Archive for December, 2009

Goodbye ‘09

I love top ten lists and New Year’s Eve day is a great time to make one for the past year. Although this won’t be a top ten list, just a bunch of my favorites and surprises from 2009. I promise, this will be random and all over the place.


Favorite Scott Joplin Rags this year:

It’s a tie between Bethena and Palm Leaf Rag. I’ve always known of Bethena but after being featured in the movie ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ it breathed new life into the piece for me. I love to fall asleep to it. I got the sheet music for my mother to teach me how to play it, now it’s just a matter of finding time to learn it! Palm Leaf Rag is a late entry that I have been digging on for the past month. Very light, simple makes me want to blow bubbles and touch the air with my fingertips.

Surprising new entry into my musical library:

Muse. I’ve known about Muse for years but have never paid any attention to them. I heard plenty of their radio hit ‘Uprising’ , downloaded it, dug the message and it ended there. That is until Tony came along and said ‘ZOMG DUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!!!!!!!1!!1!! I freakin’ love MUSE, here have more of their songs!!!!!!!!!’ I listened to more and more of there stuff and realized it filled a void in my music library. Sweet.


Favorite 360 game:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

This one surprised me for sure. I really liked the previous Call of Duty (World at War) that is set in WWII times, until one day I completely hit the wall with it and was sick of it. Usually my interest declines on a slow fade but not with that game. So when yet another Call of Duty came out
I wasn’t as excited as most of my friends. The single player turned me around and the multiplayer keeps me coming back for more like a truck driver at a buffet line. The single player (although extremely short) is top notch, I never once felt bored with it or annoyed, it kept hooking and pulling me along. The multiplayer is for the most part very well done but I really have a love/hate relationship with the online play. Never have I cussed so much at a game nor have I ever heard Phil and the other boys cuss as much as when we play that game. It draws us in so deeply we feel the highs and lows of winning and losing. We don’t like losing.

Honorable Mentions would have to go to Borderlands  for sure and possibly Dirt 2. I shouldn’t give Dirt 2 any mention just for having such a horrible name (what’s next, name games after parts of the car? Tires 2, Exhaust Pipe Extremezzzzz, Headlight Beams) but the game is really slick and loads of fun. The in car view looks amazing on my 42″ and my car barely keeps on the road as I speed through jungles, blaze through open trails and hang on the edge of cliff. It really is a great time, and I speaking of a great time this video makes me smile every time I see it.

Borderlands is a loose RPG that has tons and tons of weapons upgrades. A decent story with a disappointing ending but the gameplay itself is quite a bit of fun. Add a friend or two and everything becomes even more challenging. This is a worthwhile purchase for sure.

Favorite throwback game:
Super Mario Brothers Wii.

Even though I have only played through a couple of levels on this game it is SUCH a great time. The ability to play with up to 4 other players on the same screen adds a whole new dimension to this time-tested side-scroller. Also jumping off of your friend is sweet because it allows you to get to those hard to reach areas, I also hear that throwing a red turtle shell at your friends is fun too.


Favorite Handgun to shoot:
Without a doubt the Beretta 92FS I received this year. I have always wanted one and now that I have it I can honestly say it is as good as I had hoped. 90% ambidextrous and all metal makes it sturdy and a straight shooter. Perfect trigger pull and a breeze to clean, it just fits.

Favorite Rifle to shoot:
The Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine. There is something to be said for an object that can make me smile and groan all at once. This WWII Russian rifle is heavy, kicks like a mule and blasts like a cannon (see pic, not me). I smile when the huge fireball bursts forth from the muzzle and groan when I feel my bruised and newly dislocated shoulder. Awesome. It is especially impressive to stand next to someone shooting the M44 and feel the concussion blast coming off the rifle. To get an idea here is a video, please note the gun in the background is an AR-15 the type of gun our military currently uses…what a difference.

Favorite Airplane to fly:
The Trojan T-28. It has been a great year for airplane flying! After barely getting my feet wet two years ago with a crappy, underpowered, no-steering plane I thought flying wasn’t in the cards for me. Fast forward two years to this last May when I started to get the itch to fly again. I mentioned something to HES and she said “I’ve always wanted to try one of those little planes!”. Her approval and knowing that she wouldn’t think I was a total dweeb was all it took to launch me into getting one. I started out with the Hobbyzone Super Cub, which btw is an excellent plane for ANYONE to start and learn on, durable easy to fly, the thing practically lands itself! But after approximately 60 successful flights in only a month I was ready to move on up to something bigger and more powerful that had ailerons just like a real plane. Enter the Parkzone T-28. This plane has been so good to me and withstood a few crashes and midair collisions and yet keeps on flying high. My first day out I managed to get it stuck in a tree, but thereafter it has been smooth sailing.

Favorite Plane Crash:
Most definitely Dave’s Maiden voyage of his Corsair. Oh man. That was epic, but I was told I couldn’t blog about it. He’s crashed that thing so many times since then I think that ban should be lifted. Long story short, he spends a pretty penny, taxis the plane on the field, gets it up in the air for maaaaybe 10 seconds and then SLAMS into the ground hard. The result? His plane lays dead in pieces. We picked everything up, rushed to my house and epoxied the whole thing back together. He couldn’t let his wife see the damage or she might’ve killed him. It was dark and somber at the time but it’s damn funny to me now.

Favorite Guitar to play:
Sweet Sweet Gretsch. Still.


Biggest Surprise on a TV show:
Dexter. Without a doubt.

Newest Shows I am impressed with:
The Middle and Modern Family. Modern family is great and quirky, and done in a mockumentary feel. The Middle I just discovered a little over a month ago when HES kept talking about it. Since then I’ve watched the whole season and I really like it. It’s just funny and interesting enough to keep my interest.


Favorite Movie(s) of the year:
This is really a tie for me. I don’t watch many movies (as my friends will tell you) but I did see a few this year. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘ and ‘Inglorious Basterds‘. I’m not fully sure why I liked Benjamin Button so much, maybe it is because it is a ifferent story, but I found myself wrapped up in it and thinking about it for weeks. I think I’m the only one. I was blown away by IB. It was definitely Tarantino and I think it’s funny how he re-writes history to how he sees fit, but that makes it more fun. Loved the opening scene with the Farmer and the Nazi, great acting, wonderful tension building for nearly 20 minutes that you’re ready to pop at the end!


I have been completely wrapped up in ‘Meditations on Violence‘. This book is a complete wake up call for anyone that trains in martial arts/self defense. In fact it really is a wake up call for anyone that is alive right now. Most people don’t want to think or talk about it, but the book pops much of the ‘dojo fantasy’ people have in their minds of how it will all go down if they were ever attacked and fighting for their life. It also highlights the fact that we are surrounded by a mere illusion of safety. This point was very dramatically increased when recently my Krav Instructor who happens to also be a Police Sergeant for the county emailed all of us students about ’safety’. He said what I had thought for a long time, that there is so much more that goes on that we’re not even aware of. Only the big stories or the stories that make a great headline make the news. For each armed robbery, assault there are 10x more that happen then ever gets reported by the news.

Most Frustrating Moment this year (outside of Call of Duty):

Reading the news and seeing the song and dance in our government. Seeing the bailouts, seeing the golden parachutes, the misuse of money, the printing of money and seeing the main offenders get no punishment for their crimes. I am appalled and now more then ever my eyes are open to how those in charge act and how un-trustworthy they really ALL are. FTW.

Biggest Accomplishment this year:
Going through and passing my Phase A Krav Training, and losing even more weight.

Biggest disappointment this year:
Killing my back after the Phase A and becoming a bit of a slug these past two months negating so much of the conditioning I worked so hard to obtain. :/

What does 2010 hold? I’m not sure, probably more flying, shooting and exercising. I hope I can fit in more guitaring and sleeping but it never seems to work out quite like that. 2009 has been good to me, I met HES got reacquainted with some old friends as well. That is always good. This year I really accomplished my goal of having fun, here’s to more and the best in 2010!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Comments (4)

Top 10 misspelled words.

Oh man. This could not come at a better time. I was just hopelessly harassing HES this morning about her accidental misuse of the word lose/loose. I’m not usually a grammar Nazi like my friend Phil, but lose/loose always gets me. I can forgive there, their, they’re and it’s, its, heck I can even look past then, than but when you workout you lose the weight and then your pants become loose. There is nothing loose about a fat person. That’s how I remember it. Their pants are tight, arteries are tight…if they’re big enough maybe you could say that their backside-arm-jobbys are loose but if they’re packing around loose arm jobbys they need to lose weight.

Sorry, that was quite a rant. Now on to the link!

Don’t be an A-hole, definitely go to the oatmeal and laugh.

Comments (2)

I’m not a very good boyfriend

I found this out last night en route to my friend Liz’s wedding reception. I was all suited up in my sharp duds and fancy shoes walking arm in arm with HES on my side. It was cold out (as we all know) and even though I thought we were moving along at a brisk pace m’lady asked if we could step it up a notch since she was shivering and cold. Quickening our pace we approached the crosswalk where HES suggested that we cross. I began to look left and then right to see if it was safe but my concentration was interrupted as I felt a strong downward pull on my left arm. On the corner of my eye I could see that HES was down near the ground and I thought “what is she do—” when without warning my left foot shot up towards the sky, followed by my right foot. I remember seeing the crosswalk, then the lights, the sky (ooh look Orion!) then the sidewalk…up close. It seems that even though the streets were wet and above freezing, the dippy part of the sidewalk that segues into the street was a sheet of ice.

Yes friends, I fell on my girlfriend. Not just any fall mind you, not a half trip where I land on her foot or a slip where I half catch her as I fall. Nope. I’m not that good. This was a 100% feet flying out from underneath you fall and the only reason I’m still alive to talk about it is because the girlfriend cushioned my fall. I’m not saying she’s ‘cushy’ no no, I would never say that, I’m just saying she was a barrier between me and the hard cold ground. Laying on the hard cold ground in your spiffy duds doesn’t make one feel very cool. I quickly sprang up to make sure she was ok, but really I was trying to stifle my laughter. I probably wouldn’t have fallen had she not pulled me down, I was strong until my slippery dress shoes made contact with the ice, after that it was all over. Not even He-man could’ve kept his balance.

We dusted ourselves off and made sure the middle age ladies approaching the crosswalk didn’t try our trick of falling and proceeded to go to the reception. At the reception is where I learned the #2 reason why I’m not a very good boyfriend. At some point I apparently told HES that this reception was ‘casual’ which I don’t remember doing, but I must have. I thought HES looked beautiful but after about 2 minutes she turned to me and said “well great I feel completely out of place” I figured it was because she didn’t know anyone, but in reality it was because everyone was so spiffed up. Whoops. I offered her my suit, but she didn’t want to switch. I guess, you can’t win them all. We quickly ordered up some wine to soothe her nervous soul and to ease the bruise on her knee, after the wine kicked in the night went off without a hitch.

Probably reason 2.5 that I’m not a very good boyfriend is that during the reception and especially during the sentimental slide show I couldn’t stop laughing. I didn’t have a funny joke in my head but all I could see was us falling in the crosswalk. I’m sure I was getting the evil eye from the people sitting behind me. Even right now I’m giggling to myself about the fall. Man! I’m such a 10-year old.

After the reception we crossed at a different crosswalk and made it home safe. For the record I don’t think boyfriends should be responsible for telling girlfriends what to wear, we’re clueless. Heck, this one can’t even prevent himself from falling on his girlfriend! Casual, formal it’s all the same to me!

Comments (3)

Threat Dynamics

“Get down on the ground!” I yelled as I leveled my weapon upon the intruders. The two men ran away, one ducking behind a car and the other behind a large crate. “I can see you, come out from behind that car, I’ve called the cops!” Slowly the shadowy figure stepped out and I my eyes darted back and forth scanning the area for his partner. My brother in law (JimBob) standing next to me began yelling commands at the stranger. I don’t remember what was said all I remember was seeing the man pull out a gun and point it straight at us. Gunshots filled the air as JimBob and I each fired 3 or 4 shots into the intruder. He slumped to the floor before the ringing echoes of our gunshots left the air. With my adrenaline pumping and my eyes wide open I turned my attention to the other intruder hunched down behind a crate. I could see the tip of his head moving around, so I yelled at him to come out. I figured he would quickly comply since we had just filled his accomplice full of hot lead, but the intruder stayed hidden. He kept peaking his head around the corner and I said “yes I can see you! Now come out!”.  I’m not sure if I blinked or was momentarily distracted but without warning there was a sudden bang and a flash that came from a gun, not our guns but his gun. My knees buckled as the pain promptly pierced my side and I rapidly returned fire. “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot!”.

All of this happened in Hillsboro on Saturday. I’m alive to tell about my experience because fortunately it was only a simulation. A simulation that was about as real as it gets. For my birthday JimBob and I went out to Threat Dynamics located in Hillsboro, Oregon. TD is a state of the art facility that is used to train police officers in a wide variety of scenarios they may experience on and off duty. Recently the training facility was opened to the public as well.

Threat Dynamics has a variety of range types and also hundreds of scenarios that you can choose from. They use real Glock 17 handguns that have been modified with a laser inside of them and a Co2 cartridge that simulates the kick of a real gun. The ranges start out from very basic stationary targets, move up to moving targets and eventually end in full on realistic simulations where you interact with people on screen. There is a controller that not only changes the range types but also controls the scenarios. I don’t know if this is true or not but I was under the impression that not all scenarios end the same. Depending on our commands we may be able to remove the threat verbally rather than killingly.

To add to the realism they strongly suggest that we wear special belts that shock us with 5,000 volts of electricity when and if we get shot. When we were presented with the belts JimBob got all smiley and unsure if he wanted to do it. I turned to him and shook my head “this was supposed to be a nice bday present and now you have me getting hooked up to electrical torture belts?!” Needless to say neither one of us was going to look like a yellow belly so we donned the belts.  The first time I got shot I was actually mad because it hurt and I didn’t want to get shot! JimBob thought he has positioned the belt so when he got shot it would shock him on the sides near the kidneys. He actually had it positioned the correct way so that there is a shocker in the front and the back. During one of the exercises I heard a yelp and a “HUUUEEERRRGGGHHH!!”. Thinking that maybe a dog’s foot had been stepped on I turned to my right and didn’t see any canines, only JimBob reacting to the pain. He said it’s not that it hurt so bad but it surprised him when he felt it in the front…down low. Either way I got a kick out of it and I’m pretty sure the controller did too.

On the screen there were objects (cars, boxes..etc) in the foreground that we were told we could hide behind. We were also told to move and crouch because the system will be able to detect this and this could prevent us from getting shot. Those were nice ideas and good advice but basically JimBob and I stood our ground like Rambo against Columbian drug lords.  We would learn to follow his advice when he brought us to the next room.

The ultimate tool in training at Threat Dynamics is their 300 degree screen you stand in the middle of. It brings the training to a whole ‘nuva level when you have multiple threats or multiple avenues for a threat to appear on. We did good for the most part but there was one time in particular that we were so focused on what was happening in front of us that we failed to see the guy come up behind us and shoot me in the back. It was like a back massage with spiky electricity…I didn’t like it.

Overall the experience was an awesome one and I will be going back. In fact JimBob and I have plans to go back in a couple of weeks, although we may be checking out more of the ranges rather than the scenarios. We both found the ranges to be a lot of fun and even more challenging, a great supplement to punching holes in targets at the real range. I highly suggest for anyone that is interested to give it a try it really was a blast. Heck call me up, I’d like to go again! But you have to wear the belt this time.



Comments (3)