27 October 2011


True Blue Sam: "All Cats Are Always Loaded"

If you've ever taken in a cat with any "feral" in it, you'll see the truth in that statement.   I LOL'd,,,

26 October 2011

Top Shot Season 3 finale!

I was busy last night so it was on tape waiting.

THE BEST OF THE THREE!  Season 1 set the bar.  Season 2 finale looked really scripted.  Top gun definitely earned the season 3 title.

The episode fits the well established formula for the finale.  First there is a three heat dueling tree, then call shot and the finale consisting of many challenges throughout the season.  It's a good formula and it works.  Even better with two representatives from each of the original blue ("winner") team and red ("loser") team.

Ok they mixed it up a bit on the dueling tree by making them move.   The movement was slow enough that they might as well have been stationary.  I don't think it was a factor.  Still in each heat, one shooter clearly established an early lead and then merely had to follow behind and flip plates as their competitor flips a plate.  Justin avoided elimination in a decisive 12-0 victory. 

The call shot challenge was again the best ever, made so with the shots called by the competitors.  Dustin established an early lead hitting a golf ball at 100 yards with a Volquartsen 10-22 prone.  You could see it was comfortable for Dustin (deep breath, exhale, hold it, squeeze, break the shot, follow through) and he nailed it.  Nicely done and the competitors couldn't match the call.  That's what this event is all about.

Mike's calls played well to his pistol strengths.  S&W .357 weak hand unsupported was a good call.  Does Mike have a weak hand?  And the AK-47 call strong hand only hand, unsupported was genius.  Great job Gary connecting when the chips were down.  But then he missed his own call and put himself out.

Before we get to the finale, one thing I was happy to see in the final rounds was the level of mutual respect between the competitors.  No braggadocio, no disrespect, just proud to be here and wish my opponent the best of luck.  This is more like the attitudes I've seen in competitive events.  Even the fiercest of competitors wish good luck to their opponents and shake hands when it's over.  Glad to see Jake go, clearly his strategy was pure Machiavelli.  Didn't surprise me when he walked instead of facing the challenge.  Character matters and he has none.  I wonder what lessons he passes along to his football team in search of a win.

It's interesting to see the one "loser" resurrected earn a spot in the finale.  No heartburn for me...  Jake walked off the set and Mike came back and earned his way back in winning sequential challenges, decisively so on the zip line and dueling tree.

Dustin's flawless finish suggests he would have won even if Mike didn't get stuck on the shotgun station.  Mike's weapon is the pistol.  If he didn't get stuck on the shotgun, it would have been the recurve bow.  Dustin's weapons are all of them.  The best shot won season 3.

In Season 3 was the best yet.  It was great to see the gatling guns and cannons come up in the elimination rounds.  I see those and wonder how will they top this next season?  How long before we see competitors trying a ground attack mission from nose of an A-10 Warthog, or some ACM (airborne dogfighting)?

Still it wasn't without disappointments.  I was sad to see the two wimmen competitors sent home first.   Are the challenges set up to put females at a disadvantage?  I don't see it but a good blog-friend suggests there may be a bias and would prefer to see gender specific events.  Guns are a great equalizer which allow a frail 80 YO defend her/himself from an 18YO thug so I would like to think M's & F's compete on an equal playing field.   But is that so?  There is more to the competition than just the shooting.  Is there a bias? I don't see it but that is far from the last word.

As Justin said, these events are things I would pay to do.  I concur and that should be a hint to entrepreneurs out there.  Over dinner a couple years ago the SCQueen blurted out "we should open a range"... In the discussion that followed, I suggested one of the things it should have is an old fashioned shooting gallery.  You know, stuff to make shooting fun!  Shall not be questioned recently posted about a new indoor range at a former big box retailer.  The $5M price tag answers why we have not proceeded with this idea (we are a little short).  Still I'd love to see someone else run with the idea.

Disclaimer:  advocates for the History channel sent me a bit of Top Shot swag:
  • A pair of T-shirts.... Size L that would have fit me 30 years ago.  Too bad because I really like the shirt.
  • A Top Shot cell phone cover... that doesn't fit my phone.  
  • And a Shot Glass that I am proud to put up on the wall.  
  • Oh and they sent me some other swag apparently by mistake, all stuff  representing a product I'll never buy and they won't get a free plug here.

23 October 2011

Breakfast of NRA Champions

The lady at the next table said I ought to take a picture of the product of my C-Note toaster to share.  Sorry, I didn't catch your name, but this is for you!

Breakfast of NRA Champions!  Bacon, Egg & NRA Toast!

Alas, I over cooked the egg :-(  But no one to blame but myself.

There was a flurry of bidding at the middling two digits.  I put an end to it bidding the Benjamin. I think the Lady from the adjacent table thought I overbid.  I explained it was a donation to the cause and the number really wasn't important.  I further explained it takes two bidders to get the price up.
We also came home with a coupla other auction buys..  The SandCastle Queen bought some artwork depicting the Boston Tea Party.    The SandCastle Son spotted a Tactical rifle case and placed the winning bid.  He wanted to pay for it out of his savings, but the case will of course end up in the SandCastle Arsenal so that won't happen.  Glad we bought it.

We also brought home an AirRifle for the garage range.  It's a Beeman and supposedly fires a pellet at around 500fps. I may have to set up the Chrono to find out for sure.  In the meantime, we tried it out on the garage range upon arrival at home.  First couple shots left a curl of smoke from the barrel.  Guess there was a bit of residual oil.  Shooting a bit right.  Need to tweak the sights.

We also picked up one win from the bucket drawings.  A print upon which the SCSon quickly placed dibs.

22 October 2011

Friends of NRA dinner

just returned home.  We got the toaster.


pics to follow.

20 October 2011

Top Shot Audition review

Update: Cowboy Blob has posted the final cut of Jon's Top Shot audition tape:

Cowboy Blob asks and I deliver.  After all what are friends for?

My Review:  2 bullets (out of 4):  half of a really good movie which puts it in rich company with Air America, Good Morning Vietnam, and many others.

I loved the first half with the subtle references to Gecko45, the extravagant "any weapon, anytime" references including blasters & phasers (Wardrobe really stepped up there!).  Great post-production work.  Nicely done!  The folks that worked on Sarah's flick could really learn something here.

On the other hand, the second half including depictions* of criminal acts and irresponsible gun use, well not so much.    Showing otherwise responsible gunnies doing irresponsible things is ungood in the parody setting  (Double plus ungood in serious settings).   I did get a chuckle that most of the victims wore Sun Devil shirts.  I guess that UofA/ASU rivalry burns deep!** 

The split personality between the first half depicting a mall ninja/bar braggard and second half criminal pulling driveby shootings didn't fit for me.  I would have liked to seen the mall ninja/Gecko45 character played out rather than dropping into criminal activity.  Perhaps he could have confronted just the over the top scenarios he projected and losing badly, barely escaping as the shattered trauma plates fall away to tell (and embellish) the story.

It also begs the question... what might a gang-banger audition tape look like? "Yo dog... this is my Glock Fo-Tay..." (Let your imagination fill in the rest).

I would have much preferred to see Jon in the hero role, using guns for good.  Perhaps recreating the attempted rape scene from Robocop, Mebbe the Deer Hunter russian roulette scene but taking out 3x on each bullet, mebbe ending Full Metal Jacket 45 minutes early by shooting the sniper's building with his .45 loaded with a very small tac-nuke.  (Hey we are talking over the top!).  Or instead shooting the building with the .45 just as a salvo from Big Mo's 50 cals land...  (And Jon claims credit) Again, I would have liked to see Jon in the (pseudo)hero role, rather than just committing criminal acts with a firearm.

 $.02 and this review is worth what you paid for it.

Post scripts:
This is not to say "I could have done it better" because I couldn't.  Until I saw CB's video, it would never have occurred to me to even think in this direction.  The depiction of criminal acts soured me though at the first viewing.   We are the good guys and we use weapons as tools for good!

* This is not to criticize the weapon handling, but rather the depiction of irresponsible gun handling.  I have every confidence it was filmed in complete safety and no one was ever at risk during filming.  CB simply wouldn't have it any other way.

** I studied at neither so I don't have a dog in that fight.  I have worked with graduates of both and have definite opinions on the relative quality of each!

13 October 2011

ABC meetup

I'm a pretty private person so announcing a future 4D location (x, y, z, time) is a stretch for me.  However we are hosting the monthly ABC meetup this Saturday 2-5pm  1-5PM at Chino Bandito's takee-outee Chandler location.  Let your taste buds off the leash and give 'em a go.  ABC is a loose affiliation of Arizona Bloggers Conservative.  en Friends.  Conservative Bloggers and readers are all welcome.  Drop in and say hello!

Recommend the  two item combo which will run about $8.  Add in a soda (Pepsi products) drink and the afternoon will cost ~$10.  Beer & wine are also available.

From the SEast valley, take the 202 W, exit Dobson North.  Turn right into the driveway past the SRP substation/just ahead of the tire shop.  Chino's is back in the knee of the driveway.

From the West  (202 Eastbound), exit Price road North.  Then Right onto Frye....
From the North (101 Southbound) exit Chandler Blvd, straight through Chandler Blvd, left on Frye....  

....Thence East on Frye, North on Dobson, right into the driveway past the SRP substation to Chino's in the back.

If you miss the driveway, turn right at Chandler Blvd, and another right past the Walgreens (2nd Driveway).   Chino's is ahead on the left.

If you've never experienced Chino's before, step to the left at the counter and identify yourself as a first timer.  There you will receive samples of their fare and they will walk you through the order process.

Update:  Corrected the meeting time 1-5PM.  Also they have free WiFi.

03 October 2011

Grandpa's code key

While the FCC has dropped the code requirements to earn licenses, There is still a family historical interest driving me to learn.  You see my Grandfather was in the Signal Corps in WWI and this was his telegraph key:
I think he would be happy to see his key in action again by his offspring.

We don't know much about it, though it's probably at least 100 years old.   There is am 1899 date cast into the receiver(?) frame.  If anyone knows more about it, please answer in the comments (Bobbi?, anyone) or via direct email sandcastlescrolls at msn dot com.

02 October 2011

Slant Alpha Golf

Woo Hoo!

I gave a talk to a local low power (QRP) group back in July.  In the process of hanging out with the club the SCSon learned he can get his own license.  We bought him the book and he started studying on his own.  He ran into trouble with the electronics stuff as he has had no formal instruction.   I've tried to teach him the basics but he's at an age where he won't listen to dad.

I got to thinking though about my own license.  It will expire next year and just "sitting" while he takes his exam.  Hmmm... Might as well upgrade my own ticket to General. 

So a few weeks later and I'm ready to take the exam.  He hadn't been studying but rather than let him sit I figured the $15 was worth it to get the experience with the exam format.

I mentioned I was taking the test to a couple co-workers and they all offered "Good Luck!".  I said "Thanks, but it's not a matter of luck".  Either you know the material or you don't.  There are a couple questions I just wasn't going to attempt to memorize "Which of the following frequencies are within the General class portion of the 10M band?"  Then lists three frequencies and All of the above.  I suppose I could get an exam that had enough of these "write off" questions to trip me up but I was confident.

In the end, I passed and he failed.  There's a correlation there between "I studied and he hadn't".   We are looking for a formal class for him to take.  We thought we had one, 6 Satudays and close by.  Unfortunately he's at a local community college and they won't register him because he's under 16.  FAIL!  Supposedly there are other classes that run regularly but nothing on the calendar as yet.

Suddenly I'm regretting living in an HOA neighborhood.   Even though I sleep with the HOA president, external antennas are clearly a CCR violation.  This is going to take some creativity!  Stay tuned.

*  /AG tells the world that I have passed the exam even though the exam application and results has not been processed through ARRL and posted to the usual databases.