Sunday, June 28, 2009

Home Again

Well, our yearly family reunion with the Hoosier side of the family has come and gone. There was the usual crop of new babies. Imagine that, a Midwestern German Catholic family that has a steady stream of kids.

Girlie Bear had a good time running around with her cousins. Little Bear stayed home with his mom and Junior Bear is visiting his mom in California. Baby Bear had a blast being passed from aunt to aunt all weekend. We set up an inflatable pool for him and the other little ones and it as a big hit.

The weather was clear, sunny, hot, and muggy. We joked that it was convenient that the family reunion was held during the state Humidity Festival. I'm not complaining. It could have been storming all weekend long. The weather here has been very wet lately, and we were worried that it would be wet all weekend.

One note. To the group of four older couples that had the camping spots in the middle of our little mob all weekend. I'm very sorry that we messed up your quiet get together at the lake. The herd of children roaming through the area is actually a nice group of kids, and we tried as much as we could to keep the noise down after dark.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

GoIng Camping

We're leaving for the annual Hoosier Hoedown family reunion tomorrow. I probably won't post over the weekend. I'll let y'all know how it goes when we get back.

And in other news

NBC is reporting that Michael Jackson has died.

One can only hope it was painful and slow. Hopefully when he gets to hell, Satan can find enough demons to reenact Jacksons actions with little boys for a few thousand years.

Roast slowly you pedarast freak.

Goodbye Farrah, and thank you

Ok, I know she wasn't the greatest actress in history. And she did go a bit off the deep end with drugs for a couple of decades. But her swimsuit poster is one of my most vivid memories from adolescence.

For all the mornings I woke up to see that smile and other attributes, I thank her.

Bang Bang Trumps Chant Chant

I've been watching the events in Iran. I haven't watched the videos of people being shot. I've seen enough of that, thanks very much. But I do know that if these people become martyrs to the protesters then something might get started.

But I don't have a lot of hope for the protest movement. Unless significant portions of the army or security forces defect to their side, either the protests will peter out or the streets of Tehran will run red.

I remember Tiananmin during my senior year in high school. We were all excited that a peaceful movement like we were seeing could bring about change. Several of my classmates were either Chinese immigrants or their children. They would fill us in every morning on what they had learned overnight from family still in China. When the crackdown came we were all shocked. We shouldn't have been.

Peaceful revolutions like those led by Gandi and King only work when they are held against countries that care about domestic and world opinion. When Britain beat and shot protestor in India, they were crucified in the press. When Southern police set dogs on civil rights protesters, it led to greater sympathy for the civil rights movement.

Insular totalitarian regimes don't care about public opinion. China is a world power, especially economically. Iran is a regional power and can shut off the petroleum taps to Europe and Japan if those governments squawk about Iran shooting and persecuting protesters.

So I don't have much hope for the opposition movement in Iran. I think in the next week we'll see a massacre in Tehran. I think Ahmadinajad will use this as an excuse to hold a purge and clean house. Mousavi is probably a walking dead man, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rafsanjani doesn't go with him.

I feel this way because the government in Iran has all the power, which means they have all the guns. If none of the parts of the government don't change sides, all they can do is chant and march.

I really believe this is why the constitution protects the right to own firearms. The founding fathers knew why they had been able to win the revolution and it wasn't the printing presses. It was the guns and the fact that the soldiers knew how to shoot.

If the government knows that while it may have more firepower than it's citizens, but not a monopoly, it's more likely to listen when the citizens take to the streets.

When the government has all the guns, it is free to either ignore the wishes of it's citizens or make those citizens go away permanently.

I keep the protesters in Iran in my prayers, but I think nothing will come of it. I hope I'm wrong.

Road Trip

Girlie Bear and I went on a road trip yesterday to northern Ohio. We visited a couple of things along the way, but we had an objective in mind.

We went to the Civilian Marksmanship Program store and I got myself an M1 Garand rifle. I've wanted one for quite a while. I was hoping to get an '03 Springfield, but they were sold out. They had a lot of rack and field grade garands but service grade was sold out except for national match grade, which of course is a lot more expensive. They had a few of their "special" grade, which are basically remanufactured. New wood, new blueing, very nice. Also twice what I was able to spend.

I also picked up a couple cans of ammunition. With the current situation in the ammunition market, I couldn't pass it up.

The new addition is currently at the gunsmith getting a health check. It has some wear and the furniture is a bit worn. But I think it's mechanically sound. The check is just to make sure it won't blow up in my face.

I'll post pics after I get it back.

Monday, June 22, 2009


On June 22, 1941, 68 years ago today, Adolf Hitler and his mob of sociopaths demonstrated why you should never believe your own PR and began the Nazi invasion of the USSR. Hitler believed after taking 2 countries without firing a shot and several more using innovative blitzkrieg tactics, his armies were invincible and he had "only to kick in the door" and the Soviet Union would crumble. He forgot that the thing that has protected Russia for millenia is how vast the country is and how harsh it is to invaders once the first snows fall.

By the time his little gambit was done, tens of millions of people would be dead, Germany would be partitioned for an entire generation, and Eastern Europe would take a body blow of oppression that still lingers.

I've been in Russia, and every little village has some sort of memorial to the civilian and military cost of the war. Germany is littered with mournful reminders of not only the German dead, but the innocent victims of German nationalism run amuck. France, Poland, Hungary, Austria, and all of the other countries in Europe have similar scars on their history and collective psyches.

For those of you who listen to podcasts, Dan Carlin over at Hardcore History is doing a multi-episode discussion of fighting at the Russian Front. Go, listen. He puts things into a very human perspective.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Range Day

Went out to Knob Creek and got a couple of hours of range time before it got ungodly hot. One of my friends from work and his son joined me. He was trying out his new AR-15 and his son was tearing it up with a mini-14.

I pretty much just plinked with the mosin and practiced with the pistols. I'm getting better with the .45. My friend shoots a fun fun competition at Open Range and if I can get away I might check it out.

I like going to Knob Creek early in the morning. It doesn't get crowded for the first couple of hours and you can shoot a while then relax and shoot the bull for a while. Since you pay for the whole day, you don't worry about the cost of every minute.

I'm going to try to get out shooting a couple of times a month. I also need to do more dry fire and draw practice.

I was sort of invited to go to a rendezvous with some of the black powder crowd and I think I'll check that out if the opportunity arises.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday update

Girlie Bear woke up this morning with body aches and a fever. Irish Woman had the same symptoms, and the doctor told her it was a virus going around. All that could be done was Tylenol, fluids, and sleep.

So I gave her some Tylenol, and put her back to bed. She's feeling a bit better now, so it'll be back to her routine tomorrow.

My boss let me work from home to take care of her, and I spent the day doing small work on my systems and some planning for next weekend.

My iPhone got updated to 3.0 this afternoon. Meh. It's nice that I can do a couple of things that I couldn't do before, but it's not that big a difference. Guess you have to buy the new phone to get the full effect.

I'm going to skip this version of the iPhone hardware. My contract runs out next summer, and I'll consider upgrading then. But if my phone still works well, it'll be hard to part with a few hundred dollars unless there's a really compelling reason to do so.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Girlie Bear gets training

Took Girlie Bear to get hunter safety training this weekend. She has been asking to go for a couple of years.

She insisted on taking the test with the adults.

When she went to shoot the air gun she was a bit intimidated. But with a little help from one of the instructors she did all right.

After we got home we got Little Bears air rifle out and practiced. After a few shots she began to consistently hit the target. Today her groupings began to tighten up.

One of the instructors is an NRA youth instructor. We're going to hook up in July for a day of training on .22s.

Girlie Bear wants to go with me when I go hunting this fall. She'll watch this year and actvely hunt need supervision after that.

It'll be nice to have her as a hunting buddy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Junior Bear goes fishing


find out what it means to me.

All joking aside, I got pointed to the RESPECT Act, which seems to basically make it easier for unions to get people who up to this point have not been eligible for union membership into the unions. Sometimes it would be done through an election to see if the workers want to join the union. Sometimes the union will get its nose under the tentflap in one area, and then demand that it represent another area that does similar work within the same company. No election or choice there.

This would impact me because the company classifies me as a supervisor, even though I don't actually manage anyone. It's done mostly to allow the company to pay me a salary that's comparable with what I would get if I worked in IT at another company.

I work in a heavily union company, and I'm very happy not being in the Union, thank you very much. Union employees have to punch the clock, literally. I have a lot of flexibility in my work schedule, which makes it a lot easier to schedule doctor's appointments and the like and make up the time in the evening or weekend. Union employees have to schedule sick time or vacation hours to do these kinds of things.

I also like knowing the size of my paycheck every month. Salary is the way to go if you want a stable income to raise a family with. Sometimes hourly pays better, but usually it pays worse. Also, I don't like the idea of having to pay union dues to get the same benefits I'm getting now, and having "fines", read extortion money, levied against me by the union if I do something to piss them off.

Also, I like the fact that if my manager thinks I'm doing an outstanding job, then he can reward me with a larger than normal pay raise when that time of year comes around. With a union, everyone gets paid the same, whether they're a stud or a dirtbag.

So I'm reaching out to my congresscritters and asking them to oppose this legislation. I encourage all of you to do the same.


Why is the Supreme Court of the United States getting mixed up in the Chrysler/Fiat deal? Apparently some dealers and other people effected by Chrysler's meltdown are not happy about the deal, and are fighting it in court.

That's all well and good. That's what the courts are for.

But I thought the Supreme Court was only supposed to get involved in cases with some constitutional bearing. Noone has been able to tell me what constitutional controversy is contained in the sale of Chrysler to Fiat.

If anyone out there can explain it, please get back to me in the comments. If there's no constitutional issue, then the lower courts should hash it out and leave the Supreme Court to something more important than "I invested in a company and it's going belly up and I don't think I'm getting enough money out of the recovery deal".

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One Second After

Just finished reading "One Second After" by William Forstchen.

Basically, modern American society is destroyed by a high altitude nuclear explosion causing an EMP and frying almost all electrical and electronic equipment. The main character gets himself and his family through it, but not unscathed.

It's a great story told by an excellent storyteller. I've read other things by Forstchen, mainly his civil war alternate history. I'm interested to see if he follows up with a sequel.

Today I am a man

At least a middle aged man.

The furniture in our living room has started to look pretty bad so the Irish Woman and I spent Saturday looking at couches and chairs.

After looking at something like 10^23 living room sets we decided it made more sense for
me to pick out a comfortable chair and she would find a matching couch.

I found myself a very nice leather recliner. It's over stuffed and comfortable as you could ask.

I've finally gotten a man chair to watch football in. Now I just need a beer fridge.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Saw this over at OpFor, and it brought a chuckle.

I'm not quite there yet, but I'm going to get as close as I can.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kinda illustrates my efforts on Monday

Monday morning, before I went to the doctor, I attempted to do some work from home. I was still really uncomfortable, and kinda dopey from pain medication, but I thought I could at least patch a few servers.

I was so wrong. I had to do 1 production and about 10 test systems. The prod server had issues, but not due to my condition. My condition made it a little harder to deal with the problems, but at least I didn't cause it. Kinda like the drunk on the side of the road with a flat. Being drunk didn't cause the flat, but it doesn't help.

The test systems? Fuhgeddaboutit. I messed some of those systems up so badly I'm surprised they booted. Forgot to add the kernel to the patchset. Forgot to install new versions of software for the applications and databases. Did work as the wrong users. You name it.

I may write the whole experience up as a "Don't try this at home" kind of thing. Remember kids, codeine and systems administration don't mix.

The look in this guys face is pretty much how I must have looked at about 9:45 on Monday morning when I realized just how messed up I was and how messed up I had done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Well, I got to spend the better part of the week in bed, which after a couple of days is literally a pain in the tuckus.

The cats, especially Koshka, were with me the entire time. Koshka always snuggles up to anyone in the house who isn't feeling well.

Saw this as I was going through my RSS reader today, and it reminded me of why I love cats.

I'm back

Well, it's been a week, and I feel almost human.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week were spent flat on my back. It's all kinda fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure the doctor opened up my face and stuck in a dinner plate. Irish Woman says I looked like a Who from Dr. Seuss, with a turned up nose.

I started moving around a little on Friday, and by Saturday I was able to walk across the house without getting the spins.

Sunday I had a little improvement, but not much.

Monday, the doctor removed the splints he put in, and almost immediately I felt much better. He also decided to "adjust" some things in my sinuses, which if done to a prisoner of war, would have gotten him in trouble with the Geneva Convention.

My boss has taken pity on me and allowed me to work from home today, and I go back tomorrow. I was supposed to take over our pager support for the week on Monday, but one of my guys has carried it for a couple of extra days. Can't complain about the people I work with.

Still no opinion on whether this was all worth it. It'll be a couple more weeks before I'm back to 100%. Hopefully it'll make use of my nose a bit better.
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