Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cold Turkey

About a month ago now, I yanked the XBOX 360 out from it's home under the TV and placed it in the gun safe, having decided that it was becoming a black hole into which a large chunk of my and my son's time was disappearing. I had told Number One Son that it was in a "safe" place...
I think it was around October 12th.
I haven't really missed it all that much, but what's more important to me is that Number One Son hasn't either. I had braced myself for a meltdown of epic proportions, but it seems that I had underestimated my boy. I emphasized to him that I was not doing it as a punishment to him, but that I felt we all needed a break. He took it in stride, and there was no drama at all. We have devoted more time to such things as board games, basketball and reading, all of which are more inclusive of more of the family.
Well, as you may or may not know, Black Ops was released this week, and Number One Son has been making noises about purchasing it - he has a gift card that he held onto for just such an eventuality - and I have to admit, I'd like to play it too.
I never intended to make this a permanent ban; it was more of a recognition of an imbalance in our free time, and of just wanting a break. I am also aware that a complete removal of the XBOX could be an example of the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction too, so when I do reintroduce it, I'm going to be very careful about where to strike that balance.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

As California Goes...

Election day saw a sound rejection of the administration's party and policies pretty much across the entire nation... with, of course, the exception of California.
Our state saw a switch from a Republican to a Democrat governor, retention of one of the WORST Democratic senators in the nation and Democrats being voted into pretty much all the key positions in state government - with the possible exception of Attorney General, although I'm not sure a final result in that one has been announced.
On top of that, several state ballot initiatives passed here that essentially drive more nails into the coffin that is the state's economy.
Prop 23 would have suspended the state "global warming solutions" law, that imposes further environmental restrictions/taxes/fees on local businesses, until the state unemployment rate - currently at an official level of around 12.5% - drops to 5.5% for a full year. Of course, California voters sent this one down in flames. More taxes, more regulation, during a crippling recession? Yep, let's have more of that please.
Prop 25 would change the passing vote on the state budget from a 2/3 vote to a simple majority. Since the Democratic party enjoys a pretty much permanent majority in the state legislature - but not quite a 2/3 majority - this piece of crap masquerading as legislation has effectively shut the Republican party out of the budgetary process. No more compromises, no more gridlock - full speed ahead toward the liberal utopia as envisioned by our Democratic lords and masters.
The voters have spoken, and they've pretty much said that the rest of the country can go pound sand, we want a one-party system in the state of California.
Well, on the bright side, since everyone but the liberals have been shut out of the process here in CA, they will have no-one to blame but themselves when it all goes to hell.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I did. You?

Under no circumstance was I about to vote for Meg Whitman, despite the (R) next to her name. Her history with eBay, a notoriously anti-gun company, coupled with the fact that Arnold has shown me that a Republican governor in this state is next to useless when faced with a permanent Democratic majority in the state capitol was more than enough reason to vote against her.
The threat of veto is about the only power a Republican governor has in this state, and I'm sick of seeing my gun rights being tossed out as bargaining chips to gain concessions on the governor's pet projects. I'm convinced that Whitman would be even more enthusiastic in this regard than Arnold was, given that gun owners in this state are either such a small minority as to not be worth pandering to, or taken for granted as a solid (R) vote.
I couldn't, however, bring myself to vote for Brown, despite his gun-friendly tenure as state AG and the amicus brief he filed in favor of the 2A on behalf of this state (on his own initiative, no less), because the guy has been saying some crazy scary things lately, any time he's near a mike.
I voted for Dale Ogden, the Libertarian candidate, which better suited my conscience. Yes, he has no chance of a win, but he was the most deserving of my precious vote... And if a vote for Ogden means a vote for Brown, well, all the better, because I would prefer the Democrats be at the wheel when this bus hurtles off the cliff.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Stuff

Wow... two months since I've last posted... well, life gets in the way sometimes, I suppose.

I've been on a bit of a 4X4 kick lately, looking at jeeps or other such vehicles in the vain hope of being able to afford one and go hill beating with my kids... one of these days...

I've been watching the election news out of the UK, and have come to the conclusion that all you need to know about how "conservative" the UK Conservative Party is can be determined by the fact that they are perfectly willing and able to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Gun show this weekend! Haven't been to one in years (hangs head) and I'm really looking forward to it...

Looks like Halo 3 has been toppled from it's top spot in the household, replaced by Modern Warfare 2. The controls are a little different which can make it a bit of a PITA to switch between games, especially when you're playing against folks live.

I got my dirtbike up and running after two years of being idle - the carb was nasty, let me tell you - I'm itching to take it out to the desert, as soon as I can find someone to go with. Desert riding solo - not the smartest thing to do... or so my bride insists...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not a Bad Day...

Today I received my tacticool Mall.. err Office Ninja dress shirt, in blue plaid. Nice! I only ordered it two days ago, after getting the heads-up from David over at RNS. Excellent price - $17.99 – same as a regular dress shirt (close to $60 regular price). It’s got snaps under fake buttons to allow quick access to the large interior pockets (one on each side) and it’s lined with a wicking material. Very happy.

I also finally managed to get my printer working – should have done it ages ago, it was such a quick fix, once I found the workaround on the company website. I haven’t had it up since my hard drive crashed. How pathetic is that? No more running over to the in-laws to print stuff, at least once I get the requisite printer cartridges…

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Getting The Low Down

Last week, I got a postcard in the mail from my local rifle range (that I happened to be a member of) inviting me to a board meeting to find out what's happening with the club. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that I heard that it got shut down last July, due to environmental concerns brought up by the developer who had just bought some land adjacent. He wants the range to just go away, essentially. I thought they were done for good at the time, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that they had a meeting to discuss the future of the club.
The meeting was last night, and I was very impressed with the turnout. Standing-room only in the clubhouse, and it seemed like I was just about the youngest guy there...
Anyway, they're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot. The judge shut them down pending reconstruction of their ranges (shotgun, pistol and rifle) so they've had to come up with plans and have them approved by the judge. The plaintiff has stymied them at every hearing, demanding changes to every plan that they've come up with so far. The NRA helped kick in to improve the pistol range and that did not sit well with the plaintiff, although that looks like it may be the first one back up in operation.
The rifle range is going to be a much bigger challenge. They are no longer allowed to have a blue-sky range, which means that from your firing position to your target you may not see open sky, which at the very minimum means a partially covered range. Since their funds have been depleted to about $300 as of yesterday, this is looking pretty grim.
As well as all that, the plaintiff turned around and sued the BLM, since the range is on leased BLM land, which is making things even more of a pain in the ass. If he makes things difficult enough for BLM, then there's a possibility that they'll just pull the plug on the whole thing to avoid the headache. It seems that at every step of this nightmare, the judge has found in favor of the plaintiff, so an appeal to a higher court may be in order at some point. With over 1500 paying members, this has affected quite a lot of folks in the local community and they have asked us to start writing letters to BLM all the way up to the Secretary of the Interior to let them know how much this place means to us. I'll be doing that here shortly.
The meeting itself was kind of irritating, in that some members were whining about their $60 memberships and how they wanted their memberships extended for free so they could have a vote on a new board. While I understand their frustration, they're not charging membership fees right now, since there's nowhere to shoot, and may not ever be - especially if the plaintiff has his way...
Besides which, since the board members were all named personally in the suit, if it all goes tits up, why would they want a piece of that? (although, worse case scenario, if it does come to a big payout, apparently all the members - including your humble narrator - may be on the hook. Nice.)
So, the next hearing, where they will present their latest plan to the judge, is on March 30th, and the following board meeting will be April 5th, so I'll know more then.

Hey There...

Been a while since I posted, I know. I sometimes go through patches when I don't feel inspired to put something down, thereby breaking the first rule of blogging, which is to post something every day or something like that...

My second interview went better than the first - I wasn't sick this time around, at least! - but I doubt I'll be getting the job. We'll see - I'll hear one way or the other this week, according to them.

As for scratching that itch... well, I eviscerated my change jar and turned in a bunch of cans (classy, I know), culminating in enough cash to plop down for another lower...
Found one at Ammo Bros in Ontario that I was willing to buy (in California, they tend to run a little more) - an LRB lower. I still have a lower parts kit in the shop from the rifle kit I got last time, so I'm good to go - sort of. Still need to figure out how I want to top it, but that's all part of the fun. Limitless possibilities - suggestions welcome...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Thoughts...

I've been a little busy lately, as well as somewhat under the weather, and I suppose that will have to pass as my excuse for not posting. I've still been lurking though, when I've had the time. That takes less creative energy than writing does, as well as being more informative anyway. I learn more by listening than talking, and the same holds true in the blogosphere.

I haven't had a whole lot to say about the Amy Bishop Saga because there isn't really that much to say about it, except to point out that neither side of the political spectrum has the lock on crazy... we on this side, however, don't usually point to such incidents as typical liberal behavior.

I honestly thought I'd be writing a post about how not to do a job interview - I felt like it had gone that badly last Thursday - but to my complete amazement, I had come out number 2 overall and will shortly be getting a call for a second interview. I had done it all wrong, starting out with calling the wrong extension at the security desk, to be pointedly told by the HR lady on the other end of the line the correct extension number (which had been in my email, but I had of course forgotten) and stumbling through with some awkward silences, some really dumb answers to their questions and generally feeling like I had absolutely blown it. Maybe they had been swayed by my dazzling good looks... or maybe most of the others had been even more moronic, I don't know.

I'm getting that itch again, too... I am casting about looking for my next gun purchase... mulling whether to buy a small revolver or another semi-auto rifle. Right now I have my eye on the Kel-Tec SU16CA in .223, although I've heard mixed reviews about it, and a Saiga 16in in 7.62X39. The Saiga is significantly cheaper, which may be the deciding factor, since money is tight, but we'll see. I know I'll have to turn in a crapload of aluminum cans either way...
As far as revolvers go, I know next to nothing about them, other than my wife's is sweet (.357 Smith and Wesson 686 in stainless), but quite expensive. I'm thinking of a smaller one, something concealable in anticipation of being able to get a CCW in the wake of incorporation via MacDonald, but who am I kidding - it'll likely be years of litigation before the laws here change to shall-issue, if at all... any suggestions as to a revolver, though, would be most welcome...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Coming down with a cold. Normally, not so big a deal, as long as I'm stocked with kleenex, but tomorrow I have a job interview. Hopefully I'll feel better in the morning, but it feels like it's just starting to settle in.
Not real happy about my options at this point - either go to the interview, snuffling and sneezing, potentially infecting my interviewers, or beg off sick, with no idea how that would go down...
Guess I'll just down some vitamin C tabs and hope for the best...


Haven't had much to say lately... it was a pretty busy long weekend, what with Valentine's dates, yard work, working (OK playing) on my ATV, helping family with home improvement and Call of Duty: World at War. That last one is proving to be quite addictive - possibly even more so than Halo 3...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Protect and, uh... Swerve?

Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach is under investigation - by CHP - for taking out a fire hydrant, light pole and cruising away for 3 miles on blown tires... at 3am Monday - the night after the Super Bowl.
In a city issued car.
Dude's on "medical leave" right now and has no clear recollection of the night. Pain meds, huh? Well, the proles can still catch a DUI for that, as well as hit and run.
No field sobriety test was given, since the initial stop was by his employees, and the chief ain't telling so I'll guess we'll never know if he was on the hooch. CHP is treating their investigation as if no report was taken at the scene.
Very interesting. Nice to have the benefit of the doubt. Nice to not have to spend that first night in lockup. Perks of the job, and all that.
Hmm, probably not the best example to set for the boys in blue.
Well, at least there's an investigation.
I'm just glad all he took out was a fire hydrant.

You know the score, pal. You're not cop, you're little people.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Boiling Point?

Thursday marks the anniversary of the Iranian regime's rise to power, and Khamenei has promised an event that will "punch" the West...
Seems like things are spiraling out of control for the thugs in charge there. They've arrested hundreds of dissidents in advance of the celebrations today, but it looks like there is going to still be unrest. Although the regime has made major efforts to shut down or limit internet access, there are a few people live blogging the events unfolding even as I write. My hat's off to these gutsy folk.
You can't stop the signal.

Via Instapundit

Well then...

I had a summons for jury duty this week and I was actually looking forward to participating in the experience, what with being a n00b citizen and all.
Our county has a call-in system, so we don't have to go down to the courthouse unless our specific juror number is called.
So, like a good little potential juror, I called into the system every evening to hear the automated system tell me my service had been postponed until the next night. Tonight's call ended with the automated system telling me my juror service was completed.
Honestly, I'm feeling a little disappointed right now...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Web wanderings...

Tam posted about a book that I'd really like to read. Glad I've still got money left on my Barnes and Noble Gift card...
Billy Beck is posting again. He can be, err, abrasive sometimes, but he is one sharp guy. He's right, too. The Republicans are fools if they think a repudiation of the Democrats is by default a vindication of their own agenda. Bush's excesses are still quite fresh in the public mind.
Linoge gave his blog a makeover. Very nice... easier for me to post a comment there, too, now.
I don't care at all for the possible implications in this post by Robb Allen...

Real funny, guy

An East Palo Alto police detective posted a crack (on Facebook, of all places) about killing open carry activists:

"Sounds like you had someone practicing their 2nd amendment rights last night! Should've pulled the AR out and prone them all out! And if one of them made a furtive movement...2 weeks off!!!"

There's a lot of contempt for the movement in the thread in question, but Detective Rod Tuason's casual joking about murdering law-abiding citizens kinda stands out, dontchya think?

In a perfect world, this kind of comment - in a public forum, by one sworn to protect and serve the public - would merit at the minimum immediate termination (of employment) and a psychiatric examination.

Since this is, however, the real world, I don't expect anything to happen to such a stellar public servant. After all, if the act of murdering lawful citizens warrants nothing more than a 2 week paid suspension for the officer involved (as he so helpfully points out in his post), then cracking a joke about it probably won't even raise command's eyebrows.

It's one thing to hear this about this mindset from one of the unwashed masses; to hear it from one of the privileged elite themselves is far more meaningful. That he felt comfortable enough to post it on Facebook is also very telling, and makes me think his may not be a minority view.

I'm reminded of a quote from Blade Runner, by Captain Bryant to Deckard:

"You know the score, pal. You're not cop, you're little people."

Found via Say Uncle

UPDATE - It would appear that Detective Tuason is a member of the Calguns community. I just got done reading through this 600+ post thread (he outs himself on page 24). Huge disappointment, to say the very least.

Monday, February 08, 2010

On Beer and Brewing... Sort Of

So, instead of going to the range due to the crap weather, I wound up going to watch a home brewing demonstration over at this place. Fascinating stuff. Damn tasty, too. They had a couple of their varieties on tap in the back room, free for the taking and let me tell you, their honeyed pale ale was frigging GOOD. Makes me want to try making my own. The guy doing the demo really knew his stuff - he answered all the dumb questions I threw at him authoritatively.
One guy's question threw me for a loop, though. He asked, "What can I used in the process other than honey? Is sugar a good substitute? I really can't use honey because my wife is pregnant and she can't have it."
Uh, dude, if she's pregnant, I'm pretty sure she shouldn't be on the BEER, regardless of honey content.
When class got out, we traipsed over to a local brewery that I never even knew existed up until that day. They've been in business for a year, and one of the partners was a high school classmate of one of my friends. Small world. Tasty beer, and real friendly guys. They were only too happy to give us a tour of the place, and show us the process from start to finish. I was especially impressed by the way they engineered some home-grown solutions to some of the problems a brewery faces - for example, temperature control, which can be a bit of a challenge down here in the Southland. My friend was so impressed, she asked to work there for free to learn the trade. Her dream is to start up her own microbrewery up north, so this was an ideal opportunity for her - especially since she's unemployed at the moment, so she has the time to devote to this.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a day, if going to the range is out...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Dampened Enthusiasm

A friend of mine just picked up a new hunting rifle (Savage in .30-06) a few days back, and we had made arrangements to go to the range today. Of course, I didn't check the weather, and it's raining. Not hard, but the range we were going to hit has no covered firing line, and since I'm all about comfort, I'm not going. I'm really not all that into fighting my way up a muddy, rutted mountain road to go sit on a wet stool and lean on a wet table to shoot in the rain.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yet Another Proud Dad Post...

Number One Son got his black gi tonight and I couldn't resist sharing...

And from the back...

What History Has Taught Me About Socialism and Communism

I was called out on another blog to show the historical evidence backing up my low opinion of Socialism, and rather than respond there, I decided to give it some thought and post my reasoning here.

Socialism has been an intermittent part of the human experience for a long time. It has never lasted long in any society that has tried it, but it remains a popular system. Why?

Superficially, Socialism (and it's purest form, Communism) looks very attractive from a financial standpoint - certainly to those in the lower strata of society, especially poor societies. Essentially, everyone pitches in for a fair share. Since the poorest classes of any given society also tend to be the largest, democratic societies will always tend toward socialism. It makes sense, as people vote their interests. A colleague of mine, who is Chinese, pretty much agrees with this. He believes that communism is good for China, because before communism, he said the people had nothing. Note that he lives here in Capitalist America, however, so it's good for them, but not necessarily him.

You don't really have to dig to hard to see why socialism doesn't last, however. In order for it to work as advertised, you have to have a 100 percent buy-in. Everyone in the society has to play by the rules - there is just no room for people to do their own thing. If people were allowed to pursue their own dreams and ambitions rather than working towards the common good, problems would arise - inequity comes into the equation and you're back to square one.
So, how do you prevent this?

In theory, you have to concentrate power in the hands of government. All financial matters are controlled by government. All businesses are owned by the state. All work therefore is done in service to the state. The state then distributes the wealth created in an even manner to all participants.

However, in reality, you really can't. Here's why.

-Black markets will arise in even the most controlled economies, despite the wishes of the powers that be, and the punishments meted out for participating.

-The people in charge - and there always has to be people in charge, especially in these cases, to ensure distribution - have to be trustworthy. They have to have society's best interests at heart. They have to participate in the system too. To date, I don't believe that any socialist society has succeeded at finding these so-called "right people". Power corrupts. Power always corrupts. These people are guiding the society, so they're entitled to a little more of a share, right? They're important, so they need state protection, right? In order to protect them, they need housing away from the masses, right? It's a stressful job, so they need more leisure, right? And so on. Wow. We've just created a class system again - this time political, rather than financial. Whatever; you still get "haves" and "have-nots".

-Equal pay, but not equal work. There will always be an element of society that simply does not work. There are three main groups here: The incapable, the most sympathetic group (although some socialist societies preferred to remove, rather than support them); the criminal (there will always be a subset of any society that finds it easier to take what they want rather than work for it); and the plain lazy. As it becomes apparent that people are entitled to the same share regardless of the effort put in, this group expands as those who work begin to see that they don't benefit any more than those who do not.

-Individual liberty must be sacrificed upon the altar of the common good. Liberty and Socialism cannot coexist - at least, not for long. The needs of the individual must always yield to those of the state - otherwise, you'd get back to that horrid class system in no time. This is the most sinister aspect of the system for me - that I must subject my own personal dreams, rights and liberties to the whim of society at large. If I refuse, I may be imprisoned or executed. In no way will I be permitted to live in liberty within such a system. Nor can I leave. History bears this out. This is where the bodies start to pile up. If everyone who wanted to leave left, why, who would do the work necessary for the functioning of such a society? That's one reason why there is a lot of animosity towards America in the world. Our country is a shining example of what is possible when individuals are left alone to realize their potential. Our very existence is a threat to Socialism, because as long as there is an America, based upon our founding principles, people in Socialist states will always be able to see - to know - that the grass is greener on the other side. For this reason alone, Socialism will always fail as long as people can see that there is an alternative.

OK, enough of my simplistic opinions and observations. On to some examples of Socialism in history, in answer to Markadelphia's challenge:

The Plymouth Colony, 1620. Their socialist experiment almost wiped them out. Fail.
New Harmony, Indiana, 1825-29. Lasted four years before collapsing. Fail.
Brook Farm, 1841-44. Held out for three years. Fail.

"But wait!" I hear you say. "These were all small societies, with limited access to resources. Surely there are examples of larger societies with more resources that lasted much longer!"

Yes, there are. I believe that large societies, with a wealthier starting point in terms of resources and manpower, can (but not always) tolerate the drain of Socialism for longer periods. But not indefinitely. The current record holder is the Soviet Union - a huge state, we can all agree, with vast tracts of land, plenty of mineral wealth and a large population to exploit.

They lasted sixty-nine years.

Other examples include Tunisia (less than ten years), Tanzania (gave up after 20 years or so in the face of famines and starvation - but hey, they got the literacy rates up!), Grenada (four years - guess they just couldn't get along).
There's a list here of many more if you're interested. Note the list of former states is much larger than current.
And who could forget Nazi Germany. Twelve years. Yes, it was a socialist state.

A feature common to these but maybe not readily obvious until I included Nazi Germany is the huge body count. You never get 100% participation in these societies, as I stated. Well, that is just an obstacle to be overcome for the true believers. They see no disconnect at all in killing millions of people in order to make life better.

So, my opinions, my observations and the historical record show me that Socialism as a system of government is doomed to fail every single time, with disastrous and often lethal results for its participants. YMMV, especially if your name is Markadelphia.

Screwed either way

I just heard on the radio that President Obama's aunt, who is in the country illegally (and had been ordered deported four years ago) is facing an immigration hearing today. Probably a very intimidating process for the lady, and having experienced the US, the prospect of being booted back to Kenya is probably quite daunting.
This is a no win for Obama, for which I have a lot of sympathy for him. If he does nothing, then he's a heartless bastard who doesn't give a crap about his family. If he intercedes on his aunt's behalf, then he's a corrupt bastard for using his position to influence immigration policy on behalf of his family. Either way, the right can have a field day with this.
I guess the best road to take would be to pony up for legal representation for his aunt - the best he can get on his own dime -
and then stay out of the matter entirely.
Kinda feel sorry for the guy.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I Love Calguns

And this is why.
All part of the sea-change. Even here in California, gun bigots are not ever going to be able to push their agenda in a vacuum any more. The determination to fight this kind of nonsense is growing, and we will be heard. If not in the legislature, then in the court room. And it won't be cheap, for all those like-minded cash-strapped municipalities out there.

Here's the thread I ripped it from...


Ha! A blow for freedom in my own back yard!
Though not necessarily for the noblest of reasons (as pointed out halfway into the article - not enough revenue was generated), our local council has voted to do away with a couple of sets of red light cameras. I'm glad that the council is showing, though, that local government can be responsive to the people it serves, as there were a lot of gripes about this thing.
Wow - $500 tickets? Glad I never got pinched...

No Fair!

The Tax Men can have 14 inch shotties, but I can't?
Us proles - especially here in California - have to have shotguns with barrels no less than 18 inches long. Because, you know, we can't be trusted with something that has no obvious use other than to er... collect taxes?
Guess it's good to be the king('s men)...

Found at Drudge

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I have come to the definitive conclusion...

that Paul's Boutique is by far the best album put out by the Beastie Boys.
That is all.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Well, My Lad...

... Better sooner than later, because you'd be up shit creek if Obamacare passes.
There's a reason that people from countries with socialized medicine come here for procedures when life is on the line and they have the means. You want to know the reason?
It's because our medical care is better.
Shit, it's the best. People don't fly to France or Canada or England for life-saving surgeries. If they can afford it, they come here.
That's what markets do. They encourage competition, which improves the quality of the service, drives innovation and, if the market was truly unfettered, with the patient, rather than the employer or insurance company being the customer, they push costs down in a way that a command from on high never could.
Socialized medicine kills innovation, kills initiative and worst of all, kills people.
It's a dark thing they're pushing for, the democrats. Pray they don't succeed.

Found at Instapundit.

Loooong day...

I'm up to my eyeballs in Proficiency Testing samples at work (which our lab needs to perform - accurately - every six months to retain our certification), which means multiple dilutions for multiple tests - including some that we don't even offer anymore, but the powers that be want us to stay certified in, despite lacking the correct detectors for my instrumentation. Long story short, 'twas a busy day. I shouldn't really complain, though, since there's been precious few busy days lately, and this one didn't even have the added satisfaction of customers taken care of and money in the coffers, since it was all about compliance today.
Speaking of compliance, I went to buy a feeder mouse for our snake (who shall henceforth be called Leah, since it was ascertained beyond a shadow of a doubt today that she is, in fact, female... although we had our suspicions) yesterday and was handed a contract to sign, prior to taking ownership of said mouse, stating, and I quote:

"By signing, I commit to being a responsible pet owner by providing a safe and appropriate environment for my companion animal. I have received a 'PetStore' care sheet for my companion animal, and am aware of what is necessary to keep my pet happy and healthy".

Um, sure... it'll be the happiest little mouse ever... right up until I toss it into my pet snake's gaping maw.
They knew why I was buying the mouse, but insisted on the contract anyway. OK then.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Holy Cow

I don't know how he does it - it takes me twenty minutes to bang out a couple of paragraphs - but I'm certainly glad he does. I strongly recommend following the link and reading the whole thing. Kevin Baker has a way of expressing his philosophy (one that I share, by the way) that very few others do.
All I can really say after reading that is "What he said!"
Always a treat to read the Smallest Minority. That's why I go there every day.

Horror Story

Last night, I picked up Wifey at the airport with My Little Princess (Number One Son was still at Astro Camp).
We came home and settled down for bed around 11pm, My Little Princess choosing to sleep on Number One Son's lower bunk as she had all week while Momma was gone.
I was just cracking open my book, when I heard a series of six earsplitting, blood-curdling screams that could only have emanated from my daughter.
I rushed out into the hallway, to find My Little Princess out of bed, in tears. After calming her down, I got the whole story from her.
She had pulled back the covers and snuggled into bed, when she had felt something cold. This cold something had then slithered over her leg and onto the floor, at which point she had jumped up screaming.
Turns out that Number One Son's pet snake, Leo (our Kenyan Sand Boa), had gotten out of it's cage - presumably in search of food - and tried to find somewhere warm, since our house is pretty cold at the moment, at least as far as reptiles would be concerned.
Leo was found, his tank inspected (still not quite sure how he got out) and My Little Princess was calmed down. All in all, she took it pretty well (a hell of a lot better than I would have, that's for sure) once she found out what it was, but she did choose to spend the remainder of the night in her own room... with the door closed.

Two of My Favorite Things...

Are bacon and dark chocolate. Knowing this, Wifey brought me something interesting back from her trip to Chicago...

Interesting combo... Never had them together before.
Of course, Wifey didn't stop there. Being in Chicago, she found something else that she couldn't resist buying...

Yup, a bar of "Change" chocolate...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Headline of the Week!

Over here, via Instapundit. That got a chuckle out of me.

Bipartisanship. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...

But seriously, it looks like El Presidente is having a bit of a meltdown lately. He tore into Republicans today in an effort to promote bipartisanship(?), which was just icing on the cake after his behavior during the State of the Union address. Not exactly striking much of a conciliatory tone.
I guess the ass-kicking his party and policies got in Massachusetts was a little too subtle; too nuanced, if you will...
Because I think he's just not getting it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Earning It

Today is a big day for Number One Son. In a little over an hour from now, he will be subjected to a four hour examination at his dojo. This will include a written test, an examination of his katas - forms and techniques - and culminating in sparring - essentially getting jumped in by a bunch of bigger kids.
And if he succeeds, he will have his black belt in karate.
I'm very proud of him, win or lose tonight, because it's been a long road and he's stuck it out, which to me shows a level of dedication and maturity far beyond his ten years.
Good luck son.

UPDATE: He made it! Allow me to present... Sensei Number One Son!

Because he's under 16, his black belt has a white stripe throught it. It is a full black belt, and he'll exchange it for a solid one when he's old enough. He's very proud of his accomplishment, as he should be. It was a tough test, as you can see by his sweaty hair.
I'm very proud of him for following through on his commitment, and to have such an achievement at the ripe old age of ten!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stay Classy, Mr President

Taking a swipe at the Supreme Court in your speech. Nice. Despite what you said, sir, I get the distinct feeling that you don't respect the separation of powers at all. Well, tough shit. You don't get to be king in America, and things aren't always going to go your way - especially since your way seems to be in direct contradiction to liberty. This is not yet a banana republic, sir.

The 800lb Gorilla

The NRA has elbowed its way into oral arguments in the McDonald case set to be heard by the Supreme Court. They applied for, and got 10 minutes out of the 30 allotted to the plaintiffs represented by Alan Gura (who served the cause of liberty so well in Heller). The NRA's lawyer of choice in this is one Paul Clement, who as Solicitor General, actually argued in favor of DC's position in Heller. That makes me a little uncomfortable.
Now, NRA got their 10 minutes ostensibly to make a case before the court focusing on the Due Process clause, since Gura was focusing on the Privileges and Immunities Clause as a way to protect the RKBA.
I suspect that a large part of this is NRA's desire to show that they are relevant; that is, that the largest pro-gun group in the US wants to be a part of such a historic case, that the NRA wants McDonald on its resume so to speak, especially since it didn't get much of a taste in Heller. So it pushed its way in, against the wishes of the original plaintiffs.

Fine. You're in. SCOTUS gave you the time. With a lawyer who was on the other side in the last go-round. You'd better not screw it up. Your membership is watching.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Riddles in the Dark... the title of chapter five of The Hobbit, which I just finished reading to my kids tonight - the chapter where Bilbo Baggins encounters Gollum and The Ring. Probably not the best choice for bedtime reading to a nine- and ten-year-old. It's more than a little creepy, but I did stress that Bilbo managed to escape by the end of the chapter, and that it's just a story.
They've been reminding me every night to read them the story thus far; I hope this chapter hasn't discouraged them. I think I sometimes forget how young they still are...

I was starting to feel a little sympathy...

... for El Presidente these last few days - he's had a pretty rough week, after all - until I saw this news item over at Instapundit...
The press is against you? Boo-frikken-hoo. Man up, guy. Bush put up with this - far worse, mind you - for eight frigging years! Being a Republican, he didn't even have the opportunity of a "honeymoon" as Democrats always seem to enjoy, either. One week and you're already crying? Very presidential.
The press has been obnoxiously in the tank for Obama, almost to the point of out-and-out worship. Looks like they're feeling somewhat cheated, as though El Presidente turned out to be just another empty suit full of empty promises. Looks like about half the country's feeling the same way. Never ceases to amaze me how high some people will set their expectations of politicians, even those vapid as this one.
Hope and Change sounded great, didn't it? But we never really got anything out of him beyond that during the campaign, did we? Well, we're getting it now, and it looks like a lot of folks don't like it.
So now the fawning in the media has slackened off some...
I guess when you come to expect that kind of adulation as your due, a week like this last one could be crushing.
Time to blow your nose, wipe away the tears, and finish out your term, tough guy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Stuff...

The Wife is in Chicago all this week at a conference, which is going to make for interesting times here as far as juggling my work schedule with the kids' school schedule. Luckily I have some good friends willing to help out...
Got the first issue of my subscription to Reason magazine this last weekend... haven't read it all yet but there's plenty of good stuff in there...
The Saints-Vikings game was a close one. I didn't care for the officiating. In the Saint's last drive before OT, there were three bad calls in a row - a first down given when clearly the ball didn't pass the mark, a pass interference penalty against the Vikings for what was obviously an uncatchable ball and a completion where the ball hit the ground as the guy was catching it. I'm not even a Vikings fan, and I was pissed at the refs...
Girding ourselves here at the kingdom for another week of crap weather. Sand bags and sump pump at the ready. The rain here in the lowlands means snow in the surrounding mountains, and after we get rain, the skies clear up, giving clear views for miles. The snow capped mountains look beautiful right now. Number One Son is supposed to be going up into the mountains this Friday for "Astro Camp", and I'm thinking he needs some warmer clothing than he currently has. I'm wondering if they're going to need chains to get up there. Do they even make snow chains for school buses?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

I encountered quite a bit of it today at a local gun store, and it was pretty unsettling. I guess I shouldn't expect legal advice from a guy making minimum wage behind a gun counter, but it was pretty annoying to hear him talk about legalities here in CA that he obviously had little idea about. For example, "Gun Store X down the way is selling Saigas which have been banned so they're breaking the law, but DOJ just hasn't gotten around to them yet". Uh, OK dude...
He also exemplified a way of thinking that our government - especially the CA DOJ - encourages, in that if there is not a ruling allowing a particular feature (in this case, he was referring to a bullet button), then it must be illegal.
That is the mindset of a serf, not a citizen. Laws do not grant permission; laws forbid behaviors (and in CA, guns sometimes). If there is no law in place banning the particular item in question, then by definition it must be legal. The DOJ may not care for some of the items Californians choose to avail themselves of, but if they are not banned by law, then it's just tough.
Obviously the spirit of the law here in CA is designed to discourage Californians from possessing EBRs altogether, but if one scrupulously adheres to the letter of the law and complies with all the requirements then it can be done.
Guys like the clerk I encountered today aren't helping; they're doing DOJ's work for them, by spreading their flawed perceptions of California gun law to their customers. I swear sometimes, gun owners can be worse than fishwives for all the rumors that you hear spread throughout the community.
I suppose I could have corrected him, but I didn't envision that ending well. If you've ever been in a gun store, you'd know the type. It's the store owner's responsibility to educate their employees anyway.
I doubt I'll be doing business there again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Free Speech WIN!

I was very happy to hear McCain-Feingold take a beating by the Supreme Court today. Another one in the win column for liberty. Of course, it wasn't a unanimous decision, however; three guesses as to which four justices dissented?
Freedom of speech... its not just about crucifixes in urine jars, hippy...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Holy crap. Feels like I'm back in England. I know we need it - California's been in a drought for some time - but do we have to get it all at once? I have canyons forming in my back yard - hopefully we don't slide off the damn hill...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book of Eli

Saw this movie last night with a couple of friends, and I wasn't disappointed. One of the few movies I've seen in a theater lately that I didn't regret shelling out the dough for. I had a few issues with the way society had devolved in the post-apocalyptic world, but the story kept me interested and so did the action.
The ending left a little to be desired, too, though I really can't explain my gripes without spoiling it, so I won't.
I'd definitely recommend it, with the caveat that there are fairly strong Christian overtones throughout (if that wasn't already evident by the title of the movie and the trailers advertising it) which may not be every one's cup of tea - as indeed it wasn't for one of my friends, who said he'd felt as though he was tricked into going to church...
That said, the basic theme of the movie resonated with me - that a life dedicated to the preservation of something good in this world is not a wasted one.


How about that, eh? Massachusetts voters elected a Republican senator for the first time in how long? How despised must one's party and agenda be to lose such a safe seat, nestled in such a bastion of liberalism?
I really hope this is an indicator of something bigger, that people are finally realizing just what the Federal government has started to become, how entitled it feels to dictate terms to the people in every single facet of their lives, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. Maybe it's not too late to stuff the beast back into its constitutional cage after all.
Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into one senatorial election... but a guy can dream, right?
Congratulations, Senator Brown. May you always remember how you got there, and why.

Getting Involved...

I didn't post about this yesterday, as the rain created a few problems around the house and I had other plans in the evening, but I made mention of going to a Calguns chapter startup meeting on Saturday.
Calguns, if you're not already aware of it, is an awesome resource for gun owners here in the Golden State. Within the forums you can find information on navigating your way through our byzantine firearms laws, hook up with fellow gunnies in your area, get advice on your firearms maintenance, upkeep and building, and stay abreast of current developments with California firearms-related bills.
Dirtcrashr was the first to point me that way, for which I am most grateful. It was also useful in downloading certification letters about my DSA FAL that confirmed even to my paranoid self that this EEEVVVILLL rifle was in fact legal under California law. It's my go-to place for any questions I have about anything firearm related.
Anyhoo, as well as all that, these guys have been very effective - more so than the NRA and CRPA (California Rifle and Pistol Association) in fighting some of our more egregious laws in court. They were instrumental in the birth of the OLL (Off List Lowers) phenomenon as well as having their fingers in a few other things. For this reason, I'm an adamant supporter, and since I'm fairly passionate about my 2A rights, I want to support them however I can. Right now, since funds are tight, money is not as good of an option for me as time.
Therefore, I went to a chapter startup meeting. Met a few guys, tossed around some ideas to get more community exposure and got some idea of what is coming up in the near future. Once I get a more firm idea of what my place should be in the organization, I'll be happy to jump in - and let you all know all about it...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's late...

...and I'm tired, so I won't be posting much today. We've had a pretty busy weekend, what with gardening, shopping and getting the yard prepared for (gasp!) the ensuing half-inch-of-rain-rainstorm (I love my house, but drainage was not one of the design highlights).
NFL playoffs were a bit of a disappointment this weekend - I figured the Cardinals would lose, but I at least expected to give the Saints somewhat of a fight, and the Chargers pretty much disgraced themselves today - especially Nate Kaeding, their kicker - who managed to miss three frigging field goals in one game. Who does that? Hmpf.
On a brighter note, I did attend a Calguns chapter startup meeting on Saturday morning - more on that tomorrow, though - I'm for bed.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I've been following the developments in Haiti over the last few days and all I can really say is that my heart goes out to those poor bastards. What a mess. The country is in an absolute shambles (even more so now than before the quake).
I've seen the reports about rising anger and machete-gangfights over food and I'm not at all surprised, nor do I think less of the folks there for it, as some may. I've read somewhere that civilization is just 3 days away from anarchy no matter where you live, and I think I believe that. Cut off food, water and medical services to any population , anywhere, and I believe you'd see the same behaviors, within the same time frame. One of the reasons we here in the kingdom try to prepare. Don't count on government to help you. At some point, you may have to man up and look after yourself.

On that note, however, I'm proud of our government's response to this, and to our guys in the military. They do much more good out there in the world than just kill people and break things, despite what the lefties think. The US military is usually first on the scene to these sort of things, and do the lion's share of the relief work. They're even sorting out the airport over there, so more relief flights can get in. Most everywhere in the world, people know damn well that their best bet is to run to the guys in the American uniforms, and I hope that never changes. My heartfelt thanks to you all out there.

As a Christian, I have to say I cringed when Pat Robertson showed his ass once again - not because I think he represents Christianity as a whole, but the soapbox he commands may give non-Christians that impression, and I may have to do some explaining to some of my non-Christian friends about this in the near future. I certainly don't agree with his take. On a side note, Danny Glover's recent comments about this being a consequence of the failed climate talks in Copenhagen show me that asshattery is not necessarily limited to just my religion...

One other thought really is sticking in my mind about this whole mess, and I have to admit that I'm having a bit of a hard time with it. I think of myself as a pretty die-hard libertarian for the most part and tend to view government involvement in daily life with a very jaundiced eye, being distrustful and unconvinced of the necessity of government regulation in pretty all aspects of my life. HOWEVER, having now seen the results of an earthquake in the complete absence of any government-enforced building codes whatsoever, and the ensuing carnage (in this case in the tens if not hundreds of thousands) and with a similar-sized quake in a similarly dense population center, but with enforced building codes - the Loma Prieta quake in the Bay Area, 1989 (death toll 63) - same magnitude for both, by the way - I can't say that all government regulation is a bad thing. How many lives would have been lost here in CA if everyone had just built as they pleased? I don't know, but likely many more than actually did. I'm going to have to give this a lot more thought.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just had to share...

I'm proudly wearing one of my favorite Christmas gifts from my wife today... That's right, a pair of Halo 3 boxer shorts - a marvelous deep blue festooned with prints of all the weapons used in the game, as well as the Halo 3 logo... Nothing says love like video game - themed underwear...

Sorry, no pics...

Books, Bitterness and Hobbits...

I live in a fairly sizable city here in the valley, with a population north of 100K, and it's always kinda bothered me that we've never had a nice, large bookstore like a Barnes&Noble or Borders in town, when I see them just about everywhere else around. Nope, we've just had to settle for a little Waldenbooks and B. Dalton in the local mall.
Well, Waldenbooks closed quite a while ago, and now B. Dalton is closing too - everything 40% off at the moment, which is a nice deal BUT...
How pathetic is it that a city this size now has no frigging bookstore? When I first heard of the closing of B Dalton, I was incensed at my fellow inhabitants - how, in a city this size, can we not garner enough interest in reading to keep at least ONE small bookstore in business? I know I did my part, dammit!
However, when I went into B. Dalton to take advantage of their close-out prices, I asked the clerk if business was so bad at this particular store. "Oh no", said she, "business was just fine. It was a corporate decision. They want to consolidate their stores".
Some small comfort... at least I'm not surrounded by a city of illiterates as I first assumed... though the trek to the nearest B&N is a bit of a drive for this homebody, so when I go, I tend to spend more time and money than I should...
Since our local store was going out of business and getting rid of their stock at ridiculously low prices, it was pretty well picked over the last time I went, to the extent that I could not fulfil a promise I had made to my children there - namely, to pick up a copy of The Hobbit and read it to them - something I have wanted to do for a while. I had a copy, I've read it several times, but it's long gone, somewhere in the past history of one of my many moves before I got married, I suspect...
So, last night, I bit the bullet and drove out to the B&N in the next town over to grab a copy (I had first asked around, and not one of my friends, to my disappointment, had a copy of their own that I could borrow! Fair enough, my library would be incomplete without this book anyway) - also picked up a copy of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, which was in the bargain book aisle.
I'm happy to say that reading of The Hobbit finally commenced last night. The kids seemed to enjoy it - I know I did.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

As my old high school rugby coach would say...

"Well played, that man".

Our self-selected nobility needs such reminders ever more frequently these days, methinks.

Monday, January 11, 2010


It's been a while since I last posted... the family and I had a fun (albeit very busy) Christmas, and a pretty sedate New Year. The kids are a bit grumpy today - their first day back to school, after three weeks off.

This last weekend was a good one. Saturday saw quite a few firsts for me, as I finally got to go shooting for the first time in months...
First time I shot my AR - which performed extremely well (at least with Federal .223 - it would not cycle Remington 50gr hollowpoints for some reason) and turned out to be a lot of fun to shoot.
First time I shot an AK - my buddy Jim's Lancaster Arms - also fun to blast away with...
First time I shot a .44 magnum - my buddy Will's Taurus - first time he shot it too - loud, obnoxious and a little painful, but producing grins all around...

I have been following the news somewhat, although I didn't have much of anything to say that hasn't already been said. Number One Son's take on the Christmas Day bombing attempt pretty much summed it up:
"Aw, man! Does that mean they're going to check everyone's underpants at the airport now?"
Yes, son, I think it does. Because we're all Abdulmutallab now, as far as TSA is concerned. Can't wait to see my full body scan hit the internet.