30 March 2010

Spring Training Baseball

One of the benefits of living in the desert is beautiful weather this time of year. I wish all of you well in your various states of emergency as we soak up sunny weather. Before saying "Screw it, we're moving to Arizona", Remember Spring only lasts four or five weeks and then our outside temperatures are North of the century mark from May 15th to October 15 (give or take a week on either end)!

Here's a 180-ish degree panorama from my seat. Autostitch had a little trouble with two fans (#2 & the purple shirt to the right) at the intersection of the two left most shots. Also the 3rd base umpire apparently moved between the middle shots, leaving a ghost. [click on images to embiggen]
He's swinging... is it a hit or a strike?
And the pickoff.... Out or Safe? I don't know... he's still pretty far out and ball is halfway there (look for the ball just left of the red shirt at the edge of the field).One question that came up during the game. What's the league minimum these days? Last I heard the players had to be paid at least $175k. Seems my info is quite out of date... Last year it was $400k! Nice work if you can earn it! On a percentage basis (those who make it over those that want it times one centum) you might as well desire to be an Astronaut!

Spring training ends this week and next week teams all over will have their opening days. Let the games begin!

26 March 2010

Shopping Spree

No, no gunnie stuff. Just a story of customer service as it should be.

A long time ago, in this galaxy, one of the SCSibling units gave me a gift certificate to a Orchard Hardware Supply, a California based chain of hardware stores. The stores are bigger than ACE but smaller than Home Depot or Lowes.

Another SCSibling unit worked there and mentioned they were very customer service oriented. If you wanted to buy one nail, they would just sell you one nail. But if you needed a complete MIG welder kit, they could handle that too.

Anyway, the closest store is some 300 miles away and the certificate had a 1998 expiration date. So while I've hung on to the gift cert, I also haven't been near a store in years. On the trips up to see the 'rents, I'd either forget it or wouldn't have time to get to the local store.

Today we had both the time and the certificate and went on a spree:
* Chainsaw file guide (Thank's TBS)
* #2 Phillips screw bits
* Hacksaw blades
* Toilet fill valve kit
* 3/4" rubber grommets
* Lawn mower air filter
* Earplugs
* Utility knife
* Weeder tool

With tax the total came to $40.82. We handed over the certificate and cash. The cashier examined the certificate then looked on her register for some clue as to how to redeem it. Not seeing an obvious answer she asked the next cashier. Seeing how old it is, she said it predated their current gift card system and we would have to send it in to HQ and get it re-issued. We explained that we are from out of state and that is why it hasn't been redeemed in that time.

They called the manager... who apparently asked how much was the certificate for and how much were we spending. The manager OK'd the purchase.

That was it... No polite reminders of the gift certificate law in this state (They can't expire). No veiled threats. Just a couple minutes delay to get the manager's nod. The seem to have a good understanding of the economics of the situation. They've had use of the cash for a decade and a half and are now handing over goods that were much cheaper now than then. And customers talk to other customers and relate the experience for better or worse. That's how customer service should be.

I'd shop there again.

21 March 2010

"We are so screwed"

I wrote that back on election night 2008. The vote today is exactly what I feared...

The socialist one is about to get his so called "Health Care Reform". This will mean huge tax hikes now when our economy can least afford it and no "benefits" for four years to make the CBO score look good.
Everyone knows the numbers are bogus and they don't care.
They know how the people feel and they don't care.
The approval numbers are in the crapper and they don't care.
Some know they will lose their seats and they don't care.

The only hope is that the opposition party will run on "repeal the bill" and turn enough seats in the mid term elections. I think this issue will give control of both houses to the R's, but I doubt majorities will be large enough to sustain the inevitable veto of the repeal legislation. And will the rage still burn in 2012?

The ratchet tightens...

20 March 2010


The "Cleaning my gun and it went off" story might be a bit hard to sell when the bullet goes through a window and hits your wife in the head...

I really hate to see stories like this here and here.

You can bet there will be additional questions...

I doubt he intended to shoot his wife. But I'll bet he thought it was unloaded, put the sights on her head and pulled the trigger. I hope he can live with himself and look their kids in the eyes.

These "Accidents" are easy to avoid with The four simple rules:
1. Guns are always loaded.
2. Never point a gun at something you do not intend to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
Click here for more information.

PS... I know posting the four rules here is preaching to the choir, but on the chance that someone will stumble on this post while searching this situation, I'll waste the bytes.

18 March 2010

Beautiful Spring Day off Range report

Spring has broken here in the Desert. Today was bright and blue with temps in the mid 70's. We could not ask for a nicer day. Spring only lasts for about two weeks here in the desert so these days are pure gold (Au).

The SCSon is on spring break. We were scheduled to head out to visit the SCGrandpa in another state. However the SCFIL had a stent inserted and the SCQueen is concerned about his recovery. [side note, both SCGrandpa and SCFIL are in less than optimal health and could use all they prayers and good thoughts]. Anyway, we delayed the planned trip. By then the day was already half gone. I could have worked half a day but instead decided it would be a crime to stay inside on a day like this. "Put your shoes on, we are going to the range!" I called out to the SCSon*.

There were a couple ePostal targets in the range bag and I wanted to better my earlier attempt. The SCSon landed 3 shots [out of ten] on target, two of which scored 20's. We really need to work on his stance and trigger pull.

Still his pair of 20's beats my 35 (20+10+5) with the same gun... and also logged a 50 in the centerfire iron sights class.

We tried twice more with much better scores (each 200+ **), but were sidetracked by a near emergency and left them out on the range :-(. But that's a story for another blogpost.

I'd include a link to the match but since Cheaper Than Dirt has thrown in a $50 certificate to a randomly selected entrant, your entry will diminish my chances. So go find it your self!

* He objected, preferring to play computer games. However given the alternative of staying home to mow the lawn, he relented!
** my fish tale for today.

17 March 2010

Bad Choices

Story here.

Short version, fine upstanding young man (FUYM) takes to choking the life out of his date.. On her father's lawn.

Oooohh, bad choice.

Dad jumps out of a second floor window, uses an SUV to break his fall. One shot in the leg apparently failed to dissuade said FUYM on his intent to choke the life out of the homeowner's daughter. But a second shot to the groin did.

No mention of a fatality, but we can hope the wedding tackle is damaged beyond repair and prevent that particular DNA strand from propagating. It should also serve as a life long reminder to mind your manners.

Actually there were a lot of bad choices here...

Daughter could have chosen her friend better and avoided the whole incident.
FUYM could have chosen a better venue for the bout. Thank God he didn't
Dad could have had better shot placement and/or selected a larger caliber leaving one less human piece of dirt consuming oxygen.

11 March 2010

ePostal Entries

No, not for me... my targets were not good enough :-( But the SCQueen and her sister logged decent targets.

First the SCQueen took a liking to the CZ-82. I like the pistol, it's small, light and easy to conceal. This one came with two 12 round magazines. With street prices are in the low $200s, it may be the sleeper opportunity for concealed carriers on a bargain basement budget. The 9x18 "9mm Makarov" ammo it only slightly less available than the ubiquitous "9mm Luger" cartridge.

However to me, it's none too pleasant to shoot. The 9x18 cartridge uses a fast powder to accelerate the projectile down the short 3.8 inch barrel and there isn't much mass to soak up the recoil. The result is a pretty snappy, borderline unpleasant recoil.

But if she's happy shooting it, that is all that matters. I suspect it fits her smaller hands better than the large framed pistols I prefer.

Here's her target: She scored a pair of 20 point stars.

The SandCastle Sister In Law shot a nice 100 score with a Ruger Single Six. (50+20+15+10+5)

10 March 2010


Scrawled on an old CRT monitor, apparently ready for recycling..
He's Dim, Jed

06 March 2010

Range report - InLaw edition

"I want to go!" said the voice on the phone. It was the SC Father In Law. We had tentative plans to hit the range. It's supposed to rain tomorrow but today was beautiful. On arrival at the range We were pleasantly surprised by empty benches! We grabbed a pair side by side.

As previously mentioned, he was a range officer back in his day. The SCQueen reports he won a shooting medal at some point (I hope we can find it and learn more about the circumstances.) I don't know when he shot last.. to him it was last year, it wouldn't surprise me if it was during the first Bush administration.

No matter, clearly he remembered the safety protocols, stance, sight picture and was calling his shots. Even when a scope bashed him in the safety glasses hard enough to draw blood [it doesn't take much to draw blood from an octagenarian], he still kept the rifle pointed safely down range with one hand while holding a hankerchief in the other to stop the blood.

He picked up the Garand, probably for the first time since his Army discharge in the late 1940's. But he took right to as if it were yesterday, remembering how to load without a case of "M1-thumb". He struggled a bit due to lack of strength but loaded the clip and ran the op-rod forward.

By the end of the day he'd shot everything we'd brought and even gone off to the end of the range to help another shooter that noticed we were also shooting an M1-Carbine. Turns out he can't get his to feed. SC FIL has a lot of experience from way back then so he headed back to help the other shooter. Most of the problem was likely a bad magazine. I lent him one which ran his feed rate from 0/15 to 14/15.

The Sister In Law (SC SIL) has been out to the range with us before. She likes to shoot and is a natural. Here she's shooting this month's ePostal. She has an awesome score to turn in!
Needless to say on a day like this I don't shoot much... I did make a couple attempts on the ePostal, but nothing to write home about and the SIL out scored me about 15:1!

ETA: I just tallied the scores... the SC SIL out scored me 4:1! Stay tuned for her target!

05 March 2010

Recorders set to roll!

Surfing the channels tonight... Oh Nellie! TCM has put together a winner:Airplane! is on now, followed by Zero Hour!.

I think most are familiar with the parody classic Airplane! even though it's 30 years old. However few are familiar with Zero Hour! The fact that both titles include an exclaimtion point is a clue.

That's because it's the same story, originally told as a serious drama and then in parody.

It's amusing to watch a movie you've never seen and still be able to quote most of the dialog.

Sorry this is too late for most this go round (Airplane! is on now) and Zero Hour! will be on in about 25 minutes. But watch for it next time or drop it into the 'queue.

Range day Saturday...

I've been meaning to take the Father in law out to the range for some time. He shot quite a bit in the Army but likely hasn't been to the range in at least a decade if not a score. A year ago the SCQueen found some guns rusting in a storage unit and took them into protective custody.

I don't know many details of his military service... I think he served during part of WWII. Most of it seems to be the mundane life of a Finance Officer. But he liked to shoot and became a range officer. In time he apparently became the head RO and ran the range.

note to self... bring the MP3 recorder and get him talking at all family functions. He's well into his 80's and we need to transfer these stories into a more durable format than his memory. Mebbe even tomorrow at the range. It won't be much use during the shooting periods, but he might open up during the ceasefires.

He relates a story of a time his office needed their annual shooting qualifications. They took everyone to the range. Most qualified but some didn't. To those he suggested they join him on the range the next Saturday. He then schooled them in the fundamentals and qualified the rest that day.

I think he liked the 1911 and fondly remembers the shooting tests [This is in contrast to the other ex-army people I've talked to that loathe the GI-1911. "Better off throwing the gun at the enemy" is the comment heard more than once.] But he liked it and apparently shot it well in the classic one handed stance.

So the question tonight is planning what to take. Obviously we'll bring his .22 rifle. Probably an M1 Carbine as well. A Garand and a Mauser to pay heed the WWII era. Then an AR to get the flavor of the modern era. Next question is how good are the eyes, or more directly, what distance do we set the targets? Can he see an SR-1 target at 100 yards?

We'll bring a nice selection on the pistol side as well. There are a dozen "Seeing Stars" targets printed and in the range bag. If all goes well we will have five ePostal entries to submit.

He's well into his 80's now and none to steady. One of his offspring suggested we keep a close eye on him. Obviously we will but I suspect the 4 rules are so deeply ingrained he'll still be practicing muzzle discipline 10 years after he's dead and planted.

Stay tuned for a range report with pictures tomorrow...

03 March 2010

Four rules, and you broke at least half of them

Reported by the local ABC affiliate

Short version,
Dad shoots 4-YO son in the head with a Flare gun. Later uttered "I didn't think it was loaded".
Skull fracture... Nice.

One question for dad... WHAT [no that's not strong enough] WTF WERE YOU THINKING? What is the possible upside to playing bang-bang with your sons armed with a GUN?

Four Rules: Learn them, live them.
1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never point a gun at anything you do not intend to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.

Doesn't matter if the gun is a .22, 9mm. 1911, Walther PPK, .38 snubbie, big Mo 50 cal 16", Nerf(tm) gun or a flare gun. A gun is a gun, apply the four rules and avoid the regret. I'm pleased as punch this was only a flare gun rather than a "gun" gun.

Meanwhile, it looks like pizza is on the menu tonight... It's a benefit for three year old Landon Smith who reportedly found a gun under the couch and managed to pull the trigger. Same question for the owner of the gun found under the couch "WhatWTF WERE YOU THINKING?" Most of these stories end a couple days later with a "died after valiant fight" story... Fortunately this one is different. Landon is doing far better than expected, eating on his own and only a bit delayed.