Thursday, March 29, 2012


I started drinking wine about 2.5 years ago, after my wife and I enjoyed our trip to Italy. Great time. I never spent too much time on wine prior to this... my previous experiences with wine were that they were too sweet (white wines that I'd had), or they made the area at the back of my jaw hurt (red wines).

I have since learned that there really is a difference between the grapes, and the region where the grape is grown. I won't go into details, because I'd fudge it all up, but in a nutshell, I find that I really like a good red wine with lots of fruits and low on the tannins. My current red of choice is Inferi. It's a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, from Italy. The flavors are full and have some oakiness to them, which helps make it a really smooth drink. In addition, there are a couple Spanish wines that I find I really enjoy, as well. Real de Aragon is a nice bargain with good flavors and low tannins (that's what made my jaw hurt, I've learned), that pairs well with lots of food. I love this as a table wine. I've also found that I enjoy Marquez de la Concordia Crianza, which is also a very nice to drink wine. Lately, I've picked up a couple bottles of Cubo, which is a tempranillo from Spain that also works really well...

I don't drink often, but I do drink about once a week. I find that enjoying a movie and a nice glass of wine is a good combination as I get older.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long Weekend

Technically, not for me, as I'll be working Friday and Monday, but for the family. The wife will be taking a girls' trip to Vegas with her best friend and a couple other ladies, leaving me alone with three kids.

Now the question for me is, how does one spend a long weekend alone with the kids? There aren't exactly any family-friendly movies out that we haven't already seen, and I don't know how excited I am to spend the weekend at home trying to keep them satiated.

I suppose I could take them to the Zoo, or the Aquarium, but I'm not a big fan of either of those. Maybe I should take the kids to Sea World. They'd probably enjoy that, but I don't know if I could handle 3 kids alone at the park.

Taxes are paid, so we are no longer swimming in wealth, but we've still got a bit packed away, which is nice. I guess we'll just make sure we get out to eat once or twice and try to make the most of it. Perhaps a trip to the national forest is called for.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Makes a Hero?

I was reading on another blog that I occasionally frequent, and there was a question that was posed in one of the posts, "does serving in the military make you a hero?"

Being a lawyer, my first answer was, of course, "it depends."

But then I thought about it. Timothy McVeigh was in the military. So was the defendant in the Fort Hood shootings. PFC England. Bradley Manning. Countless military members have been convicted and sentenced for crimes committed during service and after service. I had the duty of being a prisoner escort as one of my supplemental duties in the Air Force at my last duty station, and among the drug users and rapists that I escorted, I also had the chance to pick up an Airman who had been convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography while on a military base.

I have a hard time considering these individuals heroes.

But perhaps these are the exceptions that prove the rule? So I looked at the question a little more abstractly. By mere act of service, does that make one a hero? I mean, in reality, you become a military member by (1) Passing a physical, (2) signing a contract, and (3) making a promise (an oath of enlistment is little more than a formalized promise). Does satisfaction of those three elements in and of themselves qualify someone a a hero? Does it take something more, like successfully completing boot camp? Is there a lodestar service term that qualifies one as a hero, such as 6 months or 2 years, or 4 years?

I served 8 years in the Air Force, and by most accounts, without distinction. I struggled with my weight, however, I was promoted to Staff Sergeant in advance of the average. I complained, a lot, but I did my job, usually satisfactorily or better, depending on the day. I volunteered when I felt the urge, but I never consistently went above and beyond. Does the fact that I received an honorary discharge make me a hero? I sure don't feel like one, and I'd venture to say that the majority of men and women with whom I served felt or feel the same way, both about me and themselves.

I don't know what makes a hero. Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective. Interesting question to consider. Military members are people who volunteer to go into harm's way, sacrifice their Constitutional rights, and do so for pay that civilian counterparts would scoff at (I was offered a contract job when I separated that would have paid - to start - about 3-5k more per year than I made as an NCO, with full benefits). Is it possible that "the military" is heroic while the individual members need to be considered on a case-by-case basis?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Bragging on My Boy

So my oldest is 13. We refer to him as "the Boy." Good kid, sharp, mostly responsible, though can be a bit stubborn from time to time.

At any rate, we knew he was a sharp one from the beginning (all of my kids are pretty sharp; I think it comes from their mom's genes). We got some confirmation when he was added to the school's gifted and talented programs in elementary school (GT), and was placed in Pre-AP classes upon entering Jr. High.

This year, he was asked to take part in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). This meant that he got to take the ACT, and based on his scores, he qualified to take part in the summer program, which means The Boy is going to College for a month this summer.

We are quite excited for him. He'll be sending in his applications for classes this week, and when he's done, we'll get to figure out where we'll be sending our hard-earned money and our rather sharp young man for the summer.

I'm not sure how many kids get to take part in this every year, but I know I was never afforded the opportunity, so I'm very excited for him.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Good Ole PNW

So I'm writing to y'all from the beautiful city of Lakewood, Washington... the land of Koto Teriyaki. And where your inimitable author matriculated from high school (yes, I had a permit for that).

It's been nice so far, visiting the family. Today we drove down to Mt. St. Helens, drove up the highway a bit so we could find a wilderness park from which we could gaze upon the direction where we'd see the mountain had there not been Washington State Cloud Cover blocking all vision in all directions from January through the third week of August.

The kids enjoyed it nonetheless, as we drove into the blast zone (the part of the park where the eruption reached). Great times were had by all enjoying the snow, the scenery and their dad freaking out driving over bridges that weren't quite secure looking enough for dad while passing over chasms over 600 feet high.

I was disappointed that we didn't get to see the mountain, but I can't say that I'm entirely surprised. I did hope that by getting up closer that we'd at least be able to see something of the mountain, but we settled for Toutle River, seeing the blast area there.

Such a good time. We enjoy the quality time with the family, and the strawberry rhubarb pie was better than I thought it would be, so it's win-win.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Monday, Monday

We're heading off to Vacation in a couple days, so I figured I'd take a moment before getting down to work for the day and post an update on here.

After more or less ignoring the blog for the better part of a year, I figured it was about time I started putting something on here, though I'm fairly certain Bruce is the only one who still reads it, and he doesn't appear to have a blog of his own anymore.

I found that I got myself a little too involved in politically-oriented posts before I took my break, and I think I'm going to try to make a conscious effort to do less of that on this blog and be a little bit lighter in fare here.

I hope y'all (Bruce) don't mind.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

In about a week, we start our spring break vacation. For the second consecutive year, we will be flying back to where we went to high school and the better half went to college.

We like the PNW, though we will be saddened some that some of our blog friends have left the area. I am not opposed to living in the greater Texas Gulf Coast region, per se, but there are times where I do think it would be nice to have family somewhere relatively nearby.

It'll be nice, though. Our week is more or less packed, Aquarium, Ferry, Volcano, Crossing the border, Public Market, etc. It should be fun, but I somehow think we'll be more tired when we're done than we were before we left.

And it'll be nice to eat some good Asian restaurant food

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Due to the High Demand

I present you with two (2) pictures of your inimitable blogger in action at the 28th Annual Unified Tae Kwon Do Invitational Championships. I'm the guy who looks more like a marshmallow. The first image is from my first round match, which I lost, and the second image is from my second round match, which I won.