Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Browncoat pop quiz.

Did this off and on with a friend via IM so I figured I'd throw it up here. I only have a couple known browncoats in the reading audience, but you never know when another might pop up.

So, a few quiz questions - feel free to answer in comments if you like. (The following are all taken from the same episode of Firefly - name it for a bonus point at the end) For a properly trivia minded Browncoat, they shouldn't be too hard. :)

1. Finish the quote, "Now we have a boat load of civilians...."

2. What, did Mal advise Zoe to do politely?

3. Finish the quote, "Cry baby cry...."

4. To what was Mal reacting to when he said, "Is that what they call it now?"

5. What was Jayne hoping to get from the Fed?

6. There's a rather ledgendary scene involving Kaylee and a piece of fruit. Name the fruit.

7. "Didn't she shoot you once?" "Everybody's making a fuss." - name the two characters in the exchange, and to whom they're referring.

8. Who provided the fruit mentioned in question six?

9. Name the Alliance Crusier that aborts its attempt to track down Serenity.

10. What is the Fed's full name?

Ok. thats enough questions - tag to any brown coats that feel like their own quizzes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Digging Fargo out, or why North Dakota living is an aquired taste.

Its o dark thirty on Monday morning, and I didn't go to work this morning. Why? Because Saturday night/Sunday morning Fargo got hit with a proper blizzard. I like Blizzards, and this one was a doozy. I worked Sunday morning, and getting to work was pretty easy, getting home... was an adventure.

Please note - in blizzard conditions, driving is generally a bad idea. I've been living in this country all my life, and I don't do it if I don't have to. Sunday morning most people were taking that advice. I didn't have a choice, I didn't want to stay at work.

There was a good solid four inches of snow in the parking lot when I left work. Thats just about enough to get your average two wheel drive small car or truck stuck if you stop in the wrong spot. I drive one of the probably TWO two wheel (rear) drive pickups in the state that get used at all in the winter (my dad owns the other one), and while our road crews are some of the best in the nation, I knew getting home would be... interesting.

It was. Visibility bounced from a couple hundred yards at best to zero, oftly fast. There weren't too many other vehicles on the road - and things went rather swimmingly (except for the few idiots who didn't understand that in conditions like this, as long as your not in incoming traffic, lanes are at best a suggestion - avoid the snow drifts people, your car won't like them :P) I kept an average speed of 25 to 30 miles an hour - slow enough to stop relatively quickly in the conditions - fast enough to keep my momentum up and hit most of the timed lights without stopping.

Interstate was closed from the Minnesota State line out to Jamestown so my typical route home was extended a fair bit. But I'd rather be breathing and slow, then stuck out in a ditch and freezing.

It got downright scary when I got south of 32nd Ave on 45th Street. This is the chunk of road that is always the most interesting. The road goes from four lanes to two, and its a rather narrow two lanes with steep ditches on each side. Cars end up in the ditch around here repeatedly in poor conditions.

Today was no exception. One poor idiot had forgotten that one lane simply ENDS south of 32nd and had driven straight into the ditch. The car was emtpy or I would have stopped to make a pick up. You just don't want to sit around out here like this - your car can be retrieved later.

It was a good thing I slowed down to check, cause when I looked back forward (there are no windbreaks down this section of 45th street) I see some jackass in a chevy impala BACKING UP at me.... through the white out.

I hit my brakes, the guy behind me did the same, and the guy in front of me apparently changed his mind and put it in drive. And then proceeded to inch along for just over a half mile at speeds topping out at 10 miles an hour, but consistantly dropping to about five.

Now, I'll give the guy the benifit of the doubt, it WAS a pretty solid white out, and hard to see. But I could make out the edge of the road - and I could see him - most of the time. Worse, he was weaving, and consistantly moving into the opposing lane. I had this image of sum dood swerving into my lane to avoid idiot number one infront of me, and running smack into me.

Luckily, he turned off before that happened, and I got to proceed at a safer speed of about twenty. I got back to my apartment to see a beautiful drift building in front of the driveway to the garages. So I whipped a cookie and parked it, and then went and walked the way back to my garage. I figured it was doable, but I'd have to keep my speed up. Which is hard when making a turn.

Which is why I'm glad my garage entrance runs straigh into a side street. so a cut down the street, brought the truck around without getting stuck, and took a bit of a run at it. Made it up to my garage successfully. A few minutes later I had it open (its got an opener, but it doesn't like hauling the door in the cold) and managed to squeak my pick up inside.

I got upstairs and after touching base with various people so they knew I was alive and home, went to bed.

Bout six tonight, I got up, and came to the conclusion that there was no way in hell I was getting to work. The roads were *mostly* cleared but my parking lot was not. There were five foot drifts in some sections, and it was heavy enough that I knew I'd never get to the road without a smile and a wink from $DEITY. So, I called in - expecting to work from home - which I can do.

Except my cable kept conking out so that ended up being a no happening deal too.

It never really hit me just how BIG a blizzard we had til I got out this morning about an hour ago. I thought I'd drop by Denny's for a bite to eat, then bound back home. I got to Dennys just fine to find it closed. Dennys closes for about 6 hours on Christmas... and thats it around here. So I wandered back by Hornbauchers (24 hour super market which is just down the street from me. They were closed too. This never ever happens :P The only vehicles out were tow trucks and snow moving equipment. And they were still losing the battle in some parts of town I drove through (and I didn't get through much).

Today we're going to see wonderous temps in the -30s to -40s with windchill. More snow is possible, and the wind isn't expected to let up for a good bit yet.

Yep. This is a North Dakota winter alright.

God I love it.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Musings.

So this morning I had fresh roast beef, potatoes, and carrots for breakfast (keeping in mind my 'morning' starts midway through most peoples evenings, you'll forgive me)

I threw it together before bed around 9 am and got up to a well cooked meal. God I love crock pots. It did however make me think of this:

Arm Roast: Free (Provided by Uncle with too much beef)
Potatoes: 3.53
Carrots: 4.40
Assorted seasonings and crock pot: On hand.

Determining that despite still being a bachelor with rusty and dusty cooking skills - you can still throw together a decent meal without working too hard?: Priceless.

Realizing you still have no one to share it with?: Suck ;)

It wasn't perfect. I added too much water to the crock, so if I had wanted to, I could have turned the whole thing into a giant stew (which would have been good too) - but it was good. And I'll have plenty of food for a couple days.

I'm certainly no Bridget from Home on the Range - but then, who is? *chuckles*

I've been meaning to listen live to the Gun Nuts podcast I keep hearing around the corner of the blogosphere I tend to wander - but alas my work schedule means that about the time I should be tuning in, I'm usually thinking about a shower and waking up. However, I did listen to this week's show after the fact, and you can find a link to it HERE over at the Breda Fallacy. Good stuff - topic was Concealed Carry. Crank your volume when Lawdog starts talking cause really - he's got some interesting things to say.

Maybe next week I'll catch it live. We'll see.

I've still got a couple posts on high sea's piracy and the impending idiocy of the automotive bailout I'd like to put together, but like my pot roast all day yesterday, its still simmering.

Damn. Now I'm getting hungry again.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dreams and Happenstance.

I can always tell once we're well into the Christmas Season. How you ask? Well its simple - I start dreaming about Toys R Us. Back before I was a decently paid cubical warrior of extreme renoun, I was a retail drone making roughly peanuts. I have good storys and bad storys about that job, the primary good was that back then I was *almost* thin because I never got off my feet. (I'm not OMG overweight, but sitting at a desk all day doesn't promote weight loss either)

I miss that sometimes, but definately not around the holidays. Last night I got treated to a dream about trying to run a TRU overnight shift with a bunch of temp drones who had no idea how to face merchandise, throw overstock, or clean up after themselves. I suppose in a way it was a nightmare, but in another way it made me smile, because I don't have to suffer through any of that anymore.

I miss working with some of the people, but I damn sure don't miss the job.

On the topic of things from the past - a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (or about a year ago) I used to be a member of a singles dating site that was just starting up called SoulGeek. As the profile says, I'm a Geek, so it only makes sense to look for love in other geeks right? Anyway I hung out in the chatroom, and did some posting to thier forums, and along the way ended up a moderator. I'm not sure who was crazier, me for taking the gig, of them for asking me to do it. Not that it was hard or anything - at the time thier forum use wasn't particularly heavy.

Anyway, I met a fair number of like minded people there and even added a few to my MSN friends lists. I ended up drifting away from the community like I do a lot of things. I just don't have the time to invest in those places like they deserve.

Anyway, one of those aquaintences dropped me a line last week. I was at work, but I made it a point that next time I saw her online to say hello. Its been an interesting 'hello, rememeber me?' sort of back and forth. I don't know what will come of it - and honestly it doesn't matter. The mild flirting has been fun and if I score another long term friend - cool...

...and if something more comes about well, I wouldn't be adverse to that either. *shrug* I've learned over the years that what will be will be if I just let it. So I guess we'll see.


Its been a fun early Christmas Gift in its own way, one way or the next.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Wishlist.

For lack of real content today - because I haven't thought up any - I present my 'wishlist'.

A 1911 Commander model with ambdextrous safety (at least) and if possible mag release. I'm leaning towards Kimber, but I wouldn't complain at a S&W or an honest to god Colt model. .45 of course. I'm leaning towards this as a carry pistol.

A 1911 Government model. What? I like the 1911, doesn't everyone? Same as above in all other respects.

A good solid AR-15 Lower Reciever, with ambdextrous or left handed controls (Yes, I'm left handed.). Why only the lower reciever? Because from there I can do some research and decide what I want to put on the thing :). I'm currently leaning towards a heavy barrel and railed upper. But we'll see.

An M-44 or M38 Mosin, a M1 Carbine, a Springfield M1A (M-14), and an M1 Garand. I'm still poking around for choices on a shotgun as well.

That covers the things that shoot bullets wishlist :).

I need more .45 ACP. Preferably from a few different manufacturers. My XD has a tendancy when I'm doing things right to shoot about one inch low and two inches to the right from about 20 - 25 feet with Remmington UMC FMJs. (I think its Remmington :P). Since I'm left handed, I might be throwing in a pre-shot flinch, but a trigger jerk should be throwing the bullet to the left - I think.

I'm fully willing to believe its the shooter! But, I don't *think* it is. (I make nice groups in the area described ;))

A good leather holster (lefthanded) for the XD would be awesome. I've seen some good reviews online but I really want to beable to get the feel for the holster before I buy one - and thats been hard since the only Left handed holster that fits my XD that I've found in ALL of Fargo was an Uncle Mikes - which once I took off the really annoying carry strap wasn't *too* bad. But I'm thinking I need to sew a nylon loop in for a belt because the clip provided is absolute crap. Tends to come off my belt one out of five draws.

More Mags!

An an honest to god pistol belt.

Also, the usual gift cards to the usual suspects, Cash, and tools.

(But a guy has gotta have hopes, right?)

Attendum: I'll take one of THESE too. Cause you know, your own Nerf Squad Support Weapon is an important part of Cube survival.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thoughts on the CCW Permit Course

Let me preface my comments with the following information.

I am not an NRA rated instructor. I have never taught a CCW permit course, nor am I a former member of the military or a police officer. Outside of basic safety training, and my own personal endevors to this point, I am not in any way what you could consider a seasoned firearms instructor.

However, I did spend a large majority of the last three years in my job designing and then implimenting a training course for new desk technicians in the skill set I am fluent in. In fact, I was SO good at it, that while I could turn out a proper desk technician in a week, if I had too who wasn't a complete idiot while begging for MORE time to do the job right - they decided that if I could do it with NewPOS they could do it with the other desks... (sometimes being good at something isn't a plus)

So, I know a thing or two about engaging, and training adults, some of which very well may not want to be paying attention, or who may think they know more then you, etc.

I don't pretend to be an expert - but when I pay a hundred dollars for someone to provide me with a written test for the North Dakota permit, and an NRA basic firearms training course for the Utah permit (and the requisit stamps) I expect a certain level of professionalism in both materials, and what is covered.

I'm not expecting the second coming of an absolute gun god who knows everything there is to know and attempts to impart it on you come hell or high water - but I *DO* expect to learn something. Even if everything else is basics and I *should* and probably *DO* already know it, it pays to stress the basics.

There were somewhere between 20 and 25 people at the sportsman's warehouse for this training class. The trainer, who's name I will leave off this blog, was a nice enough guy, handed out the materials, and introduced himself as a former marine, former federal fugitive squad, etc etc etc. Basically a guy who'd been there and done that.

So I figured we'd get to hear a good story or two, and learn what I hoped to learn in a direct fashion.

We started with the ND Permit test. We were given a 2 sheet 'test' that was not even photocopied well that had all of TEN questions on it. I could have answered 9 of them correctly without looking at the study material.

Which we were handed. Apparently this was a 10 question open book test :P

Oh, and all the relavant answers were highlighted in the study material. Now, this study guide had REAMS of useful material in it. It was basically the entire ND carry code including anything and everything you'd want to know about how Deadly Force is interpreted in the ND justice code. At least, thats the way it looked. I managed to skim a small amount of it before the 'test' was over, and we moved onto the Firearms safety course.

Now, I paid a hundred bucks for this stint. One would think I at least get to keep his poorly photocopied study guides. You'd be wrong.

Can I find this on my own? Certainly. But this was part of what I was paying for after all - or at least that was my original impression.

The outline for the firearms safety course fit roughly what I expected from an NRA backed basic course. What we got in lecture, didn't exactly match.

First - in defense of our instructor, it is very obvious that he A: very much believes in concealed carry and B: Lives the lifestyle he preaches.

The problem is that we're all there to get through the hoops that are REQUIRED for concealed carry. That means we all pretty much agree that Concealed carry is a Good Thing (TM). And, while I've already decided that once I pick up a more CCW fitting firearm, I intend to carry it when and where I can - I don't think I'll ever match our instructor.

He was carrying no less then a Kimber 1911 (.45 ACP of course)in an inside the waistband holster under his long shirt, a S&W hammerless revolver of an unknown calibur, but from his statements it couldn't have been less then .40, and at least two different tactical folders. And from what I gathered during, and after, he probably carries more then that - too.

So... maybe just a touch overboard. (Thats probably an understantement) There's the boyscout motto... and then there's this guy.

Along the way he gave ancedotes, stressing that stress shooting isn't like target shooting (which its not) but not offering any ideas on how one might train for stress shooting, while stressing that you *MUST*. (I don't disagree with him, mind, but I'm paying you. How do you think I should train this?)

How the Cops aren't your friends in a Defensive shooting situation. And while he's right, in that you need to watch what you say, and do - especially in CCW hostile areas - some of the stunts this guy claims to have pulled would put him on my *immediate distrust* list as a Cop. And he had *all* sorts of stories about stupid Cops to illistrate his point.

We all have bad days, and we all make mistakes. An officer of the law's job is hard enough and thankless enough as it is. As an instructor you should be fostering a healthy respect for the law. This includes understanding that officers are human just like everyone else - and you need to approach self defense aftermath *smart*.

But don't go begrudging the fine people that put that uniform on every day. You wouldn't like it if I did it to the Marines, (I'm sure I can find some stupid Marine/ Marine MP stories somewhere) don't do it to the boys in blue.

I thought about recounting some of his specific stories, but I've decided against it. Instead I'm going to get back to this class we were supposed to be taking - a class room that taught firearm basics and safety.

He went through that so fast, I almost had to be sure I hadn't missed something. He'd get to a section and ask "Everyone here knows the difference between a bolt action and a semi automatic and an automatic."

And of course he'd get nods. I know the difference, but you might have a take, or a nuance on it I haven't heard before. But I'll never know. He skipped that section. (yes, I know, that's the simplest of simple, but when it comes down to it, there's a lot of history behind how they all came about. And while you might not *need* to teach that - you could touch on some of it... or at least not dismiss it out of hand)

Or maybe he could have spent some more time on the Four Rules. he touched on them, and recommended frangbles (something I had already pondered looking into) and a few other helpful hints that I'd heard from other sources already and had planned to impliment.

Oh, and he talked about how well set up his home defense set up was.

Good for you. Lets go back to some of these basics. Thats what the Utah law requires. You want to talk about Concealed carry while going over things, and how they relate - Great. I want to learn. But lets not half ass this, ok?

When I originally got done with the class I wasn't hyper annoyed. He told good stories, even if more then a few were probably tall tales. He did have some good examples, and he stressed many of the tenants of good carry.

But the signal to noise ratio was far in favor of the noise, and that disappointed me, especially the more I thought about it.

Oh, and while I knew this before hand... ontop of my hundred dollars I have another 90 to pay to actually apply and *get* those permits. (not counting any charges for the photos, ten cards, etc that are also required.)

That said - depending on what his overhead was, he pulled in a hunded bucks a person with 20 -25 people in the room, and we were done in under 3 hours.

Thats a fine days pay. I might have to look into becoming an NRA certified instructor :P

I bet I could give at the very least, a more professional LOOKING class. I at least am friendly with both my personal copy machine, and Kinkos.

Any thoughts from the blogosphere? Am I over-expecting here? Or what?

I'd really like to know


Working on Broadway - or Guess what I witnessed on my way to work.

Well, theres a lot of things going through my head tonight that I want to excise into a few blog posts (I considered making it one really really BIG post, but decided it was better to split it up.). However, work tonight is new levels of swamped I haven't seen in almost a year. Always nice to be wanted, right?

So some of this will have to wait til I can spare a few more minutes.

But this should be pretty quick.

I work on Broadway - which in addition to holding my office building and a couple of banks, has the longest stretch of Bars in the Greater Fargo/Moorhead area, as far as I'm aware (I don't hang out in bars).

As I was walking to work tonight, I witnessed an altercation. between 5 folks dressed in hunting gear (including orange caution vests!) on the corner just down from Fort Knox (a bar, built in an old bank). I was on the opposite corner just after crossing the street. The biggest of the group yanked one of the smaller guys over, and down to the ground. It appeared the smaller guy was a bit of a beligerant drunk, and they were trying to get him into the car to take him home. (granted, this was a very *rough* way of doing it, but I've had to wrangle drunks before, and sometimes they just *don't* get it.)

However, from the slur in the other mans voice, I'm guessing he wasn't exactly stone sober. I stood on the coner, watching this for a good three minutes, fingering my cell phone the whole time.

Just before I made the decision to contact the police they pulled small guy to his feet and seemed to have a falling in, coming to a decision that didn't involve shouting. So I let it slide. I'm still not sure if I should have.

I knew for damn sure I wasn't walking over there and getting in between them unless it looked like they were honestly hurting each other - and even then, only in last resort. A: Its not my job, and B: I didn't want to complicate the life of the officer who might be called to the scene (or mine!)

I'm likely going to mull this for sometime - if anyone has any thoughts or insight - I'd appreciate it. This sort of thing doesn't happen to me often - but I have a thing about 'being a good citizen' and when such instances do happen, I often wonder where the line of "Being a good citizen and doing once civic duty or whatever" intersects with "Going too far, and getting in the proverbial way."

More on other subjects, later as work time allows :)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meme: Things I've Done.

Well, this has been going around the Blogosphere, so I figure'd I'd join in.


1. Started your own blog. Gee... you think?
2. Slept under the stars. Yep. Quite a few times.
3. Played in a band. Elementary and Middleschool - gave it up to focus on vocals. (And because I hated one of the other people in my section)
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. On top of a Butte with a super clear sky and no light polution no less. (I have no problem with light polution, but if you want a good view of the sky and to feel small, get away from it!
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Frequently, when I was younger. I try to be more moderate these days.
7. Been to Disneyland. and Epcot. That was a long time ago.
8. Climbed a mountain. Not in the classic sense, with pitons and all that - but I walked up Rendezvous Mountain in Jackson Hole one summer. Oy that was work.
9. Held a praying mantis. Highschool Biology.
10. Sang a solo. Repeatedly. Choir was my activity in all levels of school. I even 'Lettered' in it.
11. Bungee jumped. Considered it a few times.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. Never 'officially' (I've never been to the hospital for it) but I've had it. Last time was after visiting a Perkins in Clovis New Mexico. I really don't like that town.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I've been to, and see the Statue - but the line was really really long the day I was there so we didn't go up. Wish we had.
18. Grown your own vegetables. Mom used to have this awesome garden. I assisted.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. Nope. But I bought someone a ticket for a train once... now thats a story...
21. Had a pillow fight. How do you get out of childhood without one of these at least once?
22. Hitch hiked. Not in the sense of the word, but I have hitched a ride after my conveyance has broken down more then once.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Call it what you will, but somedays you just shouldn't be at work - and its best that you aren't.
24. Built a snow fort. Many, many times.
25. Held a lamb. Never really liked livestock, but lambs *are* soft and cuddly.
26. Gone skinny dipping. Only in a tub.
27. Run a Marathon. *snort* I'm fairly sure I can't run a Mile anymore. Damn office spread.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse. I watched the last one that happened in... Middle school? Granted, up here in the North it wasn't a total eclipse... technically. But I did see it.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run. Does infield count?
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. It was oftly pretty, and idiots in barrels deserve what they get.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community. There's one not too far out of town. Menonites too.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. There is no such thing. Money does not bring satisfaction. But it *can* assist in the quality of life.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. Only free climbing, and only as a teen, when I was willing to do truely stupid things :) Was fun though.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. Again - vocal talent :)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. During a trip to Yellowstone that I *didn't* want to be on. I recall being underwhelmed, but in retrospect, it was pretty cool.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. A mother and two young kids in front of me when paying at Denny's. She'd forgotten her wallet. I covered.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. I highlighted this, but it really only counts if Lakes count....
46. Been transported in an ambulance. I was born almost 2 months early. I got an abulance ride or two, a life flight, and a cozy incubator. Never mind I don't remember any of it ;)
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain. ...that was a while ago. I need to stop being single so cool things like that can happen again.
53. Played in the mud. I used to *make* my own mud so I could play in it. The Well at the Farm was a lot of fun when I was a kid and could get away without working.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. They're a touch overrated.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business. Gaming Unlimited Inc. First LAN Center in Bismarck (maybe North Dakota?). We lasted just over a year. Learned a lot about computers, business and friends. (note the last two do not mix.)
58. Taken a martial arts class. Never stuck with it though. One of these days I should get back into it. Not sure which discpline I'd prefer, but it'd be good I think.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. I hate needles with a passion that knows no bounds, so I have never donated more then needed for testing. I have however, been Transfused a couple times.
65. Gone sky diving. My father's a pilot. I grew up around flying, and have always thought that jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (and even a few not so perfectly good ones) was mad. Still would like to try it someday.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. I've never been out of the country, save for Canada, so no. But I've been to the Holocast Museum in Washington DC... I was physically sick for a few hours afterwards.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter. Considering all the fixed wings I've flown in - its funny that it took me until this year to finally get a helicopter flight. It was fun. Flying is fun in general. Kinda like shooting things. ;)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Legos were by far my favorite toys in childhood. I still have all of them (hell I still build legos ever now and then. In my office you will find no less then a P-51D, Star Wars AT-AT, Star Wars Slave One, and a few other things - all built with legos.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square. And watched a fire in progress on the Sony Jumbotron... and then realized that it was just down the street.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. Sorta. It was a temp job, and I was trying to make it perminant. One day they told me I was done on Friday. (that was Thursday).
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. A few times. I think the last one was for our OM team...
85. Read the entire Bible. Twice. I should do it again one day, my retention of it isn't so great.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Well, I've caught fish and filleted them (I don't eat them though, generally)
88. Had chickenpox. So glad thats a once in a lifetime thing.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury. Almost. I was up for jury duty a few years back. Never got summoned though.
91. Met someone famous. Jim Butcher
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone. Carried one since '00.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. This would be standard operating proceedure, generally.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mental Exercise - What would you do in a Zombie Attack?

Ok, I admit it - attack of killer Zombies is about as likely as Mr Obama becoming conservative - but it is an interesting mental exercise - and it can pay dividends in other areas. While I'm not a 'survivalist' of any sort, I'm fully willing to admit that theres always a possibility of a worst case senario - and having to find a way to deal with it.

So, I present to you - in short form, what Jon would do in the coming Zombie Apocolypse!

First - lets consider a few things. I live in a three story apartment building thats part of a complex that serves 'upper middle income' type folks with familys. Its not the greatest digs in the world, but its comfortable.

I live on what used to be the outskirts of Fargo. Three years ago, you thought you'd left town by the time you found me. These days? Not so much. Five years from now? Yah - they're planning on building a Walmart south of me a good bit. Then I'll be in the middle of a fairly heavy residential area.

I own a high calibur, high capacity handgun, and of late haven't kept less then 200 rounds availible at any given time. I have intentions of picking up a semi-automatic carbine or rifle in the near future - but for the moment, I don't have one.

I own an old, beat up '87 S-10 Pickup. It has power nothing. Five speed transmission, and I have enough tools in the pickup's tool box to tear it apart and put it back together again. (When you drive something old, and worn - it pays to know enough about the mechanics of your vehicle to do your own service work. Plus, its not overly hard - if you can put the effort into learning.)

So. What do I plan to do?

First, and formost? Get the hell out of Dodge. Or in this case Fargo - as the largest population center in a hundred miles it will be the epicenter of zombie activity in the area. Since I live on the outskirts (for the moment) this isn't too horrible of a problem. Just pick a road and drive. I'd avoid interstates, and main highways until a good distance out of town as they're likely to be congested with paniced motorists. As a primarily agricultural state, there are plenty of back roads to get where you want, as long as your patient.

While part of me thinks that zipping into town avoiding Zombie hordes and looting the local Scheeles or whatever might not be a bad idea (whoever heard of having too much ammunition) - the reality is that in this situation, survival comes first. Ammo won't guarentee survival. Getting away from Zombies, will.

What do you take? Well, admittedly I don't have a great selection of ready to go in a moments notice things. I have a few things prepped if life goes to hell - (they also work great if you find yourself a little strapped for cash.) First - warm clothes. This is North Dakota 6 months out of the year it probably averages below freezing in this state. Maybe seven or eight. Pack light. Weeks worth of clothes, in an easy to carry pack - layer a sweatshirt and a good coat/parka on with what you're wearing - but be comfortable.

Food is also a necesity - I keep onhand dry goods out of habit. They seldom go bad, and those months I don't budget so well, I don't go hungry. Plus they're cheap. You can get soups and carbs that only require fresh water and heat to prepare for very little these days if you know what you're buying. So my stash goes into the back of the truck. (You can even eat most of them dry, in a pinch)

So does a couple (full) cans of propane, my spare gas can, a small portable grill/hotplate thing I aquired a while back that runs on propane, my tent and two sleeping bags. Oh, and my propane heaters. (I did mention it gets cold as all get out here right?). My spare fluids for the truck, and the extended version of my tool kit goes in my truck's toolbox.

Pistol, loaded mags, spare ammo, cellphone, emergency jump kit, car charger (for cell phone) a standard plug in charger, and a first aide kit that includes a decent stash of excedrin all go in the cab.

That, and my emergency stash of cash (yes, I have one - don't you? Plastic only works if there's power and the banks are operational - more importanly then the 'crazy' theorys - again, an "OMG" back up can get you through a minor finacial crisis.) and its time to go.

So - where to I go? Ideally, I can hook up with some friends and we convoy the hell out of dodge, and head north, or south. My friends have places out of town in less populated areas that would be a great hole up spot.

But, lets say for a second that those aren't an option - for no better reason then because this is a mental exercise - and fun.

I don't keep water on hand - and honestly, with a zombie apocolypse, I'm not going to hang around to fill the bathtub or whathave you and try to bring fresh water along. I don't keep any - so I don't have any - but I'm going to need some. This is a survival situation after all. I have maybe three weeks, if I'm lucky, of food on hand. So I need somewhere where I might beable to find food, or aquire some before I run out.

So - I'm going to the farm. As I've noted before - I grew up around a small grains farm in Northern North Dakota. Unfortunately all the buildings (except for some grain bins) are now gone, due to time, and a tornado. However - the shelter belts are still there (Trees put up to block the wind), its fairly close to a few small towns that might be explored for resources, (or, if the zombie apocolypse hasn't reached them yet, cash still spends) it gets plenty of snow that can be melted for water in the winter (using either wood, or my propane) and has three possible sources of fresh water beyond snow that I can think of within a mile. (four, if I can scroundge together a pump for the onsite well)

Its not perfect. There are no sold structures that aren't bins locally, so I'll be roughing it in a tent, unless one of the bins is empy. (And even then, the bin will keep off the snow and the wind, but it won't be particularly warm, very often - and I'd have to remove the bin cap to feel safe burning anything inside. But I'd be well away from major population centers - its within driving distance for my pickup (if barely, with my reserves) - and it would give me a fighting chance.

Sometimes, thats all anyone can ask for.

It certainly wouldn't be *fun*. But I'll take alive to shambling undead anyday.

Think about it sometime - its a fun 'what would you do' scenario. And it can give you ideas on how to prepare for other, very real problems you may face.

And hey, if we *do* get a zombie infestation - you'll be ready!

A brief Review - Codex of Alera.

Well, I mentioned I was going to review the latest Codex of Alera book - and now that I've finished reading it - I've made a decision

I'm not going to review it. I am, instead going to review and give a general overview of the series as a whole. Mainly because starting a story near the end doesn't make much sense.

So - the basics. The Codex of Alera is planned to be a six book series by Jim Butcher. The most recently released book is the fifth - the sixth is expected in December of next year - so you all have plenty of time to get caught up. The first book of the series is "Furies of Caldron." The story through the entire series follows a main character who starts as an adolensent boy in a world that is an interesting mix of Ancient Rome and a sort of magic. The Magic is provided by Furies - which allows for flight, strength, fire basically the whole gamut you can think of.

The main character previously noted is named Tavi - and he's a freak. He's the only person in collective memory that *can't* use Furies - at all. He can't even turn on the lights in his room, for instance.

He and his family are drawn into the political machinations of Alerian Society when their Home is attacked by a barbarian horde not seen in almost two decades. The first story is full of action, intregue, political machinations, and generally well thought out plot.

Unlike Butcher's other foray into a major series the Dresden Files, the Codex of Alera is written in third person, and while it typically follows Tavi and his exploits, the scenes change as needed to flesh out secondary characters, and give the reader a better feel for the overall plot.

The first three books of the series are extremely strong in this reguard, and while I wouldn't say Butcher writes an overly complex set of political machinations in with his action and adventure - they are well thought out, and you seldom find a character who you stop and scratch your head wondering "Wait, who was that, and what was their reason for whatever?"

But the action and adventure are what will keep you coming back. Butcher knows how to write a good action sequence, and makes it hard to put down. The Main character is likable, and you find yourself wondering how he's going to solve each problem he's faced with - as he struggles to prove himself in a society where he utterly doesn't fit. Along the way he picks up a central cast of friends that support him as he becomes rather the brains of the outfit to his friends brawn.

The fourth book stumbles a bit I think, as Butcher explores a bit more of the political machinations of the realm, and what is going on around Tavi in some of his later exploits - and this is more to do with the fact that I feel certain decisions get made that don't seem to fit with the characters as well. It was still a fun read, but I was grinding my teeth through about a four chapter section, until the book returned to its strong suit, and at least temporarily resolved my 'problems' as it were.

The fifth and most recent book is a return to form, with a lot of big reveals - including a few things that make some of the choices I cringed about earlier in the fourth book make more sense... in retrospect. However, knowing that the main character didn't know these things, when the decisions were made, does not completely absolve my mild annoyance. It also feels just a tad rushed - which when you consider that Butcher is putting out two solid books a year, and working on at least three other projects I'm aware of - isn't really surprising. There are a few editing problems with the first edition - but I've found this is fairly common from Ace books.

All in All, the Codex of Alera is, so far - a great first foray into fantasy for Butcher. Its not for everyone - but if you like action and adventure mixed with a bit of mystery, subterfuge and political machinations, Butcher and his strong central cast will keep you coming back for more.

Today the first four books are out in paperback, and the fifth book is out in Hardcover.

They are, in order:

Furies of Caldron
Academ's Fury
Cursor's Fury
Captain's Fury
Princep's Fury

Go check em out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aftermath - or look what followed me home!

Well I'm home in one piece again. Thanksgiving was fun, even if I was extremely run down when I got home... (I left Fargo for Bismarck immediately after work, and we ate as soon as I got home, so I was up for 24 plus hours.) Spent some time with Mom, and some time with Dad, ate too much, and came home again (with some minor, but annoying drama in between). Spent another 25 plus hours up the day I came home since I had to be at work Sunday morning at midnight like usual.

Which of course meant I was *ripe* to pick up a doozy of a cold. And I did. Started with just minor stuffyness, and moved upwards and onwards from there. Now I've got a full blown head cold, with wonderful sinus pressure, and a real humdinger of a sore throat.

Life is such a joy some times. With luck this won't last more then a week... but I guess we'll see.

On another note - I mentioned I'd be taking my mother to the range.

Well I apparently wasn't quite explict enough when I explained to her what size of handgun I owned, because the indoor range in Bismarck (that is currently open, apparently they're opening yet another one. Damn it - Fargo needs an indoor range....) is only for rifles and pistols ranging from BB to .22

She got it when I pulled an old .22 shell I found in my truck out, and held it up next to a .45 ACP round. The "Oh Gee" amused me.

So - no range time. We did do some dry drills, and I can see that the 5 inch XD .45 might be a bit big for her hands. The first issue is weight, but that can be adjusted for and practiced with - the second and more difficult issue is that the double stacked mag means the pistol grip is a big thicker then she finds comfortable. She'd probably handle a single stack mag a bit easier. But part of this issue is also probably a general unfamiliarity with pistols. I think once she gets a chance to see it fired she'll catch on. I might look at picking up a .22 plinker (first because .22s are a hell of a lot cheaper) that she could also fire - to get a feel for things.

Apparently gun ownership is yet another on her list of things she 'wants to do' - for example, as I found out - my mother has a motorcycle license - which she apparently aquired last year. She doesn't own a motorcycle, and while I knew she liked them - this was news to me.

So, we're waiting to hear about the new range in Bismarck - our plans postponed, but not canceled.

On the subject of Mothers... mine apparently decided to finally bite the bullet on a new computer purchase. She has a rather tight budget - but its not horribly tight - and I've been leaning hard on the Mac angle. I'm not much of a Mac user myself - though I've pondered picking up a Macbook or similar when I get around to buying a Laptop again (I probably won't, but I've pondered it) - but for my mother, who considers IE her 'email' (hotmail is her homepage, and she seldom goes farther then that) who wants to do some light photo editing and has to write something in a word processor about once ever six to seven months - a Mac (specifically a MacMini) will probably serve her better then a PC.

My primary angle on this is the fact that my mother picks up an astounding amount of malware, spyware and virii. This is partly from her internet browsing habits (she is apt to randomly click on things most experienced web heads wouldn't touch with a twenty foot pole and a foolproof firewall) and partly from her insistance on opening every single attachement to every single forward she gets (which is most of her email - her friends and family like passing around random crap they find on the internet, which is usually infected, or picks things up along the way)

This of course has a seriously negative effect on the performance of her computer - and while I'll admit her PC is probably well past its prime (I built it almost 7 years ago, and even then on a shoestring budget) I spend as much time on her PC at home when I'm there cleaning up various problems that have cropped up as I do trying to keep up with my various net ramblings.

And its never very long after I've given her PC a clean bill of health that it starts all over again.

With luck, a MacMini will solve *many* of these problems - and the somewhat simplified user interface (Mac Owners will probably shoot me for calling OSX simple - but it can be) and one button mouse will finally give my mother what she wants from her computer. Something simple that she can use to keep up with email, do light word processing, and image modification - without the pesky need to have good net habits to keep computer performance in the green- since she seems to be absolutely resistant to learning them.

My brother doesn't think I should "dumb it down for Mom" like that - but then, Bro doesn't live in the same state anymore or have to field tech support calls from family, so his opinion is less then valid. The Mini also fits Mom's want of having a reduced footprint for her computer - though she's also all for reducing cabling - which, no matter what route she takes, isn't really going to happen. I've finally gotten her to understand that part - so in the next week or so I'll be ordering a Mini for her. With luck she'll find it to her liking :)

(And not just because my rep is on the line)

And thats really all I have to report. I've had some random thoughts about the recent upswing of actual ocean going piracy (ARR MATEY!) I might turn into a post somewhere down the line, and an impending review of the latest Codex of Alera book once I finish reading it (of course first I have to recieve it... last time I pre-order a book online :P).

Jim Butcher is definately my favorite 'currently writing' author. I'll even throw in a shameless plug and say if you have any interest in either classic fantasy or 'urban' fantasy (think Anita Blake, with a hell of a lot less sex and more action) I really do recommend you take a look. He's got a pretty decent sized backlog now, and while none of the books are mindblowing in length - Butcher does tell a good story. Insert shameless web link - Now

There I go rambling again. I should probably get back to my worklist, it looks like theres a case in there I should be fixing... and then I need to do some writing for my Simms... and I'm out of Green Tea again, time for a trip to the break room.

*Wanders off*


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, its about 12:15 am local time on the 27th which means its officially Turkey Day. Occasionally known as Thanksgiving in the ole US of A. (Even better, I'm getting paid time and a half as I write this.)

I don't have a whole lot to say tonight, the last week's been kinda busy, and I've been less then 100% being rather under the weather with some sort of stomache bug/cold hybrid that may, or may not have been a light case of the flu. I'm still not feeling great.

But, after I get off work this morning its off to Bismarck to have Thanksgiving dinner with Mom, eat too much and then sleep good and hard - because I'll have been up too late again ;)

My mother found an indoor pistol range in Bismarck (I may need to visit home more often then I currently do...) so Friday will be a Range Day, and I guess my mother wants to come along for the ride and do some shooting. This doesn't really surprise me, my mother grew up on a farm - and routinely during my formative years would break out knowledge of skills I just didn't think a girl was supposed to have. I distinctly recall the first time I saw my mom drive a 4 speed dual axle truck, and was quite impressed at the time ;)

That said, its been a good long time since mom has laid hands on a firearm, so it'll be a good time to practice going through the four rules - and since all I've got to offer is a .45, I'll do some shooting first so she can get a visual and auditory picture of what to expect, and then go from there.

I'm sure she'll do just fine. But it should be interesting. Expect a report later in the weekend ;)

I added a list of all the blogs I've been following to my Blog here, first so people can look and see that yes, I am reading - and to simplify things for me. Now I can just hotlink to my blog and hop through the links to the posts... instead of going through the sometimes less then great dashboard - all of them have something interesting and or pithy to say, so take a look.

Which reminds me. There's an ABSOLUTELY great post on "A Perspective From History" on why the Second Amendment is so damned important. Not that most folks that read the blogs I tend towards aren't already aware of it - it is a well thought out and enjoyable read. Go take a look. Theres even a handy dandy link there on the left hand side ;)

Anyway, thats my two cents for the day.

Back to work.


Sunday, November 23, 2008


My parents are divorced. I was out of the house and 22 when it happened - give or take. It started the day after our big farm sale, the year Dad decided it was time to hang up the farm gear and just lease our property.

I don't know how long Mom knew Dad was cheating on her. I've never asked, and to be honest, I don't think I want to ever know. Its bad enough that *I* knew for at least a year and a half before hand, and my brother had figured it out about six months before hand. I still feel sorry for him sometimes when I think about it. He was just going into college and hadn't moved out of the house yet when they seperated.

I'll never forget that day as long as I live, not matter how much I'd like to.

Needless to say, I have some rather strong feelings about hipocrits, marriage, and divorce because of it. But, thats another blog post.

My Dad was in town today. We held season tickets for all the NDSU Bison Home Games this year. He's an alumni and I spent a semester there way back in my first attempt at college. (I still don't have a degree, but I'd like one, eventually.) Its been moderately fun, though I admit that seeing my dad that frequently wears on me a bit. We think a lot a like, him an I (which makes sense, he's my father, and instilled a lot of values in me... a lot of them I still hold dear, even if I have trouble reconciling what he did with what he taught.) but we're very different beasts.

Dad doesn't find a lot of enjoyment in much anymore. I remember the days he used to love flying, how he enjoyed teaching me to shoot, or learning something new together. And of course, his endless projects.

I don't think he enjoys flying as much as he used to. Might have something to do with the fact that he met the woman who he allowed to help end his marriage through flying an airshows.

He doesn't enjoy shooting anymore, or reading - which he used to do quite a lot of.

No, these days he spends his time working on his new house (which feels very.. impersonal to me. Its a nice house, but its a bastardized copy of the house we lived in while I was growing up), fixing his vehicles. which like mine are always perpetually finicky. (I think I got that quality from him too... at least I'm mechanically inclined enough to put them back together most of the time) or spending time with my brother or I. When he can't do any of that, he endlessly watches seasons of 24...

My brother is an Industrial engineer, and immediately after college moved out to the east coast. Now his girlfriend, who'd also just graduated was moving out there, but I think the real push for Mark was the fact that he wanted to get as far away from the parents as he could. I envy him that a bit, but I like North Dakota too much to leave, and honestly at least for the moment, have no reason to leave.

I have no proof of this, but I know he doesn't have to put up with monthly (or bi-monthly) visits from the parents, and he sure seems more chipper about it then I do.

But I'm getting off topic. I started thinking about this change in my fathers behavior patterns. And it occured to me that most of the things he claims to not like doing anymore, are things that he used to do with friends... who he never sees anymore. Since he got divorced he's been pretty much persona non grata with a lot of them.

Its probably just a defense mechanism on his part... but it is a sad thing.

We all die alone, as the saying goes, but my father has gone from a full and enjoyed life, with friends, family plenty to do and look forward to... to a cold lonely existance. He makes the best of it - but only just. He's my father, and as much as I hate him on occasion, I still love him. Its frequently stressful when he's around, but I'll continue to put up with it, on occasion.

Because I will never hate him enough to take that away from him. He may have become an Escapist in many ways... but he's still my father.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ode to Roleplaying Games

I love table top RPGs. I don't get to play them like I'd like- being a semi-responsible bachelor adult with bills and such - but they sure are a lot of fun, and tend to leave lasting memorys. I've played with the same game group now for about 5 or 6 years (has it really been that long?) and we've gone through the gamut and back again. I guess I'm thinking about it because tonight I'm working on the second adventure for my new Shadowrun Campaign.

Dungeons and Dragons (3, 3.5 and 4th Edition) Warhammer Fantasy RPG, Dark Heresy (Warhammer 40k RPG), Shadowrun 3rd Editon (which I spent way too much money on) and 4th Edition (which I will probably again, spend way too much money on), a couple sessions of Paranoia, three to five aborted attempts at Star Wars (D20 and then Saga), and lots, and lots of free form.

And we remember the crazyness. The time Devin O'Connor got to use AP rounds for the first time and killed the pilot of an assault chopper with a single burst. (I remeber T's look the best, as he looked mildly perturbed that I'd just killed his engine of destruction)

Guk, carrying my shot up ass out of the fire more then a few times, and the day he almost killed us by trying to blow open a door with waaaaaay too much C4 because O'Connor was unconcious.

The first time one of the Jedi in the party used the force in anger, and on purpose, smashing a guys head flat against the floor and killing him.

Drowning in a pool of my own blood, and leaving behind two orphans.

Watching Dash McBragg die. (I still need a t-shirt for that)

Going to bed at night dreaming up new ways to kill Junie Takahara.

Framing P's character for things I was doing in Paranoia.

Being there when Guk killed a guy through a weapons slit at about fifty yards with a fracking machine gun.

Watching Guk get beat up that first time by a wimpy little Dwarf who refused to carry a god damned gun.

Finding that Dwarf's corpse sometime later in the same campaign and selling his cyberware for profit.

Killing Skeletons with a magical sword of healing.

Knowing that if there are 5 doors in a hallway, my party will have to open every one, even if 4 of them contain death destruction and pestilence. Its our curse.

Listening to the Dragonborn complain when the party refuses to retreat from a fight he caused. (We don't, ever, retreat. We're like Space Marines that way....)

Getting killed by what amounted to a giant wild boor, after my perfect shot with my massive handgun *BOUNCED* off its head.

Getting turned into a giant pile of ash after spending mind numbing amounts of time doing character building and surviving the unsurvivable. I still gets pissed at the way Ivan died....

Telling the party that I was a "Merchant and a Locksmith" with my WHFRPG theif, and getting them to believe me... at least until I bedheaded sum dood with a lucky critical that saved my ass.

Getting my brother to play too for the first time, even if he decided his name was "MacGuyver"

And many, many more.

It makes for a great time, and fun memorys with friends. I recommend it to everyone who's ever been even vaguely interested. Plus, its something you can do with kids from a fairly young age. Should I ever happen to reproduce, my kids will be getting a set of dice about the time they can read.

Its all downhill from there ;)


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter's Bite

So winter is still not sure its arrived here on the northern plains. Its gotten plenty cold (for early winter anyway) with highs seldom gracing 32 degrees Farenheight... but the two spurts of snow we've had haven't stuck around.

While most might be relieved, I'm offended. I like the cold of winter, and the snow it brings. I don't make use of it outside of the mountains once a year, but I like it. I could do without ice, but if it brings snow, I'll suffer through. I'm not really sure what it is about Winter that I like so much. I know I like it cooler then most folks, but sub-zero temps aren't fun for anyone, no matter what the macho part of my psyche might say.

It probably really is the snow. The crisp white covering everything in an even cool cover, changing the landscape and dulling sounds. I always hate having to track new fallen snow because it always looks so peaceful and quiet. (well except when skiing. Then its a rare privledge)

But track it we do, and throw it, push it and generally try to get it out of the way so the world can keep on moving at the pace it prefers these days. On a normal year, Fargo has to haul it out in trucks from the roads because there's just no space for the snow to build up on the sidewalks.

The downside is its a lot less fun to get out to the range when its below zero before the windchill, and the wind's whipping up to a nice steady fifteen mile an hour blow with a gust to 20 to 25. The wind out here will whip right through you and chill you to the bone.

The other downside is the upcoming holiday season. Since my parents seperated and then divorced, the holidays have become a *lot* less fun, and much more of a stressful balancing act, trying to see everyone and make everyone happy... while often not making *me* happy.

And while selfishness isn't the name of the season, sometimes you need that *me* time just to keep yourself sane. I'm already starting to dread it, and it hasn't even begun.

It's going to be a long road.

See you another night folks.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Want to spread conservatism? Educate.

Well, after yesterdays foray of oddness, I appologize by the way, occasionally I just feel like venting, and on occasion - I just let things go where they may. It happens.

Back to today. I've been bouncing around the Blogosphere lately, and while admittedly my bouncing has been primarily to gun blogs, I've been picking up the scent of something that disturbs me.

More and more in comments I'm seeing people state "The Republicans Lost because they refused to go to the center."

First off, I'm not going to make this blog into a political blog, or at least, I'm going to try not to. This is my personal space to speak my mind on the day. But this needs to be addressed. First a piece of disclaimer. I am not a Republican, but I am, what Republicans often claim to be. A Conservative.

I supported George W. Bush and I still support his past eight years. I do not agree with the way he expanded government, and to some extent spending. (Being staunchly against Big Government). But I was for his tax cut, I was with him when he went to war, and I'm still there. Yes - there have been mistakes, but never is such a decision perfect. I don't believe he lied to the American people, I believe he did what he felt must be done.

And, as some people like to point out, no one's tried to do anything similar, since. Yes, our troops are out there, and have died to protect our way of life, and in a way this is tragic. But it *is* what we pay them to do, and the vast majority is proud to do it.

Now. McCain lost for three *very* important reasons. One, in the Main Stream Media Barrak Obama can do no wrong. Look, I don't give a damn what Barrak's skin color is, if he was the most conservative candidate and supported things I support, I'd have voted for him. I vote issues, as much as I can.

Two, McCain refused to firmly address issues in Obama's past, the idiocy of the Bailout, and to strongly present an arguement as to why he was different, and better then now President Elect Obama.

Three, McCain does not fit with the Conservative base of this country. He's at best a centerist, and at worst a moderate liberal. I respect him for his military service, but I strongly disagree with many of his stances in the past five years. That said, this election ended up boiling down to the devil you know, or the devil you don't. I picked the devil we know.

The people of this country, disagreed with me. Thats the beauty of this country - we get to do that.

Everyone likes to talk about Regan. There's a good reason for that. Regan was elected because he *taught* conservatism. He didn't hitch his post to soaring retoric, or his background as a maverick - he went out and reminded people of historical significance, *while* explaining the basis for the programs he wished to enact.

*THIS* is insanely important. When you talk to your average person, they don't like politicians in general. They all lie cheat and steal. But if you educate them on what policys are actually at stake, and what they will mean for them, put the paper in front of them and explain what it means, most people tend towards conservative, at least fiscally. And often times - as we see in California - Socially to.

And now I've opened the biggest nest of vipers on the net. Because I referenced Prop 8. Your far left opponents will go off on how this is horrible, and a destruction of a people's civil liberties. Your moderates will do the same. I'm gonna shock everyone by agreeing with you - if Prop 8 banned civil unions. I haven't looked it up (but I will) but as I understand it what Prop 8 did was define a Marriage as between a man and a woman. While I feel this is far deeper into this then the Government should go - a civil union grants the persons who hold it the exact same rights and privlages as a 'Marriage' in the Governments eyes, because a Marriage is a fancy word used by religions, and the government while it may call it a marriage, considers it a civil union.

Guess what? That is 'equal'. Thats really as far as it needs to go, unless you want to quibble about language. Gothelittle Rose could go far deeper into it from a deeply Christian perspective. I'll leave that to her. She's much better at it then I am, and I want to get back on topic.

So, dispite the fact that most of the Main Stream pundits have stated over and over that the way to win an election is head to the center - we have irrefutable proof that the way to win an election is to speak to the voter, and educate him on what you believe, and what you intend to do.

Every time the Conservatives have done this, they've won, and often times, they win big.

Now here's the catch. You have to back up what you promise to do. Don't do that, and that voter who believes in what you say, and even agrees with your ideas will kick you out. They'll say its to punish you - when in reality they're often punishing themselves - after all, if your in Congress, and you get kicked out you're still getting paid a decent little piece of change - for life. Not amazing amounts, but definately comfortable. Especially if you get another job.

McCain lost for the reasons I stated above, and one last important piece of information. People forgot who was really in Power.

We had a Congress who's approval rating hit 9% or below. NINE PERCENT. Thats... unimaginable. The Democrats held control of Congress. It stands to reason that it should have swung back to the Republicans if what I've stated above is true. But it didn't, and here's a clear answer as to why. The Democrats in power got quiet, and indeed acted outwardly as if they were not *in* power in the House and Senate, while throwing more limelight on the oft hated, and much Maligned George Bush - who wasn't going to be in Power anymore one way or the next. But people remebered that he is a Republican, and Obama's message for 'Change' resonated.

It really was a beautifully acomplished piece of work by the Democrats. Exacerbated by the fact that the Republicans failed to educate people on matters. They didn't stand up, and explain what was wrong, and why. Those who did, were lost in the shuffle.

It all comes back to this. You want to win? Educate. Make people think. Liberals like to make people *feel*, and they're very, very good at it. You want to bring back conservatism as an option? Teach. Teach. Teach.

It is the only way. And thats my two cents.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Been there, done that - left a tshirt behind.

-Free Forwarning, This Posting Rambles a *LOT* and in a lot of rather divergent directions without tying much together.-

I've been all over this country. That said, I haven't been everywhere yet - but I am working on it. I've driven up and down the east coast, skiied in the Rockies of three different states, wandered through most of the Midwest (spend 2 months in Chicago this year for work... I'm still trying to get the smell of that city out of my clothes ;)) and flown over most of the rest of the lower forty eight at one time or another.

I love this country. Only in the US can you go a thousand miles, still be in the same country - but as Gothelittle Rose from The Determined Homemaker once put it to me - appear to be on a completely different planet.

I've been living in North Dakota as my permanent residence all my life. And more then likely, I'll die and be buried here too. With luck along the way I'll get married, raise a couple of rugrats and have more of a fine old life.

These days, I call Fargo home, and while you might snicker and go "Hey, have you seen the movie." I will tiredly answer yes, no it was not filmed here, and no - I didn't particularly like it. (It was filmed primarily in Bimidji Minnesota, btw). Fargo is the centerpiece of a three city metroplex of a massive hundred and fifty thousand people, give or take. (Feel free to laugh now)

It is as big a city as I ever want to live in. If it wasn't for absolutely horrible broadband penitration, and my current job, I'd likely seriously consider building a house back out on the farm, and taking up residence there. I've been to New York, Los Angeles, close enough to throw a rock and hit Philly, Buffalo, Chicago, and a few other places along the way... and they're just bigger then I like. More importantly, the cost of living in North Dakota is dirt cheap in comparison.

The only down side is I live smack dab in the middle of the biggest fount of Liberalism in the state (outside of the Reservations). But you do what you must.

Like my brother, if I wasn't going to live in ND, I'd probably move closer to mountains. I try to go skiing every year, my parents introduced me at a very young age, and I've been hooked ever since. Love it - and you can't ski worth a damn in North Dakota. My personal favorite skiing location is Jackson Hole. Beautiful country out there in Wyoming. Living expenses in JH are a little bit on the astronomical side though.

Of course, one never knows where life might take them. And I've got a lot of that yet in front of me, if the law of averages holds up. Lord knows this isn't where I expected to be ten years ago. I'm still without a college degree - and while I make very good money, this wasn't quite what I'd envisioned doing either.

But I am good at it, and it keeps paying the bills and in another year or two I might even buy a house. That, aught to be an adventure. Another page for the book that makes up my life. Another place I've been where I've left a bit of me behind.

I don't know that I've ever been truely happy with my life. But I don't hate it, and I rate better then content. And as I've said there's a lot yet to come.

Might as well get back too it. See you another night, gentle readers.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Firearm Rambles

I own firearms. One is specifically mine, but I more or less co-own a couple of rifles with my father, and I really need to get them from him and give them a proper cleaning. My father wouldn't know a bore brush if it jumped out and bit him. It’s not his fault really, his father wasn't big on firearms, and so he never learned much in that regard.

That’s not to say my father can't shoot. He can, or at least he used to be able to. He taught me after all.

I grew up on and around a small grains farm in the far northern stretches of North Dakota. I spent the first eleven years of my life in a town about six miles south of the Canadian border, to give you a solid reference point. Farms are a great way to grow up and learn a thing or two about an honest living and hard work.

They also, usually include a firearm or two. Pests occasionally need to be eradicated. I learned early that firearms were not toys and were not to be treated as such. My father considered them tools he occasionally had to make use of, and that was about it.

I remember finding them fascinating. I still do. I begged for a very long time to get a BB gun, and on Christmas before I turned twelve I finally got my wish. It was a daisy, I can't remember the model, but it was patterned after a Winchester lever action. I did most of my shooting at the farm, during the winter. Summers were for working, winters for tinkering, so I could often times get away to rain death on unsuspecting pop cans. I was a pretty fair shot at the age of 12 out to about twenty to twenty five yards with iron sights. (I couldn't safely back up much farther at the time)

Four years later I talked my dad into pulling out his old .22s and letting me plink with those. He had, and still has, two. A bolt action mounted with a scope that I have tried a good hundred times to zero unsuccessfully, and a pump action with iron sights. He wouldn't let me remove the scope from the rifle, not then and not now. Pity too, it shoots pretty well.

That was the extent of my firearms use, til recently. We stopped farming round the time I turned twenty - neither my brother or I were up to taking on the responsibilities to keep it running, and in all my life, I don't think it was ever in the black once. That’s not to say I'm not glad my father kept at it all those years. I learned a lot because of the life at the farm. I despised it on many occasions, but I'm a much more self sufficient individual for it.

Anyhow, I've always intended to buy myself a proper rifle and a pistol. I'm a huge history buff and if I had my way I'd own an M1 Garand and a Colt 1911. I unfortunately am not a wellspring of cash however, and other things have always been 'more important.' Like rent. Paying my car insurance, making sure my computer(s) stay functional.

But in the past few years I've had more money to move around on my own. I have a good solid job, no wife or kids at the moment, so spare money can go where I wish it. And egged on by a few friends who are also firearms enthusiasts, the threat, and now reality of an impending Obama Administration, and my own personal *wants* I finally pulled the trigger on a pistol purchase.

I've mentioned it before - it’s a Springfield Armory XD.45 'Tactical' with the optional ambidextrous thumb safety. I'm left handed, so ambidextrous controls are important to me, and in the case of the XD, the thumb safety was really the bit that sealed the deal for me - since the XD doesn't have an external hammer, and there is no good way to safe the gun, once a round is in the chamber, without dropping the mag and clearing the chamber. The integrated safeties are nice, and I like them, but this isn't a weapon I'd want to carry with a round in the chamber, and with the extra thumb safety, which blocks both trigger and slide action - I feel the weapon is a bit safer.

In any case, this is to be the first of my collection, and for five hundred and thirty dollars for the pistol, a proper carry case, two mags, a holster (that I can't use, damned south paw) a mag case bore brush and gun lock, I really can't complain. Springfield Armory does know how to make a nice clean package, and a fine pistol.

I spent a long time researching firearms before I finally did pull the trigger. I remembered how my father didn't know how to properly care for his firearms, and while they were robust enough to keep firing, even though they probably needed a very good cleaning I don't intend to let the same thing be true about my personal firearms. I learned the ins and outs of basic maintenance, and once I purchased my pistol read the users manual front to back a couple of times, and practiced standard usage dry until I knew where everything was by touch, and I felt safe with the weapon.

Then we took it to the range. It was a crappy, crappy day to be out at the range, it had been raining for the last month or so fairly steady so there was a lot of standing water, and loads of mud. Plus, every hunter in three counties seemed to be out zeroing their scopes.

We had to use a borrowed target board from the range, and that thing was a piece of junk. My weekend project this weekend is to build myself a good target stand, but that day, I just had a rather poor target to work with. Even so, at twenty yards or so, I made a pretty good showing of myself for my first time firing a firearm in roughly seven years. I wouldn't say it was amazing, but I did manage some pretty tight groups by the end, and I never did miss the 10"x20" target we were using. Overall, I'm pleased with the weapon, and its handling.

Now, I want to learn to be more then just basically proficient. My first step in this is signing up for a CCW test. ND requires a written test for CCW carry, and I'm going to take the class section for the Utah permit while I'm at it. This will let me be fully aware of how I can, and cannot carry in my state, while permitting me to do so - and the guy that teaches the Utah class locally goes into depth on how the state's current laws work for self defense, which I also want to be well versed on.

Through the winter I'm going to try to get to the range at least once a month and put at least a hundred rounds through the pistol each time. Fifty at the minimum, depending on the conditions and the price and availability of ammunition. .45 rounds aren't cheap; the best deal I've found locally ends up being about 44 cents a shot. With luck the local pistol and rifle association can break ground on their proposed indoor range this year and I'll be able to shoot in much more comfortable conditions next year during the winter.

Over the summer, the guys a hold a lot of classes, and I think I'm going to see if I can attend them all. I feel basically proficient in maintenance, and firing, but I'm going to go through the whole gamut anyway. Learning, after all is good, and their prices are reasonable. Beyond that, I'd really like to get out to the range at least twice a month over the summer. Perhaps more often, we'll see. I *like* working on marksmanship, and I intend my XD as at least a home defense weapon. Though I'm going to need to get couple mags worth of Frangible before I'll keep a loaded mag in my apartment. I'm not particularly worried about crime in my area of town, and more importantly, a firearms mishap, or even a legit Self Defense shooting in an apartment building could have very bad unintended consequences. I've done my homework. I have a very clear idea of just how much force a .45 slug carries, and just how far it can travel through standard interior walls. Frangible aren't perfect, but they go a long way to improving my peace of mind in that situation.

In the next year I want to acquire at least one rifle, and I'm leaning towards either a M1A Carbine (I really like the look of Springfield Armory's version, and pleased as I am with their pistols I'll probably buy from them if I decide to go that route) or an AR-15. I haven't decided which yet. Once that’s picked up, I'd like to get a proper bolt action rifle, and *maybe* a shotgun. That will round out my simple 'must haves'. After that, we'll see. I'd love a 1911 as I mentioned before, and I've got some other weapons on the wish list, but I'll start with those that are most likely to go away in the Obama administration, even if only temporarily, and work down from there.

Now if I can just talk my dad into letting me tear down those .22s and clean them up for him...

Wow. That went on quite a bit more then I expected... I think I best get back to work.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Willful Incompetence

You know, I deal with a lot of stupidity in my job. Its part and parcel with Tech Support, and more so when your client is a major QSR (Thats Quick Service Resturant BTW which I think you can Parse from there). Hell, most days we joke that its job security. They keep breaking it, we keep having a job.

But if there's one thing that gets my goat its willful incompetence. Either on the part of a client, or on the part a fellow technician. As the head of the blog says I'm a Level 2 technician, what that means in laymans terms is I fix high level software issues, and in general have a very solid idea of how the system we support works, on all levels. Or, I'm very, very good at my job. Thats probably a little bit of pride talking, but there are very few issues I can't fix. And I like knowing that.

We have a few lower level technicians around here who know that this is true, and thusly they try to pull fast ones on me. They give me partial information, that makes it sound like A: they've done they're job correctly to this point and B: that they're completely stumped.

Tonight was an excellent example. Guy came over to my desk and told me he was getting an error message that basically means that the backoffice server couldn't communicate with the POS server (POS means Point of Sale, but if you think it means the less polite term, you'd be fairly correct too). I asked him some basic questions, including if he could ping the POS server from the backoffice server. He nodded dumbly and said he could.

So I headed over to his terminal and checked if he'd run a script we've created that gives you all sorts of data if the POS server is working. Look, he hadn't. So I ping 10.25. No ping.

He gets back on the phone, and low and behold its OFF. Gee - maybe if he'd done some of the most basic parts of his job instead of seeing if I'd do his job for him, we'd be good to go.

So, I head back to my desk, confident that this call will be corrected momentarily. That, was stupid of me. Twenty Minutes later he's back at my desk, with the same store, with the same issue. Site has an error message on the POS server now, which he lists as the "No printer Found" error. Its a legacy error that means nothing, since the software was designed to have a printer connected to that server, but no store does. You hit yes, and it goes away. According to him this is the only error they have and he still can't fix the communications issue.

Back to his desk I go. Terminal window up and I check a few things. Nothing seems to be wrong so I have him have her read the error message thats on the screen. Its a Fatal Application Handler message.

Now, here's where I'll be fair. My L1 techs can't fix that error message. Its not in their job description, its in mine. So at this very point, the call belongs in my hands.

*HOWEVER* This technician took an HOUR to diagnose a problem that should have taken 5-10 minutes, at which point he brings it to me and I fix it in 2 more. And the reason for this? I can only call it willful incompetence. This job is not overly hard or demanding. It IS stressful, and you do need to learn to hear what the store is not telling you, and work out the issue for yourself with the evidence presented. And this particular tech has been around, he's well past the barrier where he's just groping around and completely doesn't know what he's doing - and with some of the willfully neglected steps - the only reason is he felt like being lazy.

As House MD rightfully puts it, everyone lies. Stores do it to you all the time, willfully on occasion because they don't think steps X Y and Z are worth doing so they say they already did them, or because they're afraid that this problem will be their fault and it will lose them a job. (it really won't, we don't care what caused the problem, our job is to fix it. At least 99.99999% of the time, I have gotten someone fired at a client's site before, but thats another story) And sometimes its not willful because there's a language barrier and these folks just don't KNOW.

Stores do it to you all the time. Its part of the job, you learn to deal with it by thinking critically. But when TECHNICIANS do it to you, its extremely frustrating for me, and and moreso, for the client. Me, because I end up doing someone elses job, the customer because they sat around with an issue that should have been fixed an hour before.

Worse, now I have to write him up about it. All because he felt like being lazy - and with yearly merit pay increases coming up, thats going to negatively affect his pay - because it'll still be 'on his record' when they roll around.

But, I didn't make that call, he did - and now he has to suffer the consequences.

*mutters and wanders off*


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dropping Fuel Prices, and other rambles.

So I filled my pick-up's fuel tank this evening, one of those things that, living just over eight miles from work (which, may not sound very far to you folks who live in a 'real city') is guarenteed to happen at least twice a month. And, like most frequent drivers and commuters, I've been smiling as I watched the gas price continue to fall. Its down to $1.89 locally and is almost a dollar cheaper then when I fueled up two weeks ago... and a solid two dollars cheaper then the time before that.

Now I've poked around and seen a lot of varied reasons for the fuel price drop, and I'm of the stout opinion that it can be tied to the falling price of oil, which has been caused by a sharp surplus of crude in the American 'pipeline.' It took longer then I expected, but the surplus of local crude waiting to be refined into gasoline, along with the fewer miles being driven on average by the American people finally kicked the laws of supply and demand into action... and the price came down.

Now, I predict that within two months of Obama taking office, if fuel prices remain in the low 2 dollar range (or below) on average in this country, the new president - who once touted high fuel prices as good for America - will take credit for the new lower prices.

Never mind he had not a damned thing to do with it. And, if as some folks believe, he re-instates the ban on offshore drilling, either by executive fiat/order or by signing a bill sent up by Pelosi and her bunch of crooks - we'll see prices gradually creep back up, as initiatives that might have been started to get more drilling into the gulf stall, and our current surplus of crude slowly goes away. Our neighbors in the Persian Gulf aren't stupid. They know if they cut production they can slowly drive up the cost of a barrel of oil, and we'll pay it - because we refuse to exploit our own resources.

But, perhaps cooler heads will prevail, and such will not come to pass.

I'm not holding my breath.

For now, I'm just glad I was *right* and gas prices could drop below a 2 dollar mark again. There were plenty of folks around here that said "Well its just adjusting itself to match what it needs to be"

Glad my call of BS on that, way back when, was right.

Onto other things.

I started a Shadowrun Campaign with B and T last weekend. The first run went off pretty well, considering it had been a good long time since I'd GMed anything, and I ran most of it off the cuff. I gave them a 'train job' to aquire a rather large package from a train before it reached its destination. I stole the idea from Firefly, almost part and parcel. The only difference was the contents of the package, which was 'human' (a SURGE III survivor, which in SR terms basically means Beastperson (in this case, cat-girl). I presented them with a moral quandry. Finish the job and drop off the package... or free the girl from slavery.

I'm pleased that they picked the latter option - and to be honest I wasn't sure. I was offering them a lot of ching to finish the job, and they'd done it as cleanly as could have been hoped. It should have been a sweet payday.

Instead, they took the moral high road, freed the girl, and now have to figure out what to do with her. It should be a lot of fun.

I'm looking forward to our next game.

Anyway, I think thats all thats on my mind today - best get back to work.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Aftermath - Election 2008

Well, I'm disappointed. My candidate (chosen as the least of all sorts of wevils (thank you Master and Commander)) did not win in his bid for the presidency. There are all sorts of reasons why this may have been so.

But I think my co-worker (who voted for Obama) sums it up well.

As I came in this morning:

Me: "Congratulations on your candidate winning the election."

Tr: "He's not my candidate. At least, I wouldn't refer to him that way."

Me: "You voted for him."

Tr: "I see it as a vote against Bush, McCain and Palin."

Sad. But that was the conversation. Prior to coming to work tonight/morning I hung out at a friends for a bit and sorta watched the election coverage. The occupants were:

P, B, T, J and myself. T's wife showed up after a while too. I got there about 9:30 I suppose, and J was already drunk. He's the one person in the group I'm sure voted for Obama. And he was TANKED. What a loud drunk. Nice guy - but for a self proclaimed libertarian, he's oftly liberal. Especially drunk. We had an interesting conversation about taxes when I drove him home on my way to work.

God help us if this is how the majority of Americans think.

B and T are solidy on my side of the fence, and amusingly we've all bought firearms in the last month. (As a stop gap against possible future firearm legislation.) I need a rifle to augment my handgun purchase. We all were past/current firearms owners, but my rifle selection is only a pair of .22s. I'd like to add a solid semi-automatic rifle to that list. B picked up an NRA Mini-14. T's got his Mosen Nagant, and a Remington Pump action 10 gauge, along with his Springfield Armoury XD 45.

I've got a Springfield Armoury 'Tactical' (Five inch barrel) XD.45, a old bolt action .22 and an even older pump action .22 with tube feed. I'd love to add something like an M1A Carbine to the mix, but they're typically out of my current price range.

Christmas list? That includes new mags for the XD and maybe some money towards a new rifle. Who knows, maybe I'll find a good deal in the next couple months.

Anyway, back to the election. Govenor Hoven was re-elected. And while he is the incumbant Republican, I don't really like him. ND doesn't have term limits on Gubernatorial candidates, and Hoven is up for this third term, with no signs of stopping next run either. I'm a staunch Term limits supporter, I want them in place and enforced at all levels of executive and legislative branches. The founders of this country intended that the job would be so annoying and un-rewarding that no one would want to do it for a long period of time.

This, is not the system we have today. But it could become that system again.

Earl Pomeroy was re-elected to the House... again. For a generally solid red state, we really like our Democrats out in Washington. Our current rep and senators have been in office as long as I can remember.

Yet, another reason why I'd love to see some term limits in place.

There was a tax initiative on the ballot to cut income taxes in ND by 50 percent across the board, and Corp taxes by 15%. I voted for it. ND has a 1 billion dollar surplus. There are just over half a million people in my state. Thats a LOT of money for the state to be sitting on, so maybe we don't need to be paying them quite as much eh? Apparently, most North Dakotans either aren't paying attention, or like paying taxes. I'm not sure which.

It failed, 70 to 30.


Well, the world will keep turning, and despite it all, the country will still be here in the morning. But its going to be an interesting few years.

The Chinese have something to say about living in interesting times. Personally, I'd vote for boring and mundane.

But we're not going to get that.

Just my two cents.


Monday, November 3, 2008

A little bit of morning stupidity.

These boys need to have the book thrown at them properly, once it comes to that. It caught my notice because its blocking my primary egress route from work to home. Now I'm gonna be stuck waiting for a train more then likely.

Oh well.

I finally broke down and 'followed' I aim to Misbehave - a blog by a fellow Browncoat that happens to be police officer. I've been reading his blog for a few weeks now, and find it both entertaining, informative, and insightful.

Good stuff over there - and since I'm back to blogging myself, I figured I'd let him know someone's paying attention ;)

No good stories from the work angle tonight, though I really really wanted to fall asleep. I didn't sleep so well last night since I was out of prilosec, so I'm going to have to stop and pick some up on the way home. Election's coming up. I'm ready for the drama to be over already.

And that's all off the top of my head this morning.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Somedays, you just can't win.

So today I was digging into an annoying XML error at a site when a tech IMed me and requested I look at an issue they were having. Got the site number and dialed into to the sites back room system to poke around.

Ten seconds after I started looking, the site reboots the backroom system, kicking me out. I mentioned to the Tech Via IM that the store just rebooted the backroom system, and they said, and I quote "Yah, I did that."


"Well, its locked up, and I need to fix that eventually."

"So, you asked me to dial in and look at a problem, and then you reboot the system while I'm trying to fix it?"

"Well... I guess."


Somedays, you just can't win.


Well, I figured I'd let myself back into the blogosphere after a nice long hiatus, and this seems to be as good a place as any. As you might have guessed - I'm in Tech support, am not disgruntled, and generally enjoy my job.

This alone probably means I have a serious mental problem. But then, I'm no longer the poor guy on the front end answering direct calls, so that might have something to do with it.

I'm a Conservative (Please note this does not specifically mean Republican), a proud Firearm owner, a Computer Geek, Amateur Author, Roleplayer, and a lot of other things.

This Blog will likely have a lot of random moments of head smackery that may, or may not make sense to the non-technically minded, interspersed with my thoughts on all sorts of things... as they wander off the top of my brain.

You have been warned.