Barb is a very happy person and expresses this in many different ways. One of the ways is that she makes funny sounds at various times.

She works from home nearly all the time and sometimes when she “commutes” from the bathroom to her desk in the bedroom 15 feet away she will make sounds. Along with the hand motions of driving a car she will make sounds like, “Putt, putt, putt…”.

Yesterday she was kneeling on the floor next to a dresser as I was about to walk past. The area was a little tight for her kneeling at the same time I was walking through and as she shuffled back to get out of my way she started making the sounds of a truck backing up, “Beep! Beep! Beep!…”.

I couldn’t tell you how many different sound effects she has implemented. I just know they all make me smile and laugh. But I do know my favorite so far.

Last night she told me that sometime during the day she put on her holster and was practicing drawing and dry firing as it was suggested in class and the sounds sometimes just spontaneously came out during the practice session. The sounds? It was that of the spurs she imagined she was wearing, “Ching! Ching!”

Barb’s first day of class

Today and tomorrow Barb is attending Insights General Defensive Handgun class. I’ve been teaching her how to shoot and she does well with basic shooting. She just got her holster on Thursday so I have not taught her much about the draw and only the basics of defensive shooting. But I think she is more than adequately prepared for the class:


CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT or documentation of good character AND BRING THOSE DOCUMENTS WITH YOU TO CLASS. You must be totally familiar and comfortable with your handgun. If you have never shot before or wonder how your gun works we recommend our Handgun Safety and Marksmanship class or our Basic Handgun Safety and Responsibility class.


Required Equipment:

Reliable, functional semi-automatic handgun; Belt holster (rigid) with sturdy belt; pants with belt loops; 600 rounds of brass-cased, FMJ ammunition (minimum); minimum of 2 magazines and a magazine pouch; Concealment clothing; Hearing and eye protection.

I think she may be a little bit nervous. She didn’t sleep particularly well last night and said she was thinking about the class a lot. But the clincher was that as she was just going out the door she noticed she was wearing her holster upside down.

Reason #1777 why my girlfriend is awesome

Barb sent me a text message today telling me she needed some help. She figured out where to store an item but it was too heavy and awkward for her to put it in the dead body storage area.

Yes. She discovered one of my pieces of furniture has a spot where you could easily store a dead body and didn’t miss a beat in recognizing it for what it was good for then found an alternative use for it since we don’t currently have any dead bodies without a storage location.

Isn’t that awesome?!

I suggested, and utilized, an alternate location to store the item so the dead body spot will be readily available for future use.

That had to hurt

I’m a strong proponent of women learning how to shoot guns even though they sometimes use them inappropriately:

The wife, 60-year-old Victoria Reid, was arrested Wednesday evening in Rockledge and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault domestic violence.

An arrest report from the Brevard County Sherriff’s Office indicates that Reid forced her husband of 16 years to sit on a couch at gunpoint as she confronted him about having an affair. Once seated, she threatened to maim him, kill him, and give him PTSD – a condition she also suffers from – in order to punish him for his alleged acts of unfaithfulness.

Her threats indicated that she was planning to shoot her husband in the face or chest, however it seemed she settled on traumatizing her husband rather than flat-out killing him, opting to shoot him in his left knee instead. But once she did, the bullet ended up traveling past his knee, up his leg and to his testicles where it got lodged.

I’m also a strong proponent of not doing things you know will make them extremely angry.

Bear encounter

Via Brother Doug:

First Attempt to Find Flint Ridge

March 18, 2016 was a beautiful day with the sun shining bright, so I decided to go for a walk and see if I could find a place my father had told me about.  As a child growing up on South Road in the 1930s, he and his cousins had sometimes wandered south of their home over the hill to a flint quarry where the Nez Perce Indians had made arrowheads, tips for spears and other stone tools.  Reject points could be found littered among the rocks where a cutting tool under construction had broken in the wrong place and been discarded.  My father and his cousins had named the place Flint Ridge.  I wanted to locate the quarry and take a look at it myself.

I was preparing to leave and altered my plans slightly when I decided to take our two dogs along.  Kanobi is ten years old and slowing down some, but he still enjoys a good walk.  Leia is just over a year old and full of energy.  My brother had encountered a couple of stray dogs that had threatened him in that area a few years before and I had concerns for the safety of my dogs, so I went to the gun safe and brought out the 357 magnum I had owned since my college days.  I loaded it with 130 grain hollow points which would be more than enough to stop most dogs.  I loaded my two dogs in the pickup and we set out on our adventure.

I drove to property my wife and I own at 2767 South Road.  I parked at the top of the hill just east of the house and let the dogs out.  From there, we crossed the road into a wheat field and headed south.  The field was muddy, so I climbed over a barbed wire fence on the east side of the field and walked south through a grassy pasture.  As usual, the dogs were 50 – 100 yards ahead of me checking everywhere for new sights and smells.  We were only about 600 yards south of the pickup when we started down a steep hillside.  The dogs raced down into a brushy draw filled with hawthorn bushes so thick the dogs almost immediately disappeared when they entered the brush.  They had barely disappeared from view when suddenly I heard the brush crackling and snapping with the sound of a large animal crashing though the heavy brush.  It sounded like it was 75 – 100 feet ahead of me and at first I thought the dogs had frightened a large deer or perhaps an elk.  The sound of crashing brush soon gave way to the frightened yelps of the younger dog Leia and the heavy huffing and grunting of an annoyed bear.  Most bears don’t like loud noises and ordinarily run from barking dogs, but my dogs weren’t barking.  I didn’t hear anything from the older dog, but the younger one continued to yelp in distress.  I started shouting at the top of my lungs in part to frighten the bear away, but also I was calling my dogs back, telling them to come.  The sound in the bushes would pause momentarily, then again I would hear the sound of crashing brush, huffing, grunting and the helpless distressed yelps from the younger dog Leia.  I started down the steep hill into the brush yelling as loudly as possible to frighten away the bear.  Soon I caught sight of the older dog Kanobi leaving the heavy brush to my left and circling up the hill behind me.  Not far behind him came the bear.  They had nearly disappeared into the brush on the uphill side of me when I saw Kanobi turn and prepare to challenge the bear.  I suspect Kanobi thought he needed to defend his family from the attacker, but that was the last thing I wanted him to do.  I drew my revolver and in an attempt to make more noise, I fired one round in the air.  As sharp as a 357 report from a four inch barrel normally sounds, it now sounded pitifully weak to me.  I didn’t even notice any recoil.  Adrenaline does that sort of thing to our senses.  About that time, the bear turned and came crashing back through the brush directly towards me.  I was in heavy thorn brush on a steep hillside and could not easily maneuver.  I again started yelling at the bear at the top of my lungs.  I yelled BACK OFF!, STOP!, GIT!.  With my revolver still in my hand I weighed my options of firing another warning shot or saving the five rounds I had left to fire directly into the bear.  I remember thinking how woefully inadequate 130 grain hollow points seemed for the bulky animal headed towards me.  The bear slowed to a walk and when it was 10 – 15 feet from me, it seemed to notice me for the first time and it steered slightly to the right and walked on past me disappearing into the heavy thorn brush.

Kanobi soon returned to me shaking in fear.  He was limping slightly, but I think he had probably stepped on a thorn.  My biggest concern was the younger dog.  I called out to her, in part to warn the bear we were coming deeper into the brush patch.  I didn’t get any response from Leia, no whimpers, no whining, no nothing.  I thought of a story I had heard about a dog challenging a black bear and with one swipe of its paw, the bear had sent the dog flying through the air with its side ripped open.  In this case, I had heard numerous yelps of distress, but I had not heard Leia screaming in mortal anguish.  I was once with a dog when it stepped in a coyote trap.  I didn’t know dogs could scream in pain and fear until that day.  Leia hadn’t made that kind of noise, but I also knew if the bear had caught her, he might have crushed her before she could make any further sound.

It was 3:45 PM as Kanobi and I crawled deeper into the brush searching for Leia.  I was on my hands and knees.  It seemed like I was getting puncture wounds from the thorns with every move.  For a while, I tried to keep my revolver in my hand, but it was too difficult to crawl that way, so I placed it back in the holster and made sure the snap held it firmly in place.  Being on my hands and knees in the brush was an awkward position from which to defend myself.  I kept looking around and listening, both for Leia and for the bear.  I also continued to call for Leia as loud as I could, in part to frighten away the bear.

We probably searched for 30 minutes and found nothing of the younger dog.  Kanobi and I headed back to the vehicle.  As we climbed the steep hillside, I called out to Leia and scanned the hillsides below us, but saw nothing.  I hoped we would find her at the vehicle.  The 600 yard walk back to the vehicle seemed like a long one.  It was 45 degrees outside, but I was perspiring heavily and took my coat off long before reaching the pickup.

As we came into sight of the vehicle, I hoped Leia would be waiting there for us.  I couldn’t see her anywhere.  The end gate of the pickup was closed, but the door on the canopy was open.  I was preparing to lower the end gate to load kanobi when I heard a noise in the pickup.  It was Leia.  She had climbed over the end gate and was cowering at the front of the pickup bed.  I lowered the end gate and called her to me.  Still cowering, she came to the rear of the pickup and I inspected her for injury.  I found nothing, although she was still obviously frightened.  I picked up Kanobi and placed him in with Leia.  He took an interest in her hip, sniffing and inspecting.  I checked that and found no blood or sensitive areas.  There was no blood in the pickup, so I concluded she was free of any serious injury.

The dogs and I came home and I told my wife of our adventure.  My voice was hoarse from calling for Leia.  We brought the dogs in the house and my wife threw a toy down the hall for Leia.  This is a common game my wife plays with Leia, but this time the dog would only go part way down the hall before returning to us.  She was afraid of what might be waiting for her at the other end of the hallway.  She often lays at my feet while I am at the computer, but while I was writing this, she rested with her head between my feet, something she has never done before.  I hope she will soon get over her fear and I am glad we all made it home in one piece.  I still intend to find Flint Ridge, but I plan on leaving my dogs at home next time.

The Gun State

Interesting. Idaho is state most dependent on gun industry, report finds:

Idaho depends more on the gun industry than any other state, according to a study by the financial website WalletHub. Idaho ranked No. 1 among states and the District of Columbia based on firearms industry activity in the state, gun ownership and overall prevalence, and gun politics — specifically, contributions by gun control and gun rights groups to members of Congress.

Idaho, The Gun State*. I could live with that.

* Idaho’s official nickname is The Gem State.

Code practice oscillator

Roberta just posted about telegraph keys and coincidently I ran across this as I was continuing to unpack boxes that hadn’t been touched in 20 or 30 years:


The battery is new and that is all it took to make it functional. It’s a code practice oscillator that Brother Doug and/or I built back in the late 60’s or early 70’s. Once upon a time we put in a half-hearted effort to learn Morse Code but neither of us succeeded at learning the skill.

Charity request

From the comments here:

Joe, I would not normally solicit help from strangers but this is an extraordinary and dire circumstance. I am a fellow blogger and would like to ask if you would pass a link on for me. If you poke around my site you will see that I am a real person with a real family. I don’t have facebook or anything and any posting of the link or her gofundme page would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,Jim https://eatgrueldog.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/funding-for-shaylyn-2/

The direct links are:


Update: Here is a go fund me link if paypal doesn’t work: http://gofundme.com/p5kymvxe

I donated a minute ago.

Sharing the wealth

Being a software engineer for the last 30+ years means I have had opportunity to make a fair amount of money. I certainly didn’t do as well as I could have. I still regret declining the request for a job interview with Microsoft in 1985 but I’ve managed to do okay and with a little bit of income from Boomershoot I manage to adequately feed my gun, ammo, training, and explosives appetites. Currently I have a job I really like, I feel secure in (the last place I worked at just laid everyone off and is closing the Seattle office any day now), and am paid a comfortable amount. So for Christmas this year I decided I would share some of the wealth.

So it came to pass that it was with great pleasure I gave my three children, Barb, Barb’s two children, and Ry each fifty trillion dollars. Powerball winners have nothing to brag about when I get in a giving mood!

It was with great anticipation that I saw Barb select my present to her to open first:


But the first thing she said after looking at it was, “What am I going to do with this?”

Uh-oh! I didn’t have a good answer. I thought about, “Don’t spend it all in one place.” But decided that might not be wise in that context and told her there were other presents from me, maybe she would like one of them better.

Her children on the other hand thought they were awesome gifts and said they were going to take them to college and put them on their dorm room walls.

I was a little worried about my kids. What would they think? But they studied their gifts thoughtfully, considered their new status as multi-trillionaires and drew the appropriate conclusions about the hazards of hyperinflation, paper money, etc. Ry, of course, got it immediately and we drifted into a conversation about the worldwide economy, Europe, etc.

I don’t want you to think I gave away all my money last Christmas. I saved some for myself:


Yes. I kept 100 trillion back for myself and a “rainy day”.

Certificates of Achievement

I’ve moved so many times in the last 10 years that many of my boxes still are unpacked. But in the last few days I’ve been making some progress. Here are some of my Insights Training certificates of achievement which I put up on the wall:


I have several others but some are in boxes and the frame glass is broken in still others. Today Barb got prices on replacement glass so those will be going up soon.

The certificate in the upper left is for Intensive Handgun Skills. The certificate is dated nearly 20 years ago, October 25-27, 1996. I signed up to repeat it on February 20-22, 2016. I figured I need a tune up after so many years.

Lentil run

I had orders for a couple hundred pounds of lentils and I had essentially run out of lentils at home as well so Brother Doug cleaned and bagged them for me. Yesterday I picked up six 50 pound bags and brought them back to the Seattle area for delivery. The snow made it a little marginal to get my vehicle close to the cleaning shed but even though the car was dragging its bottom on the snow I made it in and out:

Here are the first 100 pounds to be delivered:


Sue knit twill beak wrist missed day

I heard a song playing the other day, I wrote down the words as best I could, and that’s what I came up with. I don’t know what it means either; something about bells ringing, signifying that, due to an injury inflicted upon a woman by a bird, the time for making textiles had passed, I guess. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but song lyrics are often like that.

Master class

I knew my son-in-law (Xenia’s husband) shot in USPSA Nationals this year. But I never bothered to ask how he did. It turns out he won A-Class. Wow!

I just looked his classification on USPSA.org. He is now a Master Class shooter in Limited Division (85% to 95% is Master class):

LIMITED Class: M Pct: 86.56 High Pct: 86.56

And in a couple of stages, (Tables Stakes, and 15VAMD at Southern Maryland Practical Shooters) he had Grandmaster level results.

Nice going John. I’ve got a long way to go catch up. If ever.

OPM letter

Months after the public knew the United States Office of Personnel Management loss of the background investigation records of people who applied for security clearances OPM still hasn’t notified everyone affected. Everyone on my team at work has or at one time had a security clearance and hardly a week goes by without someone asking, “Have you got your OPM letter yet?” Yesterday was one of those days and I told them, “No”, as usual, and further elaborated that I wouldn’t be surprised if they never got a letter to me.

This is because since I had my clearance I have moved five times and no government issued ID has my current address. Nevertheless, yesterday I checked my mail and found my OPM letter (PIN number has been removed):


I suspect they used my address I used for the IRS.

A religio-political tangent

As much as there ever was a primary thread.

I’m working on another book. Well, three or four of them, nominally in parallel. Because one at a time would be to simple 8-0… Anyway, I’m not much of a biblical scholar, but there are a series of related topics that are not “easy look-up” sorts of subjects on Catholic church teachings, monastic order traditions, and canon that I need to know so I don’t make too many , er, “fundamental” errors on the faith and teachings. If you know something about the Bible, and perhaps are a regular church-goer who would like to see that a SF books gets the basic correct and would like to weigh in a few thoughts, head on over to Not A Biblical Scholar and add your two cents worth.