Links via Fark

For those of you who’ve never heard of Fark.com let me warn you not to go there if you don’t like puns, evil humor, or graphic humor.  For those of you who can find amusement in anything Fark.com is the site for you.  There’s a link over in my blogroll if you like.

Now, links found yesterday on Fark.com:

Fark doesn’t bother to come up with a cute headline for this one but they do pretty well sum it up.  Personally this article has so much fail in it, its not funny, but then, it is Florida.  Mall, private property, has dress code.  Security is charged with enforcing said dress code.  Kid has been warned several times and keeps on breaking dress code (I so do not get the saggy pants thing, not only does it make you look stupid you can’t move at a decent pace with your pants like that, srsly).  Kid sees Security coming and runs.  Security chases and kid runs into traffic and is killed.  First fail, why the heck was the kid running?  What did he think was security going to do to him?  Most likely kick him out of the property and call his mom.  Not the end of the world, especially since mom comes across as one of those “my baby is always right” parents.  Makes me wonder what he had on him that he didn’t want security to find.  But then there’s Security’s fail…..one of the officers is quoted in the article as stating that by policy they aren’t supposed to chase unless lives are at stake.   Oops.  AND he admitted it to the press.  Even if mom hadn’t already been planning to sue that would have ensured it right there.  Good job Mall Security!

Fark headline: City has so many bad cops it can no longer afford to hire lawyers to defend them against police brutality suits.  And I have to say that although the article doesn’t explicitly SAY that, you do have to wonder just why they were having to spend so much money defending the cops. 




The new air rifle….and some background.

Ok, first I have to give some background here for those of you who don’t know me. 

I grew up in a household that was decidedly “down” on guns.  My parents weren’t as bad as some anti-gun folks out there, but nothing that could be mistaken for a gun was allowed in the house or (if my parents were around) in our hands.  Then at summer camp, when I was 8 or 9, I spotted “air-rifles” on the list of things to do for the week and decided that although I had no idea what an “air-rifle” was I knew it was something my parents wouldn’t let me do so heck yes I was going to put that on my list for the week (that criteria made up a signifigent portion of how I decided to do alot of things)!  I had a blast, and at the end of the week I had earned my first level award for air-rifles (I don’t recall now what the requirements were, but I remember being immensely proud that my scores were better on average than most of the other kids).  I was hooked, and every summer there after I made sure that the air-rifle course was the first thing I put down for each year.  The summer I was 14 though I was given the opportunity to go overseas, and that killed my summer camp career.  I didn’t touch another air rifle (or any sort of firearm) again till I was 29.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a family of hunters.  His dad still hunts both turkey and deer every year for as many weekends as he can (usually including Thanksgiving weekend), and my husband was taught at a young age how to handle guns, and got his Junior Hunting Permit as young as allowed.

Not to long after we started dating we went out to the New York State Fair, which is held not all that far away in Syracuse NY.  That year the National Guard (I think?) had a booth with an air rifle setup.  The targets (metal plates) were contained in a heavy canvas tent to keep any ricocheting BBs from harming passersby.  I said what the heck and sat down to give it a try.  Twelve BBs, twelve targets down, and my future father-in-law turned to my future husband and informed him to never ever piss me off when I had a gun in my hands.  My future husband laughed and said he had no intention of pissing me off ever, gun or not.

 My future FIL offered to take me shooting, but the timing never worked out, probly just as well since I would have promptly wanted one of my own and the apartment I was living in didn’t allow firearms.  But at the end of this past summer we bought a house of our own, and one of his first visits after we finally got moved in was to bring over a well used Mossburg shotgun as a housewarming gift.  It took some time, and the advice of James Rummel (with the suggestion of low recoil shot, thank you) to get me comfortable with it.  Although I weigh at least 50lbs over what I should I’m still a “little girl” by most other definitions and was quite literally knocked on my butt the first couple times.  But I managed, and I can now put the shot on target, though not always the bullseye, every time.

So this past January we got tired of the numerous tree rats running around.  I realize they’re a fact of life reguardless of where you live, and in the sort of landscape we’re in they ARE going to be around…..but after the 10th time I caught one pulling the top off my bird feeder to get at the seed inside I informed my husband that something had to be done. 

The shotgun would be overkill and would probly annoy the neighbors even in our hunter friendly area, so we headed out and bought THIS air rifle at our local Gander Mountain.*  For those of you who don’t want to click its a Ruger Air Hawk .177 caliber air rifle.  Puts out a pellet at 1000 feet per second.  Has fiberoptic sights the barrel, and comes with a scope.  The paperwork that comes with it states it should be considered dangerous at a distance of up to 575 yards.  Squirrels are legal to shoot as pests in NY state year round.  There WILL be a few less in my yard next winter.  I will say, for anyone who might be considering buying this or similer, the muzzle breaks to load as well as prime the air piston, and it is a heavy pull to do so.  I’m not a weakling, but if it was much heavier I’d not be able to do this myself, if you’re considering this for a younger (or smaller) person keep in mind the relative strength required.  Of course needing an adult to load it for them does create the additional precaution of always needing an adult on hand for supervision as well, not nessecarly a bad thing. 

I had intended to sight it in and start using it right away, but I ran into a problem I should have expected and didn’t.  The pellets are small enough that I can’t load the gun while wearing winter gloves, and the rifle only holds one pellet at a time.  This means that I’m constantly taking off and putting back on at least one glove.  My hands are NOT tolerant of the cold, the combined result of frostbite damage when I was 16 and arthritis now.  I lasted less than 10 minutes in the cold that first weekend.  Since the sites were screwed 10ways to sunday, and I’ve never actually had to adjust sites before, it was slow going.  I didn’t get very far before my hands hurt so much I could barely pull the trigger much less load another pellet.

I’ve been impatiently waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get it sighted in.  The fiber-optic sights were nice to work with dispite the frustration of the settings, and I want to play around with the scope too since I’ve never used one of those either.  Unfortunetly the warming trend thats sitting over the area right now is supposed to end Friday night.  By Saturday it’ll be back below freezing with a high likely hood of snow.  Bleh.  I was hoping to be able to go out back and put holes in more paper-plates!

*Disclaimer, we bought this gun with our own money and are receiving no kickback or payment in any form for this post or review.


Cars

Although in many ways I’m quite enjoying my ’07 Dodge Caliber, I really really really miss my ’91  Honda Civic right now.  I have so far, just this winter alone, gotten the Caliber hung up on snow banks 6 seperate times.  In the 11 years I drove the Civic I NEVER got it hung up on a snow bank (maybe because it was so low to the ground it couldn’t, but thats besides the point). 

The Caliber is currently sitting at an angle to the driveway waiting for my husband to get home and give me a push after I backed into the snowbank again. (I was trying to turn around to back in the garage and once again found the snowbank at the edge of the drive.  It doesn’t help that the Caliber is just tall enough that I can’t SEE the snowbanks out the back window.)


Random thought

I love living outside of the city.  I love not being even in a major town.  The peace and quiet is awesome, and if I decide I want noise instead I can turn up the stereo as loud as I can stand and not worry about the neighbors knocking on my door.  And I got to watch a possum trot down my driveway this morning.  No idea what he was doing up and about that time of day, but he wasn’t acting sick in anyway, most likely a snowmobiler disturbed him and my driveway was a convenient path out of the 2ft of snow the yard would have required him to cross.  Only way I’d have seen him by the apartment in the city was after someone hit him.  Instead I got to watch him trot down the drive and into the woods behind.  How cool is that?


Blog design

Ok, since I’ve started get at least a few page views from differing sources I’d like some feed back on the site colors.  Are they easy to read or do they strain your eyes?  I can’t make up my mind personally, I picked the current colors on a whim to start with, so if they ARE causing problems for anyone please let me know so I can consider other options.


More snow

The view out my front and back windows a couple hrs ago:


For reference, the pump in the front yard is only about 20 feet from the window, and the pine only about 5 beyond that….

Edited to add: I didn’t realize till I was looking at these pictures just how much of a “bump” each of the posts or fixtures must be sitting on.  I can tell you from walking around in the yard to refill bird feeders and the like that majority of the yard is knee deep on me!


Dog Specific Legislation

Last year (2010) a city not to far from where I went to college enacted a piece of breed specific legislation.  Specifically that any “pitbull” must be muzzled when leaving the house.  Now I did scan the law itself, but I didn’t read every line, I’m not a lawyer and legaleze gives me a headache, so I’m not going to promise I’m getting every single fact right.

Also, before I go any further, this is one of those “hot button” type issues, SO, if you’re going to comment or enter discussion here on this topic keep it polite.  Flaming, or posts that I decide approach flaming too closely, will be deleted.  If you’re one of those folks who supports your side of the issue so staunchly that you cannot even see someone comment on the other side with out trying to prove them wrong as firmly and loudly as possible because “they’re WRONG!!!” don’t bother to post here.  I’ve yet to see one of you who doesn’t descend into flaming eventually.  I will delete your posts.

If you still want to read further click below.
At some point in the last year Worcester MA decided that they had too big a problem with dog attacks and decided the best way to combat the problem was to require all “pitbulls” to wear a muzzle in public.  Various places promptly went up in flames as comments and discussions on the topic became heated.

During one of those discussions I pointed out that the legislation won’t work if for no other reason than that the average person, including the average police office and animal control officer CAN NOT correctly ID an American Pitbull when one is set amongst a group of similarly built dogs.  Another person, a dog owner, responded that “muzzles weren’t so bad…so what was the harm”  and besides, they’re not going to enforce the law like that, its just so that “they have another fine to throw at the owner” in the case of another problem cause after all its the owners that are the problem.  I stopped posting any further in that discussion at that point because it was very clear that that person, along with a bunch others, were simply never going to get the point.

Because its a proven fact, a HUGE percentage of other breeds/crosses are regularly mistaken as pitbulls.  There was even a case where a pedigreed Lab was mistaken for a pitbull by both witnesses AND animal control (I can’t find the link to the case online right now, it was a few years ago so its probably archived at this point, if someone knows where to find it let me know please).  Which means that first of all a large percentage of those “pitbull” attacks are likely done by other breeds, and 2nd there’s no way to reliably be sure that your dog won’t be “determined to be a pitbull” by the appropriate authority and that the judges won’t side with that authority because, afterall, they “are an officer of the law and therefor know what they’re doing” (seriously, judges do that, they aren’t supposed to, but they’re human).

The 2nd issue I have is that breed specific legislation DOESN’T WORK.  Yes a person attacked, or just plain bitten, by a pitbull, pitbull cross, or rottweiler/cross (or one of several similar breeds) is more likely to sustain serious injury or death.  They are generally very strong dogs.  But if you compare the overall number of attacks by pitbulls to the overall percentage of the breed population, the number of attacks isn’t that much larger than by other breeds.  That other poster was correct about one thing, its the owners that are the real problem.  The reason being that once the problem owners finally decide that owning a pitbull (or other problem breed) isn’t worth the legal hassle (a fact that some of them never learn) they just go get a different breed of dog, treat it the exact same way, and end up with the exact same problems with the new breed of dog.  Many of the cities that have had breed specific legislation in force for a while have NOT have a signifigent drop in dog bites or attacks.  They may have had a drop in attacks by the specific breed, but not overall, and in some cases the overall number of bites/attacks has actually gone UP.

If you really want to solve your dog bite/attack problem by changing your laws do something intelligent.

First of all enforce (or create and then enforce) your leash laws.  Create actual penalties that mean something for when dogs that are caught off leash off the owner’s property or in otherwise non-off leash areas.  Many cities that are creating breed specific legislation already have leash laws that they don’t enforce until its to late for the dog’s victim (or the dog themselves when they get hit by a car).

Second change (or create) the dog leash and BITE laws to be specific to the owner not the dog.  Yes a dog that attacks other dogs or people needs to be retrained at the very least.  I have no problem with that and think it ought to be required after-all maybe the owner just hasn’t a clue how to train their dog and needs help.  But what about the owner who owns a string of dogs that have bitten or attacked other animals or people?  Keep track of THAT record and by the 3rd or 4th offense by the OWNER (regardless of how many dogs are actually involved) there should be serious penalties (beyond being told no more dogs, cause seriously? They don’t care if the law says they can’t have another dog any more than they care that the law says they aren’t supposed to have a pitbull in some cities), penalties beyond a monetary fine, something approaching mandatory jail time.  And then enforce it. 

Ok, I guess I did rant afterall!


Beer Bread

Ok, so those of you who actually know me know that I don’t drink alcohol, except for very very rare vodka milkshakes (which shall have to be a whole ‘nother post).  But when I ran across a recipe a while back for beer bread I had save it to try at some point.  After all I love bread, in almost any form, and although I can’t stand beer I was pretty sure that it would end up like a different tasting sourdough.

I was right.  Just had my first couple slices off the hot loaf with some chedder cheese and its awesome.  The residual beer odor isn’t enough to throw me off and it tastes awesome.  I used Saranac Pale Ale (grabbed at a random off the shelf since I don’t drink the stuff).  Here’s the recipe I used, originally found here, though there are a selection of almost identical recipes floating around teh interwebs.

3 cups (sifted!) all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12ounce) can or bottle of beer of your choice (yes the alcohol matters, non-alcoholic won’t work)
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix dry ingredients, stir in beer.  Pour batter into well greased loaf pan, and smooth out the top as best you can.  Pour melted butter on top and set in the oven (place a piece of tin foil underneath unless you really want to be cleaning up burnt butter off the bottom of your oven).  Bake for 1hr.  Should be nicely golden all over when done.  Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting.  Enjoy!


Snow

Ok, I know I live in Central NY state, and the nearest major city wins the Golden Snowball on a regular basis.  But enough is enough.  We’re well past the “average” for the season at this point.  Can it please just stop snowing???!!!