Category Archives: outnabout
In it to win it…
I often wonder if embiggen is a real word or if it came about just for the internet. But you should be able to click on it and and make it bigger:
In a related note, I quite like the auto panorama feature my whippy dippy camera has on it. Just hold down the shutter button and move the camera, and (ta da!) a panorama!
Bad glare, but the logos on the sides say “Zombie Response Team” and then there are Umbrella Corporation logos all over. To cap it off, the driver was a – gasp – girl!
Don’t worry, he’s just a puppy. A 120 pound puppy…
Was empty when we started…
I’ve been needing some new hiking boots, as my old ones are 6 years old, have started leaking, and shrank the last time I wore them on a big hike because they got submerged in a stream when I slipped off a wet log (fun times). Went into REI yesterday, and they would have gotten my hard-earned cash except no one there seemed particularly enthused with selling me anything, so I wasn’t enthused to buy. Funny how that works. Anyway, this morning I went down town to the little old shoe store that’s been in business since 1910 or something, was greeted by a cheerful sales lady who made me try on all sorts and sizes till I settled on some Merrel Chameleon mid-height boots. Amazing what a helpful staff will accomplish over an apathetic one.
All leather upper, nice sticky Vibram soles (hopefully to prevent the falling off a log incident from repeating), and a solid, stiff construction. Very comfortable, especially as I also bought some green superfeet insoles to go with them (I have narrow feet with high arches–the superfeet keep me from wallowing around in my shoes, and will hopefully keep me from following in my mother’s footsteps (heh) of large, bothersome foot surgeries).
Looking forward to getting out on some more hikes, now!
I’m taking the day off (Monday was a holiday, then worked yesterday, then today off? SLACKER!) and we’re going to venture out into the mountains go go to the Ouray Hot Springs, one of my favorite places on Earth. Hopefully it won’t snow us out like it did last Christmastime–though it is always fun to sit in the pool with the snow coming down around your ears.
So you all have a nice day, too, I’ll be back this evening if all goes according to plan!
So yeah, it snowed last night, enough to to stick, and I had to choose between driving to work on the interstate, which involved higher velocities than through town, or the town way, which was slower but would have more traffic, stopping and going, and potential for sliding into others. Chose interstate, and got here ok, despite the best efforts of all those people who just don’t get what black ice is. Saw several people on the side of the road, backwards and/or bent, looking perplexed at their vehicles, as if to say “What, you mean my mother was WRONG when she told me that I was a good, rational human being?”
Here’s some hints: If you can see the reflection of the headlights on the road though the skiffs of snow, that means THERE IS ICE. If you can feel your car shimmy and shake a little bit, not only is there ice, but YOU ARE GOING TOO FAST. And for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, please, PLEASE turn on your headlights. Believe me, not only is your life, as idiotic as it is, worth the $10 to replace a headlight bulb if you are worried about burning one out, but MY LIFE IS WORTH IT TOO. I know I’ve said it before, but here it is again: “I don’t care if your goal in life is to die screaming in a fire, as long as you don’t take me with you.”
So made it out to the range yesterday with my rifle (pt1 of my escapades here, pt2 here). We got off 40 rounds before the dark and the cold drove us home, which was enough to get the red dot sighted in and to get a feel for the rifle. We started at the 50 yard berm and then tried a few at the 100 yard–which is about as far as we could go with the red dot, anyway.
I am happy with that, considering that I have been mostly a pistol shooter–and all those holes are within the “dot” of the scope. I could see a person going out further with a red dot if they knew what they were doing, but…
As for the gun, I was pleasantly surprised at how little recoil it had–while it was of course more than my 10/22, it was less than my dad’s .222. More of a “push” than a “jerk”. That’s a semi auto vs a bolt for you. While the 30 some odd rounds I shot might not be enough for a real test, I had no discomfort whatsoever. And again, 40 rounds isn’t enough for a real test, but so far no problems functionality-wise. I love those P-mags, too. So much nicer than the metal one that came with it. The only complaint I might have about it right now is that with the generic stock on it pulls hairs off your face at times.
I hope that I can get out there some more sometime soon. As they say, shooting is converting money into smoke and noise, but it also converts money into experience and skill. Probably ought to spring for a range membership so I don’t have to work around my friend’s schedule.
Oh, and the obligatory shot of the gun (notice the redneck shooting rest!):
It’s a good thing that no one else was there, we spread out over three shooting benches!
As always, fun was had by all.
So through my church (and most churches, I think) there is a program with the Salvation Army where kids who may not be having a great Christmastime get their name put on a tag on a tree in the lobby, and members can pick a kid to buy a present for. Being that I am a bit of a geek, I made sure to pick a kid who wanted LEGOs. And being a bit of a geek, I used this as an excuse to go into the LEGO store that opened in town while I was away at college.
It’s a good thing that this place wasn’t around when I was 12–that probably couple thousand dollars I’ve got sunk into little plastic bricks from years worth of allowances would probably have been doubled. Seriously, BEST STORE EVER.
I walked out with a nice yellow steam roller set for the kid from the tree (slightly crumpled box, about 30% off), and a graduate minifigure and giant raptor for my friend (the one who sends me all the links I use pointing to cool LEGO things) who is graduating from School of Mines next week. Because my order was over $50, I got a free LEGO Star Wars mini set, too! Gotta love it.
If this whole “engineering” thing doesn’t work out, I know what door my shadow is going to be in, begging for work…
…all sorts of things. Word of warning, I am going to be talking about quite a bit of stuff here, none of which is terribly organized, though I hope it all comes together in the end, and I hope there’s enough random interesting stuff to keep you entertained as I wander, if not aimlessly, at least, slightly crookedly, down the paths of my recent experiences.
Yesterday I was at work and my mother called up, saying that her cousin and cousin’s husband from Idaho (who are in the area for Thanksgiving) were coming up to town for the day, and “Do you want to have lunch with us?” Being that my boss was ok with me skipping out for the afternoon, and not being one to turn down a meal when offered, and being that said meal was to take place at my favorite microbrewpub, and being that said cousin and her husband are really cool folks, I happily accepted.
After lunch we split up, my mother and her cousin hitting the second hand stores, and me and mother’s cousin’s husband (hereby referred to as “Mr. R”) hit the town. He had never spent much time in Happy Valley, so I decided to start off by showing him the recently revamped downtown. A hopping place, especially considering it was a Tuesday Afternoon (crap, now that song is going to be stuck in my head–curse you Moody Blues!) I admit, the main reason I like downtown is not because of the art on the corner, the nice landscaping, or the myriad of bike shops: I like it because of the homebrew store and Gelato Junction. It turns out, that’s a big reason why Mr. R liked it too.
Soon enough the time on my parking meter ran out, and it was time to move on. But that isn’t where this blog post ends.
Now, for a little background on Mr. R: he is a long time competition shooter, reloader, firearms instructor, a nearly professional guitarist, and super nice guy, as well as being a former Marine and Army Sargent, starting out in Vietnam and ending only recently with Iraq Try #2. Very interesting man, with a wide and varied body of experience, and very generous of his time, materials, and advice. Oh, and he has a very impressive beard, reaching nearly down to his belly button. It is funny to watch other people interact with him, as you can always see them start out thinking “What kind of crazy bum is this?” before they figure him out. I count myself very lucky to know him, and even luckier to be marginally related to him so I don’t feel bad cornering him to talk.
Now back to my rambling.
Last weekend my mother and I went down to visit my Grandma and Grandpa (and pick out a cat). We’ve been going down there pretty often, every other weekend or so, as my Grandma is in the nursing home these days. While there, I like to go out to the back 40 and do a little plinking. This time I had that CCI CB .22 LR ammo that I bought for National Ammo Day, and I had my 10/22 to see if I could fulfill Butch’s request for a function test, and since Mr. R was in the neighborhood (they were staying with my Uncle the mechanic, who lives practically next door to my grandparents–are you following all of this? Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll stop soon), I asked him if he wanted to come back with me. Asking me if I wanted any instruction on shooting (what an offer! A few hours with someone who could be charging $100/hour, offering to teach me 1-on-1!) I readily agreed, and figuratively killed two birds with one stone by trying out the CB ammo at the same time. By the end of the afternoon I had a nice 1″ group at 25 yds, which made me happy.
Oh, and Butch, to answer your question, the CB ammo is quite amazing. It doesn’t have enough oomph to cycle my 10/22, relegating it effectively to bolt action territory (shoot, cycle action, repeat), but it is very accurate, and by golly it is quiet. You hear a **pop!** when you pull the trigger and a **thwack!** as the bullet hits the target–no hearing protection needed (though I should add that I have a polymer buffer, which probably helps the noise as well). Sounds quieter than someone hammering nails. Enough power to go through a half inch piece of plywood at 25 yards, so fine for hunting wabbits, I’d say. Even Mr. R (who owns a brace of NAA Mini Revolvers for dispatching snakes, varmints, and deep concealment) was impressed, and put it on his shopping list. In a lever action or revolver, I wouldn’t even have the minimal complaint of the non-cycling semi-auto.
Now, back to yesterday. So then, since we were done downtowning, we started to head for home, and happened to run into the local “real gun store” (as in, not a big box multi-use sporting good store, not a hardware store with a couple of shotguns, and not a pawnshop) and decided to stop in since we were there. Luckily we did, for Mr. R found a shotgun he’s been looking for for his wife (who remember, is my mom’s cousin), a 12 gauge 8-rd magazine Maverick 88. She is a big 12 gauge fan, but the only shotguns she has are really nice ones that don’t get taken with them when they travel. Oh, and don’t tell anyone I said this, as the shotgun is going to be a surprise Christmas present. As we were doing all this I learned today that you can legally buy long guns if you are out of state, in general, as long as the store policy says so, and in some areas you can buy handguns as well. While we waited for the paperwork to go through, Mr. R had me check out the Ruger Single Six that was under the glass. Very nice gun, and now I have yet ANOTHER gun to put on my ever growing list of things I want. He also told me that his preferred .308 semi-auto is also the M1A. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a fine rifle, but it just don’t click with me, and if I am going to spend over a thousand dollars on something, then by Grabthar’s hammer it had better click!
But I digress. As we were shooting the breeze with the gun shop guys, the conversation turned to Mr. R’s military days, and being a patriotic American small business, when we finally walked out of the shop it was with the shotgun, a free box of 12 gauge ammo and a free hat with the company’s logo on it. I’d like to see an anti-gun shop do anything like that!
Whew, huh? I think I’ve spit out everything I’ve had bottled up inside, now. I’ll see Mr. R again on Thanksgiving, though I’m not sure if we’ll get in any more gun time. I know sometimes after the festivities there is a big trap shoot, but at last count there were 43 people planning on attending our big shindig, so we may be preoccupied with getting in all the awesome food–I know there will be turkey, ham, and probably prime rib, and the one guy who is a Louisiana transplant is bringing his famous stuffing, and my mother is making two different kinds of pumpkin pie… if you don’t leave on a stretcher in a food-gorged coma, then it’s your own dagblummed fault.
And, now… wait for it…