Sunday, December 30, 2007

Homo Sapiens vs. Lepus Californicus

You'll have to pardon the crappy cell phone picture, but I just had to make a post about rabbit hunting. I recently went bunny blasting with my brothers in law Mike and Danny, and I had to show off some of the carnage. This was the result of an incredibly good (IE "lucky") shot taken from about 80-100 yards while this lucky bunny was at a dead run. I say the bunny is lucky because he's no longer freezing his bunny butt off on the snow covered valleys of Utah.

I enjoy a very special love/hate "relationship" with Lepus Californicus. Why do I hunt jack rabbits? I don't know for sure, but I have a few theories:

My foremost theory involves the binomial name for jack rabbits, lepus californicus. Perhaps my aggression toward this species of rodent is a latent manifestation of my dislike for Homo Sapiens Californifornicus, who are also multiplying in the rural and wilderness area of Utah.

Other theories include the fact that my ancestors were farmers and ranchers, the arch enemies of range pests such as jack rabbits and that it is in my genetic makeup to continue the good fight. I really just think that hunting rabbits is actually practice for the impending zombie invasion (it's not a matter of if, but when).

For all you bleeding hearts who can't believe that I'm killing poor little innocent bunnies... don't worry, with the way I shoot most of them aren't really in any danger. Besides, jackrabbits carry a multitude of parasites and diseases, including Tularemia. You'll notice that I'm using a glove to handle the partially decapitated specimen above.

The truth of the matter is that man is a natural predator. Our eyes are situated on the front of our heads (as opposed to the sides, like many species of prey - such as jackrabbits). Hunting is therapy for me, considering that most of my time is spent inside a "cage" tethered to a telephone and computer.

A few months ago, I was chatting with one of my company's clients in Florida. They asked me what I was planning on doing that weekend and I told them that I intended to "viciously assassinate as many jack rabbits as I could find, and strike fear into the hearts of those I could see but could not kill".

The client laughed hysterically at my mock psychotic rant and requested that I send him a "Blue petrified rabbit's foot". On a subsequent excursion, I was able to bring back what appeared to be a disease free foot from a lucky donor, and I proceeded to mail it to the client. I included a note that I was not practiced in dying animal fur blue, and that given a few million years and the right environmental variables, he would have a bona fide "petrified" rabbit's foot.

This was a big hit at the client's office - he called me the same day that his "package" arrived to thank me for his "gift" and we arranged that if he ever came out to Utah, I would take him Bunny Blasting. I'm no expert, but I think my brother in law Danny (who is an expert) would agree that I have a promising future in Public Relations.

In the mean time, don't the winter blues and $50 lift tickets get you down - suit up, pack plenty of ammo, and persecute the local rodent population.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My son, the skateboarding sherpa.

Victorious once again at Chutes and Ladders.

My son the skateboarding sherpa.

A truly evil genius.

Friday, December 28, 2007

What are you doing to my beloved show!?

I don't admit to watching very much TV, but I used to have two shows that I loved watching whenever I could: The Office and The Unit.

I'll assume that most of you know about The Office already, and if you don't I'll ignore your heresy and pray for your soul. The Unit, was an excellent show that detailed the lives and exploits of a team in The U.S. Army's Special Forces Detachment Delta (AKA Delta Force).

The Unit has a winning cast - including Dennis Haysbert, who plays the NCO leader of the team, and Robert Patrick (AKA The T1000 from Terminator 2) as the Colonel who commands the team.

This show used to be great - it detailed the gritty military missions of special forces operators working around the world while showing what life was like for their families back home. I put up with a lot of the over dramatic Army wife crap, because of the intriguing story lines and well written dialogue. Then the third season came out... what a load of crap.

First, the opening sequence with images of armed men clearing rooms with grenades set to a military cadence was ditched for a spy themed song and images of men in business suits.



The Unit excelled as a show about a clandestine military unit - it sucks as a show about "spies"

The third season can be typified by the episode in which the team is tasked with guarding a spoiled country music star who is performing for the troops in Iraq - the show culminates with the country music star stealing the poem book of one of the team members and turning one of his poems into a hit song. What the hell!? It sounds like an "Armyfied" version of a Punky Brewster episode.

If this is the caliber of show they'll be producing, I have an idea for a new episode. The Colonel is going out of town on vacation, and the team is tasked with watching his pet hamster Fluffy. The only problem is that Fluffy dies. So the team goes to the pet store to buy an identical hamster and kills a terrorist along the way - hilarity ensues.

Good grief. A great show has been flushed down the toilet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What the deuce...

So, I walk out of the house today around 7:30 PM and lo an behold what do I see just outside the door of our laundry room? One of Becca's socks (used to be my sock, but it has become a spoil of conquest) and a PAIR OF MY UNDERWEAR! Becca has confirmed that she brought in the laundry shortly before I arrived home around 4:30 PM, which mean that for approximately 3 hours my private underclothes were on display no less than 2 feet from the neighboring apartments front door!

I'm still trying to figure out how I missed seeing them on my way in, other than the fact that I was chatting on the phone with my parents when I walked in the front door.

This might however explain the break in the constant stream of annoying residents knocking at our door (Becca is the apartment manager here); perhaps mens underwear acts as a warding talisman to fend of unwanted guests...

For our friends whom we WANT to come visit us, please be aware that we have implemented a risk mitigation procedure to insure that you will never witness such a calamity at our residence ever again.

The Management

Jiminy Christmas!

Christmas was excellent this year - I keep waiting to fully "mature" and not want any more "toys", but that's obviously a goal that will take several more years to come to fruition. My lovely wife gave me an electronic dartboard and actual darts to replace the cardboard box with cartoon character targets and darts constructed of office supplies.

I've enjoyed watching my 4 year old open his Christmas presents - the cute facial expressions and gasped statements of euphoria made me completely forget the careful budget that we'd disregarded and overspent. As usual, I got more than I deserved and at the end of the day I cackled evilly at having raked in another haul of awesome gifts.

One gift in particular held a notable interest for me. It was wrapped in a flat white box. Unfortunately I can't remember what paper or ribbon were on it, because until I opened it up, those details didn't matter. Inside the box I found an old knife and a note from my dad.

This almost resulted in an event that I tend to refer to as a "I have dust in both of my eyes at the same time" moment. In order to understand this gift, there is a fair amount of history you must be made aware of. From the time I was a "little fetcher" (a term borrowed from my mother), my dad has always taken me on fishing trips.

We fished the Green River in Wyoming, where my dad underestimated the depth of the river at the point he chose to cross with me on his shoulders. Somehow, at 6 years of age I managed to hang on tightly to his hair while he somehow crossed the middle of the river much like a submarine crossed the Atlantic. I rememember that water as being extremely chilly, a fact that I verified about 19 years later during an ROTC FTX in the fall of 2004.

We also hiked several miles into Spirit Lake in the Uintah Mountains - one of our fishing buddies packed in a float tube and waders in addition to the rest of his gear, and was extremely disgusted when we found a canoe in completely serviceable condition, tethered to a tree less than 100 feet from the lake.

However, the place we visited the most was the Boulder Mountain in southern Utah. I've camped at Cook Lake more times than I can remember. Our scout troop used car jacks (a suggestion from our adult supervisors) to roll Volkswagen sized rocks from the cliffs above Cook Lake into the water several hundred feet below. I've had my teeth jarred as I've tried to hang on to the inside of a Chevy Blazer on the road to Donkey Lake. I've hiked for hours on what my dad claimed was a "4 mile" hike into Lost Lake (it's lost for a reason - and no there weren't any fish in it). I rode my mountain bike from Cook Lake up to Horseshoe Lake (a ride that my dad purported to be of a distance of 3 miles), riding up many steep grades over a long distance - to finally reach a fork in the road with a sign stating "Horseshoe Lake - 3 miles" pointing to the right. Lately, we've ridden quads all over the Boulder top and hunted for arrow heads among the lower trees. We've hunted turkey near Posey Lake and shot rock chucks and bunnies any time we got the chance.

My dad found that knife in the reeds along the shore of some beaver pond on the Boulder when I was close to 8 years old. It was covered in mud and rust. He took it home, polished and sharpened it - and used it religiously on pretty much every trip we went on after that. He cut potatoes, gutted fish, removed slivers from our fingers (I hope he sterilized it first), and it could always be found in camp.

When he gave it to me yesterday, it came with this note:
This is more of a memory than a gift. I always loved taking you places like Boulder Mountain.
Love Dad
Because "the dust" made it a little hard to say this yesterday, maybe I can write it better than I can say it.

Thanks dad, it is a really great memory for me too!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I was listening to a CD I hadn't heard for a long time when I heard this song:

Collective Soul has been my favorite bad since junior high - their songs seem to have a spiritual meaning for me that I have always been able to connect with. This song has an immense value for me as it mirrors a certain point in my life.

In late 2001, I was having a real internal struggle finding my "place in the universe". My life's labors at that time were mainly failing classes at USU while I worked a minimum wage part time job at the computer lab. Life seemed to lack the savor that made it enjoyable - there was a hole in my soul that I could not seem to fill. I had dated several girls, always breaking up with them within a month after I figured out that they were definitely not "the one" for me. I was considering dropping out of school, joining the military, running away to South America - anything that would have been a big enough catalyst to give me the fire that I had lost when I had left Colombia and home.

Enter Becca - a rushing stream of water that burst the dam that was keeping my world stagnant; bringing life itself to my parched soul.

In two weeks and one day, it will have been 6 years from when we met and she's still here; the hole in my soul has been filled. She's given me a beautiful little boy and helped me to find our dreams, encouraged me to work for them, and inspired me to love our family. She's also patiently watched me fail and helped me to continue on; once she held fast to me when the shadow of death briefly passed over me and threatened to separate us much earlier than we expected.

Time lends an incredible perspective which gives greater meaning to our lives. There was a purpose in my experience before I met Becca; one must suffer misery for a time before true happiness can be appreciated.

You're all I need
When the water runs deep
You're all I need
Now I cry my soul to sleep
You're all I need...

Merry Christmas!

I am Legend = Sweet Flick!

By the way, did I mention I love just about every *SHTF/Zombie movie ever made?

Without spoiling the movie for you, I'll just let you know that I love the concept of NYC being empty of people while I roll around town in expensive cars shooting at deer with my tricked out AR15 rifle. This movie was a dream I didn't want to wake up from!

Seriously though, I really liked this movie - it had a well written story that wasn't driven by either a sappy love story or a sequence of pointless action scenes. Will Smith is a pretty decent actor in my opinion - you ladies can go catch the flick for the part where he does pull ups with his shirt off.

The highlight of the movie occurred when a fight broke out near the front row when someone decided to have a conversation on their cell phone about 30 seconds before the film started to roll credits. He must of been a "West Jordan Gangsta" because when someone yelled "Stop talking on your cell phone!", he yelled back "Shut up #$%#$! The movie's over!".... Bad move, since most of the ladies I know don't like being called that word... In any case, we got more entertainment than we bargained for.

*SHTF = Sh*t Hits the Fan; refers to a cataclysmic event that requires the assistance of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or in this case Will Smith, in order to prevent the end of the world as we know it (also known as TEOTWAWKI).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My brother in law does it again...

I didn't open this one - I already knew what was inside of it. I just verified my suspicions with a flashlight.

I simply wrote a note on it:

"To [insert our boss's name] with love from Danny"

and left it on our boss's keyboard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bread and Circuses?

Alicia's post on the the screen writers guild strike made me think; I absolutely HATE that a high school teacher is STILL doing that to me! Instead of turning in my perspective in a 2-3 page essay with 1" margins, I'm "sticking it to the [wo]man" and blogging my thoughts instead as an act of non-conformity.

I have a certain coworker who when presented with ANY question about a television show (IE "Hey Andy, did you see last night's episode of the The Office?"), he simply responds with the muttered words, "Bread and Circuses". Being a curious individual who is NOT a cat, I figured one time time that I would be safe to ask him, "What the H*%# are you talking about Andy?".

He explained to me that during the decline of the Roman Empire, the powers that were decided that in order to distract the unwashed masses from the horrible conditions and corruption, they would provide cheap entertainment (in the form of the gladiatorial games) and food (bread).

Wikipedia (take that High School English teacher, I'm citing Wikipedia!) states: (link)
"Bread and circuses" is a phrase that can criticize either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment that have become the sole concern of the People, to the exclusion of matters that some consider more important: e.g. the Arts, public works projects, human rights, or democracy itself. The phrase is commonly used to refer to short-term government palliatives offered in place of a solution for significant, long-term problems.
Honestly, TV fits the above description exactly. Joseph Stalin prophetically stated that television would be the greatest tool for propaganda the world had ever seen. Doubtless you could find more Americans that know who won last year's American Idol, as opposed to finding citizens of voting age who could find Iraq or Afghanistan on a map, or tell you who their state senator is.

Please don't misunderstand what I am saying. I, like most people enjoy a good TV show that has good acting and a well written script - I don't fault the SWG for seeking compensation for the additional use of their work. I enjoy watching a few shows like The Office immensely, but lately we tend to download the episodes to watch them later (commercial free) - I don't sit around watching useless drivel while I wait for my favorite show to come on and you can bet I won't watch whatever garbage the network has slapped together to replace a funny and well written show.

Now that my favorite shows are playing reruns, I plan to do better things with my time - like go running, play with my son, talk with my wife, or plan crazy hikes in the middle of the night during the winter.

My wife says, "Yeah right! You'll just be on your computer!"

Am I the weird one?

Saturday morning, I got a GREAT IDEA!!!

I planned a night time hike to the peak of Mt. Olympus!!!

I invited a few friends/family members and all of them took very little time in telling me that the were otherwise occupied. I was pretty bummed about the situation when my wife suggested that such and activity was "weird".

Weird? The suggestion provoked a stream of thought that left me perplexed the rest of the day... I love doing random things like hiking to the top of Mt. Olympus at night in the dead of winter. The day that I don't come up with strange impulses like that will be the day that I know that my soul is dying.

I'm tentatively planning on executing this idea this coming Saturday, the 22nd. If you have your shopping done and no parties to attend, you are welcome to join me.


Stan in the sand box

For those of you who don't know my buddy Stan, let me give you the run down:

I met Stan in the Fall of 2004 on a Saturday morning while shoveling sand onto a part of the Ranger Challenge obstacle course at USU. Stan's kind of a shy kid who smiles a lot, but I managed to find out that he spent his summers working as a river guide. He was also a newlywed who had managed to overcome his shyness enough to successfully woo Georganne, whom he had met while river guiding. I got to hang out with these two quite a bit over the years and I was pretty sad when Stan commissioned and left Utah.

Now Stan has been deployed and as luck would have it, he gets to do what he's always dreamed of doing - lead troops into combat. It's kind of funny to see one of your friends in a role that seems suited to John Wayne or Mel Gibson, and yet Stan is more inspiring than than any actor, because he is "real life" as opposed to being "larger than life".

I still have to give him a hard time since due to operational security, Georganne hasn't been able to reveal where he will be deployed to or what he's doing. Since Stan has now achieved legendary status in my eyes - doing classified thing and is now a freaking ninja - I hereby award him the status of "Secret Squirrel" - don't worry Stan, your patch is in the mail - I hope you'll wear it with pride!

PS - as an elite secret squirrel, I trust you to learn from my mistakes and be careful not to lose any of your nuts.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What motivates little boys?

Yesterday, I got a call from my brother in law Mike - he had car troubles and needed me to come pick him and his date up. I said I would be right there, and we asked Eli if he wanted to come. Eli emphatically stated that he did NOT want to come, until we told him that Mike had a cute girl with him. Eli could not get dressed and out the door fast enough.

We picked up Mike and Josie and took Josie to her house, while she sat in the back seat with Eli who shamelessly flirted with her for the entire ride; showing her his favorite place mat with floating fish inside of it, and telling her stories and jokes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

News from my buddy in Iraq!!!

My good friend Kal wrote me an email today!

I've missed this kid immensely - I've seldom seen him since early 2006. He was diagnosed with cancer, and treated about 3 weeks before me. Thanks to him I had plenty of courage to endure any treatment that might come my way, because he was always 3 weeks ahead of me and he wasn't dead yet...

Kal stayed at USU and finished his degree and ROTC, even though he had medically been dis enrolled. He married a beautiful girl with an affinity for bald men (I know the type); and they are both lucky to have each other.

Kal deployed as an NCO with the Army NG this past year, and is enjoying sunny Iraq! I bet right about now he is really missing the sadistic STX lane we set up in the river running under the bridge at 3rd dam. That was in Logan canyon, in the late fall of 2005 - that water was COLD!!! For some reason, Kal insisted on testing that lane more than once...

Kal is a great human being - unlike me, he was always a man of few words, and extremely tolerant of my excess of words. He tells me that he's leading his own platoon, due to a shortage of 2LT's - life certainly has it's ironies as Kal is now doing the job of a 2nd Lieutenant, the rank that the Army denied him because he had cancer... I'd like to hear the justification for that one (other than the fact that it's saving the Army a lot of money, and that platoon is still getting one hell of a leader).

Kal is one of my heroes - I know his job isn't glamorous or exciting, but I can guarantee he's making me proud to be in the same classification as him - a Soldier. On target on time!

I seem to be all out of tissues...

Just read this on, "Man shoots and kills home-invasion robber"

Long story short, two guys try to rob the house of a family of three. The husband takes a gun from one of the thugs, and shoots/kills him.

I thought I might shed a tear for the dead criminal, but can't seem to find any tissues right now, so I think I'll crack open a soda and celebrate instead.

I guarantee that next time, this family won't open their door to an unexpected stranger...

Like the saying goes, "Be polite, be courteous, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet..."

If you love your family and want to stay alive, don't be naively over trusting like this family. The world is full of good people, but that "damned 10%" out there ruin it for the rest of us.

Who stopped/killed the Colorado church murderer?

A few days ago, I wrote this post about the woman who prevented Mathew Murray from killing more people at the New Life Church in Colorado. A few people have expressed that they think this post might be inaccurate, because they have heard on the news that the gunman shot himself. It is true that the gunman killed himself, but this fact is often reported out of context. From an MSNBC article discussing this fact:

Link to Article

"Murray, as promised on the Web, came “armed to the teeth” with an assault rifle, handguns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. An armed church security guard, a new Christian believer, cut him down in a spray of bullets before he could carry out even more violence. An autopsy showed Murray delivered the final, fatal shot to himself."
There is a difference between incapacitating a threatening person and killing them. In basic training, soldiers are trained to shoot at an enemy's center of mass - because a shot to the COM is the best compromise for ensuring a hit and causing an injury that will prevent the enemy from continuing to fight. The general idea is, "Who cares if you kill the enemy! Stop him from trying to kill you!" Ms. Amman stopped Mathew Murray, and I'm sure she's had no trouble sleeping at night knowing that she saved lives and didn't even have to fire the shot that snuffed out that killer's life.

My belief is that Mathew Murray (the killer) had not intention of leaving the New Life Church alive - in my opinion, it is most likely that he intended to kill as many people as possible, and then force the police to kill him by refusing to comply with their commands, or shoot himself once he had run out of "targets".

Jeanne Assam disrupted whatever plan Mathew Murray had, by putting several bullets into him, which physically impeded him from shooting any more unarmed targets. I can only imagine him lying on the ground and realizing that he'd failed for the last time. The last fatal bullet that was meant to deny justice for the murdered, was instead used to bring an end to his embarrassment from being thwarted at his intended act of ultimate cowardice.

Please read/watch/listen to the news very carefully! This story has been reported in such a way as to try to take away from the fact that an armed citizen stopped a dangerous criminal!

Friday, December 14, 2007


"You American?"
"Red-blooded. "
" What's the capital of Texas?"
" Wrong, commie! It's Houston!"

If you've never seen the movie Red Dawn, then you are missing out! It's an '80's cold war flick which muses with the idea of the Communist forces of the time period invading the United States, and the youth of a Colorado high school fighting against the invaders with successful guerrilla style tactics.

I recently watched this movie again, and it reminded me about some of my buddies from USU ROTC - Namely Clint, Josh, Stan and Brandon, since they are the ones who bought into the idea of my "Red Dawn" fantasies and what we would do if our country was ever invaded.

Clint, being more spiritually/religiously minded than the rest of us, often pondered the possibility of the Wasatch area reverting into a theocracy, should the Russians actually invade the area.

Stan once confessed to me that in class he daydreamed of fending off terrorists who would try to take over the lecture hall he was sitting in - and then leading a group of guerrilla freedom fighters to defeat the Soviet invaders.

Brandon and Josh really just humored me, knowing all the while that Josh had the brains and Brandon was ruthless enough that the two of them would have been able to rule with an iron fist!

Stan is now with his infantry unit in the Middle East, Josh and Brandon are at Ft. Rucker learning to fly helicopters, and I haven't heard from Clint since he got back from learning to command tank platoons at Ft. Knox.

I am grateful that my friends serving in the military are helping to insure that a "Red Dawn" won't occur on American Soil any time soon - even though it would be cool to have commie machine guns and to be able to spray paint "Wolverines!" on the side of burned out combloc armored vehicles...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Throwing Mommy under the bus...

Take a close look at this picture which was taken at 11:20 PM tonight.

That's our 4 year old, eating a chocolate ice cream cone and watching TV.

The weird part? It isn't ME who let him get away with this - it was his mother!!!

Being "committed" to getting back in shape.

Back in the day at scout camp, we hiked into Calf Creek Falls, which has a beautiful but FREEZING cold pool at its base. My dad told us that he was going to teach us a lesson in "commitment" and told us all to hold out our hands. He then walked by each of us and put a dollop of shampoo in our hands. He then told us that we should apply the shampoo to our hair (this is a LONG time ago when I actually had hair...) and lather it up. He then pointed to the freezing water and said, "Boys, you are now 'committed'", and then he walked away chuckling.

Well, the nice thing about publicly stating that you are going to get in shape, is that you are committed.

So tonight, after Becca left to run errands, I bundled up Eli and put him in the jogging stroller and off we went. He lasted about a mile before he stopped asking questions, at which point I stole back my MP3 player and made sure the blanket had him covered. Then I finished my first run in about 2 months.

Oh, and to the person that told me that "competition" is the best motivator... you better hope I don't challenge you to a race (but seriously, that's not a bad idea)!

And by the way, thanks Dad!

Gifts from my brother in law

Lately, Dan (my BIL) likes to toss presents to me over the cubicle wall that separates our desks. We're up to gift number two now...

They're post it notes wrapped up to look like a piece of candy, containing a live housefly.

I opened the first one, which was delivered yesterday, while I was on the phone with a client. I'm proud to say that I only gasped, as opposed to screaming like a little girl.

Today, I got the "present" pictured at the left - being a little older and wiser than I was yesterday, I took the "present" to my boss and told him that Dan had asked me to give it to him.

Thankfully for Dan, our boss found it just as startling and amusing as I did when the live housefly emerged.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Motivation to get in shape - what's your Zombie?

I'm positive that everyone reading this statement has at some point remarked, "Wow, I need to get in shape". I can also positively state that most of you have started and then quickly abandoned a workout regimen after making such a remark.

I have made that statement 4 times since the end of February of 2006 - that was I was able to start walking again after being gutted like a fish to save me from the big "C" (Note that the picture to the right is NOT me - it's Tom Green after he had the same surgery - I don't think any of you want to see MY bare stomach).
The last time I made that statement, I was so incredibly motivated to succeed, that I increased my weekly running mileage way to quickly and went from loping like a gazelle down 21st East, to hobbling like an old man up 13th South.

Now that my injuries have healed, I'm having a hard time getting off my butt and starting to run again. I am lacking motivation, and as I told my buddy Jake, "I'm not getting any fatter, but I sure ain't getting any thinner". Jake helped me to remember the greatest motivator of all - the Undead.

Any of you who have watched 28 days later, Dawn of the Dead, or any other "Zombie Training Films" as I like to call them, you know that the physically unfit will be the first to have their brains eaten.

Prepare now, because when you have a flaming zombie chasing after you, it's too late to realize that you should have been putting in 30 miles a week in your running shoes. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I plan on seeing "I Am Legend" - not exactly a Zombie flick, but it has the same principle and Will Smith's character obviously gets it as you can see him running on a treadmill in the trailer. Until I get out to this movie, I plan on watching a healthy regimen of Resident Evil, Night of the Living Dead, etc... to motivate me so that someday I won't be shuffling around the streets of SLC, with only one arm as I moan for "Braaaaaaaaaaains!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interesting fact about the Colorado shootings...

If you haven't heard this by now, you might be interested to know that the shooting at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs was stopped when a "volunteer security guard" pulled out her own legally concealed weapon and shot the murderer who was killing her fellow church members.

Her name is Jeanne Assam, she's a former police officer and concealed weapon permit holder.

She saved an unknown number of people from being murdered by having the presence of mind to be carry a defensive weapon and be prepared to use it effectively. She has also virtually guaranteed that any would be mass murderers will choose another target for their rampage before they try to shoot up the New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

If an individual with murderous intent entered your place of worship this Sunday, and started killing the members of your congregation - would you be prepared to stop them? Does your church's policy advocate that you be unarmed and vulnerable in your place of worship, like mine does?

I hope that if anyone ever tries to hurt you, your friends, or your family while you are attending your church's services, that there will be an individual like Jeanne Assam, prepared to protect you. But, wouldn't you rather control your own destiny than depend on the hope that someone else will save you?

Pretty much everyone who drives a car has a spare tire in the trunk- even though they will probably never need to use it. Most drivers would tell you that it's wise to be prepared to fix a flat/blown out tire, rather than to rely on someone else to have the equipment, know how, and the disposition to help you in such an emergency. Make sure you're prepared for just about anything.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Letter Addressing Screwup...

You might have read on Becca's Blog about me putting the address stickers for about 100 different envelopes on the wrong side - if you haven't, click here.


I can offer no defense for my actions, other than the fact that I haven't addressed an envelope for years.

The funny thing is that Becca's intuition ALMOST prevented her from letting me help her address the letters - I pretty much begged to help against her better judgment... weird huh?

The moral of the story is DON'T LET YOUR HUSBAND HELP OUT EVER!!!

Responsibility for personal safety and the ultimate weapon.

I'm watching the news, and appalled at what I'm hearing... more shootings - this time it's in Colorado. The shootings are indeed a tragedy, but what's even more appalling to me are the words of the news anchor, " one thought this could occur in a suburb of Colorado where they were supposed to be safe."

My question is this - why did these victims believe they were "supposed to be safe"?

One of the first things I learned in the Army is that "The first priority of work is security". This means, that security is more important than eating, sleeping, etc. While you are eating the fake "chicken" from your MRE, your buddy is holding a rifle and watching the perimeter.

I don't think that this level of security is necessary for day to day living, but in today's America people are so defenseless that the idea that someone might want to hurt them doesn't even cross their mind. Inevitably, someone will always take advantage of this mindset and using a gun, bomb, knife, vehicle or some other type of weapon, they kill or maim individuals who thought they were safe.

The irony is that after the fact, the stunned spectators of the carnage clamor for unilateral disarmament, so that they can continue to walk around with their false sense of security - believing that if the bad people don't have a means to hurt them, then they are safe.

The problem with this thought process is that the ultimate weapon isn't a gun, knife, bomb, etc... it's the human brain. The ability to think and use tools is what sets mankind apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. The only way to effectively "disarm" the individuals that would seek to harm the rest of us rational sentient beings, is to give them all full frontal lobotomies. A murderer can kill you without the aid of a gun, he or she could just as easily use a sharp stick.

The solution is for us to start arming ourselves; with the best weapon we have available - our brains. Accept the fact that someone might try to hurt you today and prepare accordingly.
  • Take a the concealed weapon class and get your permit to carry concealed.
  • Choose an appropriate pistol for you; practice with it regularly and carry it with you wherever it is permitted.
  • "Be polite, be courteous..." but be suspicious of anyone whose behavior appears to be out of the ordinary.
  • Make you and your house be a visibly hard target. Always appear alert when your are in public, and make sure your house is well lit with appropriate landscaping and hardware to prevent a home invasion.
  • Don't allow anyone you don't know or trust to enter your perimeter unchallenged. Don't let bums on the street get close to you on the street and don't open the door to strangers at home.
If you're using your head, you'll likely never have to act in violence to protect yourself, but if you ever do - you'll be glad you were prepared and instead of lamenting your death or injury on the news, I'll be celebrating the incarceration or demise of the societal virus that was unwise enough to mess with you.

The Joy of Rhyming

Eli is learning how to rhyme in preschool. I love it. His favorite rhyme is, "Stirry, HURRY!"

We haven't really told him that the words he rhymes need to be real words - we'll crush his self esteem when he's a little older.

I did however think it would be hilarious to teach him this little trick from one of my favorite movies...

Hey Eli, when I say "No more rhymes now, I mean it!" you say, "Anybody want a peanut?"

I took a few iterations before he got it. The problem was that I created a monster... Now he wanders around the house asking if anyone wants a pickle, candy bar, etc. not realizing that the joke requires a word that rhymes with "mean it".

Eli's big day...

First of all, my little boy doesn't like Peruvian hats. We had to go to a lot of work just to get a picture of him in a hat that his Uncle Todd sent from Peru...

You will also note from the pictures, that he DOES like apples.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Eli had a severe allergic reaction to something that resulted in a speedy trip to the ER - Becca gives the details here.

In any case, our worst fears were NOT realized and we got him home safe and sound sans rash but with a pretty cool bracelet.

And did I mention that Eli likes Christmas? 'Cause he does... I think

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Fulfilling goals and getting jerked around by the Army

For those of you who don't know... I am trying to finish my last semester of Army ROTC and commission. After a two year hiatus from school and the Army, I've started the ball rolling to get back in.

I just finished two online courses for this semester, and next semester I have only 3 classes and I'll graduate. I'm reminded of a dialogue from one of my favorite movies ever, Tommy Boy:

"Hey, did you I hear I graduated?"
"Yeah, and just a shade under a decade too. All right!"
"A lot of people go to college for 7 years."
"Yeah, they're called doctors."

I'm looking forward to getting my diploma and sticking it in a box and never looking at it again.

In the meantime, I'm wondering what the Army is going to do with me. I have waited patiently to hear if I will be able to commission after being diagnosed with cancer in December of 2005. The Army has changed its tune several times on this particular point. My buddy Kal, who was in my same situation (diagnose and operated on 3 weeks before me) finally gave up on the idea of commissioning, and is serving in "the box" with his guard unit as probably the best NCO they have.

Me? Well - I'm just here, watching my friends finish OBC, learn to fly helicopters, go to Ranger school, deploy and replace their "butter bars" with 1LT rank.

I am so happy for all of them - I just wish that I were with them.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Necessity - the mother of invention...

Everyone who deals with stress at work should have one of these...

That's right folks - a homemade dartboard!!! You too can have a dart board covered with pictures of disgusting vermin, such as rats and French.

You can see our ingenuity at work here - using scotch tape, "T" pins, and *ahem* "used up" pen tubes, we've made a number of darts that fly pretty straight. Earlier models had a hook at the end to facilitate launching them with a rubber band fastened to the end of a pencil. These models were recalled faster than a Chinese toy at Walmart after an instance of the hook failing to separate from the rubber band and near calamity that most likely would NOT have been covered under workers comp.

Here is my coworker demonstrating the proper stance for "Cubicle Darts".

It's funny, but I spend more of my waking hours in this place than I do at home...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An excercise in probability...

Let me ask you all a question...

What are the odds of you thinking that it's a "funny idea" to throw a snowball across a 50 yard parking lot at your wife? Now, imagine that you act on that idea, and instead of pelting your wife, you hit the advent calendar in the hands of your 4 year old son.

OK, now let's assume that the previously mentioned scenario has occurred; now what are the odds that various chocolates in said advent calendar will pop out all over the place? Now, factor in the decreased probability of this happening in the presence of a complete stranger who also witnesses the scathing remarks of your wife? Pretty slim odds, but it gets better...

What if - hypothetically speaking of course - instead of humbly and sincerely issuing an apology, all you can manage is a dumb cheese eating grin?

Georganne, this story's for you!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Minstrel Boy

This past weekend, I watched Blackhawk Down. Again.

No matter how many times I see this movie or read the book by Mark Bowden, I am shaken to the core. When I competed on the USU Ranger Challenge team, our 10k ruck run always made me wonder about the "Mogadishu Mile" that the real Rangers had to run to get back to the protection of the stadium - all the time exhausted from combat and still taking enemy fire.

At Fort Knox, I ate breakfast in the same mess hall with Retired LTC Danny McKnight (played by Tom Sizemore in the movie) and later that day both he and Master Sergeant Matt Eversmann (played by Josh Hartnet in the movie) spoke to us about leadership. I learned that real heroes don't look like Josh Hartnet - they are bald like MSG Eversmann (wink wink).

I get a little choked up watching the scene where Special Forces Detachment Delta operators Gary Gordon and Randall Shugart defend downed pilot Michael Durant, holding off the enemy forces until they run out of ammo and are killed - their bodies drug through the streets, beaten and pummeled by the mob of Somali militia. In the movie, when Sergeant Shugart hands CWO Durant his fallen comrade's rifle and says, "Gordy's Gone" I want to bawl like a baby.

I have been listening to the song that plays as the movie rolls credits - The Minstrel Boy. Becca, and my coworkers are all probably ready to kill me because I've listened to it so much this past week.

It's a poem written by an Irishman whose friends died fighting for their independence in 1798 - it became popular with Irish troops fighting for the Union in the American Civil War.
The minstrel boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death you'll find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
"Land of Song!" cried the warrior bard,
"Tho' all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy right shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav'ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!

I think this song speaks volumes about what it truly means to be free - it's something that we rarely thing about these days as Americans. "Give me liberty or give me death!" has devolved into "Give the remote control and I'll be happy".

Take a moment and watch this clip - it has the sacrifices of Gary Gordon and Randall Shugart set to the appropriate song The Minstrel Boy.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).”

First Post!

My sweet wife told me that my posts on her blog were becoming a little too... well... like me - oops!

I guess I owe it to her and the people who read her blog to keep its flavor consistent.

Anyways, for those of you who might be interested in what I have to say... read at your own risk.