April 25, 2004

Woo Hoo! A Composter!

Seriously! I've always wanted a composter. I've seen the ones for sale at Home Depot and Lowes, etc., but I've always wanted one that was home made. I finally got around to looking up some composter help pages and found the plans for one I liked. It was over at a website called Digitalseed.com. It's a stackable bin. You add the green waste into it. As it becomes time to turn the compost, you remove the top layer of the bin, set it on the ground and then take the compost off of the top and put it into the layer you just set on the ground. Then, you add the second layer of the bin, add more compost, etc. I gave Mike a list of what I needed, he picked them up after work, one day last week, and then assembled it over Saturday for me, while I was at work. Today, I was pulling weeds around the backyard and tossing them into the bin. Anytime we mow the lawn, that will be added too.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:31 PM | Comments (4)

April 22, 2004

Just When You Thought That You Had Seen the Worst in People

California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Steiner


I consider myself pretty jaded as far as some things go. But this, this really makes me ill. Can you imagine the mentality of someone who just, for whatever reason, wants to kill someone from law enforcement? A man he didn't know, who was married and had two children.

Teenager arrested in killing of CHP officer outside courthouse

By The Associated Press

A 16-year-old suspect who authorities said was out to kill any police officer he could find was arrested today in the shooting death of a California Highway Patrol officer.

“It’s clear the motive was to kill a police officer but not this specific police officer,” Pomona Police Chief James Lewis said. “It’s like losing a member of the family.”

CHP Officer Thomas J. Steiner, 35, was shot three times about 3 p.m. Wednesday while standing in front of the Pomona South Courthouse. The driver of a car stepped out from behind the wheel and opened fire, witnesses told police.

The shooter returned to the car and sped away.

Lewis did not name the teenager or provide further details about the motive but said the suspect splits his time between residences in Pomona and Fontana. He was arrested in Pomona at 2:50 a.m.

The courthouse is in eastern Los Angeles County. Steiner was there to testify in uniform in traffic cases. The Long Beach resident died at Pomona Valley Hospital about 7 p.m.

A vehicle fitting the description of the shooter’s car was found in a truck yard near the Superior Court in Pomona. But it was unclear if it was the car was used by the shooter.

CHP spokesman Tom Marshall in Sacramento said Steiner graduated from the CHP academy in 1999 and was assigned to the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office. He enforced transportation laws. Steiner was the 201st CHP officer killed in the line of duty, officials said.

He is survived by his parents, a wife, a 3-year-old son and a 13-year-old stepson, said Officer Armando Clemente, a CHP spokesman.

AP-WS-04-22-04 1210EDT

Publish Date:April 22, 2004

Another article from the Los Angeles Times:

CHP Officer Is Fatally Shot in a Drive-By

The five-year veteran is struck outside a Pomona courthouse after testifying in traffic cases.

By Andrew Blankstein, David Pierson and Monte Morin, Times Staff Writers

A drive-by gunman shot and killed a California Highway Patrol officer in front of a Pomona courthouse Wednesday, moments after the officer had testified in a series of minor traffic cases, authorities said.

The officer, Thomas Steiner, 35, was struck repeatedly in the attack and suffered one gunshot wound to the head, authorities said. The five-year CHP veteran died at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

"I'm very, very saddened, but I'm mad," said D.O. "Spike" Helmick, CHP commissioner. "It made absolutely no sense. We'll keep on going through the night and catch the guy and give comfort to the victim's family. That's all we can do."

Steiner, a 1999 police academy graduate and the father of two, worked out of the CHP's Santa Fe Springs station. Steiner's wife was among those who held vigil at the hospital Wednesday evening, and his mother was flown in by helicopter from her home in Orange County.

The CHP and the Pomona Police Department launched a manhunt for the killer, who was believed to have used a stolen car. A vehicle fitting the description of the car was found near the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pomona, in a truck yard.

Steiner, in uniform, was shot about 2:50 p.m. as he walked to his patrol car. He was 200 feet from the courthouse steps and was preparing to cross 7th Street to a parking lot when a red car rolled to a stop nearby, witnesses said.

A man with a shaved head stepped out from behind the wheel, raised a handgun and fired four shots, striking Steiner three times. The gunman stepped back into the car and sped away, witnesses told police.

CHP Assistant Chief Art Acevedo said Steiner had testified in five traffic citations in Division One of the former municipal courthouse.

The motive for the shooting was a mystery, authorities said. "We don't know if there's a connection to the testimony," Acevedo said.

The gunfire caused confusion at the Civic Center complex, which includes two courthouses and the Pomona Police Department. Some courtrooms were locked. Others said they did not realize anything had happened.

"People did hear shots, but they didn't think anything about it," said a prosecutor, who asked not to be identified.

"You just don't think about things like that happening so close to home…. People are still trying to figure out what happened."

Acevedo knew the slain officer personally and said that he had been a well-respected lawman, an expert marksman and a loyal sports fan.

Steiner lived in Long Beach and was wearing the dark blue jumpsuit of a CHP special detail officer. He enforced transportation laws, and his duty vehicle was a white Camaro, said CHP Assistant Chief Chris Madigan.

Officials said Steiner had a 3-year-old son and a 13-year-old stepson.

Police appealed to the public for help Wednesday. Anyone with tips was asked to call (800) 835-5247 — Tell CHP — or the Pomona police at (909) 620-2156.

Authorities said they were searching for a red, 1987 four-door Nissan with the California license plate 2HFW777. The vehicle has been reported stolen and may have been involved in the shooting, authorities said.

Outside the courthouse Wednesday night, dozens of officers picked over the parking lot for clues. Steiner's jumpsuit and shirt were in bloody tatters lying on the entrance to the driveway, his badge and name tag in view.

Helmick said Wednesday's shooting comes at a time when police agencies throughout the state have seen officers killed or injured by gunmen. "Every year, we have officers killed. In the last week and a half, we've had four officers — in Watsonville, San Francisco and Merced — shot at point-blank range…. It's very, very disheartening. These young people that have their whole lives ahead of them."

Posted by Valkyre at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

Sorry If I Blocked Anyone From Posting Comments

I got nailed by a couple of blog spammers over the weekend. When I went to block their ISP's, I guess I prevented a few other people from being able to post comments, including me!!!! Anyway, I deleted those two off my "blocked ISP" list for now. Hopefully, that will clear things up.

Posted by Valkyre at 05:14 PM | Comments (2)

April 19, 2004

I Should Have Listened to My Inner Voice

I went and grabbed a pretty ragged pair of jeans for work today. The knee had a large horizontal tear in it. That didn't bother me as much as the slight hole below the pocket in the rear. Something told me to just toss this pair in the garbage and grab another. But, I didn't listen. As I was working today, though, I noticed that every time I bent over to do anything, I kept hearing a tearing sound. I noticed that the little tear in the back was now about 3 inches long. So, I went out to my car and grabbed my sweatshirt and wore it tied around my waste. Good thing I had it. Eventually the other side started to tear too. Pretty soon they were both about 6 inches long, and one could see my underwear. Fortunately, the only ones to see me are a bunch of dogs and puppies, and maybe the owners, if they pop in. But, the sweatshirt covered everything up, just in case.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:05 PM | Comments (4)

April 18, 2004

A Box Every Weekend

Mike and I have trouble throwing things out. Unfortunately, when you can't throw things out, they start to accumulate. So, I end up tossing these things in boxes. And, the boxes end up out going into our unfinished addition (rec room). (The reason it is unfinished is because it became the final resting place for a lot of useless shit.) Anyway, I decided last week that every Sunday, I am going to go through one box. I will either throw things in the trash, give them to Goodwill, or, if I keep it, find a place for it. As I am going through these boxes, I am wondering to myself, "Why did I even keep this!?" At the time, I must have seen some future use for some of this stuff. But, it's been now sitting around for months, years? And, I haven't even looked at it again. So, about 90% of the junk in the boxes is now in the trash. Next week, another box. So, hopefully, I will whittle down the pile in there, so the addition can be finished.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:02 PM | Comments (2)

April 16, 2004

How To Tell That There Was A Power Outage While You Were Gone

You come home and find that every computer in the house has re-booted, your VCR has a red light flashing on and off. Things that you know you left one when you went out the door are now off. And, your, a little over a year old, so it's out of warranty, fancy, shmancy, Panasonic cordless, talking Caller ID telephone/digital answering maching is going beserk. Every friggin' light on the thing was blinking rapidly. Some are green, some are red, so it almost looked like Christmas. And, the display had a nice "E3" flashing on and off with the lights. Which is technical jargon for, "You're screwed! Your phone is toaster-caked and now you will be spending this weekend looking for a replacement!" Which, I can guarantee, will NOT be a Panasonic.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2004

Snatch

I loved this movie! It was written and directed by Guy Ritchie. He also did one called "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I haven't seen that one, but it git good reviews. Anyway, this one was great! I noticed that this one was also in the top 250 over on the Internet Movie Database. Anyway, here's a synopsis from the IMDB:

Turkish and his rather strange accomplice Tommy get pulled into the world of match fixing by the notorious Brick Top. Things get complicated when the boxer they had lined up gets the shit kicked out of him by Pitt, a 'pike' as they call him. They then try to convince Pitt not only to fight for them, but to lose for them too. Whilst all this is going on, a huge diamond heist takes place, and a fistful of motley characters enter the story, including 'Cousin Avi', 'Boris The Blade', 'Franky Four Fingers' and 'Bullet Tooth Tony'. Things go from bad to worse as it all becomes about the money, the guns, and the damned dog!

Summary written by Filmtwob {webmaster@filmfreak.co.za}

Posted by Valkyre at 09:16 PM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2004

Happy Easter!

Here's hoping that everyone has a Happy Easter! This is our bunny, Henry. He's a "mini-rex". We got him to sit still in the Easter basket long enough to get this shot.

Posted by Valkyre at 02:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2004

Snow Falling On Cedars

I just watched this one tonight. I really, really liked it. It's part love story, part courtroom drama. Ethan Hawke plays a character name Ishmael Chambers who, as a young boy fell in love with a young Japanese girl named Hatsue Miyamoto (Youki Kudoh). The setting is in Washington state. They have to keep their relationship a secret though. Hatsue's mother only wants her to date Japanese boys. Then, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and everything changes. Hatsue, and her family, along with all the other Japanese who live in the town are rounded up and taken to the Manzanar concentration camp. While there, Hatsue writes Ishmael a "Dear John" letter and marries Kazuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune), another internee, who was also from the same town she was. He eventually enlists in the military and comes home highly decorated. After they are released, they return to their hometown and start a family. The story really revolves around an incident that happens in the 1950's. Distrust and prejudice against people of Japanese decent is still strong in this town.

A fisherman turns up dead, tangles in his fishing net underwater. A tragic accident, right? Nope..... Not if the last person to have seen him is Kazuo Miyamoto. So, he is rounded up and brought to trial for murder. Ishmael still has strong feelings for Hatsue, but she really doesn't want anything to do with him. By this time, she has had two children with Kazuo. I really don't want to give too much away, just in case anyone wants to watch it, but it is a really good movie.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2004

Babysitting A Newborn

This little black and white blur is a little Shih Tzu pup that we are babysitting for two weeks. The owners, of the kennel where I work, bought him and had him flown in from the breeders in Idaho. He's eight weeks old. They want to quarantine him, in a way, to make sure that he doesn't have any puppy illnesses that he could pass on to the rest of the puppies at the kennel. So, we are going to watch him for those two weeks and keep and eye on him. He's up to date on all his puppy inoculations, but they just want to play it safe. We will miss him when he has to go back. He's a little cutie. I'm sure he has a fancy AKC type name since he's a registered pure bred. But, we've taken to calling him "Squirt". And, he will answer to that name.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2004

Helter Skelter and a Dachshund Named Cleo

You are probably wondering what the hell that title means.... It is in reference to an incident that happened years ago.... Make that a few of decades ago. When I was growing up, we had a dachshund named Cleopatra, Cleo for short. At night, she slept in her doghouse, right at the bottom of the back door steps. She was also put on a small chain at night that was about 8 feet long.

One night, my best friend Peggy came over to my house to spend the night. Typical kids, we stayed up way too late watching TV. They were rebroadcasting a "made for TV movie" called Helter Skelter, which was based on the book of the same name. For those who don't know, it was about Charles Manson and his "family" and the murders they commited back in the 60's. (Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, etc.) Anyway, it was a four hour mini-series and they happened to show the first two hours late this particular night. I don't think it ended until about 1:00am.

The scene that sticks out most in my mind was at the very end. Charles Manson had been arrested and the trail was already underway. The prosecutor looks down at his watch and notices that it has stopped. He looks up then and looks right at Manson and noticed that Manson has been looking at him the whole time. When they make eye contact, Manson starts laughing. Of course, it is implying that he somehow stopped the watch. As far as I know, the whole thing could have been total BS. All I know, is that when you are young and impressionable, you will believe almost anything. Okay, my friend and I are now scared. It was time to go to bed. But, we weren't going to sleep in the house. No, we were going to sleep inside my parents trailer. Now, earlier in the day, that sounded fun. But, when it is 1:00am and you are scared, it's not so fun anymore. The house I grew up in was on a deep lot. The garage was all the way back into the backyard, with a long, long driveway to the street. The trailer sat in front of the garage. Back then, there were no streetlights, or backyard sodium vapor lights, or any of the security things we have now. It was pitch black. We went out onto the back porch and looked at the ten feet of sidewalk we would have to negotiate down to the driveway. We would also have to pass the entrance to the backyard, which was dark and had this huge, now scary looking tree, inside. At this time, Manson and his followers were locked up safely in their cells. But, my friend and I just knew that they were somewhere in the shadows, ready to jump out at us. We came down the steps and stood in front of the doghouse. The path to the trailer looked about 100 feet long from here. As we were getting up the nerve to walk down the path into the trailer, Cleo suddenly realized that there was a stranger in her midst. And she let us know. She lunged from the doghouse snapping, snarling and barking. She never touched us though. As soon as we heard that noise, we both screamed bloody murder. We easily made the ten foot path. Not only that, we bolted past the trailer, down the driveway and onto the sidewalk in fron of the house. And, we ran even further down the street. All this while screaming at the top of our lungs. It wasn't until we were about five houses down from ours, that we realized exactly what had happened. And then, we both started laughing, hysterically. Even with all that noise, we didn't wake up my parents, or any of the neighbors. But, it did put everything in perspective, and it was no problem for us to make our way back up the dark driveway and into the trailer.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)