16 September 2017

2 family shooting day

A close family friend's mom is interested in learning more about guns & shooting and related same at a recent holiday party.  We had previously taken Dad & Son to the range & Dad had shot in the USAF.  But Mom had zero experience.

We met around the kitchen table and started with "this" is a cartridge and it consists of 4 parts (Demonstrated hands on with a projectile & brass, but no primer or powder).  Over the next hour we talked about the four rules of gun safety,  calibers, single/double action, safeties etc.

Then we took her to the range.

Their son is a big time airsoft guy, most often with his AR-15. But this was his first experience firing live rounds!
I can't show the smiles because I don't have permission to show faces.  But I also think most of you get the picture!

I'll even put an unpaid plug for the range.  We shot today at C2 Tactical in Tempe AZ.  The rule is "three people on a lane" and I get that.  The range is a cramped space, it's not fair to others and [other valid undocumented concerns].  I paid for 2 guests but they allowed us to tag team people on and off the range thus we were able to get Special Guest Mom, Dad & Son + SCSon all a little trigger time.  They seemed to have two range officers on duty but they weren't overbearing.

And I'd like to thank the guy on the next lane over shooting a Glock.  I had explained the Glock safety to Mom, but he had one and I asked him to show her the safety.  HE HANDED ME THE GUN to let me show her the safety on the range.  Thank you!  Seeing is believing!  Now she doesn't have to rely on my words, she's seen the safety in real life and better understands how it works.

Closing word is Mom was OK with the .22 but didn't like the 9mm's  And she didn't really like the semi autos ejecting the brass.  The lanes have hard sides so much ejected brass bounces back onto the shooter.   Fortunately it occurred to me to warn her against wearing anything low cut ahead of time (and she didn't), but it was still enough to be a distraction to her.  I think she'd be happier with a revolver.  Unfortunately most of the SandCastle Arsenal is semi auto :-(

Unfortunately while there are caliber steps between .22 and 9mm (.22 mag, .25, .32 and probably others), the SandCastle Arsenal doesn't have any examples, and filling such holes in is pretty low on the priority list.

I hope mom continues.  I pointed out the range has Ladies Day (Mondays 2pm to close with free range time).  I hope she'll invest the time in Ladies Pistol 100 class.  I expect it would cover most of the same stuff we did at the kitchen table but at greater depth and get her more shooting time.

Hey and I got to shoot a couple rounds too (about 5)!  Bonus for me!

(Photos credit SandCastle Queen, copyright 2017 And BTW, the first shot is not photoshopped.  She actually caught the fire out the muzzle.  Nicely done!)

08 September 2017

Albatross ejected!

SandCastle proper picked up stakes and moved a while back...  It took a year but we finally vacated the old bones and moved on.  Today we closed on selling the old property after a year of double utilities + and worries about squatters moving into the vacant property.

We also found ourselves in the uncomfortable position of July 3rd (Monday where Tuesday is a holiday) and no insurance on the property!  Even though we are local and visit the property daily, it was hard to procure coverage.   Now that worry is gone, and double utilities payments are gone!  We are FREE!

This was all part of the plan, except the plan called for a 6 month switchover instead of the 1 year +.  In reality,  The SCQueen was on top of the move and if there was a "long pole" it was me...

Bottom line, WOO HOO!  The old property has been sold!


03 September 2017

I have SadZ...

The Dan of Steel is down to one, Walter Becker of Steely Dan has died.

I don't often get emotional when $ENTERTAINER shuffles the mortal coil.  But a few have earned deep respect and the duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen comprising the heart of Steely Dan really have.    I'll put them up with Queen & Styx o were classically trained and wouldn't put up with anything less than perfection from their hired musicians.

I might speculate on how "difficult" they were to work with(I wasn't there) but one cannot question the product!  They produced the sound at the end of the process is unrivaled!  

I'll log their melodies and bass lines with the mathematic precision of Mozart.   Though, IIRC some recordings of "Reelin' in the years" there is a pause before the 3rd guitar stroke of an eighth maybe a quarter beat late.   And it's absolute genius!

GodSpeed  WB... And thank you for the discography you have left behind,  We are all better for it!

-d

21 August 2017

Eclipse Max -- My View

Obscured by clouds.  Rats!  Hope yours was a better view.

08 July 2017

Father Son electronics projects

Set the scene... the SCSon is now 18 and is a HS graduate.  Now he's on a crash course learning to fly before starting up at ASU (Mega-apologies for the unavoidable pun).  The heavy flight schedule requires his presence at the airport at OMG-O'clock.

He's been using my "alternate" car, a 1991 Miata with enough mile to drive to the moon.  It also means some OEM systems are now INOP.   Like HVAC.  Personally I blame him.  I think his size 13's kicked the connector at the blower in the pax footwell.  But even in the blast furnace that Phoenix is this time of year, it beats the alternative.

But you know what is intolerable?  No Radio!

He returned home a few days saying the radio won't even power up.  So we started some basic debugging...  found the radio I bought 18 months ago when I thought something had died in this radio.  No change.  So that's not the problem.

The manual tells of an interior fuse box outboard of the driver's left thigh.  I relate same to the SCSon (It's far easier for him to self-contort to view these out of the way places than Official Senior Citizen me).  He looked and announced "Nope, not there - just a bunch of connectors".   I asked for a flashlight and assumed the position.  Imagine standing on your head chugging a beer while rubbing your belly.  And located the fuse box.  

His quick survey of the box identified a blown fuse.  

Upon replacement with the 18 month old "new" radio, it worked -- for about one second before **BLAM** and silence.  While the radio is ~18 months old, this is the first time power has been applied.  So I we have a new answer to the question asked 18 months ago "But do you know what you do not get in a $15 car stereo?"  The answer then was "AM radio".  Tonight we can add "quality capacitors!".  That flowery looking component is a blown up electrolytic cap.  The SCSon tells me it was really loud when it blew!  


We'd have to dig deep into the circuit to figure out if this is a boost circuit to power a VFD display or a buck to drop car voltage down to 3-5V for the receiver/power amp.  OTOH, I can replace the entire unit for $10 in the current frys ad.  so any further analysis would be purely academic.

In the meantime, we re-verified only expected 11.5-14v present at the powerlines and re-installing the previous radio works as expected.  Clearly the power supply problem is a radio problem, not an installation problem.







31 May 2017

A huge milestone

Congratulations to the SandCastle Son on his High School graduation!  (pics will have to wait on technology)

His local HS rented out ASU's arena for the event.  Vehicle traffic getting into the event was horrific.    With nearly 900 students walking plus probably ~5 well wishers each means around 5000 attendees.  We finally found 4 seats together way up in the nosebleeds.

And we believe this is the moment we all waited for.  Sorry for the blurry pics, it's the best an 8x optical zoom can do, combined with less than rock solid base and atmospheric distortion given our distance from the stage.  I really should have brought the spotting scope!.

Pedestrian traffic exiting the venue was equally ugly.  But we skipped taking pictures on the South Lawn and made for the truck to beat traffic.  And it wasn't bad.

We had reservations at a local restaurant with three surviving grandparents + special guest Gmma, Local Aunt and mom & dad,  SCSon noted an acquaintance walking through and shook hands..  turns out it was his JROTC opposite at another school.  I really wish I'd gotten a picture.

Selection criteria for the restaurant was "easy access" and "wide menu selection".  Scored on both accounts.  Three of us chose the Fish & Chips, Mom had the Cubano, one GPA had the Filet while the other had the lamb.  Special Guest Gma opted for the french dip.  She didn't even leave any juice behind!  While a little loud, and the service was a bit on the slow side dinner was a success.  The SCSon picked out an apple pie and ice cream for dessert at home.

Congratulations to the SCSon!  You earned it.  But the real test starts in August!  I hope you're smart enough to ask for help when you need it,


18 May 2017

"There are no guns on campus"...

... Said the woman with a Glock on her hip (right next to her "only-one" badge).  Without a hint of irony, I kid you not.

Spent the day at new student orientation for the SCSon's new university.

SCSon had the choice of a standard ID card or a "Sponsoring bank" access card.  They aggressively pushed bank card.  "He doesn't need a credit card" I stated authoritatively.  "But it's not a credit card.  It's a DEBIT CARD!!!" She gushed.

"That's even worse!"  The message was clearly received and we bypassed the serpentine line to sign up with "Sponsoring Bank".

The schedule claimed it would start at 8 am but didn't actually get underway until 0845.    Where they jam packed 30 minutes of material into 7 mind numbing hours.  Plus a lunch I wouldn't pay three dollars for if I had a choice.  Oh and they charged $75/person for the privilege of attending.  And it cost me a vacation day to attend.  SCQueen begged off at lunch... I texted soon after "Pleeease!  Maaake it Stooop!"

A parent asked the glock carrying only one "What about defensive weapons like (sic) Mace".  "Well we wouldn't want anyone to carry anything like* what the police carry.  And besides unless they have it out in their hand when attacked, they won't have time to get it out.  And besides, the attacker will probably just take it away and use it against you."  I wish I was playing Cliche-Bingo!

It was a painful day, but I was there for the SCSon.  And I'd do it again tomorrow if I had to.

At least the SCSon has his fall quarter tentatively set.  He still wants to get signed up for AFROTC too.

PS..  School intentionally left unnamed out of security concerns for the SCSon, not to protect the school.

* Message received: She believes police should always have superior weapons to the unwashed, preferably unarmed, masses.