Monday, July 23, 2007

Finished Man of all School

So a few weeks ago, N heard that cousing Ben had finished school. Entirely. No more collegel, no more classes ever! Nate, in first grade, could hardly believe it. It was as if a new paradigm had burst forth upon his unprepared conciosness.... that there was an End to school, a light at then end of the teacher and test filled tunnel. N didn't know what to say, being so overcome that Ben had actually finished school, and he could only stammer out.. "You mean... he's .... he's a.... Finished man of All School???"

We thought it was a great phrase, so we had a t-shirt made up for Ben, who wears it every day in an attempt to get hot chicks with it. This old Hollowell day, Molly had Auntie Cate make up this shirt for N.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007


Nice beach day yesterday. We picked up a free bed liner for the new truck (doesn't quite fit) in Harpswell and found a nearby beach that had a very cool island that was accessable at low tide.. lots of nooks and crannies to explore. The kids loved it, we had fried clams on the way home, and the kids fell asleep as soon as we got back home. It was a very nice day.
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Friday, July 06, 2007

New truck!

Well, I traded in the old Audi A6 and the Mazda B3000 truck and $900 for a 1998 Ford F-150. It's an amazing deal, I haven't seen one that fit my needs so exactly. It's a 3 door, extended cab, 4x4, (electronic), power everything, loaded, full length bed, and in decent shape, all for around $8000!

I'm very excited, Molly likes it, we put the whole family in it and were quite comfortable.

So, the first day of ownership of my new truck, toward the end of the day I decide to take my kids out for a ride in it. 6 Miles away, there is a dirt logging road that goes to some disused gravel pits and logging areas. We tool on over there and drive down the road.

After a while, I get to a section that for some reason is covered in soft sand, looks pretty deep. I chuck it into 4WD, drive though, and take it out back into 2wd. Suddenly, the cabin... starts to stink. Real bad, like. A definite organic smell, not mechanical. The smell got worse and worse, the kids started gagging and holding thier noses. I rolled down the window, and was hit with a solid wall of stench. Rolled it right back up!

The smell... it was almost like really fresh dog shit from a dog suffering from a long, terrible disease, but worse. It was like shit that had died. It was like fresh dog shit that had somehow aquired a corporeal body, and gotten morbidly obese, contracted leprosy, and rotted, while living, until it finally died in a bubbling miasma of shit and rotted flesh, and then that mess putrefied in the hot sun for a day or so. It was a bad, bad smell. I actually wondered if the car was cursed, Amityville Horror-style, and the stench was an evil spirit about to warn us to "geeet ooouuuutt"

We hightailed it out of there as fast as we could, me thinking the forest had suddenly started to stink, but as we kept going I realized that we had probably run over something... nasty. Aftre 5 minutes of all of us breathing through our shirts trying to not choke or throw up, I pulled over to check the tires and wheel wells. Each one stunk a lot, some more than others, I don't know exactly which, my mind was in a state of disconnected horror. I tell you, it took all of my dedicated fatherhood to not abandon the kids, truck and all right there just so I could get a little fresh air. I didn't see any actual evidence of anything other than some moisture on random underside parts.

Anyway, after some experimentation I found out that the stink had not hit the vent intakes, so I could run fresh air through the cabin and keep the windows closed, and inside eventually got normal-smelling. I decided to find a car wash that had some kind of underside wash, fired up the Garmin, which led us, literally, on a 70 mile goose chase of nonexistent car washes until Mrz Jamz called up wondering where the blue blazing fuck we were, and told me that there was a car wash a mile or so from where we were. Oh, and that we had passed one a couple miles away from the logging road.

The car wash didn't help much, by the way, but all the driving did. Smell went away aftre a couple of days.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Nice weekend

We went to go see Dr. Bob about N's recurrent ear and sinus infections. He talked us out of having the Tonsil and tube surgery, based on the suffering he'd encounter during the recovery, and we convinced N to get tubes in right in the chair! He cried a bit from fear, but was otherwise very brave for a 7 year old getting a bit of invasive surgery done.

He offered to do mine as well, but I want to swim this summer without dealing with earplugs. I'll get it done in the fall.

Sunday, I took most of the day to take the snowblower off the lawn tractor, and sharpen and clean the mowing deck. Installed it, and decided to mow the lawn without bagging it, just as an experiment. When you don't have to stop every few passes to empty the bins, it goes a whole lot quicker! I did the whole lawn in just a couple of hours!

M did a lot of gardening, and the front garden looks really nice.

Monday, April 02, 2007

What a great day for financial disaster

Ugh. M's car died at the side of the road on Friday, necessitating a cab ride and a tow back home. I figure it is the alternator, or some other part of the battery charging mechanism. (Note to self: check the cables) So, it being that the truck is not inspected, we were down to one car.

We decided to get the truck inspected as it would probably be cheaper than fixing the Volvo, so I bring it to Sears. Three hours later, they show me the remains of the entire rear brake and drum assembly. It just fell apart while they were taking the drums off. It was held together by rust, they said. Also, the front brake hoses needed replacing. The total for this and some other work came to $850. Which we don't have.

So I told them to do the rear work, and I would do the front work myself, which brought the price down to $550 or so, which we also didn't have, but it was less. Four hours later, they report that the main brake line between the front and read setups exploded while they were re-bleeding the system after replacing the rear brakes. They have to replace that as well they say.

All in all, I was at Sears, waiting around, poking about the mall for 7 or 8 hours. Depressing way to spend the day, especially because I had been away at work (Springfield) for the past 3 days and the kids really really missed me and I them.

I had promised to spend all day playing with them.

So I tell them that I will come back Sunday, and call M in for a rescue. We go home, more or less just in time for bed.

Sunday we go in, and I planned to use my Sears credit card to pay for it all. Evil surprise, it has an extrordinarily low limit. so I put $350 on it, and we go back home with no truck.

Monday comes, and I gather the credit card that I had JUST paid off entirely. We go to Sears again, and the card is declined. I call the company, and apparently the card was shut off back in Spetember. Why do they not say this over the phone?

So, we go to the spare bank, and take out whatever is left. $200. I figure with the $200 in cash, I can put the remaining $350 on the NRA card, which I left at home. We go home, no truck.

We go back later in the afternoon, after I ensure a good balance available by calling the CC company twice. I plonk down the $200, and I try to put the rest on the card. Declined. I call them, and they say that the payment is late, so the card is dead. Why, again, do they not say this over the phone?

I say fuck it, I'm not coming back here again, and put it all on the work credit card. I'll explain to them later.

So now, we have no cash money, the CC is almost maxed (at it's low $1000 limit) but at least we have two operable cars.

I do hope the tax returns are good this year.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A short list of things about my life


sailed to Bermuda

gone wreck diving

had to escape a burning apartment building using the fire escape

shot a machine gun

owned and rode a few motorcycles

more to follow

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Well, I just lost about a year off my life...

I took N (7 years old) karting today for the first time. He is tall enough to fit into the "junior" karts, which are similar to adult karts but fit for kids. He did one race in the Kids Karts, which were quite slow, and I got some video of it. He kept spinning the kids kart. We decided to do a father/son race with the real karts, me in a regular kart and him in a Junior kart. We originally planned, and asked for, a session with just the two of us out there so he could get used to the speed and handling of these big karts, but we ended up racing with a bunch of father/son combos, and there were maybe 5 adults and two other older kids on the track.

We race around for a while, and it was tough on him getting used to the kart while surrounded by a bunch of aggressive adults, but he was doing pretty well until he and a bunch of cars all went into a tight turn at the same time. He got pushed into the wall, and hit hard enough to wedge the front of the kart under the barrier. I was right behind him, but going way to fast to stop, and besides, no one gets hurt in karting.

A couple seconds later, after the hairpin, I can look back and all I see is his little helmet slumped against the wheel, and he isn't moving. The yellow flag is out, but I get worried that he wasn't moving, so I start passing cars, going down the straight. By the time I turn and can look again, his head is still slumped over and he still isn't moving. They motion for all the karts to stop, but I blast past them and stop next to my son's kart, where his head is still slumped forward and he still isn't moving. The spectators are waving sort of frantically for the employees to come. Unwelcome visions of Dale Ernhardt and Adam Petty come to mind.

By the time it takes me to throw off my glasses, neck brace, helmet, look down and undo the unfamiliar buckle arrangement and window net, and take off the steering wheel to get out, he still isn't moving. I was doing some heavy praying during this time, as workers come from all over and surround his kart.

As I run over to him, I see him moving a bit, and his head coming back from the wheel.

As it turn out, the impact had stuck his helmet into the steering wheel and somehow wedged it there! Scary for him, because he couldn't raise his head up until it was dislodged, but he was not hurt at all- just scared. Probably not as scared as I was though. No one at the track had ever heard of the helmet getting stuck on the steering wheel before, but I guess we do things first.

He wants to go back, and I'm going to make sure it's just him and me on the track (which was our original plan) till he gets more used to it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I love the Maine Constitution, and the Maine Sportsman's Alliance

I love the Maine Constitution.

Maine Constitution Article 1. Declaration of Rights. Section 16. To keep and bear arms. Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.

A few months ago, after Nancy Pelosi (notorious anti-gun politician) became Speaker of the House, I decided to upgrade my NRA Membership from Annual subscriber to Life Member. While I could not afford the $750 in a lump sum to do so, I discovered an "Easy Pay Life" option that bills you only $25 per quarter... a hundred bucks a year... until your payments add up to $750 at which point you become a full Life Member. I think this is an easy and convenient way to achive Life MEmbership in the NRA if you don't have the immediate funds to do so.

I was researching the Maine Sportsmans Alliance last week, and while it seemed very strong about hunter's and outdoorsman's rights, it said nothing about the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, so I made the decision not to join until I knew more of their RKBA stance. They might, after all, be a bunch of fudds who think that handguns and semi-auto rifles can perfectly well be banned as long as they can keep their skeet, duck and deer guns.

I'm happy to say that this is not the case. I researched a few gun bills that were proposed in Maine recently, and the biggest voice against these bills came from the MSA. I will be joining their ranks this weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

RIP, Uncle Ted.

I just got word that Uncle Ted, over in England, passed away last night from lung cancer. He was 82. He had only been diagnosed three weeks prior. Our best wishes, prayers and thoughts go out to Iris, Mom, and Nana and Granddad.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Serbu BFG-50 is finally on order!

I'm so geeked about this, it's not even funny. After a few months of savings, and a couple of well-timed travel checks from work, and selling a couple of less-used guns, I finally had enough to send in to the New England Shooter's group buy on this great rifle.

I sent in the money order on Friday, hopefully we will get the rifles as soon as they are shipped! Needless to say I will generate a full range report and post it up here and on a couple of the other firearms boards I'm on.

In other news, we had a little over a foot of snow here yesterday, and after plowing it all away yesterday afternoon, we seem to be having another couple of inches of light fluffy Christmas-like snow here this morning. The snow blower and the tractor are getting more of a workout this winter than they did last winter.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Weekend at Sugarloaf


Molly's Brother Tom's wife Sally's parents have this cool cabin at the base of Sugarloaf mountain in Maine, and Tom and Sally (and baby Anna) invited us up for the weekend. It was very cool, we went up Thursday and stayed till Sunday.

I was able to ski a bit with Nate Thursday, then all day Friday, and the afternoon on Saturday.

We rented Skis for T figuring that she would grok skiing now that she is old enough. The above pic is from her first time going up a ski lift! (I had to help her a lot, actually picking her up in one arm when dismounting).

'Twas a good time, can't wait to go back in future years.
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Department of Peace and Nonviolence?

While I am a big fan of peace, and think that violence should usually be a last option, I am astonished at this piece of legislation proposed by Kucinich.

It has 59 cosponsors so far.

A. We DON"T need another federal department.
B. Peace and nonviolence, while admirable goals, are not the way to get things done as a Country!
C. Orwell much?



(a) Establishment- There is hereby established a Department of Peace and Nonviolence (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Department'), which shall--

(1) be a cabinet-level department in the executive branch of the Federal Government; and

(2) be dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to both domestic and international peace.

(b) Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence- There shall be at the head of the Department a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Secretary'), who shall be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(c) Mission- The Department shall--

(1) hold peace as an organizing principle, coordinating service to every level of American society;

(2) endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights;

(3) strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking;

(4) promote the development of human potential;

(5) work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict, use field-tested programs, and develop new structures in nonviolent dispute resolution;

(6) take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict;

(7) address matters both domestic and international in scope; and

(8) encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and nongovernmental organizations.


(a) In General- The Secretary shall--

(1) work proactively and interactively with each branch of the Federal Government on all policy matters relating to conditions of peace;

(2) serve as a delegate to the National Security Council;

(3) call on the intellectual and spiritual wealth of the people of the United States and seek participation in its administration and in its development of policy from private, public, and nongovernmental organizations; and

(4) monitor and analyze causative principles of conflict and make policy recommendations for developing and maintaining peaceful conduct.

(b) Domestic Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--

(1) develop policies that address domestic violence, including spousal abuse, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly;

(2) create new policies and incorporate existing programs that reduce drug and alcohol abuse;

(3) develop new policies and incorporate existing policies regarding crime, punishment, and rehabilitation;

(4) develop policies to address violence against animals;

(5) analyze existing policies, employ successful, field-tested programs, and develop new approaches for dealing with the implements of violence, including gun-related violence and the overwhelming presence of handguns;(6) develop new programs that relate to the societal challenges of school violence, gangs, racial or ethnic violence, violence against gays and lesbians, and police-community relations disputes;

(7) make policy recommendations to the Attorney General regarding civil rights and labor law;

(8) assist in the establishment and funding of community-based violence prevention programs, including violence prevention counseling and peer mediation in schools;

(9) counsel and advocate on behalf of women victimized by violence;

(10) provide for public education programs and counseling strategies concerning hate crimes;

(11) promote racial, religious, and ethnic tolerance;

(12) finance local community initiatives that can draw on neighborhood resources to create peace projects that facilitate the development of conflict resolution at a national level and thereby inform and inspire national policy; and

(13) provide ethical-based and value-based analyses to the Department of Defense.

(c) International Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--

(1) advise the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State on all matters relating to national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention of, amelioration of, and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict;

(2) provide for the training of all United States personnel who administer postconflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-torn societies;

(3) sponsor country and regional conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives, create special task forces, and draw on local, regional, and national expertise to develop plans and programs for addressing the root sources of conflict in troubled areas;

(4) provide for exchanges between the United States and other nations of individuals who endeavor to develop domestic and international peace-based initiatives;

(5) encourage the development of international sister city programs, pairing United States cities with cities around the globe for artistic, cultural, economic, educational, and faith-based exchanges;

(6) administer the training of civilian peacekeepers who participate in multinational nonviolent police forces and support civilian police who participate in peacekeeping;

(7) jointly with the Secretary of the Treasury, strengthen peace enforcement through hiring and training monitors and investigators to help with the enforcement of international arms embargoes;

(8) facilitate the development of peace summits at which parties to a conflict may gather under carefully prepared conditions to promote nonviolent communication and mutually beneficial solutions;

(9) submit to the President recommendations for reductions in weapons of mass destruction, and make annual reports to the President on the sale of arms from the United States to other nations, with analysis of the impact of such sales on the defense of the United States and how such sales affect peace;

(10) in consultation with the Secretary of State, develop strategies for sustainability and management of the distribution of international funds; and

(11) advise the United States Ambassador to the United Nations on matters pertaining to the United Nations Security Council.

(d) Human Security Responsibilities- The Secretary shall address and offer nonviolent conflict resolution strategies to all relevant parties on issues of human security if such security is threatened by conflict, whether such conflict is geographic, religious, ethnic, racial, or class-based in its origin, derives from economic concerns (including trade or maldistribution of wealth), or is initiated through disputes concerning scarcity of natural resources (such as water and energy resources), food, trade, or environmental concerns.

(e) Media-Related Responsibilities- Respecting the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the requirement for free and independent media, the Secretary shall--

(1) seek assistance in the design and implementation of nonviolent policies from media professionals;

(2) study the role of the media in the escalation and de-escalation of conflict at domestic and international levels and make findings public; and

(3) make recommendations to professional media organizations in order to provide opportunities to increase media awareness of peace-building initiatives.

(f) Educational Responsibilities- The Secretary shall--

(1) develop a peace education curriculum, which shall include studies of--

(A) the civil rights movement in the United States and throughout the world, with special emphasis on how individual endeavor and involvement have contributed to advancements in peace and justice; and

(B) peace agreements and circumstances in which peaceful intervention has worked to stop conflict;

(2) in cooperation with the Secretary of Education--

(A) commission the development of such curricula and make such curricula available to local school districts to enable the utilization of peace education objectives at all elementary and secondary schools in the United States; and

(B) offer incentives in the form of grants and training to encourage the development of State peace curricula and assist schools in applying for such curricula;

(3) work with educators to equip students to become skilled in achieving peace through reflection, and facilitate instruction in the ways of peaceful conflict resolution;

(4) maintain a site on the Internet for the purposes of soliciting and receiving ideas for the development of peace from the wealth of political, social and cultural diversity;

(5) proactively engage the critical thinking capabilities of grade school, high school, and college students and teachers through the Internet and other media and issue periodic reports concerning submissions;

(6) create and establish a Peace Academy, which shall--

(A) be modeled after the military service academies;

(B) provide a 4-year course of instruction in peace education, after which graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution; and

(7) provide grants for peace studies departments in colleges and universities throughout the United States.


(a) Under Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence- There shall be in the Department an Under Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. During the absence or disability of the Secretary, or in the event of a vacancy in the office of the Secretary, the Under Secretary shall act as Secretary. The Secretary shall designate the order in which other officials

Friday, March 02, 2007

Latex? Check. Handcuffs? Check. Donkey? Check.

Lonely man brought donkey to hotel room, court told

Monday, 26 February 2007

A man who was found dressed in latex and handcuffs brought a donkey to his room in a Galway city centre hotel, because he was advised “to get out and meet people,” the local court heard last week.
Thomas Aloysius McCarney with an address in south Galway was charged with cruelty to animals, lewd and obscene behaviour, and with being a danger to himself when he appeared before the court on Friday. He was also charged with damage to a mini-bar in the room, but this charge was later dropped when the defendant said that it was the donkey who caused that damage.
Solicitor for the accused Ms Sharon Fitzhenry said that her client had been through a difficult time lately and that his wife had left him and that his life had become increasingly lonely.
“Mr McCarney has been attending counselling at which he was told that he would be advised to get out and meet people and do interesting things. It was this advice that saw him book into the city centre hotel with a donkey,” she said. She added that Mr McCarney also suffered from a fixation with the Shrek movies and could constantly be heard at work talking to himself saying things like “Isn’t that right, Donkey?”
Supt John McBrearty told the court that Mr McCarney who had signed in as “ Mr Shrek” had told hotel staff that the donkey was a family pet and that this was believed by the hotel receptionist who the supt said was “young and hadn’t great English.”
Receptionist Irina Legova said that Mr McCarney had told her that the donkey was a breed of “super rabbit” which he was bringing to a pet fair in the city. The court was told that the donkey went berserk in the middle of the night and ran amok in the hotel corridor, forcing hotel staff to call the gardai.
McCarney was found in the room wearing a latex suit and handcuffs, the key to which the donkey is believed to have swallowed. He was removed to Mill St station after which it is said he was the subject of much mirth among the lads next door in The Galway Arms.
He was fined €2,000 for bringing the donkey to the room under the Unlawful Accommodation of Donkeys Act 1837. Other charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

It's been a while!

I am doing it, I'm getting a 50 caliber rifle. Serbu BFG-50. I can't wait, should pick it up in early May.

Today is a pretty big blizzard here in Maine, they are forecasting one or two feet of snow. At the moment it's blowing hard from the northeast, 20-30 or so, and snow and ice are coming down sideways.

I've spent the whole week at home, it's been hard to shake vacation head.

As for daily carry, my 340PD has seen the most use overall. Haven't done any shooting in the last 6 weeks since it's been so cold.