Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lucky: A Wonderfully Heartbreaking Short Film

I saw this a year or more ago on Neatorama and loved it. The images are moving and well, see for yourself. Click the link below!

 Here! --->  Lucky  <--- here

The Trashy House

My house has long been the worst house on a block full of really well-kept houses. Not to say that it's in shambles, but it needs paint, yard work and a little touch-ups here and there to make it on par with the OCD neighbors. I don't care about my image, but rather just the Golden Rule. I would not want to stare at a nasty overgrown yard and therefore I don't expect my neighbors to do so.
Last night my wife got all wound up about clearing out the shitty-looking flower beds and making them look nice. She took out three-month old son and our older son out with her and began to tear out weeds and prune bushes. I stupidly didn't take "before" pics, but it looks MUCH better than before. The little black weed block fabric and six bags of bark later (grand total of two hours and 35 bucks of materials) it is somewhat presentable.
We plan to tear out our back, lower deck and make that space into usable yard area. Currently, it's a storage dock for rat dens and chicken poo. I may well have one hell of a bonfire with all that wood though. I'll definitely be posting up pics when we do that!
I am proud of my wife for wanting to help out with home improvement projects and anything that is outside the house. I realize this time is limited though, because fall and winter are around the corner and there is little chance of me getting her out there on a shitty day. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Trex Finds a New Home

After two and a half years as our household dog, Trex is going to another home. My good friends wanted to take him so they could have a buddy for their other mutt.
He needs lots of exercise and loving; having our second kid recently has removed more time from us. Anyway, that's that.

Brewing an American Pale Ale

Yesterday I helped my step-dad brew beer. It was his first all-grain brew ever, so we shall see how it turns out. It was a time-intensive process due to having to boil large amounts of water, chilling certain steps and all that.
I'm not familiar with all the proper terms, but I'm an expert at drinking beer! :) The grains smell delicious and the hops do also when added to the water.
At the end of the day, my chickens get leftover grain, I learned a lot about brewing and in a couple weeks we will bottle this junk. Also, my step-dad offered up a bunch of brand new gear to me; I'm not sure if I need yet another hobby.
Maybe in the future, I'll be snobbin' it up and brewing some fanciness.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

$2350 dollar knife

I went into the local knife store, The Epicurean Edge, in Kirkland today to pick up my knives I had dropped off for sharpening. While I was there, I commented that I was looking for a knife as a gift and that I wanted one better that or equal to my current RAT Cutlery RC-4. That knife is a bad motherfucker and I don’t think I’ll ever get anything better.

Anyhoo, this dude busts out a knife that was very well made and hands it to me. I hold it as he tells me a story of a trucker cutting his way out of the cab of his wrecked truck with one. I asked the guy how much its costs and he looks on the pc…   “Um, that one is twenty-two, no, twenty-three fifty…. “ 


I about shit my pants….. So yeah, my friend, or anyone for that matter, can get fucked if he wants a knife that’s more than my car is worth… I’d do it if I could though.   J


Today was humbling though… My knives are CRAZY sharp and I will definitely be going back there…  

Sunday, July 24, 2011


This neighborhood just east of mine has six houses which are bank owned on one side, and five more on the other. 11 houses out of 14?! That's awful! As it has already been said, "I don't know whether to laugh or cry" and it's true; what sad times that a small town of under 4600 people cannot sustain. The houses on either side of me are going to be vacant soon; one house is facing forclosure and the other is attempting a short sale for a little less than 2/3 the owed amount.
While I don't know what all led up to this neighborhood being this way, it is still sad. There is nothing I know of that I could do to help this from happening all around. It seems very much like an "every man for himself" situation, which is troubling.
Meanwhile, I am trying my best to keep up on everything so the same thing doesn't happen to me.

Gun-free Zones: Who Are They Kidding?!

I always cringe when I see a sign like this on private stores because I know that some people actually heed their message and allow themselves to be disarmed and stripped of their ability to defend themselves and their loved ones. When I’m alone, I just plan to run away as fast as I can if there is violence afoot, but if my family is there, I cannot guarantee that they will be able to escape safely and quickly.
This being said: I know there is no proof that something bad will happen if I do or do not carry a weapon for protection (I do sell Tiger-repelling rocks for anyone interested), but is seems like such an asinine thing to even post up. Do people walk around the local Babies R Us and pick out their next target for violence? Probably not. Should I be treated like a criminal (or trespasser) for carrying my gun completely hidden and having nothing happen? I think not.
I am not sure that having bars and government buildings as gun-free has any merit either; we don’t need drunken or angry people shooting each other, but that would not happen any more than now if it were legal. The right to keep and bear arms is also vaguely synonymous with having the wherewithal and good judgment about your actions with said firearms. The signers of the Constitution never intended to have clueless people walking around armed to the teeth, but rather be able to protect themselves, their way of life and their Liberty.
Recent tragedies have spooled up the anti-gun craze in parts of the country and it’s ridiculous; don’t allow your rights to be taken due to the deeds of fools.

Broken Toasters: Great Wedding Gifts

Whilst amusing ourselves with the random drunkenness of the bachelor party mentioned here previously, we decided that it would be funny as hell to get a bunch of old, use and possibly broken toasters to present to our friend’s wife on the day of their wedding. This is a subtle, not very classy and still funny take on Trolling; they are getting married and asked me to help out…. They asked for it. It’s the least I can do to give credit, as this was not entirely my idea, so guys: You know who you are; well done!


The best part is that my friend gets to know that he and his wife shall be receiving multiple broken toasters as gifts and it’s up to him to pick how he presents it to her when she’s pissed off and surrounded by a formidable mountain of broken appliances. Okay, SOME may work, but none will be nice. I guess this just sounds like a crazy, dick-move, but I think it will be funny; this could be the spark that ignites years of pranks to come.


There is another prank/gift I plan to do, but it includes a picture from the B-party being framed and hidden in plain sight in their home; that will be great… unless she (or he) reads this and then the joke is up.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whitewashing Over Mental Illness

When I came back from Iraq in September 2005, we were sent through a series of redeployment screenings. The most horrific of all things I witnessed of the red tape while in the Army was the way they herded us through and passively suggested we lie about our conditions. They rewarded those who lied and "checked the block" let them go home earlier than those who told the truth.
The test was one that asked a series of questions that relate to what we had experienced the previous year. We were infantryman and they were treating us like Girl Scouts; if we did what they said, we got a reward. I was among the few who got no reward due to my truthful nature.
I had, and still am without, no shame about telling a stranger about what I did. I committed murder in the name of freedom. I pulled innocent people from their homes because we were terrified that they may be bad. I helped make enemies out of people who just wanted to go about their lives. Men whose heads had been cut off had been blown up, from IEDs under them, when family went to retrieve the body; these horrors are commonplace in war in my experience.
When we rounded up the men, we treated them like cattle; ultimate hypocrisy on my part in that I would never let people do to me what I've done to others. We did it to protect ourselves, and sometimes we may have been right, but more often than not we were recreating the horrible events that the nazis did in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. The pleas of the old men are haunting, just as the screams of the children as we took away their fathers and brothers.
Back to the screenings: those of us who answered truthfully about what we did, saw, felt and experienced while we sleep were kept there for several hours more. We had to speak to a series of counselors, social workers and a chaplain. we were the bastards who told what we saw.
The next part is how they asked us to explain away our nightmares, flashbacks, violent tendencies, suicidal thoughts and murderous dreams. I answered "yes" to the question, "in the past two weeks, have you thought about hurting yourself or someone else?" The person whom I spoke with later was happy to remove the red flag once I told them my logic; I may imagine it, but it doesn't mean I'm really going to do it. She was happy to do this with every red flag on my sheet.
Over the course of the time, they managed to get me to explain all my symptoms away and suddenly, according to my medical records, i was 100% fine and dandy. Of the men who were made to take this same course, three are dead today. One sought out death by repeated deployments and two others took their own lives with firearms. The point is that they should have been more prudent with the data given on testing.
The modern stigma that exists about soldiers seeking help is one of the worst ones that can exist. The men and women who are experiencing bloodshed and who are taken from their loved ones deserve to be looked after. Instead, we get wrung out like a sponge and promptly discarded.
I found out about the extent of the cover-up when I went to the VA (department of veterans affairs) after getting out of the service. They told me that I had no evidence of having nightmares, flashbacks or of being hyper-vigilant. This shocked me and was only taken seriously once they interviewed my wife. She told them how I am, which may not be so bad most of the time, and how I manage to wake up screaming or gasping from time to time.
While few people will read this and do anything with it, those who have loved ones coming back from war or who have problems now, will know how serious it is. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is as deadly as a round from an AK-47 or an IED. If you know someone who suffers from this disease, be there to listen to them. Also, don't be scared to act.
In August of 2010 a man, who used to be a soldier of mine, killed himself after he was refused psychiatric help. He wanted to see his daughter after a year-long deployment and his ex-wife insisted upon getting counseling. He tried....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kawasaki Versys Lowering Kit by MotoWerks

So last night I installed the MotoWerk lowering kit on a 2008 Kawasaki Versys. The bike was already quite capable, but the owner was not comfortable with the height of the bike, even at the lowest setting. Shown here is the way the kit works by relocating the shock and spring to the rear and therefore lowering the stance. The front is lowered by simply loosening one tube mount at a time and letting it spring up slowly. Today I was the Red Devil on the way to drop this off… man does it ride nicer now. I’m 6’5” so it’s a teeny bit small for me, but the handling makes it worth it. My son and I did the install in just over an hour too!


The other pic is showing the Flatfoot kit for the lowered Versys. Basically, I marked 1.25” down from the little stud there and cut off the rest. The flat foot makes it easier to park the bike on grass or dirt. Good times.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back Pay is the Same as No Pay!

So today I received back pay from the last two months for going to school. I felt like a baller at first, but then realized that I wasn’t rich, but rather now able to pay my aforementioned stack of overdue bills. I searched through all the sites which contained things I lusted over; I found a fully-restored 1983 Honda Magna V65 for sale and began to salivate. At the end of the day, it’s was a great test of willpower that I didn’t actually buy anything and am sticking to my guns.


Funny how perspective can shift so fast…. Well.. off to pay those bills!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Version of Janie's Story

See here for the original!

I get home from work, yell at the dog, see what the oldest of my boys is getting into, strip out of my riding gear and go see the wife. Make dinner, eat said dinner and then off to bed.

Today was totally chill. It was full of me walking about going to the other buildings and then back to my desk. My deskis fine, and so was the other buildings too (my sanity is good for now). I was wondering if I should email or text Melissa to tell her that I got my homework done, but honestly I don't want to lie to her. It's just strange to have all this free time, and walking has been good for me. But maybe I need a vacation or winning Lotto ticket. Maybe I should start brewing beer. That would be a lot of fun. And I'm hopefully gonna BBQ with my friend again this weekend. That will be awesome, cause last time it was a lot of fun to not only BBQ, but to eat with someone different. I was BBQing shit that was much different than I'm use to and it was good practice. I made kebabs.

Josh is going camping again this weekend, which means I will be reading blog posts Janie writes at his house the entire time he's gone. Watching his cable... drinking his Red Bulls... Not giving Jack any Red Bull... laying in his hammock... cuddling with his cats. I think I'm sick of the people who live beside me; they are rat bastards. I'm not really calling anyone because I am busy being awesome, but could possibly make time. It's nice to not really care about a social life. Cause it's overrated anyways... This is true...

***Just a trial run... I may never do this again, because now it seems fucking stupid. Oh well... sorry***

I Think She Understands Now... Maybe

Being married for the better part of the last 8 years has left we with so many wonderful things that it's impossible to pick one to be happiest about. Sure, we have our issues, our knock-down drag-out fights and screaming matches (marital bliss), but usually things are pretty cool. The biggest thing we (and 95% of American couples) fight about is money or the extreme lack thereof. I'm no saint and I'm certainly not the best with money, but I do my best to make ends meet; recently this has been nearly back-breaking.
Last night we got home, checked the mail and my wife got to see the stack of overdue bills which include unpaid student loans, utility bills, cable (one unnecessary, but mostly worthy expense having small kids), phone and medical. Our friend's wedding is coming up and she needs a dress; I told her she can get it because I have the ability to work more and make more money. Things like that come up once in a great while; I have also stopped buying beer and liquor for the next few months to help the budget and my waist.
I'll be doing everything I can to make MOAR money than normal and I think she now gets why. Life is hard, but harder if you're stupid. It's stupid to feel sorry about a problem and not work on it!

Reeces Peanut Butter Cup S'mores!!!

Last night after making my famous Epic Burgers (post on this to follow someday), we decided to finish it off with an equally-amazing dessert. The BBQ was still glowing with hot coals, so we decided to do what needed to be done; s'mores must be made!! Just simply replacing the boring chocolate bars of yesteryear with the fucking amazingness of Reeces cups made the whole thing work.

This being said, go try it. Nuff said.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And it wouldn't fit!!

So I used 50 bucks in gas round trip and could not bring it home. The bike wouldn't quite fit into my friend's van. I was able to ride it around for a bit and it ran well. It's going to be great I think; having something to thrash around the dirt in will be good.

I did get 4 free boxes of 30-06 ammo from the trip, so it wasn't a complete waste.... Okay... Yes it was.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Honda NX250 Project

My dad's friend has this old thing sitting in his garage and after this weekend, it will be sitting in MINE!!!! It's a 1988 Honda NX250 dual sport, street legal 4-stroke. It needs a bit of TLC to the body, but that's nothing that a couple cans of spray paint, some visits to and a few hours work won't cure. I have been wanting a dirt bike for a long time, but they are not cheap; well I like the price of free on this one.

The fenders are zip-tied on in some places, the ignition switch needs to be cleaned up, there are welding rods keeping the turn signals in place and many other issues. None of them are that hard to fix, but they do present a bit of an eye sore at the moment.

My best guess is that in the next two months I'll be able to rip around down by the Skykomish river on this thing. More pics on the repairs, mods, etc to follow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fixing Up teh Gog!

Despite all the fun we had while camping, there were still some minor injuries; one in particular that I failed to consider along with the others was that of our family dog. He was playing in the river and when he came out there was a square inch of skin peeled back from his hip area. Now before you think I am neglecting the dog (his name is Trex), just know that I figured it would heal on its own. After two days, it still looked painful and was obviously not getting better fast.

*Enter amateur Veterinarian, Jessica*
I asked my co-worker to come out and help me with Trex to get him all patched up. With the components from my camping medic kit, which helped the previously-mentioned bonehead's tomahawk wound, and a neck cone (E-collar) we got him all patched up. After shaving, flushing, disinfecting and covering the gash, Trex seems more comfortable and just laid down for the evening.

I guess we will know in a few more days whether or not it is an effective fix, but I'm sure it is. I am glad to have him patched up and also glad to have saved what little money I have from being spent at the Vet. It was sure imperative to have help when I applied the alcohol though... man did he squirm!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elk Head Brewery and its Magic Potions

This week was not the first time I had the wonderful, unfiltered goodness from the Elk Head Brewery in Buckley, WA; it was amazing all the same. While camping, my dad’s long time friend came up for the day and brought up four half-gallon jugs of different varieties of the great beer. One India Pale Ale (IPA), one Porter, one “Extra” which is smooth, amber-ish and STRONG and finally one growler of the “Elk Dandy” which is made using dandelions.


My family was apprehensive at first about trying beer that they had never heard of, but seeing my enthusiasm they gave in. Even my wife, who normally HATES beer, was trying each one and loving them. There is something to be said about beer that is so delicious, but not bottled and shared with the masses. After less than an hour and two Solo cups full…. It was *gasp* gone….  We had delivered a few more people from the evils of the huge beer makers and brought them to the church of local brews.


For the record: This brewery is so incredible that it puts every other beer I know of to shame, BUT (notice I said “BUT”) they are also different in that their beer is small batch, often experimental and not bottled en masse. Larger breweries like Ninkasi, Deschutes, Dogfish Head and many others all make spectacular beer and ship it all over the country for us to enjoy; my thanks go out to them for doing so. Anyway, I digress….


After demolishing the four half-gallons of the beer in such short time, we were sure to get an adequate supply for the following day. The second round came in (160 mile round trip from camp site to brewery and back) with an astonishing EIGHT growlers; four gallons of beer for us. Well…… word had spread and now the four gallons went just as fast as the initial two from the day before. The last one to get busted open was the Elk Dandy and that is for good cause. Right before you go to bed, this seals the deal with the ZZzz monster. :0)


Anyway, if you can make it, take a trip to the Elk Head and take the time to sample all the products. It’s supporting local beer and you’ll enjoy yourself. Make sure and stay a bit longer than you would with a normal bar, that stuff tends to sneak up on you.



Playing Medic for a child

So first off, it's partially my fault for assuming this kid could handle a sharp tool; I was splitting wood at 12 years old after all. Well, we were out camping and my cousin's 12 year old son really wanted to make a bow from a tree branch and some string. I gave him my Cold Steel tomahawk to use and off he went.

About thirty minutes into his little outing, he staggers back to camp and says "I'm bleeding, I need a band aid". We looked and on his inner left ankle there was a nice deep one inch by 1/4 inch cut. It had soaked through his sock and he was white like a polar bear doing coke in a snowstorm. He laid on the bench and I busted out the medical kit and went to work. He moaned and shook as he started going into shock. After the first 20 seconds, our entire family had gathered around to look; some were horrified, others intrigued.

Well, little Jacob learned a valuable lesson about tool safety and I learned that just because I knew better, doesn't mean some other kid does (glad I didn't give him a shotgun). Also, it's not a family camping trip without some memorable story, so this year is going to be about how Jacob(a-corn) got into a scrap with some Indian warriors.

I'll be sending his mom the bill.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fantasy-Covered Shit Balls

I love our country and I've offered up my service for it before, but last night I was trying to explain WHY we have fireworks on the 4th of July to my 5 year old son. I told him the explosions are supposed to sound like bombs and that the smaller firecrackers are supposed to sound like men firing guns at one another.

Scores of people filled the roads around my house and they seemed to be happy. They were drinking and cooking on their barbeques and doing all the "American" things we have come to be known for.

Make no mistake about it... I am HAPPY that we kicked the Tyrannical rulers out of our business over two hundred years ago. I commend people who stand up for their rights and who will fight for their freedom.

I just find it hard to find the way explain to my son about the sacrifices that were made and why. Someday my son will find out what I did and what a waste of my efforts it was on the grand scale; our Forefathers fought for something real. We owe it to ourselves to do two things: Keep the memory alive as to why we are free and also pay attention so we can know when to refresh to Tree of Liberty.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Not so different

Today, I was reminded today of a conversation I had once while living in Germany. It was early 2007 and I was at the Army's non-commissioned officer academy where we had several international soldiers attending as well. One night, while sitting around, I struck up a conversation with one of the international troops; I think he was from Romania or one of the countries where Yugoslavia used to be. In his best English, we discussed cars, sports and other things that guys talk about. About 25 minutes into it I stopped and said, "You know that 50 years ago, guys like you and me were shooting each other around these parts?!" He nodded and replied: "yeah, pretty fucked up".
I suppose this was one of my first, yet most poignant lessons that regardless of where we are from, we are more similar than different.

Snoqualmie Steam Train Porter - Beer beer beer!!!

I was given a growler of this delicious beer on Saturday and enjoyed a couple pints over dinner last night. It has a smooth, rich taste that is more chocolatey than most beers I've had in a while and also lacks the dead rat taste of Guinness. It is actually not as filling as I had expected and (thankfully) not foamy or creamy. It's so black that you can't see through the pint glass with the setting sun behind it or even a flashlight.

I'd include a picture, but frankly it would be lame to snap a pic of one company's beer in another company's glass. Yes, I could spin the label around, but that too is lame. Anyhoo, next week I'll have a full assortment of beers from another brewery in Washington. If you are near the Snoqualmie brewery, it's worth it to stop there after a local hike for a bite to eat and a drink (or two).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hero of War

"Hero of War" by Rise Against is a badass song. It rings too true for every generation of combat Vet. It's a sad state of affairs to acknowledge that this shit is so true. I had a guy thank me the other day, not for my service to the country per se, but for protecting his way of life. We were drinking beers and booze, playing loud music and being merry. Without troops in 180+ countries worldwide, who knows how that party would have been.

My bike on the dyno

This is an older video (three months), but warrants being posted. I love the Kawasaki Versys and recommend it to anyone who wants a fun bike that's comfortable to ride, but doesn't need to break the sound barrier. The tune was done here. Well worth the money. Call Nels if you need a tune for any bike.

Casey shooting the shotty.

Here is a fine example of why the Mossberg 590 is such a badass weapon. This guy has minimal experience with shotguns, but is still shooting it like a fucking BOSS. I gave about 30 seconds of instruction and here we are!

12 gauge awesomeness!!

As promised: Me shooting this little toy. :)

I'd like to thank the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for this freedom.

First post.

So since that title resulted in the largest loss of perceived intelligence imaginable, I have to work hard to make up that lost ground. I'll be posting all sorts of things ranging from car videos, how-tos, gun videos and reviews, pics and clips of my growing farm and everything in between. I have been called a "walking contradiction", so you may see everything from anti-war activism to funny lolcat pictures and then back to my newest assault weapon, followed by a video of my chickens being badasses.

This last week or so was amazing; I went to a bachelor party like no other where we got drunk as hell (obviously), talked shit and raged through box after box of ammunition. The standard bachelor party debauchery was skipped in lieu of more memorable events. My friend let me drive his Jeep around for a bit and that thing is bad as they come. I took that thing up hills I'd be pensive about taking a dirt bike up.

Here is me with my complete 922r legal Saiga "AK-47" clone. I love this damn gun, but it's just for fun.
(I'll try to post this video, but here is the link in case)