Category Archives: About me

Quality time with some good books

I spend a lot of time in the car. I drive from location to location and do inspections of a nature I will not reveal for a company that will remain nameless out of respect for their undoubted desire to remain out of my political activities. I will go so far as to say that I work for an insurance company and leave it at that.

In any case, I’ve been driving a great deal since I started the job over 7 years ago and it’s only just occurred to me that perhaps listening to Pandora Radio (and Sirius Satellite Radio before that) all day long isn’t making me any smarter. A working knowledge of music that can be loosely categorized as Electronic Dance Music has helped me to catch the cultural reference during an episode of the really great TV show Grimm, but I have a feeling that if I just read a few of the more well known books I might at least feel a bit smarter for all the time invested.

For very good reason, the NC State Troopers frown on reading actual books while driving so I’ve turned to the Wake County Library’s extensive audiobook collection. And by “very extensive,” I mean “I didn’t know that many audiobooks existed, let alone in one easily searched, easily ordered, conveniently located place.” And that’s just the ones on physical audio CDs. They have more that are downloadable.

When I received my new company car, I found that Chevrolet had kindly installed a USB port that allowed me to connect a flash drive to the radio. Neat! I already had ripped most of Harry Potter, so I put it on a flash drive and I listened to it again, all the way to Book 4. Then I discovered the Aubrey-Maturin novels. These books were the basis for the Russell Crowe movie, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. The books, not surprisingly, are even better than the movie. I am working my way through them at a prodigious pace. I’ve read the books up to book 13 and I just finished listening to book 10. I cannot recommend them highly enough. This leaves me with a serious problem. I’ll be done with book 20, and the series, in just a month or two. Then what? What should I listen to then?

I’ve combined one of the online “100 books to read before you die a horrible death because some idiot wasn’t paying attention during his morning commute” lists with the Wake County Public Library’s helpful online card catalog (we can still call it that even though the cards are virtual, right?) and I’ve developed the following list of books to borrow and listen to. This list is alphabetical by author’s last name.

Title Author
Watership Down Adams, Richard
Little women Alcott, Louisa May
Pride and prejudice Austen, Jane
Sense and sensibility Austen, Jane
Persuasion Austen, Jane
Emma Austen, Jane
Jane Eyre Bronte, Charlotte
Wuthering Heights Brontë, Emily
Captain Vorpatril’s alliance Bujold, Lois McMaster
The secret garden Burnett, Frances Hodgson
Ender’s Game Card, Orson Scott
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland Carroll, Lewis
The Canterbury tales Chaucer, Geoffrey
Heart of darkness Conrad, Joseph
Charlie and the chocolate factory Dahl, Roald
Robinson Crusoe Defoe, Daniel
Minority report and other stories Dick, Philip K
A Christmas carol Dickens, Charles
A tale of two cities Dickens, Charles
Great expectations Dickens, Charles
Oliver Twist Dickens, Charles
Crime and punishment Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
Rebecca Du Maurier, Daphne, Dame
The Count of Monte Cristo Dumas, Alexandre
The sound and the fury Faulkner, William
Tender is the night Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Madame Bovary Flaubert, Gustave
Memoirs of a geisha Golden, Arthur
Lord of the flies Golding, William
The wind in the willows Grahame, Kenneth
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy, Thomas
The return of the native Hardy, Thomas
The scarlet letter Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Catch-22 Heller, Joseph
Dune Herbert, Frank
The wailing wind Hillerman, Tony
The Odyssey Homer
The Iliad Homer
The remains of the day Ishiguro, Kazuo
A portrait of the artist as a young man Joyce, James
Ulysses Joyce, James
On the road Kerouac, Jack
To kill a mockingbird Lee, Harper
The lion, the witch and the wardrobe Lewis, C. S
Prince Caspian Lewis, C. S
The horse and his boy Lewis, C. S
The last battle Lewis, C. S
The magician’s nephew Lewis, C. S
The silver chair Lewis, C. S
The voyage of the Dawn Treader Lewis, C. S
The call of the wild London, Jack
The prince Machiavelli, Niccolò
Life of Pi Martel, Yann
Atonement McEwan, Ian
Moby Dick Melville, Herman
Cloud atlas Mitchell, David
Anne of Green Gables Montgomery, L. M.
Lolita Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich
The time traveler’s wife Niffenegger, Audrey
1984 Orwell, George
Animal farm Orwell, George
Frankenstein Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
A town like Alice Shute, Nevil, 1899-1960
Of mice and men Steinbeck, John
The grapes of wrath Steinbeck, John
Dracula Stoker, Bram
Gulliver’s travels Swift, Jonathan
The hobbit Tolkien, J. R. R.
Anna Karenina Tolstoy, Leo, graf
The time machine Wells, H. G.
Charlotte’s web White, E. B.

I am surprised by the number of books on this list that I have never read.

Any suggestions? Did I miss any that you think I should add? Are there any that I should avoid like the plague?

Let Joan’s crying begin

Six days. That’s all it took for Utah to send me a renewed Utah Concealed Firearm Permit. I applied for a renewal on Sunday and I received the new CFP in the mail today. That’s service for you. And the best part is that they renewed it for 5 years from the date of the original CFP’s expiration date, so I’m good until 5-18-2019.

I just made Joan Peterson cry

Long time readers of this blog will remember that I started blogging as a response to Joan Peterson at CommonGunsense.com (no link for her) censoring her comments. Mostly I’ve gotten away from reading or even thinking of her. It’s better for my sanity not to be exposed to her. But today I spent $15.75 just to make her cry.

I just renewed my Utah CFP

utah renewal

So how does renewing my Utah CFP make Joan Peterson cry?

This is my North Carolina CHP reciprocity map.

NCCHP

And here’s the same map with a Utah Non Resident CFP added.

NCCHPplusUtah
Will you look at that! For the princely sum of $15.75, I will may carry a concealed handgun in the state of Minnesota at any time in the next 5 years! And I didn’t even have to get out of my desk chair to do it because Utah makes it an easy online process to renew!

And now you know how $15.75 well spent can make a gun grabber cry for five whole years. For those who want me to actually travel to Minnesota, hit up my PayPal with some travel money and I’ll be more than happy to visit.

You can make your own reciprocity maps HERE.

I get kicked out of a “Memorial Service” at a Catholic Church (*Video*)

I ended up visiting the anti-gun Moms Demand Action, a wholly owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg, Inc’s “Memorial Service” and fundraising event in Durham. I visited for about 30 seconds. Here’s how the News and Observer puts it.

Just before the event started, Haldeman was chatting in the church vestibule when her eyes narrowed. She dashed in front of a dark haired, clean-cut man.

“Sean, you are not welcome here,” she said. “Please leave the premises.”

The man, Sean Sorrentino, left quietly. A gun-rights activist, Sorrentino recently posted on his blog a picture of Mothers Demand Action members gathered in front of a church.

The caption: “Congratulations, you’ve had a child. How does having sex without birth control qualify you to infringe on our rights?”

Here’s the photo they are referring to

Moms Demand

I didn’t make any sort of a disturbance, nor would I have made one, especially inside of a house of worship. I think it’s projection. The Left enjoys disrupting events, so they probably can’t imagine that we wouldn’t return the favor.

ABC11 WTVD actually made me their headline.

Protester thrown out of Durham Sandy Hook vigil

A service was held Saturday in Durham honoring the Newtown school shooting victims and demanding gun reform. Others made their voices heard in favor of gun rights.

Not everyone at the service was in favor of gun restrictions. A man standing across the street called himself a protester and said he was thrown out.

“I am a fairly well known local activist for gun rights. So the organizer recognized me at the door and kicked me out,” protester Sean Sorrentino said. “Why do they want to take away my rights in order to feel better about something some crazy person did?”

Here’s the video

(RSS Readers, Click HERE to view videos)

NewsCarolina 14 also stopped to chat.

But there’s also the other side. Sean Sorrentino said he was banned from the ceremony because he’s a vocal second amendment supporter. He says gun control shouldn’t limit his rights.

“Take a look at these people who are committing this crime and what’s actually happening is that these people have a criminal history. Put them in jail, leave them in jail,” he said.

I should point out that we were talking about violent crime in general, not Sandy Hook in particular when I pointed out the most violent crimes are committed by people with previous convictions.

Here’s the video.

Moms Demand Action, a wholly owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg, Inc, is calling their current fundraiser/blood dancing effort “No More Silence,” but they don’t want to hear from anyone with a differing opinion.

My dog wants to be a “Castle Caretaker” in Slovenia

 I’m not sure who “Pet’s Dialog” is, but I know Slovenia. It’s an awesome country. My wife and I spent 2 weeks touring last year, almost all of it in Slovenia. Someone thought it would be fun to run a contest. Winner gets to be a “Castle Caretaker” in Slovenia, complete with a salary. My dog signed us up. Seems she’s tired of hearing the stories about how much fun we had and wants to see for herself. Vote for us?

IMG_20130826_185207

 

 As I pointed out on Facebook, if you like me, by voting for me you’d be doing something nice. If you don’t like me, voting would mean I live further away. It’s a win either way.

Cloudy with a chance of attacking pit bulls

Dysis, my dog, and I had a bit of excitement this morning. Honestly, I don’t want excitement during my morning dog walk. I want boring. Quiet and boring is even better. But apparently the pit bull that lives on the last ¼ mile of our walk had other plans. She launched out of a yard, came across the street, and charged at us.

At first I dealt with it as before. I stood her off, with my leather sap in my hand just in case. She wouldn’t attack me, but it was pretty clear that she wanted a piece of Dysis. I don’t like the fact that my dog gets hauled around on her choke chain as I try to keep her behind me and away from the pit. She’s on her leash and being a good dog, why should she suffer? I called the cops once I was sure she was planning on staying on what I thought was her property. She was still barking up a storm, which the 911 operator could hear. Then I backed away and took Dysis home.

I was so mad about this dog that I dropped the dog off at home and went back to point the dog out to the cops when they got there. They never came. I sat on the curb across the street. The dog barked and barked at me, but wasn’t interested in attacking me. Tail was low, wagging from 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock. Not friendly, but not a dominant dog about to attack. Also not a terrified dog about to defend herself. I probably sat on the curb for 20 minutes trying to get the dog to come closer. It was about 7:15 am when I suddenly remembered that I actually had to work this morning, which was why I was up at 5:30AM to walk the dog instead of waiting until a reasonable hour.

While I was sitting there, waiting for the cops, one of the neighbors came out to get her morning paper. She thought the dog had cornered me and started yelling at it to go home. I reassured her that I was fine and got her to tell me which house she lived at. It wasn’t the house I originally thought, nor was it the house she was in front of the second time. It was the house in the middle. She evidently thought she owned the whole street.

So there I am, waiting for the cops, with a dog barking at me and I realize that I don’t have all day, I’m actually going to be late for work if I don’t shake a leg. So I thought, “let’s see if I can knock on the owner’s door.” I got up, making the dog run and bark. Then I got to the property and looked at the dog. If she’s going to attack, this is when it’s going to happen, as I invade her territory. She actually got quieter. I walked up the driveway. No problems. I got up to the front door and she ran past me to get up the steps. No barking. In fact, she must have decided that I was an invited guest, so she demanded petting. She’d been barking at me for 20 minutes, but when I went up to her front door, she decided she wanted to be friends. How strange.

When no one answered my knocking, I took her around the side and let her back into her back yard. Yay, problem solved, right? I called the police and let them know the dog was corralled in her yard, and suddenly she was back over the fence barking at me as I walked down the street. Sigh.

With the cops on the way and no way to keep the dog contained, I called my wife, woke her up, and asked her to bring the spare leash to me. Poor woman didn’t really want to be dragged out of bed at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, but she came. The dog thought she was a threat and started barking at her, protecting me. Silly dog. My wife tossed me the leash and I put it on the dog. She didn’t seem to mind.

This still leaves me with the “well now what?” problem. I can’t leave, I can’t stay, and I can’t dump it off on my wife while I go to work. So I took her home. Since I was leaving with the dog, I called the police a third time to let them know what was happening. I walked the ¼ mile home with the dog, tied her to my front porch, and jumped in the shower. Of course, I was still wet when the policeman finally showed up. I handed the dog off to the cop, told the story, and jumped in the car. I was only 4 minutes late to my first appointment, well within the margin of error. Of course, I didn’t get breakfast.

So, no dogs dead. No people injured. No police officers shooting any attacking pit bulls. I’ve done my good deed for the day, but I’ll bet that the owner, when they find him, will still be pissed at me. He can kiss my butt.

You can follow the antics of my dog, Dysis, on her Facebook page.

Post my ride on the internets

I’ve started a new exercise program. It’s called “The New Puppy Program.” Since I’ve gotten a Dutch Shepherd (think Belgian Malinois, except brindle instead of light brown) I’ve had to take the puppy on long walks. She’s high energy, so a slow amble around the block isn’t going to do it. She’s getting 2.5 miles, twice a day from me and anything from a mile to 2.5 miles during the day with my wife. That means 6 to 7.5 miles of walking every day. You’d think she would be more tired!

About a week or so ago I noticed that a friend posted something to his Facebook page from a program called “Map My Walk.” I thought that was pretty cool. I like measurements. I especially like measurements that I don’t have to spend a lot of time recording. It works pretty much automagically. You turn on your phone app and start walking. I’ve use the software to make up some routes, and the program handles all the tedious record keeping. I’ve been posting my walks to Facebook, and when I started riding my bike again this week, I post the rides to Facebook as well.

Miguel, of Gun Free Zone, however, has a problem with this. He asks

is there a reason why you like to publish where is the best places to ambush you while riding a bike?

Just asking

It’s a fair question, but one that takes more explanation than a Facebook comment will allow.

There are three things might be of concern about posting info to Facebook with this mapping app.

  1. It reveals the location of my house
  2. It tells you what route I take when I walk or ride
  3. It might tell you when I am not at home

1. The location of my house – Everyone who cares can find my address. I have a relatively uncommon name, and the internet works. I’m not worried about people knowing where I live, so I’m not concerned that Map My Whatever shows my home location.

2. It tells you what route I take when I walk or ride - Anyone who is interested enough that they might want to attack ME, rather than random passersby, can simply wait outside my house and whack me on my way in or out. They could easily figure out my routine without friending me on Facebook and looking at my map. I’m the only white guy in the neighborhood, and the only person in my immediate neighborhood who walks a dog. I stick out. The app does allow for “live tracking,” but I think that’s creepy and have it turned off. If my wife wants to know where I am, she can call me. The rest of you can hire a private detective or follow me yourselves. If you’re going to be that much of a stalker, do your own work. Alternatively, you could get a dog and walk with me.

3. It might tell you when I am not at home – This is the only serious security concern I have. I do not allow the system to post until I return from my walk, meaning that if you sit around watching your Facebook waiting for my post, you’ll get here just in time to catch me nekkid and on my way to the shower. That would be unfortunate if what you really wanted was to find the house empty so you could steal my stuff. That’s another reason I don’t allow the app to “live track” me. This is also the reason that I never post something that would tell you that I was on vacation.

Security concerns are relative. People like me have relatively low security needs. I carry a gun, I keep my eyes open and my head on a swivel, and I don’t tell people when my house is empty. People like Official Blog Girlfriend Michelle Dockery might have higher security needs. She might not want anyone to know where she lives and has likely taken steps to make sure her address and phone number are unlisted. She also wouldn’t want people to know where and when she walks her dog. I assume she has a dog. She might even hire someone to walk her dog so that she doesn’t expose herself to stalkers. That would be sad, but she does live in England, so she can’t carry a gun to deal with attackers like I can.

I am unlikely to be the target of an assassination attempt. vLadd Everett isn’t going to drive down to Raleigh (even if he’s on the way to his parent’s house) and shoot me in my driveway. I’m annoying, but not that annoying. I just don’t have that type of enemy.

Similarly, I don’t have a reputation for carrying large amounts of money (I’m married. It’s either plastic, or it’s a couple of dollar bills!) and I don’t wear or carry jewelry. My wedding ring cost about $100 and wouldn’t be worth a wooden nickel if you pawned it. No one is going to ambush me in hopes of a fat payday. I do have a reputation for carrying a gun. I’m pretty sure everyone in the neighborhood knows it, because they seem to think I’m a cop. White guy + black neighborhood + suspicious bulge on his right hip = cop, I guess. Now that I’ve cut off my ponytail and I’m walking a dog that looks like a police K9, they will all think their suspicions are confirmed. And if I haven’t been assassinated for being an undercover cop by now, I’m probably ok.

I’m most concerned with random robbery attempts by people that don’t know me. That’s why I carry a gun. And in 6 months, my dog will be a full grown police dog look-alike, making me the last target anyone will want to mess with. Anyone who falls into this category won’t be getting their info about me from Facebook posts.

Sean does Shakespeare

So you might have noticed that there hasn’t been much here on the blog lately. There’s a reason for that. There are only 24 hours in a day, and for some reason I need to sleep for about 8 of them. You know about the new puppy. That, plus trying not to neglect my wife too badly have taken up much of the time that was left over after accounting for the 4 hours a day, 6 days a week I’ve been dedicating to my small part(s) in a local theatre company’s production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

Yeah, I’m acting, what of it?

I’ve always liked Shakespeare, and through a combination of circumstances I ended up seeing their previous show, “Comedy of Errors.” They were pretty good, so I thought I might like to audition. I was cast as Lord/Forest Lord. For those following along in the script, I was actually Second Lord.

My lord, the roynish clown, at whom so oft
Your Grace was wont to laugh, is also missing. 630
Hisperia, the Princess’ gentlewoman,
Confesses that she secretly o’erheard
Your daughter and her cousin much commend
The parts and graces of the wrestler
That did but lately foil the sinewy Charles; 635
And she believes, wherever they are gone,
That youth is surely in their company.

After much study and rehearsal it became apparent that I was the smarter of the two Thug Lords, so I played him as a psychopathic killer. It makes sense, the two people closest to the usurping Duke Frederick would probably be the two who did his dirty work.

The real revelation for me is the character of Celia. Everyone goes on and on about the lead, Rosalind, who dresses as a young boy and harasses her lover, Orlando, by conning him into wooing “him” by the name of Rosalind. But it seems to me that Celia is actually the wheel around which everything else turns.

Much is made of the homosexual overtones of the play, and certainly there are plenty of sly jokes on the subject, but what if one of the major things Shakespeare was trying to say was that the major power to affect the world resided in women?

Rosalind is playing at being a boy, and is doing stereotypically boy things. S(he) is loud, pushy, and the center of attention. But when you look at it, every major decision is actually made by Celia. Celia decides that they will both abandon the court for the forest. Celia tells Rosalind and Touchstone to stop screwing around and ask Corin for food. Celia ratifies the decision to buy the cottage. Celia  berates Rosalind for speaking poorly of women. Celia sets the tone, makes or ratifies all the decisions, and generally is the arbiter of what is good or bad for her group. Celia drives the plot, either directly by making the decisions, or indirectly by causing Rosalind to decide things based upon what Celia wants.

I wonder if Shakespeare was making a sly comment on the true power of women?

It helps that our Celia is Mary Forester, an actress with the power to pull this all off without ever seeming pushy. It’s been a lot of fun working with her, as well as the rest of the cast.

It’s strange to watch something come together as an organic process. We’ve got two dozen people working individually toward a goal we thought we could see from the start. It turns out that we would never have anticipated all the decisions we’ve made along the way. Every decision affects every other decision, sometimes to the point that I couldn’t exactly tell you why we do any one particular thing on stage except to say that it “feels right.” The results are pretty good, though.

A “mixed” review from the News and Observer

The bucolic setting of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” seems a natural for outdoor production. Bare Theatre obliges in Raleigh Little Theatre’s Stephenson Amphitheatre, adding a twist by placing the action in the Appalachian woods, complemented by live old-timey music. The energetic cast offers assorted pleasures, despite having to fight major technical problems.

A more positive review from arts journal CVNC

For the second time this summer, having joined with the circus last May to bring you A Comedy of Errors, Raleigh Little Theatre hosts Bare Theatre to present a unique evening of Shakespearean delights in a presentation of As You Like It. For this performance, the Forest of Arden is to be found in the hills of Appalachia, as PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, sponsors the appearance of the Zinc Kings, whose traditional music suffuses this show with a solid down-home feel.

And even a bootleg video of the final dance number and epilogue. You can see me on the far right hand side of the screen. Yes, I’m dancing.

 

 We’ve got two more performances, Thursday and Friday, the 29th and 30th. Gates open at 6:45PM and the opening band starts at 7PM. Tickets are $15, and you can get them HERE. 

The music is AWESOME. The actors (aside from me) are really talented. Plus food trucks! What else could you ask for a great evening out in Raleigh?

UPDATE: Bonus photo of First Lord (Gary Watts) and Second Lord (me) beating up Rosalind (Whitney Griffin)

Thugs and Rosalind

Photo credit: Bare Theatre.

An NC Gun Blog has a Facebook fan page

I’ve bowed to popular pressure and I have made a Facebook page.

An NC Gun Blog

Give me a “Like” and feel free to share my links with your friends.

Listen to me LIVE on Triangle Tactical Podcast tonight at 7PM

Luke, of Triangle Tactical Podcast is having me on tonight at 7PM to talk about the recent developments in H937, Restaurant Carry +P+. Tune in and listen to all the “umms” and “aaaas” as I try to explain how awesome H937 is for all of us.

Triangle Tactical website

Triangle Tactical Facebook page.

I’ll post a link to download the podcast once we’re done.