualifier.
I am a married Christian man who finds the concept of attraction to a member of my own sex incomprehensible, but that gives me no right to use government to discriminate against homosexuals. They do me or mine no harm by existing, and they certainly do not violate the sanctity of my marriage. Given current divorce rates (especially amongst Christians!) us straights are doing that just fine all by ourselves.
As for it being taught in public schools, well there are choices - this is America, after all. We can send our kids to private school, or even home school them ourselves if we dislike the curriculum enough. Better yet, as parents, since we are the primary influence in our kids' lives,we can teach our children and show by example ourselves the life lessons we want them to learn.
You may not agree with the homosexual lifestyle. You may not like it. You may even hate it. What you must do though, is think very carefully about using the power of the government to restrict the liberties of a particular group in our society, if only because the next one up on the block might be yours.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pomegranate baseball

....sounds like fun, don't it?

Well, there was a series of poor choices made yesterday afternoon...

Number one, probably the worst; I decided that I could trust my kids and their buddy to get on with their homework unattended while I took care of some stuff online (OK I was surfing...)
Not so. Bad dad.

Number two; my kids opted for play first, THEN homework... they know better than this, or at least I thought they did...

Number three; my kids hopped the fence to our next-door neighbor's yard to take some pomegranates from their tree (my neighbor's moved out and the house is vacant at present, and they had told us to feel free to come over and take whatever fruit we wanted - they have a lot of fruit trees - however, I don't want my kids going over there without a grown-up, something that I hope now is VERY clear).

Number four; since they couldn't find a baseball, the kids decided that these round, red, somewhat OVERRIPE fruits that they had just taken from next door would make an excellent substitute. That's right; batting practice in my backyard with pomegranates. Notice the plural - pomegranates do not survive more than one contact with a baseball bat, so yes, they used multiple pomegranates...

Last night, right before we were to leave for football practice, my daughter's conscience got the better of her and she spilled the beans. I walked up the drive into the back, surveyed the carnage, and told them to pick up the larger pieces... in a rather large OUTDOOR voice... since we were pressed for time, I left it at that for the time being.

Tonight, before they get to do anything fun, EVERY LAST SEED shall be removed from my backyard...

And yes, it was quite hard to keep a straight face throughout. I was a kid myself too, once...

Monday, October 13, 2008

This one time - in deer camp...


Deer season opened up October 4th this year in the zone we like to hunt, which is X1, all the way up in Siskiyou County by Mt Shasta. I got to work on Friday the 3rd at 6am, got off at 3, got my crap together and headed upstate.
13 hours and 720 miles later I pulled into camp right at 6am where my buddies (who had come up the day before) were getting ready to go out. I had just enough time to change into some warmer clothes and grab my .308.
Saturday rained all day, so we spent a lot of time in my friend's truck, just cruising the lonely dirt roads way back in the forest. Saw plenty of does and fawns, but no legal bucks.
The next few days the weather cleared up so we could break out the ATVs and the Rhino - much fun!
I stayed till Tuesday, but struck out as far as deer are concerned. No matter - the Shasta-Trinity forest is incredibly beautiful and the company was great. I heartily enjoy my forays into California's northern forests, and look forward to these trips every year.
The highlight of my trip...
My friend Shane and I were walking along a remote road, looking for sign of deer. I was ahead, looking into the trees on our left, when Shane let out with:"Bear!"
Since this guy is a jokester, I turned back towards him to say something like "Yeah, very funny," when he pointed past me with a stricken look on his face.
Sure enough, there was a middlin' sized Black Bear ambling down the road towards us about 80 yards distant. The bear turned into the trees on our right, still ambling along at an easy pace, until he drew about even with us. Finally he caught sight of us and took off running. You don't see that every day, at least not down here in the brown valley...
OK - some pics...

A gap in the forest from up high - the trees go for miles and miles. Fantastic. I think this was Saturday, because it looks a bit gloomy.

Mt Shasta through the trees. You have this vast green carpet of trees with a stark white cone sticking up out of the middle of it all. There's snow on there year round, I believe.
Some of the "ATV militia" on the prowl...
Motor pool back at camp...

Dew-dusted trees...

Mt Shasta from the McCloud gas station on the way back home...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

There's a first time for everything...

...and yesterday was my very first rifle match... ever!
It was a .22LR precision/tactical rifle match and 16 guys showed up for it - $25 a head.
I showed up with my Savage boltie, decked out with a wee Barska 3-9x32 scope and a bipod. My friend and I got there early and took a few minutes siting our rifles in @ 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards. Once the rest of the guys showed up, my little $120 Savage was looking pretty outmatched by all the custom 10/22s, Anschutz rifles and what-have-you on the rack. It was pretty intimidating. I turned to my friend and said "OK, I guess I just have to beat you" - he had brought a rig not much more decked out than mine - tube fed, no less...
The competition was in 9 stages, several prone at varying ranges - 75 yards, 100, 150 and one at a "mystery range" which some dude measured with his laser rangefinder at about 115 yards. The 4" target at 150 yards was so small I couldn't make out the numbers on them, and had to ask my friend which one was mine...
We then had a stage where you put your rifle in the rangemaster's shed and stepped back about 10 yards. You had 60 seconds to dash in, load 3 rounds into your rifle and aim out the window at a 4" steel plate at 115 yards. First shot was worth 100pts, 2nd was 50 and the third was 25. I nailed it on my third shot, which I think was a complete fluke. That was a damn small target.
Next up was "the jungle", 5 posts setup along a dirt path with clay pigeons set up on them at varying ranges. We had 7 shots to take them down. A hit was not enough - you had to knock them off the posts. I got 4 with 6 and then when I lined up on number 5, my last round jammed in my action. The rangemaster called time as I was frantically trying to get it out...
The last few stages were prone at 25 yards (hit the fuse on the dynamite - a line about 1/4" wide), 50 yards (hit the bad guy behind the hostage - maybe 1X1.5") and then hit a 4" target with 5 rounds off hand.
At the end of the day, I came out in 11th place out of 16 - and I was stoked! I fully expected to come last, given my inexperience and lack of practice with this rifle/scope combo (about an hour at dusk on Wednesday) - my buddy came in at 9th place - he's very good at shooting offhand - that's pretty much the only way he shoots.
I had an excellent time, it was a nice group of guys and I'll definitely do it again - though next time I'll remember to bring a sling to steady myself with the offhand shooting. I'll need a fair bit more practice too I think. I'll probably get a better scope - one that I can at least see my targets with!
Oh yeah, my friend and I were using bulk ammo, too...
Savage .22LR boltie rifle - $120
Barska 3-9x32 scope - $40
Walmart 9-13 inch adjustable bipod - $40

Not coming in last - priceless!

Good times...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

On a side note...

...I saw that my Rams got absolutely destroyed by the Eagles, 38-3. I mean, really! That's like a frikken college score! Sigh. Looks like its going to be another tough year for us Rams fans...

Panthers!

We just got back from the Chargers-Panthers game in San Diego, and I'm beat. We got out there by 8am this morning for the tailgating - something I've never done before, and that was a lot of fun, although Number One Son and I took a little ribbing for our Panthers attire.
Good food all around, plenty of beers and great company. Couldn't have asked for more.
The game itself was close - the Chargers defense kept the Panthers offense from scoring anything but field goals for all but the last play. If you didn't catch the game on TV or the highlights, let me just tell you it was a dramatic ending. The Panthers had led most of the game but the Chargers came back in the 4th with a TD that gave them a 5 point lead, with a little over 2 minutes on the clock. The Panthers had 1 time out (as well as the 2 minute warning).
The Panthers drove down the field, pass play after pass play and got inside the Chargers 20 with 6 seconds left. Delhomme (Panthers QB) tossed a pass - it was completed, but not close enough for the score. They frantically called a timeout - 2 seconds left. One more play - pass again, straight down the middle into the end zone for the TD. The entire stadium went silent - except for Number One Son and me, who were screaming our heads off...
I have pictures to upload, but I'll have to do that tomorrow, since, like a bonehead, I left my camera (and a bunch of other stuff) in my buddies car.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

First "gun" purchase this year....


Funds have been pretty tight this year since we moved into the new house, so I haven't been going too crazy on the gun front lately - to be honest, I pretty much have all the guns I want for the foreseeable future anyways (gasp!)... with the exception of maybe an M1A, which isn't going to happen anytime soon...
What I did get a few days ago was the first air rifle I've owned since I was a kid - a scoped Gamo Big Cat, something I can legally plink away with in my back yard. Man, I'd forgotten how much fun these things are! Packs enough punch to take out small game too, supposedly, although I haven't tried it out in that regard yet.

Home-brewed bench rest

A buddy of mine at work is an avid shooter - he's quite the rim fire fanatic - and the last time I went shooting with him, he whipped out a bench rest that he'd put together (he's pretty handy with a welder, which is a huge deficiency in my own skill-set).
I liked it so much, I asked him if he would make me one too, and he very kindly did - just charged me for the materials.
So, a couple of weeks and $45 later, I got to take this home:



I still need to buy the padding for the rests, but I think he did a great job putting this together - real clean welds, everything moves as it should, heck even the paint color is nice...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Game On!

Woohoo! NFL season starts tonight! The Giants are currently beating on the Redskins... Can't wait until this Sunday, because I'll be taking Number One Son to San Diego to see his Panthers take on the Chargers. Ahhh, football season!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sasha...


Is the name we've finally decided on....
She's changed quite a bit in the last three weeks...
She's got that whole "one up, one down" ear thing going on, exponentially adding to the cuteness factor...
You can't see too well in the picture, but because of her pigmentation, one side of her whiskers is white, and the other is black...

Sarah Palin

I've been watching with some amusement the near-hysterical exultation/relief that has swept the conservative blogosphere at McCain's choice of running mate.
Having studied up on her bio - like a ton of others yesterday who had never heard of her before - I have to say I like what I see.
There's no doubt that in Sarah Palin, McCain has made an excellent choice, and has made himself much more palatable to those of us on the right, as well as stuffing the whole identity politics thing right back down the Dems' throat.
I have heard that the VP choice of a candidate has little effect on the outcome of presidential elections, but choosing Governor Palin will certainly help settle the conservative base I suppose.
I think we tend to overlook, however, just how much power a president really has - they cannot by themselves institute broad, sweeping changes (which is how it ought to be) - and the impact they will have is often overstated during the run for president. It's still a democracy, with three branches of government - we're not selecting a king.
On that note, the VP has even less impact on the governance of the country. Dems are crowing about Palin's question the other night, "what does a vice-president actually do?" as though its a sign of her inexperience. I think it's a legitimate question, and shows that she knows that not much is expected or required of a VP, that the office of VP is in many ways more overstated than that of president. It's essentially a preparation for the presidency, and thus far I think she would do well in the top spot. I think Governor Palin has an exciting future ahead of her.

Retreat!


Dropped the kids off with Grandma and Grandpa last Friday and headed out to the desert to this place for a marriage getaway organized by our church.
We got there just as the food was being served Friday night (braised beef short ribs-yum!) and settled in to listen to this little ditty, followed by some "ice-breaking" and then a talk by our pastor. We rounded out the night with some dancing.
Saturday was spent getting together in small groups and discussing ways to improve our marriages as well as finding time to explore the local area and blow a wad of cash on some really good food.
Sunday was an early check-out followed by a wrap-up and trading addresses with the folks in our group who turned out to be really nice people.
It's a popular event - there were something like 300 couple there this weekend...
This was our second retreat and the better of the two. I'm looking forward to next year's.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New buddy

Here's our new wee Rat Terrier pup - just picked her up today, about a week after her first shots. The epitome of cute. She'll probably be about twice the size of Spartacus when she's grown, since he was some sort of runty aberration. We still don't have a name for her yet, although wifey's leaning towards Sasha. We introduced her to Lena today at a neutral site (aka Grandma and Grandpa's pad) and she gave us a bit of a scare when she nipped the wee one. Seems fine now though, we'll be keeping a close eye whenever they interact of course. This pup is smaller than the rabbit Lena ate a couple of weeks ago...

Here she is in Grandpa's arms with her stylish new collar (that bugs the crap out of her right now).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

BTW

Sorry for the light posting lately - I've been trying to deal with a fairly serious case of Halo 3 XBOX Live addiction.
It is a sickness - it must be. No sane person should want to go back time and again for torrents of abuse by foul-mouthed teenagers...

Championship...

Well, we had our championship game last Saturday, and...

WE WON!!!

BY ONE POINT!!!

Woohoo!
Man, that was a tough game to coach! We were up against an undefeated team (the Ravens), one that had beaten us 3 times already this season, but since they based their entire offense around one particularly fast kid (who I came to find out was 10 and had no business being in the 7-9 division, but that's neither here nor there), we felt that a zone defense tailored to the few plays they actually used would work for us.
We started out with the ball and got a quick TD. We stopped the Ravens, got the ball back and drove it down field for another. The Ravens came back with 2 TDs, so by the half it was 14-14.
The Ravens got the ball in the 2nd half and broke loose on the first play, scoring then converting. We answered with a TD, but didn't convert, so we were a point down. When they got possession, one of our guys nailed their QB in the endzone, scoring a safety and putting us one point up!
The Ravens got the ball again, and drove down the field. They got to our five yard line with 2 downs to go, and the ref called "Time!"
Very intense game. I think all the parents got their money's worth. We'll be picking up that trophy at the team banquet this Thursday - unfortunately Number One Son won't be there, as he is in camp all week.
This season has been a blast. Can't wait for the Fall season to start up...

PS - I have to give props to my assistant coach and coworker Claudia. She's been a fantastic help throughout. You ROCK, Claudia!

My perspective

Those of you, like me, who frequent the gun-nut corner of this here blogosphere will have no doubt seen the recent brouhaha during the last few days over Mike Vanderboegh’s letter to the editor, and his opinions of regarding "the next American civil war". For those of you who aren’t familiar with this particular corner of the web, it may surprise you that there is an incredible diversity of opinion among gun owners (not really incredible to me, since I know gunnies are typically individualist at heart anyway – get ten in a room, and you’ll get ten separate opinions on most anything you care to discuss. Simultaneously our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness – gunnies tend not to jump onto bandwagons).
Sure, our current system of government has its flaws – anything conceived, instituted and ran by humans does – but by God, it’s the best system yet devised in human history and I am proud and thankful to be able to live under it.
The Founders’ promise still holds. Yes, it’s been eroded somewhat, but PLEASE take a look around you.
Where else on this planet do people have the freedoms we have? Just about anywhere else in the world you need to beg permission from your government to own a gun, permission that includes submitting your home to random “safety checks” to make sure your guns are stored properly, permission that means your guns must be stored at a gun club or rifle range, permission that is hard to get and so very easy to lose. Licensing fees and additional costs that put ownership beyond the reach of all but the very affluent. Registration that makes it easy for government officials to confiscate your guns when the time is right – a recent example being the British handgun ban after the Dunblane massacre. Hell, even permission slips to buy ammo.
Now look here at home. Look at the progress we’ve made in the last couple of decades or so.
A majority of Americans support the right to own guns for self defense (which is incidentally an invalid reason to apply for a gun in the UK. Everyone there has a right to life, including the bastard standing over your bed with an ax handle demanding your money, your jewelry and your daughter’s virtue). 37 states thus far have shall-issue CCW (with a further two, Alaska and Vermont, being unrestricted), way up from just 20 years ago. Castle doctrine laws are being passed (God bless Texas!). The Heller decision smacked down DC’s handgun ban, with other cities soon to follow. We’re moving in the right direction. A government of the people, by the people and for the people has to respond, however slowly, to what the people want. Sure, inertia makes it slower than we’d like, but it is moving. Our glass is truly half full.
I won’t deny that there is plenty of room for improvement - especially here in California. I won’t deny that there are abuses by the government that make one angry or nervous. But focusing only on that end of things produces nothing but a siege mentality and ignores the hard work and progress that the supporters of gun rights have achieved. Shit, just look at the internet. Until I began reading the gun blogs out there, I truly thought I was one of a tiny minority, a myth perpetuated by what I saw in print and on the news, courtesy of the MSM. It has been extremely comforting to discover, to KNOW, that I am not alone. I am part of a large, diverse culture – a culture that WILL be heard. A culture that will not be going away any time soon. A culture that I have every intention of passing on to the next generation.
I know America won’t last forever – it had a beginning, it will certainly have an end. I don’t know if it will go out in sudden collapse and societal breakdown, or fade into a more socialist/authoritarian obscurity like the once-Great Britain. All I do know is that right here, right now is the best time and place in history for anyone to live. So I’ll enjoy it while I’ve got it, thanks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shakin'

Sitting on the second floor of a building during a 5.4 magnitude earthquake centered about 20 miles away can make for a pretty exciting morning, especially when you hear the two large 1800L tanks of liquid Nitrogen right behind your chair bouncing around...
It was all done in less than a minute, but the news folks on radio and TV are still talking about it, even though no damage has been reported anywhere in the Southland. Slow news day, I guess...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Action Shots


Number One Son about to complete the handoff...


Number One Son just made a pass right before the sack...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Go Panthers!

Our Flag Football team, the Panthers, won their semi-final game on Saturday, which means they'll be going to the championship! Man, it was an exciting game! We gave up 2 TDs within the first few minutes and things were looking pretty grim... but we pulled it out with a final score of 33-19. We'll be playing the Ravens on August 2nd, who so far have gone undefeated... our last game against them we blew a 3 TD lead, so I know we can score against them - my boys just have to hang in there for the whole game...
My wife took some nice shots of the game... when she gets back from Rollerblading in Newport I'll put them up...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sad day


Our mighty little rat terrier, Spartacus, finally met his match tonight. He was bitten by a rattlesnake around 8:30pm in our back yard. I heard him yelp and went over to see what was up, and saw a fat diamondback curled up behind our shed. I grabbed him, ran over to my wife who took him with her cousin to the nearest animal hospital. I ran back to the shed, grabbed a shovel to kill the bastard, but he'd already gone under the shed. I could see him through a hole but it wasn't big enough to get the shovel in. Since we live in the city - albeit on the outskirts - I couldn't shoot the damn thing with a firearm, so I grabbed my BB gun. Yeah. Fat lot of good that did. Just pissed it off and it snuck further under to where I couldn't see it.
Sparty was given antivenom and put on an IV at the hospital, and my wife came back home. They said they'd want him there for a couple of days to watch him.
Well, they just called about twenty minutes ago to say he wasn't breathing on his own... then ten minutes later they called to say he'd passed.
Spartacus was my wife's special little buddy. She took him everywhere, and he'd already been through so much, having fought through a parvo infection when he was just a few months old. He was a tough little trooper, but that snake was just too much. He topped the scales at five pounds max, so his little body didn't have much chance. We did all that we could getting him to the vet ASAP, but it wasn't meant to be. We're going to miss him terribly.
So long, little soldier. Rest in peace.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 4th Weekend...

...Was spent at the beach in Oceanside, one of my favorite places to go. My wife's parents have a condo about 50 yards from the sand on the second floor, so there's a nice view and we can watch all the fascinating folk cruising up and down Pacific Avenue.
Friday started out cloudy with a marine layer that burned off in the late afternoon for a brief spot of sunshine, but by 7 or 8pm it had come back with a vengeance.
The condo is about a mile south of the pier where they have the annual firework display and is normally a good spot to watch it, but by the time the show started, we couldn't see down the block, let alone the pier. It was so thick you couldn't even see a glow - but we heard the show, right on schedule...
I had such a good time there that this didn't dampen my spirits at all - I was more amused than disappointed. Hanging out with family and watching my kids boogie board was way more important...

One word questionnaire...

...Shamelessly stolen from Dirtcrashr...
I saw it, and given my fondness for brevity, liked it.
Here goes...

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket
2. Your significant other? Awesome
3. Your hair? Receding
4. Your mother? Irish
5. Your father? Hero
6. Your favorite time of day? Bedtime
7. Your dream last night? Twisted
8. Your favorite drink? Lager
9. Your dream goal? Family
10. The room you're in? Bedroom
11. Your ex? Stripper
12. Your fear? Failure
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
14. What you are not? Optimistic
15. Your Favorite meal? Curry
16. One of your wish list items? AR15
17. The last thing you did? Drank
18. Where you grew up? England
19. What are you wearing? Shorts
20. Your TV is? Old
21. Your pets? Dogs
22. Your computer? Stutters
23. Your life? Predictable
24. Your mood? Content
25. Missing someone? Parents
26. Your car? Deteriorating
27. Something you're not wearing? Wig
28. Favorite store? Bookstore
29. Your summer? HOT!
30. Your favorite color? Blue
31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
32. When is the last time you cried? Unsure
33. Your health? Middlin'
34. Your children? Treasures
35. Your future? Uncertain
36. Your beliefs? Unalterable
37. Young or old? Youngish
38. Your image? Fast
39. Your appearance? "Husky"
40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? Duh

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hands free

Today's the day the cell phone law goes into effect here in California. Get caught using a cell phone without a hands free device, and you'll be popped for a fine of $20. Of course, once all the additional fees and whatnot get added, your $20 fine will grow to $76... for a first offense. Expect to pay $190 for your second. I'm not kidding.
But you know, texting in your car while cruising the highway is still legal. I totally don't get that, unless I'm the only one out there who's all thumbs when it comes to sending texts on my phone... that's WAY more distracting - to me at least - than holding a phone to my ear.
Just another tax, is all.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Back again...

Wow. Almost 2 months... I have to say sorry I haven't been posting - and I know blowing off your blog for that long is the kiss of death as far as keeping yer hits up, but I just couldn't put pen to paper for a while there. Sure, life's been busy, but I was lacking the inclination to write too. Guess I'm just a flake like that...
I haven't lost the inclination for reading all y'all's blogs, though... I've been lurking but not posting much...
So... what have I been up to lo these last few weeks?
Let's see...

I've been coaching 7-9s Flag Football again - that's been a lot of fun. Our guys are 2-2 so far this season and I'm real proud of how they're shaping up. Everyone on the team has either scored, contributed to a score, or made great defensive plays and I'm loving it. I swear I get more excited than the kids at the games - I'm sure they're embarrassed by their coach!

My kids are out of school for the summer, with all the entailing frantic searches amongst friends/family for childcare while my wife and I are at the salt mine. They'll be going to summer camp for a week at the end of July, cunningly coinciding with our 10 year anniversary (although being the clod that I am, I don't have a big vacation for the two of us sorted out yet).

End of year grades for my offspring were very good - Honor Roll (As and Bs) for Number One Son, and Principal's Award (Straight As - Awwww Yeaahhhh!) For My Little Princess. Very proud.

Lots o' work around the house - put in a garden in the front, watched in despair as my lawn began to die despite having a sprinkler system put in, tried to dig my way through solid granite in order to plant an avocado tree (had to admit defeat on that one - will have to relocate the hole. Can't dig through the rock there, and local ordnances won't let me blast it, worse luck), halfway through laying some pavers/digging out gravel on another side of the house - although the frikken heat put paid to that project for a while these last couple of weeks...

Read quite a bit - several "Brother Cadfael" mysteries (set in 12th century England) by Ellis Peters, "The Pillars of the Earth" (also 12th century England) By Ken Follett, reread the Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell - absolutely one of the best series I have ever read, by the way, "Fitzpatrick's War" by Theodore Judson, "The Dragon Lord" by David Drake, and several others that aren't right in front of me at the moment...

I took the next step in my journey of faith, and got baptized in May. That was a huge step for me and quite an emotional one. More on that later.

Last week, I had a spell of vertigo which scared the crap out of me. Woke up Tuesday morning, got up to pee and promptly fell over. Felt like I was completely wasted - so dizzy I could barely stand. Wifey ran me over to urgent care where they looked me over, pronounced that I had an ear infection, gave me a shot in the backside for the nausea I was experiencing and some antibiotics for the infection. The frikken dizziness did not go away for THREE DAYS! I was off work Tuesday and Wednesday, came in on Thursday, had another major dizzy spell at work in the damn bathroom (staggering upright, swearing to myself "You CANNOT be found like this in here" - visions of Elvis... hmm, probably TMI right there...) and sheepishly returned home.

Though I do have to say, the Heller decision on Thursday brought some much needed cheer to an otherwise crappy week...

Oh, and Saturday, I had the opportunity to go on a ride-along with a friend of mine in a nearby police department. That was very entertaining, although the guy's driving scared the crap out of me...

So, While I may drop out from time to time (I just can't do the whole daily post thing, even though that is supposed to be a big no-no), I will promise that I won't be gone as long as this last time. Thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wow!

A conservative is elected as London's mayor for the first time in 30 years! Could this be the beginning of a turning point in old Blighty? We'll have to follow this one pretty closely...

What I'm reading right now...

Having devoured the first "Flashman" book, I dug through the pile of boxes in the shop to get out the second in the series, "Royal Flash".
Our intrepid hero is abducted by Otto Von Bismarck in Germany and forced to impersonate a local prince in order to seal a marriage. The original prince is suffering from a "social disease" and so cannot marry at the moment.
I'm loving Fraser's attention to detail, as well as his depiction of Flashman - he truly is a despicable character...

Sunday blah

Its a boring day... our church had a "worship only" service that means all music, so I elected not to go. My wife and kids still went, so I'm here by myself, trying to find reasons not to dig in the front yard - we're putting in some plants and a walkway. Digging in this "DG" - decomposed granite is pretty tough, especially in this heat. Lots of water needed...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Suspense...

So... last month (well March 25th) I had my citizenship interview. I needed to get together some additional paperwork for the officer and I had 30 days to do it. It was a bit of a challenge tracking the stuff down, but I did it and sent it via certified mail about 4 days prior to the deadline...
When we got home today, we usually enter the house via the garage. About an hour after we got home, I opened up the front door to let the house air out, and saw a message from the post office jammed in the screen... they tried to deliver a certified letter from the Dept of Homeland Security, but no-one was around to sign for it. I can't go pick it up until tomorrow. Since I have a hard time handling suspense, I hopped onto the USCIS website to view my case status online - which I've been doing pretty frequently, despite my almost overwhelming fear of finding "denied" under my case number. Still at pending.
So, of course, I'll probably get very little sleep tonight...

Monday, April 28, 2008

San Diego Zoo

The kids and I scored some free passes, so we headed out to the Zoo yesterday.
It was BLAZING hot - like July hot - high nineties for much of the day and I was pretty miserable.
Looks like most of the animals were too... they were either holed up in the darkest, shadiest corners they could find (they had more sense than us humans), or just sprawled out, motionless...

There's a tiger back there, I swear!

This poor bastard looks like he fell off the cliff behind him...


This panda was sprawled out on the rapidly-melting remnants of artificial snow that the keepers had provided for them that day. Apparently they only give the pandas one "snow day" a year. I was thinking it must suck to be a panda in San Diego - until I saw the Polar Bears (no pics though)...



Holy crap! That animal's actually moving! Quick! Take a photo before he passes out!


Obligatory Meerkat shot...



By far, the coolest shot of the day... those guys were NOT coming out of that water...

We stuck it out for about 5 hours, saw most of the exhibits (lingered in the covered ones), then had to retreat to the truck and its ice-cold A/C. I was actually looking forward to that hour and a half ride home...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chicago

This jewel of Illinois is looking like a suburb of Baghdad these days, what with the surge in gang murders. But wait - I thought Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the States? Don't these criminals know that? It's illegal for them to have handguns in Chicago!
Watching the TV, I'm seeing the Chicago PD stepping things up - more patrols, more dudes running around in black "combat" attire, more helicopters etc...
One thing caught my eye - the news chick made mention of the PD being issued M4s...
M4s are essentially carbine versions of the venerated M16 combat rifle, and are fully automatic.
Scary stuff...

Ahhhh..... Nature!

I really enjoy living here on the slopes of the mountain. The view is excellent, it's a quiet neighborhood and we're at the end of a cul-de-sac, which makes me less fearful of letting the kids play outside. Since we've been here, I've seen all kinds of creatures that you wouldn't encounter in suburbia; coyotes, quail, hawks, lizards of all kinds, rabbits... the list goes on.
Last night, we were introduced to another member of the local fauna...

Around 11pm, my wife, a friend and I were out on the back patio, enjoying a beer and some good conversation, taking in the balmy night air and looking out over the city. My dog Lena started up from her slumber at my feet and disappeared into the night. She does it a lot, to investigate the sundry noises and smells that abound around here and I normally pay no heed, as long as she gets back by my side within a few minutes.

Come back she did, foaming at the mouth and inundated with an ungodly stench, frantically rubbing her face in the lawn to dispel it.

Dear God.

Now I, like anyone here in the States, am familiar enough with the smell of skunk, as you occasionally get a waft when you're driving around, but that really doesn't do it justice. Up close, this smell was orders of magnitude worse, so soul-searing, so eye-burning, so tear-inducing, so flat-out gag-a-licious that I couldn't recognize it at first. I just wanted to get away from it, get away from my suddenly nasty smelling dog. Our friend LuAnn recognized it instantly - her dogs have been hit in the past - really, there's nothing she hasn't been through, it seems.
I escaped inside, ostensibly to dredge the internet for solutions, but let's be honest, I wanted to get AWAY.

I found a site that recommended using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid soap (I had heard of using tomato juice, but this author said that just masks the odor, it doesn't get rid of it). Shucks, we had no peroxide.

I hopped up, explained the recipe to my wife and LuAnn, grabbed some cash and bolted for the truck, backing out of our driveway so fast that I popped my son's soccer ball (it had no chance to escape!). There's a 24hr Winco not far off and I was only too happy to LEAVE to go get the peroxide.

The smell followed me, of course, but it was the diluted, mildly unpleasant odor that I was familiar with, not the full force kick-you-in-the-ass-and-take-your-bike kind of reek that I had thankfully left at the house.

My clothes smelled of it and I was especially paranoid walking through the store. I tried to keep my distance from everyone (it was surprisingly busy at that time of night), but you can only be so far apart in the checkout line. Nobody said anything, for which I am thankful.

I got home, and explained the recipe. The smell was by now throughout the house, and the dog was still outside!

"Let's hose her off and wash her with the stuff out here," I suggested.
"No way! The hose is too cold for her," said LuAnn "Someone needs to take a shower with her in warm water."
"Like, INSIDE the house? Are you serious?"

Finally, we dragged her in through the back patio door straight into our master bath, and LuAnn gamefully volunteered to do the do.

I must confess to a weakness here, for I in no way objected, just grabbed my Flashman book and retreated to fresher air.

About 45 minutes later, LuAnn and Lena emerged, and the smell was just about gone. From the dog.

The stench of skunk still permeates the property, and when I took the dogs out back this morning, it wasn't hard to pinpoint the spot where Lena learned her valuable life lesson...

RESPECT THE SKUNK!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What I'm reading...

Right now, things are a little tight, so I don't have all that much extra cash to buy new books at the moment.
Since I'm pretty much a compulsive reader that means I've been digging through our not so insignificant collection here at the kingdom and revisiting some old friends (there are several books/series that I love so much that I re-read them once or twice a year, one of my favorites being "The General" series by Drake/Stirling, but many get neglected for much longer than that)
So, while unpacking one of our boxes (yeah, we'll be doing that for a while yet), I came across my copy of "Flashman", by George Macdonald Fraser and jumped right in. It's been a little while since I read this scoundrel's escapades, and I'm looking forward to taking a walk in his world again.
For those of you who have not read the "Flashman" series, I strongly recommend picking it up - you won't be disappointed. The stories are told from Flashman's perspective, a memoir of his life starting out as a subaltern in Her Majesty's Army in the Victorian era. The man is an unabashed drunk, lecher, bully and coward, yet winds up coming out on top in every situation, looking heroic. Masterful writing, with the attention to detail that comes with heavy research into that part of history. Great stuff.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Conversations in the car...

On the way home from dance tonight, my kids and I got into a discussion about foster homes and what circumstances would get them put into one.
I said "Well, if your mom and I were hopelessly addicted to drugs to the point where we couldn't look after you guys, the state could put you into foster care I suppose, or if we were mean and cruel to you guys".
To which My Little Princess responded: "Oh! Like if you fed us spinach every day?"

Priceless...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring Shots...

The first bloom from the roses that my wife's dad planted for us a few weeks back. I love roses; they smell great, look beautiful and are hard to kill, even for as inept a gardener as myself...


Your humble narrator, astride his mighty tractor, performing weed abatement in the way back. The tractor runs like a champ - once you can get it started... I figured out the electrical issues, so it turns over when I start it, but it's very reluctant to actually fire up. I'm thinking the carb keeps flooding out... another project for another day - for now, I got it going and disked/scraped the entire way back. Can't let it get out of hand, because come summer, this stuff can go up like so much tinder...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nice...

Obama picks up the all-important Hamas endorsement...
Wow.
In a sane world, the guy the terrorists like should have NO chance of becoming El Presidente.

In our world, I guess we'll just have to see...

Hamas supportive of the Democrat party? That right there tells me all I need to know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Speaking of bitter...

Tax Day always sucks. It's an in-your-face reminder of how much of your hard earned scratch is yanked by your betters in the .gov. This year, in light of my INS interview last month, it feels particularly painful. For some reason, the phrase "taxation without representation" keeps rolling around in my head....

Well, as an update, I've rounded up the forms the officer asked for and am putting them together with a suitably grovelly letter... hopefully all will go smoothly from here on out...

Six word biography meme...

I guess according to Barack Obama, mine would be:

Bitter redneck, clinging to my guns.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Self- Censorship...

I've been reading "Tom Sawyer" to my kids the last few nights, and I ran up against a problem in chapter 6, when Huckleberry Finn enters the story. During his conversation with Tom, the "N" word came up a few times and rather than read it out, I replaced it with "black guy".
I understand that when the book was written, that term was the norm and not necessarily used in a derogatory fashion, but I'm really not comfortable saying the word and I'm sure as hell not comfortable reading it out loud to my 6 and 8 year old children.
That said, I would never advocate government censorship of that book, or changing it's original format to suit today's sensitivities. Context is everything, right?
I'm sure my kids will learn about the word eventually, but it sure as hell won't be from hearing their dad toss it around.
So my question is, am I just a wimp caving in to today's PC pressures?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Awwww...

This is pretty cute. A farm in Earby, Lancashire, near where I grew up in the UK has hopped onto the information superhighway with a LambCam. Live feed so you can watch what their lambs get up to. Bear in mind they're 8hrs ahead, so its night time right now...

What I'm Reading

Yesterday, I cracked open a copy of "Religion of Peace? Islam's War Against The World" by Gregory M. Davis.
It's a pretty compelling read. He goes into the history of Islam by looking at the Koran - the word of Allah as told to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel - and at the Sunnah - the "way" of the prophet as told in the Hadiths, which are personal accounts of those who knew Muhammad. There is some very damning stuff in there, stuff that it is hard for someone raised in the Western Judeo-Christian ethic to get their mind around. That's one of the problems, according to the author - it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for those of a Western background to understand the core concepts of Islam because a religion that not only espouses but demands violent conquest and subjugation of unbelievers is completely foreign to us.
Sure, Christianity had its low points, its own massacres and violence, but those run contrary to the teachings of Christ and are exceptions rather than the rule. Jihad, or holy war is central to Islam's teachings and the encouragement of it in all forms is prevalent throughout the Koran and the Hadiths.
The author also explains the principle of abrogation - which of the Suras (chapters) of the Koran are to be followed, when there appears to be a contradiction - and there seem to be quite a lot. Islamic scholars generally agree that the later Suras take precedence. For example, in the beginning of his "calling" as a prophet, when his followers were few and his religion not yet well established, Muhammad made plenty of noises about tolerance and coexisting peacefully with those of other faiths. As Islam rose to ascendancy in the region, the Suras became more militant and less forgiving of other religions, and according to the principle of abrogation, these Suras take precedence over the earlier, kinder ones.
To confuse things further, the Koran is not ordered chronologically, but by the length of the Suras, starting with the longest first.
The Hadiths themselves are an excursion into horror, lovingly describing the atrocities performed under the guidance of Allah as Islam tears its way across the continent.
To those of us who cherish the separation of church and state, the concept of Islam and righteous (Sharia law) as the only way to order a society is completely foreign, just as it must seem bizarre to a muslim to see secular and religious power separated.
In all fairness, I suppose I should seek literature in favor of Islam too, to get a broader perspective. I think I'll also have a stab at reading the Koran - no pun intended...
However; the more I read, the less optimistic I am about being able to share the planet with Islam in peace.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Stupidity

It boggles my mind how someone can start cleaning their gun without checking to see if the damn thing is loaded first. Even when I'm sure my guns are unloaded, I still check before I start fiddling with them.
First rule: Always treat your firearm as if it were loaded.
This bonehead took out his 12 year old niece because he ignored that rule. His niece had to pay for his stupidity, and there's now another story out there in the media reinforcing the perception that guns are "bad" and gun owners are morons.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Coming together...


The shop is starting to come together. Made some compromises with my wife, so its going to be storing a few more things than I had originally envisioned. There's a huge pile of crap off picture to the left that still needs to be addressed, and it's no garage-mahal, but I'm happy with the progress so far...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Range Day!!

WooHoo! Finally had a break from all the round-the-house stuff we're (almost) done with, and as Momma took My Little Princess to a birthday party, I decided to take Number One Son to the range.
I took my Neos (that I still hadn't shot yet!), my CZ452 that my wonderful wife got me for Xmas and the trusty Ruger 10/22.
Number One Son brought his wee Savage.
My CZ is chambered in .17HMR, and this was the first time I've ever shot that round. There is literally no drop over 200 yards with this round, quite unlike the 22LR. I was able to plink the 200 yard gong without aiming high. Excellent!
For precision, this rifle has got to be one of the best I have. Definitely going to be a regular range companion, I think...
Here's some of our results...

Number One Son's groupings at 50 yards over open sights with the Savage. He's got the makings of becoming a way better marksman than his dad, I think. I think I was more excited than he was whenever he hit the "green"...



My best group with the CZ at 50 yards, over open sights. I'm really happy with this - this is comparable to my using the scoped 10/22.

As for the Neos, well that turned out to be so much fun that we blew through an entire brick of Remington Thunderbolts before we knew it. Five hundred rounds, yo!

Most fun I've had in a long time, and aside from the 17HMR ammo, pretty frikken cheap...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Milestones...

You know you're getting old when your 8 year old boy, in the course of cleaning out "his" part of the garage, comes to you with a cassette tape and asks "What is this thing?"
Gah! Has it really been that long?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

California's Lead Ammo Ban

Was signed into law by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The California Fiah and Game Commission took that law and RAN with it, expanding the ban to include ALL ammo, not just centerfire ammo in the range of the California Condor. This brave new law takes effect July 1st of this year.
Check out their helpful FAQ sheet.
How very kind of them to acknowledge that nobody currently manufactures non-lead ammo in 22LR!
"So if you live in the range of the Condor, and you have ground squirrels tearing up your land and leaving holes for your livestock to break their legs in, tough shit. The Condor's more important. Unless you want to change to a caliber that does offer lead free ammo. Sorry about the expense there - there was going to be an ammo voucher program, but it wasn't funded. Now piss off and don't bother us anymore, peasant."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Citizenship...

Pending.
Had my interview today, and it pretty much reaffirmed my feelings about interacting with government officials. Necessary, sometimes; unpleasant, most of the time.
They cannot make a decision about my case yet because I need to send in additional certified paperwork.
I'm feeling sick, because I'm pretty sure that what they're requesting does not exist.
I have thirty days to get it to them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St Paddy's Day

...Intercepted (well, forwarded) email exchange...

LT: Funny Julie story..... Julie was so proud that she made corned beef and cabbage for her kids.... then she had to make them eat it.
They said it stunk but tasted good..... she took photos of them holding their noses!
When Julie got to work this morning.. Susie our old boss said how she always moves things around in her house and hides gold coins for her kids to find... because the leprechaun visits while they are out!
Julie had a "I am not a great mom" moment! ME TOO!


ST: Whatever - stop thinking so much.
What the kids don’t know won’t hurt them. Kevin and Julie should have killed all the snakes around their property - St. Patrick got rid of the snakes.


Hafta say, this made me chuckle... and then start considering appropriate calibers for snake eradication. I have a box of 22LR shot shells that should do the job nicely, should such an occasion ever arise...

Fingers crossed...

Heller gets heard by the Supreme Court today...

UPDATE: I've been reading the live-blogging of the case as found on SCOTUSblog.
(H/T to Joe Huffman)
Best phrase yet:
Roberts asks: "What is reasonable about a total ban on possession?" (in response to Dellinger's comment about "reasonable restrictions").

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Better than coffee...

Because of the way my day went yesterday, I had to get up this morning to come in to work and finish up one of the tests I'm working on. Since it looked like it was going to be a nice day, and I had no kids to pick up/ferry around afterwards, I decided to take the bike, which has been languishing under its cover in the shop since we moved in.
I pulled the cover off, put the keys in the ignition, pulled out the choke and went to start the bike. The starter button is by the right hand grip, and as I grabbed the grip, I saw movement.
The biggest, fattest, nastiest looking black widow with a huge bright hour-glass was suspended by its thread from the grip not four inches from my hand.
I hopped off that bike so fast it rocked, almost going over (a five hundred pound bike), frantically looking around for something to get the little bastard with. After a few seconds of my trying to grab it with my retractable-claw-tool-picker-upper-thingy, the spider dropped to the ground where it was introduced rather forcefully to the sole of my boot.
I don't care very much for spiders as a whole, but black widows really reach down into my reptile brain and yank on that fear-reflex pretty hard.
In this case, it jerked my groggy, sleep addled mind into full awareness instantly.
Fear beats coffee every time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Movies

I don't get out to see movies all that much, since the kids can't and my wife won't watch the type of movies I enjoy (300 being a prime example), and to be honest, on those rare occasions when my wife and I do have some time together, I'd much rather go to dinner and then a bookstore.
What this boils down to is that when I see a trailer for a movie I think I'd like, I pretty much have to wait for it to come out on DVD, by which time I've usually forgotten that it was one I wanted to see.
One of my coworkers is an avid moviegoer with an extensive DVD collection and he has been kind enough to loan me the latest gory action flicks whenever they come out. I currently have five or six of his movies packed away in several random boxes throughout our house (to say our move was in any way orderly would be an outright lie) and I came across one last night at the perfect time... one kid was in karate, one was in dance with my wife. Sweet! I had a two hour window all to myself!
The movie I watched was Layer Cake, a British gangster movie with a lot of plots and stories woven together impacting the main protagonist (Daniel Craig, the new Bond). This was the first movie I had been able to see for weeks, if not months, and I really enjoyed it. Some of the characters were a little over the top, but fun to watch nonetheless. The "Duke's" girlfriend, especially, was a total caricature of your low-class, East-End chav tramp. Fantastic.
Sure, it's not going to win any Oscars (or didn't back in 04 when it came out) but I was enthralled for a good two hours.
Next up - "Shoot em up", whenever I can find another free time slot...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another politician...

...With the soul of a weasel. It'd be tempting to be smug about this because of the (D) following his name, but there are plenty of guys with an (R) that are just as bad.
Personally, I don't think prostitution should be a crime, but right at this moment it is, and having made a career out of prosecuting such crimes, one would think Spitzer would have had more sense. Talk about being hoisted on your own petard.
By all accounts this guy is pretty arrogant, so maybe he felt that the laws he enforced just didn't apply to him... or maybe its just New York politics as usual.
I'm not very impressed by the "coming clean" press conference. We'd not be seeing it at all if he hadn't been caught - that's his only real regret. Dragging his wife out there for "support" turns my stomach - probably turns hers too, unless she's a complete doormat. Lady! Your guy's been banging hookers for who knows how long! What the hell are you doing standing by his side! He's made a complete mockery of his marriage, his family and his vows. That dude's word is WORTHLESS.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pictures from the new kingdom...

I know its been a very long time since my last post, all I can say is that we've been really busy getting our stuff together. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we still have a bunch to do but we're getting there. I thought I would share a few pictures of the new pad and its surrounds...


Our house from the street...
From the back... not very big, but there you go...
The shop behind the house - an additional 2-3 car garage... full of boxes right now.
The tractor that came with the property, for weed abatement in the area behind the yard - a 1946 Ford 2N, for those who are interested. I've already used it, although there is an electrical problem I haven't isolated yet.
The view looking West... the picture really doesn't do it justice.
The view looking South, early evening... that isn't snow on the distant mount range; it's fingers of fog creeping over the mountaintops into the valley -- it looked very cool as it was happening...
Long - ass driveway...


Spartacus, our mighty Rat Terrier, on our new tile...

That's all I got right now, but as things return to normalcy, I'll be posting more very soon...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh, and by the way....

Today is my blog's first birthday! Wow... I actually stuck with something for a whole year... sure, posting has been extremely light the last month or so, but once we're settled, I'm sure I'll find plenty to ramble about...

....And we're up!

Woohoo! Thanks to a snafu with Time Warner, my internet was shut off at the old casa on the 4th, and they weren't going to be able to hook up until the 20th. That was too long for me, so we went with ATT U-verse. Same speed, and its wireless, so I can have both our computers hooked up. I'm liking that.
We're still in the murky depths of move-in hell, having had new tile installed (last week), new carpet (yesterday) and painting every wall in the new place - still ongoing... we've gotten the kitchen, family room and most of the front room painted. Boxes everwhere, furniture everywhere, dogs and kids underfoot everywhere. Complete anarchy. I'm astounded by how much crap we have accumulated over the last 8 years. Getting there little by little. Every time I feel like this move is overwhelming me, I just have to look out the window to see the view. Yeah, it's worth it. No, won't be doing this again for a LONG time...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I have to say...

That I'm not overly ecstatic about my choices in the first presidential election that I may be permitted to vote in (if all goes well in March) - especially now that Romney has quit the race. I respect McCain's service and sacrifice, but his politics stink to high heaven.
As unpleasant as I find him, however, I'll vote for him if it means preventing another Clinton presidency...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Today's steal...

My boomstick collection has outgrown my safe, so I've been thinking of getting one of those $150 cabinets since I can't really spring for another safe right now, what with the way my cash is hemorraging because of the move/remodeling etc...

Well, this morning on Craigs List, I found a decorative cabinet there that was going for $50... gave the guy a call and drove out to check it out (he's about 60 miles from the valley, a 60 mile gauntlet that contains some of the worst traffic on the planet). I liked it, so I bought it. It shall be a nice home for my prettier guns. Not nearly as secure as a safe, of course, but kid-proof with the locks, plus I like the idea of having a display, even though it's gone out of style somewhat...

Here's my new acquisition:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Circling the bowl

While reading Kim Du Toit's site this morning, I came across this story. Sadly, I'm seeing more and more such tragedies in my old home. The newer "chav" culture is a symptom of Britain's decline, and I honestly have no desire to return - not even to present my wife and children to my wider family there whom they've never met. Murders in the UK were a rarity in my youth, and every one made national news. Now death by beat-down seems so commonplace as to scarcely warrant attention. This man was beaten to death in front of his family, and I can't imagine a more traumatic event for a young child. The barbarians aren't at the gates; they're already inside, and an indifferent, incompetent government/law system means there will only be more such victims.
When your government will not only not protect its citizens, but actively forbids them from protecting themselves, this is what happens.
I count myself lucky to have left when I did.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Citizenship....

This past Saturday, I received a letter from the INS (or its current incarnation, ICE) informing me that I have an interview scheduled on March 25th. I applied for citizenship back here... it's been almost a year, but I heard that there was a big increase in applications at the time because of the looming fee increase...
This is literally the most important interview of my life thus far. I can't think of anything I want more than to be counted as an American citizen, and if I blow it - I can't even contemplate that...
My parents told me that they were sworn in within 2 hours of their interview - would that it goes as smoothly for me! So, hopefully, all goes well on the big day and I don't blow it.
I'm pretty nervous about this. Wish me luck...

Moving

Well, its been a LONG time since last I posted.. many apologies. We've sold our house, and we closed on the new one last week. We've given the owner until the 31st to pack up and start his retirement in Havasu, and this coming up weekend we'll be tearing out the old tile and carpet, and painting the walls. Hopefully I'll be able to find time to watch the Superbowl. Next week we'll be having new tile installed, and sometime after that new carpet...
Things are going to be hectic for quite a while, as we pack our stuff/renovate/move etc...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tennessee...

..Is where my kids and I find ourselves this week, staying with my sister and her family, and we'll be visiting with my parents in Georgia today. Unfortunately circumstances did not permit my wife to be here too.
I hadn't flown in a few years, and this was also my first time with Southwest Airlines too... since it's first come, first serve with the seating and I'm a chronically late individual, that meant I wasn't able to sit next to my kids on the first flight.
TSA was as pleasant, courteous and professional as I had heard about, which was not very...
Glad to be here though - it's good to see my family after so long (gotta be at least a couple of years).
This is their house in Harrison, TN, about 15 minutes outside of Chattanooga. A beautiful place, with about an acre of woodland for a backyard, way cheaper than it's equivalent in CA, and located in a Free State to boot.
More to come as time permits...

Happy New Year

Little bit late, but I've been fairly busy of late. This is sunset from the balcony of my wife's family's condo on Oceanside, taken New Year's Day... with our sweet new 8 megapixel Canon Powershot. Way better picture quality.
We had a nice relaxing New Years, although we didn't see the ball drop because we were playing the "Let's Make a Deal DVD game and got so wrapped up in it we lost track of time...