10 February 2007

Just FYI

I'm from West Michigan. You do not want to know about the google search that led to this information, but I was pleased to learn that if you want to see DRAG QUEENS and play EUCHRE at the same location, you can do it in West Michigan.

I can hear Mom and Dad heading out to the car right now. I know Dad likes euchre, and everybody likes drag queens.

Anyway, here's the site. You can thank me later.

Scary World

On TBO.com today, we find this: Man Charged In Rape, Home Invasion.

The whole "home invasion" thing is often, I think, an over-inflated threat. I've seen several of them in the paper down here recently, though. Perhaps it depends on where you live.

Normally, I'd say woe betide the scumbag who comes univited into the Bad Dog Hacienda. We have a solution for that around here. ("Do ya want the shepherd, or the .45? Oh hell, have both!")

This one's a little different, though. Check this out.

The pair were armed and confronted a man outside an apartment, stole jewelry from him and then forced him inside, Carter said.

So instead we say, woe betide any pair, armed or otherwise, that tried to force Mr. Abby anywhere. I wonder how good Tampa General is at removing weapons from the colons of would-be home invaders.

Oh - and Mr. Abby does not wear man-jewelry. What kind of freak wears man-jewelry?

09 February 2007

A roundup - Election '08

OK - this is too much fun. I've started bouncing around the campaign websites, and each and every one seems kind of entertaining in its own special way. So I'm going to hit some of the highlights for y'all.

Sam Brownback, wildly conservative conservative, brings us this gem, with which I think we can probably all agree:

We need a different income tax system altogether. This one, the Internal Revenue Code, should be taken behind the barn and killed with a dull axe.

Mr. Brownback seems like a nice enough man. If he'd just stop worrying about my morality. And yours. And that of your children. In fact, I wouldn't be offended if he thought about all our morality, but he's got the tone of someone who would like to legislate that I adopt his.
Let's check on John Edwards, shall we? No - not John Edward. That'll get you to the home page for that weirdo psychic guy.

John Edwards' website is full of lots of earnestness and excessive use of the term "folks." It also has this picture, which proves that John's hair has always been...remarkable.

Dennis Kucinich has an entire page devoted to the importance of hemp. He also has a registered user on his site right now who goes by the handle "peacenik veggieman." Dennis Kucinich is someone I wish was my neighbor. But I have never ever wished he was my president.

Moving right along...
Oh! Mitt Romney. We all known Mitt frightens me because he's a Mormon. Sorry - it's true. Here's a picture of Mitt standing in some poor family's living room in New Hampshire. Maybe. It looks more like one of those giant cardboard cutouts.

Okay...one more.
Mike Huckabee. I like to say his name. Say it with me now - huck-uh-bee. Doesn't that make you smile? Ol' Mike is a little too far out on the religious conservative edge for me, but he lost 110 pounds, runs marathons and is probably another candidate who'd make a nice neighbor. Also, he's the only person I've ever heard refer to gay sex in the following way:

"While I respect people having a right to be different and even engage privately in conduct I find unbecoming or even abnormal..."

Being gay is...unbecoming? Well, at least he's polite.

That's all I've got for you tonight, ladies and gentlement. I hope I've encouraged you to learn more about your candidates. It can be FUN!

However - thoughts on Hillary

BUT! But! Although we all know I oppose the Hillary Clinton candidacy because I cannot stand to hear the entire country shriek about the Clintons anymore...

I have got to give the woman and her campaign props. Why, you ask?

This is why.

Her campaign site features an entire Pets For Hillary section. And that's just cool.

My Bad Dogs have not yet declared favorites. Sparky is little lefty, and thus far is in the Al Sharpton camp (it has something to do with Al's support for gay marriage, which appeals to Sparky because, well, he's a Yorkie). Casey is beyond conservative, and so I assume she'll come out for whoever wants to chase down and kill illegal immigrants on the border. Hey - she's a German Shepherd.

Hey - a note - no matter what your political convictions, we don't say rude things about other people's pets in Abby's comments.

Election '08 - Observations on Rudy

So, with only something like 600 days to go, I'm still all up in the air. I gotta tell y'all, though, Rudy Giuliani interests me. I hear all these complaints..."all we know about him is that he exhibited mad leadership skills in New York City immediately following 9/11!"

Ummm...yeah. That counts. Considering that nobody else anywhere in our government seems to be able to exhibit anything in the way of inspirational leadership, I'll hang around and watch Rudy.

Y'all know I'm a pro-choice, pro-gun, tree-hugging, fiscal conservative who really thinks we should spend more tax money on care for homeless pets.

But I'm going to be a single issue voter as long as people I know bleed and die in foreign countries. I believe in why they're there. And the candidate who stood before the council of foul corruption that is the United Nations and said this:

On one side is democracy, the rule of law and respect for human life. On the other, it's tyranny, arbitrary executions and mass murder. We're right and they're wrong. It's as simple as that. And by that I mean that America and its allies are right about democracy, about religious, political and economic freedom. And the terrorists are wrong and, in fact, evil in their mass destruction of human life in the name of addressing alleged injustices.

Let those who say that we must understand the reasons for terrorism, come with me to the thousands of funerals we're having in New York City--thousands--and explain those insane maniacal reasons to the children who will grow up without fathers and mothers and to the parents who have had their children ripped from them for no reason at all. Instead, I ask each of you to allow me to say at those funerals that your nation stands with America in making a solemn promise and pledge that we will achieve unconditional victory over terrorism and terrorists.

He's worth a second look. I will be watching Bill Richardson, and all the others. But because of that speech, if for no other reason, Giuliani starts with an advantage in my book.

Complete text here.

Meat, sweet sweet meat

OK. You evil beggars failed to give me any good ideas, so I'm roasting this bad boy. But I did promise imagery...

So we started with the sweet hunk of gorgeous red meat. I know a few vegetarians. I try not to judge. But c'mon...you know you want it. And that's okay. It's okay to love the meat.

Then I fire up the pan for a little hot meat-on-iron action. Little kosher salt, little fresh ground black pepper. Yeah, baby.

Searing locks the juices in. It also gives a little crispy flavor that lasts through the roasting. I use a light, thin coat of olive oil in the pan. I skip that when I do pork, but I like it for beef and venison.

A brief sear on each side. Then into the dutch oven. I am madly in love with this dutch oven for meat roasting. Madly. I'm contemplating leaving Mr. Abby to pursue my deep, consuming passion with the dutch oven.

[begin Barry White voice]
Ooooohhhh, yeah....
[end Barry White voice]

The discs are half-inch slices of onion. There's garlic down there, too. The other half of the onion went on top. With a splash of red wine. Then into the oven to be ignored for a couple hours. I'll put potatos and carrots in later.


Can't stop...

I just can't! Forgive me!

Are YOU the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby? As near as I can tell, somewhere between three and six men are currently claiming to be the father.

I'm reasonably sure Mr. Abby isn't the father, because he's pretty hispanic and the baby looks pretty white, but you can never know for sure.

So! If you're the father, speak up! Leave your confession in the comments! Maybe we can ALL go on the Nancy Grace show and talk about it.

Uh-oh - Sparky is now claiming to be the father! I thought Sparky was neutered, but the jury is still out!

I can't help myself

It's like a messy car wreck, I cannot turn away.

Local new site headline: Smith's autopsy under way; mother blames drugs for her death

No shit?

Yes - I clicked on it. I feel so...dirty. But here's a great one:

In another bizarre twist to the case, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, claimed that he might be the father of Smith's infant daughter.

This is the most thought I've given to this woman at any point in her sordid life. And I honestly can't decide whether this media frenzy is infuriating or sad. This woman's entire life, and her death, adds up to nothing but a punchline to a tacky joke. Bummer.

I'll try to stop now.

Games you can play with your spouse

Mr. Abby has recently been participating in some sort of "continued training" in military martial arts. The Marine Corps, in all its wisdom, decided a few years ago to redo its hand-to-hand combat program. Part of the new idea is "belts." Because Marines don't have enough to be competitive about.

This actually kind of smells of "Army" to me. I mean, when I think, "meaningless variation in basic uniform accessories" I think Army. Perhaps we'll talk more about this later.

But today we're talking about the Marine Corps and its "belts." Mr. Abby came home today qualified to wear a "gray belt."

Which I took one look at and said, "Oh! That's the Army's new foliage green!"

Pow! His head exploded.

"It's gray!!!!"

Yeah. Whatever. Foliage green.

It amused me, but I bet he's at work right now, standing next to some poor Soldier, comparing his belt to their ACUs.

08 February 2007

Sorry about that...

I know I have a few loyal readers out there who assume that when I say I'll post on something, I will. You'll have to wait for the sports car commentary.

But the job interview...

Now, remember, since Abby ain't gonna be at this location for a whole lot longer, Abby just needs some damn work. Not a real job. But let's keep this short. You all don't need to hear me rationalize why I'm seeking a shit job.

If you, a company, call and ask me to come in and talk to you, the last question I will ask you on the phone is, "Is there anything you'd like me to bring when I come in?"

If you say, "just your resume," I will assume that is what you want. If I show up and you ask for my passport or birth certificate (to prove ability to work - it's a Florida thing), I will not have that item.

So, the interview is re-scheduled and I did NOT kill anyone. Although it was tempting. Pigfuckers.

Meat - calling for some help, here!

I was roaming through Publix today, rebuilding the Meat Stockpile. I noted some corned beef briskets. Mmmmm...corned beef. But - more than I wanted to spend. Then...I saw it. [start romantic music now]

A non-seasoned brisket. Don't see those often. It was beautiful. So I bought it.

Now, I need to decide what to do with it.

I could pot roast it. I have about five different pot roast conversations going on with different people at any given time. I do pretty well with roasts, which I normally credit to two things:

1- I sear everything I roast. It helps. Keeps the meat juicier. I swear by it.

2- I use cheap, fatty hunks of meat. Half the reason nobody's roasts taste like the ones their Mom made is because 25 years ago, we weren't obsessed with "lean" meat.

But the brisket...well, it has the look of being a potentially fabulous pot roast. But I also have a recipe for barbecuing a beef brisket, and Mr. Abby and like barbecued beef brisket.

And I'm sure there are other options. So - hey, if you have an idea, leave it in the comments. I'm cooking this beast tomorrow, or Saturday at the latest. If you've got a brisket suggestion, I'm open to it.

Promise I'll let you know how it turns out. And I'll probably take brisket pictures because, damn, that's one fine lookin' hunk of meat.

At home gunsmithing

also known as "listen to Abby swear." As if me cursing really merits notice...

Anyway, I ordered a couple aftermarkets for the M9. I had to go with an all-steel guide rod, just because. I also ordered something called a "D" spring. It's a mainspring (aka, apparently, "hammer spring") that Beretta makes for a different model, but which is rumored to greatly reduce the double-action trigger pull. I hate DA, but hey - why not.

The installation really wasn't bad. Remove grips, pop out pin at the base of the grip, ease out lanyard loop, swap springs.

This was greatly eased by a hammer and punch set I picked up as a result of Santa's generosity (Thanks, Robby!).

At home gunsmithing is one of those things that will be much easier when I get somewhere where I can set up a vise again. There's really only so much one can do on a coffee table covered with a towel. Although, as the M1 carbine bolt rebuild demonstrated, one can do almost anything if one is stupid enough to try.

Anyway. Easy stuff. Do not fear the "D spring."

A walk

Put off my run and took the Bad Dogs for a walk around the lake, since it was either that or Mr. Abby was going to shoot them for being hysterical during his nap. (I can't blame him - it's super annoying and they time the hysteria to co-incide with his return home in the evening).

So we trooped around the park. Casey is definitely feeling good - she dragged me most of the way. We stopped at the far side of the lake so Sparky could jump in. As I approached the water, I saw it. Fishing line (discarded).

I'll skip the drawn out details of unwrapping the dogs while they tried to hurtle around on their extendo-leashes. Suffice it to say I'm not forgetting a pocketknife next time I walk them. It was really fine line, too, maybe six pound test. If it had gotten any worse, I'd have had to carry Sparky home to cut him free.

Please, if you fish in my park's lake, don't leave 20 yards of fishing line on the shore.

The forecast is fabulous, with no pending rain. I think I'll take the top down tomorrow. Maybe the doors off, too.

Stop the presses

We here at BDC categorically disapprove of all pop culture silliness. Every time I see "celebrity news" on CNN while we've got, like, you know, a WAR going on, it chaps my ass.

However, we do feel the need to point out that not only did Anna Nicole Smith die today, but she did it, of course, in Florida. Because Florida is tacky and so was she. And to maximize tackiness, apparently she checked out at an Indian Casino hotel in Hollywood.

Maybe this will eventually move us to the point where I don't have to see her, or any of her associates, on my TV ever again.

No - I haven't included any links. If you care about this crap, you have to go to another site to learn more about it.

Whiny northerners

We know Abby's Pack hails from Up North. Michigan, to be exact. West Michigan. And we know Abby recently lived Up North. That was in Minnesota.

So I have a fair number of northern readers. Many of them are being affected by the current arctic weather. And man...are they whiny about it or what?

I don't bitch about living in Florida when I'm on the phone with the Frozen People. I've been the Frozen People. I'm of the mindset that these northern winters only become worthwhile on that first warm day, when the sun comes out and you can suddenly smell the unfrozen ground. That part is nice. These weeks are shitful. It's cold, it's dark, it's boring. Ick.

So I haven't mentioned that's it's been like 70 and sunny here. In fact, I'm probably going to run a little early today so I can do it in a tank top and work on my tan a little.

Try not to hate me. I've got tornados, one of the annual shark migrations, and pending hurricanes.

More later, including such fascinating topics as job interviews, sports cars and MORE!

Fast update

Oddly enough, I actually have some things to do today, so you all will have to wait for whatever pointless ramblings I have up my sleeve.

I've been looking at the sitemeter, and it seems some poor, sad folks wander in here after harmless Google searches.

We had one today looking for "women ground infanty." Assuming he wasn't looking for women's favorite recipes for ground-up infantryman, the answer is: no - there aren't. The further answer, Abby-style, is here

We also had someone asking about "dog nectarines." Apparently this individual has a fruit-bat dog. That's cool, so do I. Listen, the nectarines, in moderation, will not hurt your dog. I'd keep 'em away from the pits, but that's just me.

OK. I have to take a shower and find some pants, because apparently some disoriented individual has decided to ask me in person about my qualifications to perform some sort of work-for-pay. I'm sure we all know how this will turn out, but I'm headed off anyway.

More later.

07 February 2007


Ugh...well, that seems to be done. Taxes are...challenging in our household. Not as bad as some people I know, because we're more or less impoverished and we don't have all sorts of wild and crazy investments. Couple of CDs, some really tame IRA stuff, nothing too complex.

But there's the part where the online tax software chokes on its coffee and says "what they hell is the deal with this W2 with zeroes in block 1 and a bunch of money in box 12 with some weird-ass code in front of it???"

I scratch my head and select the "income earned in a combat zone" box. At which point the software asks, "really?" And I say "uh-huh." And then I do Mr. Abby's W2. Probably six months were tax-free for him this year.

So finally the software looks up at me and says, "You people earned like $12 in taxable income this year."

Sorry...then you have to convince the software that you don't qualify for the people who come and deliver free frozen turkeys to your house. "Really, we do get money. It's just weird money."

The tax software looks at me suspiciously. "You sure you want to file this return?"


You should have seen it almost grind to a total halt when we came to the part about home ownership, rental income and depreciation.

I live in absolute terror of getting audited. All I'll be able to do is shove a giant file folder at the auditor and say, "hey - I tried."

I've done my own taxes since I was a kid. The year we got married, we had H&R Block do it, but I prefer to keep track of the process. The military offers some assistance, and we've taken advantage of that before. But again - since I'm the one who'll get called on the carpet if it's dicked up, I like to know what's going on.

One year, I did state taxes by hand four times in order to pay a sufficient amount to the state we'd lived in half the year. See, Mr. Abby's active-duty status means many states aren't interested in taxing his income, but they do want their share of mine. And we render unto Caesar...

Well, finished for another year. If I suddenly drop of the radar, it means I really screwed something up.

06 February 2007

Rev. Ted Haggard Part II

Praaaaaaise Jeeeeesus, Reverend Haggard is healed! He's totally straight now.

Nope, no more of that sweet man-on-man lovin' for Reverend Ted. 'Cause, you know, the man prostitutes and the drugs were the Devil, working through Ted. He's much better now. No sidelong glances at attractive young men. No late-night slow drives through seedy districts, seeking company. No "off the books" time at his wild and crazy praise conventions.

Nope. He's fixed.

I can't help but comment about this guy. Every time I catch an article about him, I'm probably going to have to say something about it. It's just too precious.

Crane Update

We talked a little about the loss of the 2006 cohort of whooping cranes a couple of days ago.

Those who know me well have probably heard me rant a little bit about these cranes. In my less-than-sympathetic moments, I have occasionally referred to them as "poster children for evolution."

However, there seems to be at least one whooping crane that could be a poster child for "survival of the fittest." As in he DID, so he must BE. Crane #15 somehow escaped his pen and survived. He found some other cranes to hang out with, and was located with a transmitter.

Story at TBO. Good crane!

Oohrah! A sense of duty

Via Hugh Hewitt, we find an outstanding article about an outstanding young man - Track Captain Sean Barrett Ready to Serve His Country.

What's the big deal, you ask? Some guy who runs track is joining the military. Maybe you even think, must not have had any good job offers! Or, perhaps, dummy.

Well, I don't think that's the case, since Sean Barrett happens to be the captain of the Harvard track team. And he's joining God's Blessed Marine Corps.

“I think this is my generation’s greatest calling,” said Barrett. “Fighting for the freedom of others is a uniquely American value. Protecting my family, my country, our values and way of life is of the utmost importance to me.”

Get some, Sean - you make my old jarhead heart of stone go pitter patter! Your country has a place for you. And lest you think Sean is an aberration, it appears the Barrett family is actually doing a pretty good job of raising the unique critter we think of as a "citizen."

Neither of Barrett’s parents is involved with the military. His older brother, a law student at the University of San Diego has committed to serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (or JAG) upon his graduation. Barrett’s younger sister, a student at Boston College, is enrolled with the Army ROTC program there.

That's good shit. Anyone who signs on that dotted line ever - that's a pretty big thing to do. Anybody who's signed on that dotted line for the first time since Sept. 11, or re-signed since then...

If you don't know our men and women in uniform, you can think they're victims. You can think they're stupid, or unemplyable. Or foolish. Or gullible. And some of them may be any or all of those things.

But every single one of them signs on that dotted line knowing full well what they're doing. Oh, Aunt Martha, they might even lie to you about it. They might tell you they're doing it for the college money. Because that's what you want to hear.

But they're all doing it to serve their country. They're doing it to find brotherhood, and to test themselves in the oldest, toughest crucibles that remain in our culture of ease. They might not sit down with you at Thanksgiving dinner and say, "This is my generation's greatest test, and I'm not going to sit at home in comfort and safety while it's going on, because I don't think I can live with that." But that's what's going on.

Sean Barrett is a good young man. And so are the thousands of other young men and women who sign on that dotted line every year. Beyond good. So far beyond good that they might not know for years the importance that their signature, their committment, their offering, has to their country.

The sense of duty is an intensely personal thing. I suppose someone out there of a suitable age can watch the news and see their peers in harm's way and not feel like a freeloading shit. Soldiers I worked with couldn't, so they volunteered to come out of the IRR. Or to do a second tour. I know soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen in reasonably safe posts who feel so uncomfortable having their comrades under the gun that they volunteer to go forward. Some beg. It's their duty. It's where they're meant to be.

A sense of duty is complicated, and it's hard for some people to understand. Fortunately, many folks do feel it. And they're the ones who sign up every year.

STILL training the Outlook

Oh, come ON!!! Today's word it didn't recognize - "Dumbass." Now, since it can apparently suggest I capitalize every internet-related term that could possibly be associated in any way shape or form with Microsoft, are you really telling me it doesn't know "dumbass???" Or is Outlook making some sort of value judgement?

Trust me here, Outlook - I'm not having a good year. Don't judge me, and I won't track down whoever built your dictionary and whack him/her with a stick. While shouting, "You dumbass!"

Love will make you crazy

Women are competitive about men. This is a fact. The better the overall quality of the man, the more vicious said competition can be.

Now, I'm just talking out my ass here, because I don't know any of these people, but I'd have to say that an astronaut is probably a pretty high-quality man.

Commander Oefelein is a space shuttle pilot. Pilots are automatically sexy, and so, I suppose, this guy probably has a pretty high level of sexiness. This isn't a very good picture, but I'll cut the commander some slack and assume he's more of a studpuppy when he's not wearing a big orange spacesuit.

Apparently, he's enough of a studpuppy to cause some serious strife over at NASA.

Hard to tell exactly what's going on with this. But we will note that it falls squarely into our sights, as it involves both the military and Florida.

I do feel the need to point out that all involved are officers. All my old NCOs out there know officers are a little flaky.

Thoughts on the M9

We all know I picked up a Beretta M9 this past week. I bought it specifically because it was my issue weapon. For that reason, I did not want a 92FS. I did not buy this to be a target pistol, or a carry pistol. I bought it to have it. It's an easy-shooting gun, and it will see lots of range time. It will also be a "starter gun" when I take new shooters out and they're ready to move past the .22.

OK. That's out of the way. More disclaimers.

The Marine Corps never felt the need for me to shoot a pistol. The Army required me to qualify with it, but offered no instruction. That was fine, because our qualification course prior to deployment consisted of man-sized targets that popped up from very close out to 25 yards. The target popped up, you shot the target (anywhere), it fell down. I shot all the targets and they all fell down.

That was the extent of my work with the M9. I carried it every day in Iraq, yet it's the only one of the three weapons systems I signed for with which I never fired a shot.

So taking this to the range was an experience. First off, it shoots way better than minute-of-bad-guy. We can do single ragged holes at 15 yards. Beyond 15 yards, I'm not sure if it's me or the pistol, but the groups open up. I'm willing to take the hit for that, but I'd like to shoot it from a rest at some point.

I primarily shoot 1911s. My other 9mm is a compact, all-steel EAA Witness, so the M9 has a much different balance than I was used to. My first five or six shots were LOW. I corrected this without a problem, it was just an issue of different handling.

But the sights have me confused. You're going to have to forgive some bad photography here. I'm hoping Mr. Abby can do better with our point-and-shoot digital when he gets home.

This image is the rear sight on my 1911.

Shut up. I told you the picture sucked. OK. So what we do, as shooters, to achieve "good sight alignment," is line up the front sight post in the middle of this notch. Ideally, the top of the front sight post is even with top of the pillars on each side of the rear sight notch. And centered. The clear tip of the front sight post bisects that which we intend to hit. My 1911 has dots. When everything is correct, the three white dots line up straight across. Because I spent a buttload of money on this particular gun, they also glow. It's cool.

Now, a picture of the rear sight on the M9.

I do not get this rear sight. It's a half-circle, circle part down, and it's centered. Mr. Abby and I were talking about it, and he postulated, "well, you use the front sight dot and complete the circle."

Sounds good, but when you do that...well...suffice it to say you could shoot someone in the kneecap that way.

Here's a slightly-less-awful picture of the M9 front sight. All front sights look pretty similar.

This handgun shoots to point of aim very nicely. If you line up the front sight post and rear sight notch, and totally ignore the half-circle. I'm okay with that - paint is an aid, not a fundamental component of successful shooting. But I wish I understood the point of it. Is there a theory? Maybe someone will come along and explain it.

And yes - I propped the guns in a towel for photos. It's the best I could do. Yes - we have a vise. Three, in fact. But they're in the storage unit. Don't make me put up the pathetic picture of the storage unit again.

Just a note...

Dear U.S. Government,

ATTN: HR Professionals

I once worked for a federal natural resources agency. It was a wonderful experience, and I'd like to do it again. However, in the process of applying for such positions, something has come to my attention and I felt you should be aware of it.

Each and every sub-agency of every department seems to have developed its own very similar but entirely different automated application process. And although there's always a disclaimer on the website about mailing in an application, that's obviously discouraged.

Although I recognize that automated systems are all the rage, and probably help contribute to the idea of the "paperless office" that the federal government is so attached to, they are a little slice of hell.

We all know the federal government loves personal information, so I enter mine regularly in up to 38 slightly different formats. Sometimes, you require me to enter ten years of work history in order to view your list of firefighter jobs. I really wish you'd let me see the list first, since I'm not a firefighter.

You always ask if I've been in the military, so how about a little box to check if the nature of my military service makes it impossible to enter a street address for a job I did? I know you all could do this - you have lots of little boxes.

One more - I know you all think you're really onto something, because the Federal Weasel Management Office (subordinate to the Little Mammal Agency, which falls under the Department of Outside) has an automated HR system. What would be a real accomplishment would be truly centralized hiring. It would be amazing to apply for very similar jobs with both the Navy and, say, USGS, using the same data set. Just a thought.

OK. Keep up the good work. Love y'all. I'm off to run some errands and that will include faxing off a sheaf of documents, each with its own cover sheet. These same documents have been emailed in two different formats and uploaded in three. They've also been faxed to one of your sister agencies. But I understand that your hiring manager uses a different system, and so I'm faxing them again.

Thank you,


05 February 2007

Product Endorsement! Cast Iron

This past Christmas was the Christmas of Cast Iron cookware. After several pointed hints to Santa, I received a 12-inch skillet and a dutch oven, with a lid that fits both of them.

This stuff is great. Mine is Lodge cookware, from their "Logic" line. Its claim to fame is that it comes "pre-seasoned." Seasoning is the process by which one breaks in cast iron, and it involves heat and oil and many, many repititions of them. Seasoning protects your cookware from rust and creates the fabulous black, slick finish in your skillet.

Seasoning is a giant pain in the ass, and buying pre-seasoned cookware means there's no chance you'll screw up the process and end up with rusty cookware.

There is maintenance involved with pre-seasoned stuff, though. You have to clean it properly (no abrasives!), dry it immediately and give it a rubdown with a paper towel and a couple of drops of vegetable oil.

Cast iron is great. The skillet is a hoot - it gets very hot and holds heat well. The dutch oven makes searing a roast easy, and provides what seems like a radiant heat effect. I've been thrilled with it.

So go get yourself some cast iron. It's great to cook with, and you can do a nice arm workout with a dutch oven. Stuff's heavy.

Why yes, I did just use my skillet. Pork chops. Good stuff.

Movie Night

Well, I think we've fixed Mr. Abby. It's fairly simple if you know the trick.

We've got a couple of movies to watch, and since it's dreary and rainy here, that's what we're going to do.

I'm not feeling conversational today, so unless I get a burst of late-night inspiration, don't look for much from me until tomorrow. I owe y'all a report on the new pistol, and I'm working up a rant about these dumbasses in the Senate.

The day after

Well, Super Bowl recovery is underway at BDC. I took it pretty easy last night, so I'm feeling fairly good. Mr. Abby got a bit more enthusiastic with his beer-drinkin'-and-yelling-at-the-TV, so I'm getting sad little emails from him at work, mostly made up of phrases like "ughhhh..... "

I don't drink and raise hell the way I once did, and that's without a doubt a good thing. I miss some of the hell raising, but not the ughh.... mornings. I'm not as tough as I was in my Sergeant-of-Marines days either, and I cannot fathom how I used to get up and make it to work every day.

These days my drug of choice is still brewed, but it's hot and has fewer calories. Speaking of, I desperately require a coffee drink with milk and sugar and caramel (I normally drink coffee black, but sometimes a candy-bar-in-a-cup is soooo gooood). I think I shall get one.

It'll enable me to drop the rent check at the landlord's place. You'd think at this point I'd remember that right after the end of one month, it's the beginning of another one, and would thus mail the rent check in a timely manner. No such luck, so I'm off to hand-deliver it.

04 February 2007

3rd Quarter

I don't think it's necessary to say where my loyalties lie for this game. I mean, it's Chicago and Indianapolis, and I really don't care. I'm just here for the ads. Speaking of, I just saw something involving a squirrel. I missed the product, but squirrels rock.

Alright - 4th quarter about to start, so I'll leave you all to your own devices. I checked the sitemeter, and people are coming here during the game. Listen - I love you all, and I love traffic. But c'mon - go get some beers and watch football. I'll be here tomorrow.


Superbowl halftime update

So it's raining olive oil in Miami? Apparently, it's almost impossible to hold on to the football tonight. Whatever - makes the game entertaining.

Haven't been overwhelmingly impressed by any commercial yet. There've been several "black history" themed spots. That's cool, and they've been good commercials. Budweiser had one with its clydesdales during pregame that featured a "flyover" by a bunch of bald eagles.

Other than that...one dog-themed commercial, which was actually kind of a downer. And that one with the robot...for GM or Chevy or whatever. All I came away from that one with was the thought, "wow...I guess it can be a bummer to be a robot."

C'mon, advertisers. I'm counting on you. Where's this year's "herding cats?" I'm sitting on my couch, drinking Mexican beers, and waiting for advertising greatness.

An aside - I finally had to intercede when Mr. Abby was feeding the dogs cheese and sausage. I love my pets, but if I've spent $75 on gouda, edam and various dry meats, it doesn't all need to go to the dogs... So guess who's the favorite dog parent right now?

Computer stuff...

I switched to the "new blogger" quite some time ago. Being such a non-expert, it didn't make a big difference to me, and in fact has spared me some HTML nightmares.

A couple of days ago, my laptop started making noises about switching to Internet Explorer 7. I ignored it, and it just got more insistant. Stupid MicroSoft... So I let it go ahead and update me.

Man, I hate this new IE7. What the hell is the deal with these "tabs?" What function do they serve that wasn't served by "windows?" A couple of times I've glanced up on my screen to see a "tab" open to some random site I'd visited. Of course, I still can have multiple windows, so I have two different things performing the same function.

And this stupid new "favorites" bar... The good thing? If I want to add something to my favorites, I can store it in the appropriate folder immediately. The downside...click on the wrong part of my "blogs" folder, and 37 different blogs open in 37 different "tabs." Aggggh!

I was briefly subjected to Mozilla Firefox by the Army. I wasn't nuts about it, but it did seem to be fairly intuitive. I may very well have to look into switching to Firefox for my own use. Unless this IE7 starts making a lot of sense in a real hurry, it's going to get kicked to the curb.

Pre-emptive walking

I just took the Bad Dogs for a nice brisk walk to try to head off hysteria during the ball game. We'll see how much luck I have with that. Since they seem to have developed the availability to tell time, no matter what we do during the rest of the day, they expect me to entertain them between 1600 and 1800. It's super annoying.

We covered some new territory today, which led to much peeing on mailbox posts by Sparky. Apparently, that's a real highlight.