Monday, January 30, 2006

Move along...move along...nothing to see here!

Despite paralax, distance and media desire for something to see, there is no news here.

Trust me. I've watched skydivers in freefall many many times. At a great distance, you just can't tell how close stuff is. The two aircraft do seem to be in slightly different focal planes though.

Hey, if it were that close, somebody would have responded evasively to their TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) , ATC (air traffic control) instructions or at least four horribly enlarged eyeballs. No worries.

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And of the Flag

Hamas demands one more small measure. Israel needs to change their flag. ...uh huh... um... if they change their flag, does that mean Hamas agrees that they exist? Or is it just one more step toward the sea? I know what my guess would be.

Shouldn't the United states flag, then, have 50 stripes? One extra for each of the occupied territories that still belong to the "native" Americans.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cabinet decisions here in Oregon...

but not what you think.

If you remember in previous posts, I mentioned that I was constructing pull out drawers and bins for our kitchen cabinets. Well, on Friday, I assembled 27 different bins; two of them have plexiglas lids to keep the dust off of the crystal glasses and stemware.

Saturday, I sanded them down to where I could add polyurethane and the like. I also went and purchased the desired chemicals. Then today, (and here is the cabinet decision part) I took back the spray cans of polyurethane and got brush on stuff.

After some thought, and admission that I had precious few brain cells to waste on chemical highs, I decided not to poison myself with aerosols.

I was amazed how well my little girl did with the paint brush (with the sanding sealer). We got four drawers done in about an hour and she only doubled the time it would normally take. can be a big help.

If I can get some snaps of the work, I'll attach them on edit later.

Been busy, but to you soon.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Honor. In pictures and in words.

Real Men pay tribute to a fallen hero. Click for the story from Blackfive. Be sure to click on his site back to part I to get the full story.

A little clarification for the militarily uninitiated; The "coin" likely has little to do with money. My guess would be that it is a unit coin they are placing at the memorial. Unit coins are commemorative metal pieces fabricated with unit ID, crests, mottos. They are earned, and are often priceless.

Regardless what Joel Stein might say; I owe these men a the very least. For more commentary pulled together by Hugh Hewitt, click.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

If you can hear crickets chirping...

You must have the news on while they are covering this.

"The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed."

I've thought that something along these lines has made the most sense all along. I mean, after all, the Left in this country has proven even nutcases can't be duped all the time. Or did I get that wrong. Well, Oprah doesn't count anyway. Halliburton?

Well, someone with better connections than mine will need to check on the BS quotient, but I find the story intriguing.

By the way, I don't think those barrels are coming back to Iraq on the same planes, if ever.

Thanks again Powerline!
And RightWingNutHouse!

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Well, this is fairly transparent

Dateline, Maryland (or whatever the cliche is):

Maryland Democrats concerned about the political fallout from last week's court ruling on same-sex marriage are considering a plan to block any final court ruling from taking effect until after the November elections.

The proposal would be offered in legislation by Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) that would freeze any decision from the state's highest court until the General Assembly has time to evaluate it.

"What we're trying to do is see if we can craft a bill allowing the legislature to seek an injunction, at least until 2007, when we'll have the opportunity to consider a constitutional amendment" banning same-sex marriage, Simmons said.

Democrats, playing only one move ahead, destined for check and mate. Checkers could not be reached for comment. Thanks for including the truth in there, WaPo.

Oh, and thanks Powerline for the push in the right direction.

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I wouldn't either; are they nuts?

I break wind in their general direction Hamas, that is.

I'm sure, though, that they ran a cleaner election than Wisconsin. Yeah. Right.

...And Back a Few days

Kobe Bryant.

Great Game. Though he could have been a character in that National Lampoon sendup of Tolkien's work. Anyone remember? Dribble.dribble.shoot.swish. The Ball Hog.

But why don't we revisit Mr. Bryant's comments after the Laker game:
[to] sit here and say I grasp what happened, that would be lying.

It seems folks might not know when he is or isn't. That smile looks familiar though.

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Oprah Joins the Rodeo

Manages to ride Bull for 8 more seconds

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Hello to any Toastmasters browsing by!

Yep, this is the blog I was speaking about. If you'll notice, on the right hand side-bar, there are some little links that will take you to some other fine places. Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to speak before the group.

For those of you interested in starting your own blog, there should be a blogger button around here somewhere... or just click here.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Riding that train...

Over the weekend, I took Sarah on the light rail to the airport. We watched a bunch of planes take off and had lunch.

On the way through downtown, my eyes noticed that my Monday meeting was on the train route, hence my return to the train. How relaxing...

No traffic, just treo blogging.

Well that didn't take long. Alito hasn't even gotten to his new chair, yet...

Via FreeRepublic

And folks are throwing snowballs hoping the apellate process can make them into snowmen (weak analogy).

So the Democratic Senators look like argumentative, rambling fools when faced with a rational seeming nominee. Everyone says it's all over, he'll be confirmed. Days later...

Does the snowball stand a chance in...

(As Barbra Streisand screamed) THE SUPREME COURT?

It has to get there first.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

If you don't know, let someone who does write the story.

Picking Nits; picking nits. I know.

Check this out.

Wow! Supergun. Neat. But within a few sentences I wonder if Ms Pamela Hess of UPI lost track of decimals or just plain doesn't understand:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Next month a new high-explosive munition will be fired in Singapore and then tested again by the U.S. Army, heralding what may be a sea change in weaponry: a gun that can fire 240,000 rounds per minute.

That's compared to 60 rounds per minute in a standard military machine gun.

What? The US only has machine guns that fire 60 rounds a minute. My AR15 (civilian version of the m16 rifle--not available in California) will do that and more in semi auto mode with magazine changes. Duh. Oh and after 2 quick 30 round mags like that, I dare somebody to touch the barrel.

Okay, so later in the article they mention grenades. I don't know much about our auto loading grenade launchers, but 60 does seem slow. Then again, 240,000 rounds per minute. My God, that has got to be an extrapolation or something. 4,000 rounds a second? How does that happen? The techy guy tells the reporter that the thing has (let's say) 50 barrels and it fires all 50 instantaneously. Does that mean that the hypothetical weapons system could fire infinitely fast?

Picture being the poor schmuck loader. You just humped several truck loads of grenades or what-have-you over inhospitable terrain, and the yo-yo on the gun has a heavy finger. "Oh, crap Larry! I just made a BIIIIGG hole! ...And YOU need to fetch some more ammo."

That has got to be a mistake.

And another thing. Superships (episode 5 from the link) tonight on Discovery. If you're going to narrate a documentary, have a friggin' clue what you're talking about.

The half-episode in question was about a heavy lift ship that had been altered to transport yachts (a whole lot of them) around the world in dry-dock comfort. Blah blah blah and then the narrator starts talking about how hard it would be to "get in and out of Port Everglades [I think that was the Port] without their bow thrusters." (except genius voice said "beau" not "BOW"!)(Hell, he said it more than once) Hey buddy, the BOW is the front end of the ship, and the BEAU is the thing wrapped around the new yacht when DADDYKINS gives it to some PARIS act alike. Do some background, will ya.

The moon must be in the seventh house or something. Jeez.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

My brother in A Million Geeky Pieces

If you want good writing, check out my bro at AbbaGav. One post in particular, had me laughing on the floor. He has an idea to write a satirical send up of that Oprah cry cry book alluded to in this post's title. Awesome.

He is not alone. Via Instapundit, comes a story from or something about a professor who thought he had a brilliant idea. Come to the end, and as it turns out, he and Gav are on the same wavelength. Give it a read. But the money pull for me was (it is on page two after you enter a zip code and a year):

Pluss plans to write up the whole experience in the form of a historical novel. That gave me an idea. I had just read "A Million Little Pieces," that bogus memoir of drug rehab by James Frey that became a million seller. If hanging out with a bunch of bored druggies makes for a best seller, how about hanging out with a wacky bunch of nutty neo-Nazis?

"I've got just one more question," I said to Pluss before he had to go. "Have you had your people contact Oprah?"

Wonderful. It will be like a blaze of reality TV. Not real, but portrayed that way?


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No! IAEA won't add pressure to Iran? What?

I can't vouch for the source credibility, but I found a link from a blog. It's a pretty important (to me) story. Anyone heard of Well, follow the link and judge for yourself.
UN nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei, the has blocked EU moves to step up pressure on Tehran over Iran’s atomic programme.

On Thursday ElBaradei said Iran should be given until the end of next month to give International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors improved access to documents and sites.

Then this:
“ElBaradei has refused because he believes in due process,” one official told reporters. “He has said that the next report will be for the [regular] March 6 board and he can’t just advance that report.”

This just seems ludicrous. Due process. What the heck has been going on all this time. Now the seals are back off and I can hear ticking from multiple locations.

The way this is headed reminds me of a joke I heard probably 20 years ago. Thanks to Google and the Internet, I found it in a moment. It's a cute set up, but when you start swapping international figures and states into the joke's roles; not so much.

Why you need to Stop at a Stop Sign

An officer witnessed a car slow and cruise through a stop sign. The officer proceeded to pull the car over. The driver, very irate, asked why he was pulled over. The trooper calmly explained "Sir, you failed to come to a complete stop at the stop sign back there." "What does it matter," the driver yells, "I looked both ways and there was no-one around. I demand that you tell me why I should have to come to a complete stop." The trooper then reached into the vehicle and pulled the driver out. He started beating him over the head with his nightstick. After a few seconds, the trooper calmly asked the driver, "Tell me, would you like me to SLOW DOWN or COME TO A COMPLETE STOP?"

Here in the states, there isn't much I can't believe anymore. We've got confessed repeated child rapists receiving only 2 months in jail because the judge doesn't believe in punishing these criminals and the punishment gets in the way of treatment. Uh huh.

Days of miracles and wonder.

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Four things

My brother over at AbbaGav guilted me into tagging myself with the "Four Things" meme so here goes:

4 jobs I've had:

  1. Medical Lab Tech

  2. Skydiving Instructor

  3. Truck Driver

  4. Mortgage Broker

4 movies I could watch over and over:

  1. The Blues Brothers

  2. Blazing Saddles

  3. It's a Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad World

  4. The Princess Bride

4 places I've lived:

  1. Long Beach CA

  2. Milwaukee Wisconsin

  3. San Antonio Tx (Fort Sam)

  4. Hillsboro, OR

4 TV shows I love to watch:
  1. Myth Busters

  2. Extreme Engineering (history channel)

  3. The Beltway Boys (FoxNews; Bug and Kondracke;weekends)

  4. Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (overdubbed killer Japanese gameshow)(not unlike MST3k)

4 places I've been on vacation:

  1. La Jolla CA

  2. Houston TX

  3. Oregon Coast

  4. LA CA

4 websites I visit daily:

  1. abbagav

  2. hughhewitt

  3. powerline

  4. drudge

4 Favorite Foods:

  1. Cherry Garcia (if you don't know, don't bother asking)

  2. Thin thin thin crust pizza (Anne's was the best; a dive in Milw)

  3. Filet Mignon; Chicago medium with horseradish replacing the Bernaise sauce

  4. Reddenbacher's (I know he's dead, but) microwave popcorn (movie is better, but I don't get out much)

4 places I'd rather be:

  1. In bed, sleeping

  2. in the garage tinkering (productively)

  3. Flying

  4. Playing with my daughter

4 books I could read over and over:

  1. Wynken, Blynken and Nod and other bed time stories

  2. Any Suess

  3. The Boxcar Children

  4. Other kids books

I don't play tag, so I guess the bad luck stops with me. Well, anyway.

So Israel is planning a "party?"

How could they not.

Certainly there is no longer a win-win in this case. I'm not sure I care anymore. After the statements of Ahmadinejad (Iran's Nutter-in-Chief) can anyone think they were ever serious about nuclear electricity exclusively or stopping their enrichment of Plutonium.


The only thing needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.
Author: Edmund Burke


What kind of men are planning (both in Israel and the States, I think). Right. That's what I thought too.

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Somewhere down the page...Cheney Interview audio

Compliments RadioBlogger and Hugh Huwitt:

Radio Blogger

Well, I'm no techno geek either, but RadioBlogger didn't link properly to Hugh Hewitt's radio interview with VP Cheney. Just scroll down a mile or so, it is there.

Click on the audio for the mp3 file. I heard them live. Sure, Hugh didn't just scream Halliburton again and again (mostly directed almost softballs), but you get the impression that a very thoughtful and articulate man was answering.

I've liked Cheney since I saw him as SecDef in the first (or the beginning of the one) Gulf War in 91.

You can read the transcript, but the link to the audio provides the essential and wonderful inflection and vocal variety. Just listen. Trust ShallowVerb. Someone should.

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Anybody think this is funny?

I haven't drawn any cartoons in about 10 years.

Some say for good reason:

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Friday, January 20, 2006

NTSB released some findings in Florida Mallard crash.

I always dread hearing about plane crashes. I am especially sensitive when I hear about smaller planes, twin turbines to be exact. I used to spend a lot of time riding around in Twin Otters, Caravans and the like. When the news came on Dec 19th that a plane carrying 20 people had crashed in Florida, my first reaction was that it was likely a skydiving operation that suffered the loss.

While it was not to be, it certainly got my attention. A few days ago, the NTSB released some facts from the investigation.

Although the right wing ripped off the doomed Chalk's seaplane last month, the left one also had metal fatigue cracks, a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report said Monday.

That bolsters evidence that the wear and tear of 58 years of flying might have played a major role in the Dec. 19 crash that killed all 20 on board, experts said.


The seaplane that crashed was built in 1947, had flown more than 31,000 hours and made more than 39,000 takeoffs and landings, the FAA said.

The families of those lost are still in my prayers. Could this be a commuter/sightseeing airline wake-up call? I hope so.

I worry about my friends still in the jump community as well, because before old airplanes go to die, many of them become jump planes.

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Would anyone like to know why I don't drive a truck anymore?

FedEx was easy, and paid fairly well. There was the prestige of pulling triple trailers around the Pacific NW. I got to have my very own LONG LOAD sign. I could listen to 8 hours of xm right wing talk radio every day.
Rush,Medved,Hewitt,Prager,Hannity,Bennett,Ingraham,Snow and even Savage once in a blue moon. Why would I give all of that up (along with being on a first name basis with hotel desk clerks in several states)?

Well, that is a picture of my truck as I was ready to leave Boise one night two years ago. I turned the photo into Tshirt art. I got my truck from my good friend Everett, who passed away while on a layover hundreds of miles from home. OK, that took a toll, but...

Check this out:


This is your life. This is your life on trucks! Any questions?

The sacrifice is the job. Now I'm a mortgage broker.

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More on (not Moron) cabinets

Also on the docket? Of course, you may have seen my post on the pull out pantry; well, I am constructing 27 more pull out shelves and the like to enhance our kitchen's livability. The big pull out thing has some changes. The front is now a chalkboard, and yes (gasp!) that is a picture of Ronald Reagan on the calendar.

Flame on for the calendar, not the carpentry, OK?

Anyway, I've also finished pullouts for our trash/shredding/recycling. Yeah. Am I ever storing up brownie points? Yeaah...

Look at my dovetail drawer production line here in the garage.

And here is a finished (yet to be sanded and stained) drawer.

Oh, and another thing... if you start a project like this and need drawer slides, try Man that saved me a lot of money ($300 cheaper than the Rockler store).

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And what of our coming weekend?

While not exciting, the weekend activities include a light rail ride through town with my little girl. We'd like to spend extra money on a "value meal" by getting it at the airport. We're going to have a picnic on the top of the airport parking structure (a great spot from which to watch airplanes).

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What, exactly, did we expect?

Justice would have been nice. Instead, the elite underbelly gets away with serious felonies.

When we respond ineffectively to terrorism, it encourages more through our apparent weakness. What do we think will happen in the next election? ..And I don't mean sugar in the fuel tank.

Though I'm originally from Wisconsin (Go Green Bay.), today I withhold my hearty cheer.

Sure, I could link this whole thing bit by bit, but The American Mind did a wonderful job.

Slash tires? No problem if your folks are wedged up against the enemy of the world, GWB.

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Dan Checkoway's RV-7 Project

Dan Checkoway's RV-7 Project
Click on the link and get a glimpse into one of my overtaking diversions. I dream almost non-stop about building my own airplane. Does that make me an idiot? Nah.

When you check Dan's website, the first thing you see is a picture of 5 different airplanes. Each of them came as nearly raw materials (much of it bent and pre-drilled). The passion and effort that goes into these creations is fantastic.

If you wonder how you do that, spend some time clicking around through Mr. Checkoway's site (he has thoroughly documented the process). If that sets the hook, then "Welcome Aboard!!!!"

Then check out

Also of note, if you look at my profile photo, you may notice a stunning resemblence in the airplane pictured on our shirts. The donor image for the photoshop extravaganza was an RV-8 out of Colorado. Beautiful

Oh, and here is a grainy shot of my little girl and me at the factory where they make those wonderful airplane kits:

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

...After my own heart!

On Hugh Hewitt's for the last number of hours, they have continued speaking of General Zod. It reminds me of Michael Medved when he channels Fawn Rainforest.

It really blasts soda through my nose. Nice job Hugh!

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Barone on Biden

...and his
incessant droning (via Hugh Hewitt and RadioBlogger)

In response, let's return to some Star Trek (from The Wrath of Khan):

Kirk: I would not presume to debate you.
Spock: That is wise. Were I to invoke logic, however, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Kirk: Or the one.

So while we can all celebrate Mr. Biden's nearly par speaking ability, can't CSPAN, the Senate floor and the Hearing rooms have a break?

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Revelation 3:16, Mr. Chirac.

But, maybe you've figured that out.

What am I talking about?

Namely. This. (via drudge)

From the first paragraph:

France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.

And farther down:

Chirac, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said all of France's nuclear forces had been configured with the new strategy in mind and the number of nuclear warheads on French nuclear submarines had been reduced to allow targeted strikes.

So, what changed that tune. Maybe the up-close-and-personal experience with radical islamist festivities?

Beware, your nuclear Maginot line (the line was abandoned in 1969 in favor of nuclear deterrent) has already been breached (but you know that). You are threatening 10,000 dispersed cockroaches with 300 sledgehammers; the enemy is long past adapting to that(are you a fan of the Tancredo option?). Come on, do nuclear tactics on a scale that you have developed really lend themselves to blowing up tents and homes within cities? And you complain about us?

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Jay Leno has some quirks and some hobbies

I caught a story about this bike and Jay Leno on the history channel tonight.

I can't recall the name of the program or why they were talking about it, but heck...

If you have ever ridden bikes or have that itch, you will be giddy after reading this.

Me? I get the change-my-diaper feeling when he talks about shutting off the power and it keeps pulling for a couple of seconds. That is a great way to get seriously hurt. I wanna try.

Anyway, the article isn't fresh, but it is a kick to read, so go and do it. Then thank me in the comments.

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SHATNER! (ht andrew sullivan)

YouTube - Bill Shatner: ""

Update: Well, at least it wasn't Nimoy.

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SCOTUS puts off the inevitable


It seems this plays to my side of the street. While I am pro life, returning the abortion debate to state legislature makes sense for me. Eh, that's all I've got.

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Help me out here. Am I the only one who thought Leif Garrett was dead?

Teen Idol arrested (AGAIN!)

I don't get it. Why did I think he was dead? Maybe I was mixing him up with Andy Gibb. He's gone isn't he.


My wife also thought he was dead (she made the same mistake I did; confusing Garrett with Andy Gibb).

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Holy Crap, is this funny.

Mary Katherine Ham from notices Senator Kennedy and...

Go read it, but focus on

going to quit a club notorious for discriminating against women "as fast as I can."

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Vegas! If Cracker-Jack wrote a history book

Basia and I walked back the four blocks (2 and a half miles) from the party to our hotel on Saturday night. The whole way we weaved and dodged through a sea of desperate-yet-quiet (I think) hawkers trying to hand us prostitute's phone numbers (and photos of their prospective qualifications).

Vegas! and cracker jack. The box is pretty small but it is packed tightly, it has a bunch of nuts, and lots of stuff in there is sticky. ...and the prize inside doesn't thrill for long.

My psuedo-epiphanous history notion (which follows) came to me during that walk.

It seems that all of history's great moments are clearly landmarked, yet without (at least, appropriate) context. Almost without exception, the only real support offered for these monuments comes not from concrete and re-bar, but from that which resides just North of the underwire (or lack thereof). What a sad state; maybe that really is where we are, but it is just more visible there.

Is T & A really behind (no pun) all of History's great structures-events-times?

Maybe I could make the point better. Suffice to say, that prize was mine for a while long ago. I have a hard time watching all those people heading down the same hole I started down. But I thank God I didn't merge with the sewage after circling that drain.

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What do geeks do when stymied for fun ideas in Vegas?

Hmmm... from my youth, there are the big three. Maybe, bowling-miniature-golf-movies?

Nope. We were at the Treasure Island Hotel-Resort-Debauchery Kingdom at The Coffee Shop, and (OK, yes those imaginative folk have actually named it that). I noticed that after stirring our coffee, the excess bit of precious liquid pooled like a smile at the tip of the spoon. It is hard to describe, so here:

Three different tries on two different spoons. What the heck. Somebody explain that to me. Is it the surface tension not overcoming the sharp edge? Or some sort of Cascade detergent that does the trick?

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Off the grid? On the Grid? Eh. What?


So, where have I gone? I've been at a "work" outing. I've been out of touch, in cognito, and getting some sleep.

This year, the company I work for had their Holiday party and pat-on-the-back session in Las Vegas.

Fun. Some. My wife is very pregnant; no drinking or thrill rides and I don't gamble much.

Aside from a pretty cool party at GameZone (the photo is blurry to match my head, my one 7 and 7 was mixed to private-party standards), the high point was seeing the musical Mamma Mia!

For those of you who are avid readers of my brother's blog; take a deep breath and relax. The music was made famous by Abba, not AbbaGav.

After waiting in line and then completing her task in the restroom, Basia hurriedly trudged back for the beginning of the second act. She had a fair amount of pain after moderate durations of seatedness, so when nothing happened on-stage for a few moments, she stood, turned around and conversed with some strangers who became friends for a while.

The second hand could not have gone more than 20 beats before--BAAAMMMMM!!-- the music started. Yes, it was music; but it was ferociously loud. The first notes jolted Basia about a foot in the air. I about choked to death laughing.

After the show, we found out that people as far back as five rows behind us thought the shock might send her into labor. They were really worried. Good show though. Don't throw out those polyester suits.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Doting Father: First Words (I got it in writing)

Last night, on a menu at The Old Spaghetti Factory near our house, I saw something that truly amazed me.

Our little 3 and a half year old girl wrote her first word. We've been singing spelling songs for a few weeks (dumb ones that I make up; but she doesn't know that) and she is finally getting the idea that words are made out of combinations of letters.

I wrote "DAD" but she wrote "MOM" below it. The O is a little tough to follow, but I saw her do it, it is an O.

Hearing her first spoken word was not as dramatic for me for a couple of reasons. First, I was travelling for work back then, and may not have heard the original word. Second, she made a lot of sounds that could have been words; I was listening for intentional usage of certain sounds.

Possibly more important, and likely a direct result of the "S A R A H" spelling song; she humbly and without fanfare read her own name before we left for the restaurant. It was done so non-chalantly that Mom missed it at first.

Sarah told Mom, "I have Sarah's paper." Or something like that. I asked her how she knew the paper was hers (it was a coupon that gets her a free kids meal for reading or having someone read to her). She told us that her name was "Right here!" She used that emphatic tone. You know, the "Gee, what don't you understand now?" voice. I was stunned.

She has known the alphabet for quite a while. She knows what words are. She knows how to speak. Last night I saw a twinkling of her realization that these things are all connected.

Now I don't feel so weird singing goofy spelling songs. She is on her way. I am so proud (and grateful).
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Soft Shell vs. Hard Shell

The other day I promised to tell this story (or set of stories) , so here goes

Soft Shell:

When I was young and living in LA, somehow I gravitated to motorcycles. Both my Mom and Grandmother supported this, provided I always wear a helmet. I agreed.

Though I had previously been unconcious numorous times for non-motorcycle reasons, I thought that I was unbreakable. Chalk that up to testosterone and youth, I guess.

One fine warm day (Feb 28, 1984) I headed off to Long Beach City College. I had a bunch on my mind, the most pressing involved how to drop a bunch of classes I wasn't doing well in (I didn't always show up). The sun beating down felt great, so I bungied my helmet along with the nearly unused textbooks on the rear seat of my 900F Honda and took off toward Los Coyotes diagonal via Ximeno Ave (not that the street names matter). I loved that growling song that my aftermarket exhaust made; man that was loud. I saw myself as an incarnation of Joe Bitchin, and with the helmet off I was not anonymous. Everyone could see that it was really Wade that was so cool. What an idiot I was.

I made it two blocks. Going about 40 miles per hour up the street, I had nothing on my head but lots on my mind. I saw an oncoming silver 1981 Mazda Rx7 start to turn left into a driveway for the supermarket parking lot. HEY! The car was turning right into my path. Well, that woke me up in an instant.

I dropped down a gear and rolled on the throttle as fast as I could. The road was starting to curve to the left just a tad there; I remember pushing harder on the inside handlebar to maintain the bikes turn as the speed rapidly increased. That second passed like an hour. I almost made it.

As the front bumper struck the back of the rear wheel (behind the swingarm), I was suddenly just along for the ride. I don't remember much after the initial instant of shaken-ragdoll impact. I didn't see the chain rip off my shoe or the kickstand go through the center of my left foot. I didn't see the bike cartwheel into the wall. I didn't hear the police or the fire department arrive. I was in and out for a while. What I do remember feels like my memories of being a toddler; short, disconnected and vague. It was like I was a bystander as well as the guy laying there.

I remember paramedics discussing whether life flight was a necessity. In the end they took me to the hospital that was but a mile away.

I remember at some point, someone uttered, "I don't know if he is going to make it."

I remember that my eyes didn't work.

I remember pain in my head so severe that it just felt frozen.

I remember shaking.

I was lucky to have lived. I spent a week in the hospital, much of it in the ICU. The most notable long term effects from that accident are marked hearing loss in my left ear, visible gravel in my left ear, and a skull shape that was dramatically and instantly changed. I can still feel the indentation where the curb left its mark. The bony prominance above my right eye (my brow) protrudes more than it did the day before. I have TMJ (Jaw) pain, I get migraines, and there are parts of my tongue and face that I can't feel anymore.

Within 3 months, I had bought another bike. I guess I felt a little Nitsche about the whole thing. Scars I could live with, but I wasn't dead even though it seemed I should be. I felt like Superman. As a result of the accident, however, I did become religious about wearing the proper gear and wearing the gear properly.

Hard Shell:

I got into canyon riding. I read all the books (especially by Keith Code) about how to make bikes go fast. Whenever I got a chance I would head down the freeway to San Juan Capistrano and ride to Elsinore and back. Without regard to the speed limit, I would better my times regularly. I thought I looked cool hanging off the inside of the bike in sharp fast turns. I actually touched my knee to the ground once, though I hadn't fallen off.

On October 21st of 1984 at about noon, I had just finished one such trek. My mind and heart were still racing when I got back to the I-5 freeway, so I took a few minutes to mellow out in a gas station parking lot.

Still wearing a good helmet, leather riding jacket, gloves, boots and heavy jeans, I headed for home. I don't know if I turned my brain off, but it was certainly not running as effectively as moments before. I was going to go sedately home. I didn't expect anything to happen.

As I accelerated to 65 down the onramp from highway 74 onto NB I-5, I got the surprise of my life. It was as if a truck had beamed in (Star Trek style) right in front of me. A truck had run out of gas and had tried to get out of traffic before stopping. It crossed the solid lines heading for the shoulder. It then crossed me.

This time, I tried the brakes. There was an 18 foot skidmark (according to CHP) and then under I went. What a strange experience. Ragdoll again, but some unusual bumps and thumps.
Before getting spit out the other side, the bike had taken out the trucks driveshaft and somehow carved a deep gash in my groin. The bike was almost torn in half.

When I got to the hospital, some of the thumps and bumps were on my mind. I couldn't figure out what those feelings were. I had the nurse pass me my helmet. Upon inspection, there was a patch of skidmark on the lower left back of my Full Faced Arai helmet. HOLY CRAP! Suddenly the joggling made sense, and I started to cry (see, I'm not so cool after all). The truck had tried to run over my head long enough to leave a skid mark. I don't know which offered more protection in this case, the hard shell or the helmet's tendency to shoot out like a watermelon seed when top pressure was applied. I suspect it was some of both, but the latter explains why my body was spinning when I came out the far side.


Maybe I'm not invincible? True. More importantly, I have lived through serious motorcyle accidents from two perspectives; without a helmet and with a full faced helmet.

When people choose to ride bikes, they also choose to accept possible negative consequences from crashing. I rode for ten more years after that, and always chose the hard shell.
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Monday, January 09, 2006

Via Froggy (a great read)

Add Matt to your blogroll. Well worth it.
Just click (and listen) and watch out for the

Black Helicopters. Where the heck did I put my Cool Aid (I was always more fond of Hi-C or some sort of carbonation, though Sunny Delight was good with Sprite). Hmm... Black Helicopter? Wack Job? Coincidence? I don't think so.

Oh man. It is really late (early). I'm so screwed. (I can hear my third trimester wife snoring though, so I wouldn't have been sleeping anyway). Off to the guestroom.

We are all mortal after all...

I just caught this on Aero News Net. Any other aviation afficionados reading this will recognize the name immediately. I've seen Eric fly in four or five airshows.

I'll be honest, to me his act always seemed like filler between the jet jocks, but at the same time I respected what he could make the airplane do.

I'll say a prayer for his wife and her comfort. Now I'm going to bed. And I mean it this time. Remember tomorrow is Helmet-Story day.

Motorcycle Accidents I know.

Arnold had a bit of a mishap today. Technically a motorcyle, but the vehicle had a sidecar.
The article I read described a low speed crunch and fifteen stiches. Being California, both occupants must have been wearing helmets. Being in California and riding a Hog with a side of bacon, their helmets were probably the type that look like they are just large enough for electric shock therapy.

Like I said a minute ago, G'night; but check back tomorrow. It has been a long time since I've recounted my comparison and contrast study regarding motorcycle helmets. God has granted me much, and this includes hindsight. If I don't share the story, what kind of a person would I be.

By the way, you can tell that it wasn't a beloved Democrat Governor in the accident. I didn't see any reporter questions assessing the other drivers motive for trying to kill the Gov.

Couple of things here...

Right. The following is taken from front page at 1225 am 1/9/06 Pacific time (US).

First, isn't the chickens head floppy giving us the finger (or something).

REPORT: Homeland Security opening private mail...

Human bird flu spreads to western Turkey...

Second, after reading that double-entendrish headline, I believe I'll have the tuna melt.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Kennedy Proves himself a stupid stinky onion (or an olive maybe..hic)

Hey. I read the following to my wife during the little one's bath time. Glad she wasn't drinking carbonated or alcoholic beverages at the time. Particularly keen snortage occurred upon (after pause for effect) peeling back the first layer (there is the onion reference right there) of humiliation. Not only did he get his dates wrong, he pulled the President's name from the Martini universe.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), hosting a morning roundtable with reporters, had nothing nice to say about Alito. "We here in the United States are not going to stand for monarchial tyranny," he said, protesting Alito's support for "unfettered, unlimited power of the executive." He faulted Alito for belonging to a group that was "anti-black and also anti-women." Kennedy wondered if "the average person is going to be able to get a fair shake" under Alito.Briefly, Kennedy rewrote the outcome of the 1964 election. "This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency," he said. "The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws." Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."

Uh yeah. Can't you just smell that belch.

Reading the two paragraphs provided by, it left me with a deep slapstick aftertaste. I even took a moment to see if it was BS. I mean, come on.

Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."

But he missed the Goldwater gaff. Sure glad I picked this week to quit sniffing glue.


"We're gonna come in low!"

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"Yes, but it's part of every textbook approach."

With Kennedy, as with Airplane, there is always something else going on there. I guess what I mean is that I keep rereading it for a little more meaning and a bunch more laughter. Sadly, with Mr. Kennedy, it just isn't funny. At least the Zuckers did it on purpose.

Friday, January 06, 2006

not even half full

Toastmasters meeting last night. What could be better than a starbuck's vente soy chai tea latte while hamming it up with friends.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Teach your children well..


Sure, the photo is coming up on two years old, but I love it. So it is now my profile photo. At least, until my lovely wife says to get it the heck out of there.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Jonah Goldberg with about the funniest line I've heard this year!

Taken from the corner:


Scientists are trying to create the "first liquid with holes."

Interesting, but I thought the first liquid with holes was the best way to describe John Kerry's foreign policy.

Posted at 01:40 PM

He links to a science article, check it out. I couldn't stop laughing long enough to click the link.

Will he be transported to France?

Let all who have ears hear that we are praying for the life and health of Ariel Sharon. I spit on those who are undoubtedly handing out candy to celebrate his illness.

Non-Sequitized Football Fan

Right. I've been a Green Bay fan forever. I relate to the joke about the guy with the celebratory dog in the bar. Everytime the Pack gets a field goal, the dog does backflips before returning to his beer and pretzels.
Bartender: Flips for a field goal. Cool! What does he do for a touchdown?

Frustrated Dog Owner: I dunno, I've only had him 3 years.

I just finished watching an amazing college football game, the Rose Bowl. As a Cheesehead (and having family in Texas), I naturally picked the underdog (uh, that WAS Texas).

When Texas was down by 12 points in the 4th quarter and they didn't have the ball, I was resigned to their defeat. Of course, being a Green Bay fan, I kept watching. I was barely able to resist running outside with my shirt off in near freezing weather asking everyone for "ice-cold beer!"

I've got to give the Horns credit, their comeback rally at the end proved to me (at least) that they are champions.

I can barely wait until the equivocation starts, though.

    That forward fumble/toss/somethin in the first half; Young's knee was down, but it was not reviewed. That gave em 6 points.

    What about that penalty on the Horn's game winning drive; if the official hadn't seen the ever so slight face mask grab.

    And what of the Leinert bell-ringing ceremony in the second quarter; that was quite a hit.

The answer is that it was a game and both teams played with the same rules. Texas should be proud tonight. Very Proud...

Me...I'm just confused. You can actually win when I'm cheering for you? Huh.

Oh. Two more things. Yes, that is a picture of a very old Longhorns helmet (1962). It's all I could find at this time of night (besides, I'm that confused).

Also, I caught a quote from the story linked here and above. Ever playful Vince Young was misquoted to sound kinda like an arrogant ass. I heard the quote:

"It's so beautiful," Young said as he received the Rose Bowl MVP trophy for the
second straight year. "Don't you think that's beautiful? It's coming home all
the way to Austin, Texas." The reporter forgot to finish with a comic "BABY!"

I wonder why they dropped the one word that made the comment fun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My commute has eased

Nope, I didn't get fired. Yep, I'm still driving 18 miles each way to work. Yep, my wife still gets by with a two mile drive (snide commments under breath).

I know that by the old Southern California drive-to-work standards that I used to live by, that would not be so bad; but here in Portland (the land of two lane freeways while still a big city) it has been a long way. Some days it would take an hour to get to work; there are really no solid alternate routes either.

Well, some of the delay has been caused by freeway expansion (the work was doled out like an annuity; a little every year and it never finishes). Suddenly, and without warning, the crews actually finished a big section that reduces congestion by altering flow and adding a lane. In LA, adding a lane might by scoffed at, but here it raised the capacity by 50%.

Now I occasionally risk speeding tickets (unintentionally, of course) during the peak drive time. Yay.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Making room in the kitchen...

...Makes room in my garage.

Before you get the wrong idea about me, let me confirm that I have always been more of a dreamer than one who finishes projects. Hell, I start a lot of them.

About four and a half years ago, I built a few basic slide out shelves (on rollers) for my Mom's cabinets. They were awful, but she loved them. When she died, I sort of put all the dream plans for our kitchen on the back burner (the raw materials remained stacked in the garage).

Well, we are almost to our second young'n (April due date) and Dad is "nesting" with power tools.

Our kitchen has an abundance of cabinet space, but on the fridge wall, those suckers are actually two feet deep. When I emptied one out, I found stuff that was waaaaay out of date. What I needed to build was a set of pull out shelves that was only two cans deep; that way, you can always see the back of your supply. Years late, but as of tonight, they work. One down, six to go (but the first one is the hardest).

See above and below for a few photos of what I did. Picture 1 shows a cabinet as they came. 2-5 show the pull-out-ish-ness of the mechanism. Plans for finishing the system include a bit of ply to cover the front with half holding a calendar and half being a chalkboard. Well, nuf said...

Well, I've been going full blast on this rekindled notion of a perfect cabinet for the last few days. I've picked up power tools that I'd forgotten I had. I really wanted to get these put together and installed today. This project had gone too long acclimating in the garage. But, why finish today?

It dawned on me a few minutes before I took those pics. Although she is gone from my sight, I wish my mom a Happy Birthday. She would have been 65 today, and she loved gadgets.

Sleep and dreams of cabinet mods are calling me. Power Tools be damned; I still have all my fingers, so far!