'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

31 October 2012

The Spoils Of Victory

Alemaster is well known to many of you. He and I made a bet on the Reds/Giants series and yesterday the fruits of that victory arrived on my doorstep. Behold, Kentucky's finest;

Angus approved. Since I'm an infrequent imbiber I'm planning on saving this for a very special occasion. A beverage this good needs to be savored, not chugged like a bottle of Ripple.

To Alemaster; you're a very good sport my friend. When I crack that bottle the first drink will be to Absent Companions. Thank you very much, it is greatly appreciated. And I promise to follow all the directions!


30 October 2012

A Word To The Trolls

I don't have comment moderation enabled and I don't intend to. But either the DO or I will find your anonymous, hate filled, completely brain dead, asinine comments and delete them. Totally wipe them from our site as if they had never been. We don't have to give you a platform for your nuttiness and your intolerance for us and all we love or believe. This is our place. Behave yourself or get flushed totally and completely.

If you want to debate step up and let us have it. If you want to rant or preach or lecture start your own site, send us a link and we'll ignore you there as well. We went down this whole 'slapping the troll' thing road a few times before. All it did was convince us that there's just no point to the exercise. None of you have the courage of your convictions or you wouldn't be filling our spam box with your screed and ignorance anonymously. Take a hint. We do not want you nor will we tolerate you here.

We are Six and the DO. We wield the mighty Ban Hammer Of Doom. You have been warned.

 Now piss off. 


29 October 2012

A Hike With Angus

As promised a few photos of the boy and I at Cinder Knoll. With limited input from yours truly because when you have a Lab words are simply unnecessary. All of them are enlargeable.

We did a little whistle work. Face me and SIT.

Isn't he a good boy?

Tongue hanging, I've done my job. That's one tired pup!

Back to the truck. "I'm not tired daddy. I swear!"

Drool fuel.

The end of a very good day.

And homeward bound again. The boy does love rides in his truck.

Angus has been such a blessing. I hope you enjoyed the pictures because there are many more adventures to come.


The Giants Win!!!!

The Giants swept the Tigers tonight, 4-3 in 10 innings in game 4. The Panda was the MVP.

It was a great series. Games 2 and 3 were nail biters but game 4 was torture. This makes the Giants World Champs 2 out of the last 3 years. I said it a while ago but the current Giants remind me strongly of the Braves of the 90s. A great core of young starting pitching and a very talented bullpen. Throw in a few good position players, a bunch of role players who only want to win and shake well. Add in a manager who must now be considered among the very best. Top it off with great clubhouse attitude and you've got a team that's going to be very hard to beat for years yet. 

To be fair the Giants went on an incredible run. They got hot at exactly the right time. After game 5 of the NLCS they put their foot on the gas and never let up.

My condolences to Murphy's Law. The only team I'd have accepted beating us with good grace would have been the Tigers. But I'm glad that didn't happen. The DO stayed up until midnight Florida time to watch. She called us afterward and we celebrated over the phone.

I know that in the great scheme of things what a certain sports team means very little but I love the game and I love my Giants. We've been fans as a family since 1982. They've frankly been pretty bad for the vast majority of those years so the last 3 years have been sweet indeed.

Now that the series is over I'll grin for a couple of days but then it's back to work. There's an election coming up and winning on that stage is orders of magnitude more important than even the G-Men winning it all.

But it's still a great day. Go Giants!


28 October 2012

Sunday Kipling

Late again today. Lu, Angus and I just got back from another nice hike. The new boots are working fine. Angus had a ball. As usual.

Game 4 is tonight and I hope ML will forgive me if I'm pulling for the sweep. Go Giants!

I'm thinking foot longs on the grill with a nice cold beverage. The day is sunny, mild and beautiful. Lu and I wish you all a warm and happy Sunday. And if you're in the path of Sandy know that our thoughts will never be far from you.


For To Admire

The Injian Ocean sets an' smiles
 So sof', so bright, so bloomin' blue;
There aren't a wave for miles an' miles
 Excep' the jiggle from the screw.
The ship is swep', the day is done,
 The bugle's gone for smoke and play;
An' black ag'in the settin' sun
 The Lascar sings, "Hum deckty hai!"                
For to admire an' for to see,
 For to be'old this world so wide --
It never done no good to me,
 But I can't drop it if I tried!
I see the sergeants pitchin' quoits,
 I 'ear the women laugh an' talk,
I spy upon the quarter-deck
 The orficers an' lydies walk.
I thinks about the things that was,
 An' leans an' looks acrost the sea,
Till, spite of all the crowded ship
 There's no one lef' alive but me.
The things that was which I 'ave seen,
 In barrick, camp, an' action too,
I tells them over by myself,
 An' sometimes wonders if they're true;
For they was odd -- most awful odd --
 But all the same, now they are o'er,
There must be 'eaps o' plenty such,
 An' if I wait I'll see some more.
Oh, I 'ave come upon the books,
 An' frequent broke a barrick-rule,
An' stood beside an' watched myself
 Be'avin' like a bloomin' fool.
I paid my price for findin' out,
 Nor never grutched the price I paid,
But sat in Clink without my boots,
 Admirin' 'ow the world was made.
Be'old a crowd upon the beam,
 An' 'umped above the sea appears
Old Aden, like a barrick-stove
 That no one's lit for years an' years!
I passed by that when I began,
 An' I go 'ome the road I came,
A time-expired soldier-man
 With six years' service to 'is name.
My girl she said, "Oh, stay with me!"
 My mother 'eld me to 'er breast.
They've never written none, an' so
 They must 'ave gone with all the rest --
With all the rest which I 'ave seen
 An' found an' known an' met along.
I cannot say the things I feel,
 And so I sing my evenin' song:
For to admire an' for to see,
 For to be'old this world so wide --
It never done no good to me,
 But I can't drop it if I tried!

27 October 2012

New Boots And Bow Legs

Ever since I tore my Achilles tendon in 2006 I've had shoe issues. Ankle high boots rub the repair and cause a lot of pain and my heel is very sensitive, requiring me to keep my shoes laced loosely and remove the left one whenever I can. I mostly go shoeless around the house these days. But, and isn't there always a but?

I'm also fairly bow legged. How bad? This bad.

Note please that I'm standing with my ankles together. I can put my fist between my knees. What that means is that when I'm on my feet for extended periods or walking long distances my knees ache if my shoes are loose or too soft. I need shoes/boots that keep my legs straighter and my feet flat to the ground. Enter a certain black dog who requires regular and lengthy exercise and it became obvious that something needed to be done.

Hi. My name is Angus. The big guy is talking about me. Can we go for a walk now? Can we? Can we? Please? Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!?

I've always been lucky when it comes to shoes and boots. I could wear anything. Walk into the Big Five, grab whatever is on sale for $19.95 in the right size and we're done. I didn't even have to try them on. Not any more. Lu and the DO are particular about their footwear and need to buy quality to suit their feet. Lu finally got it through to me. I need to do the same. My tennis shoes just aren't going to cut the mustard any more. I'm actually going to have to spend some real money on my feet. Sigh. Ok.

I went to the local sporting shoe store and perused the hiking boot rack. The proprietor is a nice guy and very knowledgeable. He recommended a pair, I tried them on and, wonder of wonders, they fit and felt pretty good. I plunked down 130 bucks (Oh, my aching wallet!) and walked out to give them the acid test. What did I buy? These.

My first pair of Keens. I was totally unfamiliar with the brand. By the way, exactly what color is Burnt Henna anyway? They're gray. Why can't they just call them gray? They're light, comfortable and the back is cut lower to give my Achilles a little more room. Hey, these might just work.

Angus and I put them to the test on the Cinder Knoll Trail.

Why is it called Cinder Knoll. Probably because the trail runs by this hill that's composed entirely of...wait for it...red cinder.

Almost certainly laid down by this nearby volcano.

The boots performed well. We walked about 2 to 2.5 miles on a rutted trail with some cross country. I felt the pressure on the outside of my feet as we walked due to the boots trying to straighten my legs and my Achilles was sore afterward but all in all I was pleased. These boots aren't just for hiking with Angus. I'll also be wearing them while doing work on the house. I need to stop wearing soft, loose, crappy shoes. These boots are a first step. As it were. I'll post long term and let you know how they do after many miles and hours.

Next week I'll do a post about the hike. I took a bunch of Angus pictures to share. And I know all of you really come here just to see the boy and I aim to please. I'm also in the market for a new camera. My picture taking sucks and it's high time I did something about that. Luckily my daughter has an actual degree in photography and is an avid photographer so advice is only a phone call away.

Boots and bow legs. Now that's entertainment!


26 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy

For all of you in it's path Lu and I pray for your safety and that of all your loved ones.

Batten the hatches and stay safe.


25 October 2012

My "Why We Win" Entry

I talked about introducing a new shooter to the sport here. Let's call her B. B's husband works with Lu and he wants an AR in the worst way. As I said in that post I introduced B to shooting with 22s and most especially a 10-22. She had a ball and was talking about buying one even as they were driving away from the range.

Guess what? Yep, we now have a brand new gun owner, someone who has never owned a gun before in her life. She still has that great new shooter smell and everything (someone should bottle that, you'd get rich). Just a couple of days ago she purchased a 10-22 of her very own and is just as happy as can be. They went shooting at lunchtime the day after they bought it and she was trying desperately to get him to call in sick for the rest of the afternoon because she was having so much fun she didn't want to stop. He bought her pink hearing protection and she's now complaining about magazine capacity; she wants either larger mags or more of  'em and preferably both. That's just so full of win right there.

But wait, there's more. She called me and asked questions about an AR her hubby has been eyeballing. Is it quality, is it fairly priced, ammunition requirements, what do I need to know, etc. She's planning on buying it for him for Christmas. I was giggling over the phone and I still can't get the smile plastered on my face to go away. She may now suspect I am a crazy man.

Listen, this is one of the funnest and most rewarding things I've ever done. I was a police trainer for years and introduced my daughter (and soon my grandchildren) to shooting. I've bought and taught for Lu but this is the first time I've ever introduced a complete stranger to the gun world and I'm loving it. I now have a much better appreciation for all of you who do this regularly. And if you haven't I highly recommend the practice. Invite a non-shooter to the range, introduce them gently and with as much fun factor as possible and watch what happens. It's magical.

I may have to look into doing some civilian training. If it's as much fun as this has been I'm all in. Hey, I've got my NRA and FBI firearms instructor certificates. Anyone in Utah looking for some help? I'm fired up!


24 October 2012

Your Inner Voice

A Girl And Her Gun talks about a polite society and personal safety here. The story is horrific but one that we all need to read and think about. One of the things she points out is our inner voice and if we should listen to it.

I am big on that whole 'small quiet voice in the back of your head' that talks to you, even occasionally screams at you. Call it God or intuition or even paranoia, the unquestionable fact is that most everyone has experienced it at least once. Perhaps with good reason perhaps not. My position if there is even a small chance that your inner voice is correct then it's foolish to ignore it. 

I was a police officer for more than 24 years. In that time my own inner voice became a trusted friend. Occasionally conversational, sometimes screaming. It helped me discover drugs, guns, evidence, lost children and even hidden crooks. It also saved my life on more than one occasion. Hey, would you look at that? It's story time. Just kidding. I talked a bit about the use of force, mindset and choices here. Included in that post is a story about when my inner voice was in full song. There is no doubt in my mind that, other choices aside, if I hadn't listened and acted on that intuition a shooting would have ensued with all that entails.

That was neither the first nor the last time such occurred. I've often said that a good cop learns to listen and trust that voice. It may be the result of training, subconscious observation, instinct or a combination but the wise will pay attention. But remember, training is where you find it and experience comes from putting your lessons into every day practice. From those seeds comes a trained mind and an understanding of and trust in your inner voice.

Dann from God, Gals, Guns, Grub talks about mindset here. In that post he talks about how to teach your children observational skills. That's not just good advice for your kids but also for all of us.

An example of mental training being where you find it (and perhaps in an unexpected form). There's a driving technique I adopted a long time ago, especially when I'm riding my motorcycle. It's called Roadcraft or Roadcraft Commentary. Here's an explanation.

And in action.

It's a technique for increasing your awareness and observational skills while operating a car or motorcycle but that can also be used in every day activities not related to defensive driving. Walking, shopping, at a social gathering. Who is around you? Where is the possible threat? How many potentially dangerous situations can you spot? And Avoid? What is giving you that cold chill down your back? What are you going to do if X happens? How do I avoid Y? Who, what, when, where, why? It was a fantastic tool for maintaining my situational awareness while patrolling, both on foot and in a cruiser, and works equally well now that I'm a civilian. I use it constantly.

My position is that The Voice is present in all of us but it's only through training and frequent use that it becomes noticeable enough to be a true defensive aid. Exercise yours and Listen when it calls out your name. The best defense is not to be in a situation where you must defend yourself in the first place. Be somewhere else when the trouble starts. But if it's unavoidable, and sometimes it absolutely is, make sure your early warning system is in place and operating perfectly.

Mental training is at least as important as physical. Mind, body and spirit. The trinity of the prepared warrior.


23 October 2012

Ok, Lance Doped

It's been all the bicycle news for a while now. The USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) came out with it's report on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal/Discovery Channel bicycling teams and his 7 Tour De France wins. USADA said they found

 "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" Here's the full text of the findings.

USADA banned Lance for life and stripped him of all his results from 1999 to 2005. Lance chose not to appeal the ruling. Caught up in the mess were many current or retired riders of some fame and accomplishment such as Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie.

Now the UCI has formally stripped Lance of his TDF victories.

The fallout is now getting ugly. Lance has stepped down as the head of the Livestrong Foundation and his sponsors, including Trek, Nike and Radioshack have dropped him like a spent nuclear fuel rod costing him an estimated 35 million dollars in endorsements. Some supporters are asking for their money back and there's talk that the race promoters of the races he won may sue him to get back their payouts. Millions more. Long time sponsors are dropping out.

The biggest hit may be the Cancer research work the Livestrong Foundation supports if donations fall off in light of the revelations on doping.

I am an avid cyclist. I love the sport and follow professional cycling. I know the players and the history and it's a very seedy history indeed. Doping has been an issue for decades. How bad has it been? The UCI, the governing body for the Tour De France, will vacate Lance's wins rather than awarding new winners. Why? Because virtually every other podium winner (Second and Third places) has also been either caught or suspected of doping. To say the UCI didn't know or couldn't have discovered what was happening is Ostrich thinking. The UCI needed Armstrong's wins because the sport was basically maxed out in Europe and the US was wide open and the only real way to grow the sport. That is exactly what happened by the way. A 7 time American winner caused the sport to explode on the North American continent.

There is nothing new in any of this. If you follow any professional sport you will see the same or at least similar. Hell, my own team, the SF Giants, felt the pain of this issue just this year when their number one hitter, Melki Cabrera, got caught juicing. Cycling doesn't have the Performance Enhancing Drugs market all to themselves. They're just in the spotlight at the moment. Not excusing anything, just providing a little perspective because where there's fame and lots and lots of money to be made there will be those who will do anything to get it. Including abject cheating.

What happens now? I watched this years TDF and what I saw strongly suggests that the sport is finally getting a hand on doping. The racing was close, tight and had multiple winners. Just the look on the riders faces was enough to convince me they were suffering mightily. There were no "Superhuman" efforts where a rider simply rode away from everyone else and won a hard stage easily. No one looked head and shoulders better than everyone else. Lots of crashes because the racing was NASCAR like in it's intensity and parity. Anyone could win on any day. An even playing field.

But that's not at the heart of this Lance Armstrong mess. The good work of the Livestrong Foundation is far, far more important than the sport and certainly anyone associated with it. Including a certain former 7 time champion. It's proper to castigate Armstrong personally and maybe even the sport generally but it's unfair to place that same taint on the foundation he helped create. They are raising money for the necessary work being done to find a cure for the scourge of Cancer and the actions by one deceitful and greedy man should not reflect on them. That's what pisses me off the most, that he would risk so much good for his own self aggrandizement.

Yes, I will put away my yellow bracelet. I have now lost any respect I ever had for Lance Armstrong and those who chose to follow him down that dark road. I will mourn for the loss of an American 7 time winner but will take heart that the next generation is coming on and they're racing clean and fast. And if not then I'm Ok with that. the world does not turn on the outcomes of professional sports. My Giants may win the World series and they may lose. Either way my life will go on as before. If the sport of professional cycling ended today I would be unaffected other than a sense of sadness when racing season comes around. We can live without it and them, any of them.

What some of us cannot live without is life saving cancer treatments and the doctors, nurses and researchers who make such a difference in so many lives. I urge you to remember that and forget those who do us all a dishonor by cheating, whatever the sport or pursuit. I promise you that those who raised money in Kilted To Kick Cancer did so without the slightest chemical enhancement. Adult beverages absolutely. Steroids no.

I will continue to ride and follow those teams and riders I like and respect and I will forget the name Lance Armstrong as if he had never existed. I will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation because of what they do, not who's name is on the stationary. I will fight like Susan. My mother's struggle was life and death and the actions of one man, or a host of men, will not mar what she endured.

Because life is so much more important than the cheaters.


                                             Steroids? Never heard of 'em.

22 October 2012

Game 7 Tonight (Updated: Giants Win!!)

First pitch somewhere around 6:00 MST. In 2010 'Torture' was adopted as the theme for the Giants run to the World Series because of all the nail biter games they played and won. This year it's back because apparently the G-Men can't win a series without being on the precipice of elimination. If they win it'll be 6 games straight.

Torture. They're killing me but I'll forgive everything if they can win tonight. The phone will be off the hook this evening.


The Giants pulled off the improbable with a 9-0 win in Game 7. They won 6 straight elimination games. All is sweetness and light in the Six household tonight. I even blew off the debate so as to not miss a single pitch. Somewhere in Florida three special Giants fans are also happy.

Game 1 of the World Series against the Tigers is Wednesday. Murphy's Law will be pulling for the Tigers and  I am content with the match up. Their number One fan will surely be watching and rooting.

I love October baseball!

21 October 2012

Sunday Kipling

Another Sunday is upon us. Fence has been built, dog walked and Corvette sold. It was an interesting week. With the election bearing down on us the coming month will be more interesting still. I think some flame seared beef is in order on this day. Perhaps a ride or even a short trip to the secret range. Ah, choices. I hope this day finds you all hale and with someone you love. Take care and remember that sometimes scratching a warm, furry belly is all you need to be happy.

The Outlaws

Through learned and laborious years
  They set themselves to find
Fresh terrors and undreamed-of fears
  To heap upon mankind.

ALl that they drew from Heaven above
  Or digged from earth beneath,
They laid into their treasure-trove
  And arsenals of death:

While, for well-weighed advantage sake,
  Ruler and ruled alike
Built up the faith they meant to break
  When the fit hour should strike.

They traded with the careless earth,
  And good return it gave:
They plotted by their neighbour's hearth
  The means to make him slave.

When all was ready to their hand
  They loosed their hidden sword,
And utterly laid waste a land
  Their oath was pledged to guard.

Coldly they went about to raise
  To life and make more dread
Abominations of old days,
  That men believed were dead.

They paid the price to reach their goal
  Across a world in flame;
But their own hate slew their own soul
  Before that victory came.

19 October 2012

The Catsuit Video

A certain someone promised a certain video if certain fund raising goals were reached. Here it is.I'd comment but since I'm functionally a social misfit, have a wife who I know can shoot and am pretty sure Michael can take me I'll just shut my fat mouth.

I understand Evyl Robot wore the threatened black dress but if there's video of that one I'm just gonna have to pass. Not that I don't love ya Micheal but my supply of eye bleach is running a bit low.


18 October 2012


You know how after a good rain the ground worms come out onto the sidewalk, apparently just to die and muck things up? That's dog crack to Angus. He snorfs them up like an Oxycontin addict at a Pfizer free give away.

I think Black Beauty is sold. The guy came by and took her for a test drive. He gave Lu a good faith payment and promised the rest by Monday. I hate to see her go but I just do not have the time to put into her. The remodel will totally take all my work time for at least the next year. With the Beemer and Big Bandido both in the garage one of the toys had to go. Sigh.

If that dog were black this would so totally be Angus. That boy is a menace, Dennis style. No sock is safe within his domain.

Game four of the NLCS is tonight. The Giants finally won a home game and the bats seem to be waking up so I have cautious hopes. Hopefully Scutaro can play. Holliday is such a scab.

Finished another section of fence. I only have three more to go. I may do another this week (Update: started). Pictures later.

Car Guy bought a new truck after someone backed into his and creamed the drivers door. It was actually pinned shut necessitating he enter and exit through the passenger side. He had to drive all the way from New Mexico to California that way. He stopped by here on his way and dropped off the roof stuff so we got to visit for an evening. Next Spring for the new roof. Thanks CG.

Watched all the debates so far but it's the polls I find interesting. As predicted the closer we get to the election the closer the race gets with Romney taking the overall lead as well as in most of the swing states.

Took the BMW out today and is she ever sweet. Eats up the miles like a cruise missile. Oil filters and batteries notwithstanding.

Got starkly reminded of the differences between Labs and German Shepherd Dogs the other day while working on the fence. One came by for an unexpected visit. Angus was all "Hi! I'm Angus! Do you want to play?! Ah, come on!" while I was a bit more circumspect. He was just a big, solid dog with that "I could so totally kill you if I wanted to" vibe. He wasn't unfriendly but GSDs are just naturally so much more intimidating than my clown dog. I got him to let me pet him lightly but that was it and I wasn't about to push the issue. He wandered off before I could get a phone number for his owner but seemed to know the neighborhood so I didn't insist. I may have to stash a shotgun in the garage.

Sarge is fighting back issues and is in a lot of pain. Keep a good thought out for him if you would.

We decided not to put the California house on the market. It seems to be coming back and house prices are rising but the problem is appraisals are lagging behind. The realtor Lu talked to recommended we wait til next year to give them a chance to match the actual offers. Houses in our neighborhood are actually selling for less than the offer just because they can't get an appraisal that will allow the lender to fund the full value of the home. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

The kids are ready for Halloween (my favorite holiday). The DO says they have their costumes all picked out and are ready for Trick-Or-Treats. Our house is all decorated but I have a bad feeling that Angus is going to be a handful. He barks at the wind for Ghu's sake. Stupid dog.

WD40 can clean anything. And I do mean anything. Including roofing tar. Don't ask me how it all got there, it just did Ok? I think it was the Tar Gnomes.

And now you're up to date with all the latest Six household happenings. Aren't you happy now? Am I not a great sharer? Don't you wish you were me? No? I don't blame you. I wish I was Murphy's Law myself. He's really James Bond in disguise you know. Oh crap, I just outed 007!


17 October 2012

New Gun And Range Report (Plus A New Shooter!)

I've written before about gun enthusiasts versus casual shooters, especially as it relates to Lu. She loves to shoot and is very good at it but she's a product of her upbringing and limited training. She is comfortable with single shots, revolvers, pumps, bolts and levers but semi-autos, either handgun or rifles, make her uneasy. She is never quite certain, deep down inside, whether or not she needs to do some sort of manipulation to make it go bang and she has to stop and really think whenever reloading comes into play. In a casual setting, one where she's just plinking and not training, she's fine but throw in pressured training and she has issues. It's a problem for us because I have based my home defense plan around high capacity semi-auto pistols and AR15 pattern rifles. Yeah, it's a problem. Again, that's totally my fault. I should have gotten her up to speed on semis a long time ago but I didn't and that is a massive failure on my part. One I am going to address.

I decided to start with getting Lu comfortable with the AR rifles first because if we can get her skillful with that weapon then a pistol should be much more simple. To me the best way to get her going strong was to ramp down the training aspect and give her a training tool she'd be comfortable with and was fun to shoot. Nothing makes training easier than having fun. Enter my answer. Mind you it's my answer. Yours may differ.

A S&W M&P 15-22. I considered just getting a .22 conversion for one of my ARs but one of Lu's complaints was the weight of the rifles. At 5 1/4 pounds the Smith is very light weight and I'll later go to work on one of the ARs to lighten it up considerably. Composite everything except the barrel, bolt and bolt guide rails the thing is really easy to carry and hold off hand.

The controls mimic the AR platforms exactly.

It's a blowback design with a light weight bolt so cleaning is much easier.

The guts seem pretty much AR standard, including the robust hammer. We had no failures to feed or fire and got good primer strikes. The trigger is fairly heavy but crisp with no appreciable creep or slack.

Enough about the technical aspects. How did it shoot? Very well. We didn't do any accuracy testing (the first range session was purely a fun shoot) but anecdotally I was very happy with it. It shoots very softly, as you'd expect with a .22 long rifle, and put every round in a 10 inch pie plate at 10 yards. That may not seem exceptional but one of the shooters was a brand new shooter. I'll get into that in a bit.

To address the training and gun handling issues I mentioned earlier my plan was to introduce Lu to the gun as gently as possible with no pressure or expectations. I even did all the magazine loading.We headed to the range with one of Lu's co-workers and his non-shooter wife. There was a bit of subterfuge going on here. He wants an AR for himself but she's resisting, not quite understanding the attraction. This was the perfect opportunity to slay two dragons with one bolt.

We started the day on the line with two Ruger pistols, Lu's MKI and my bull barrel MKII. Again, yours truly did all the magazine loading and gun manipulation (short of the actual shooting). The setting was low key with the emphasis on fun and trying some new stuff. Lu is well acquainted with her little Ruger so had her usual load of fun. The new shooter (TNS for short) was pleasantly surprised. She had a ball. The first thing I did was have a safety brief. The very next was to assure her that I was not not not one of those idiots who think it's funny to hand her a hand cannon and laugh at the results. I told her I wouldn't give her anything to shoot that would hurt or cause her discomfort. No YouTube follies here.

With that success in my pocket out came the rifles. We started with a pair of 10-22s because hey, they're 10-22s and who doesn't love those little guns? Both women had an absolute ball. All that was required was range safety and a good time. Smiles were in abundance. One of those rifles is Lu's so no manipulation issues were encountered and with the relaxed atmosphere she quickly got into a good groove. A good sign.

After about half a brick of fun it was time to bring out the New Gun. Lu was first up and I have to say that after the first magazine she had a grin plastered on her face that never left. I acquainted Lu with the controls but didn't ask her to manipulate any except the safety. Easy, gentle and fun. More will come later, and there will be a later. This gun did exactly what I hoped it would. Relaxed Lu and let her handle an AR pattern rifle with minimum pressure and maximum fun. She can't wait to shoot it again. In future range sessions I will be slowly adding in gun manipulation skills and tasks but only as she and I deem her ready.

Same with TNS though she was pretty much divided on which rifle she liked best. I also didn't fuss over her or give her too much input in this first of hopefully many more range sessions. She shot everything and is a natural shot. She had an absolute ball and never once missed, hence the short range and large target. If a new shooter has that much fun and initial success you're halfway toward making a true Gunny.

All in all it was a great day and an excellent purchase. I highly recommend the S&W rifle. It's light, easy to shoot, relatively inexpensive (I paid $569), 10 different kinds of fun and cheap to shoot. For smiles per dollar spent it's an absolute steal. Lu now has a rifle that she loves as opposed to one that she's intimidated by and that should make acquiring the skills I need her to have much easier. As she progresses I'll modify the AR I have set aside for her to make it smaller and lighter to more nearly mirror the little Smith. This has reinforced in me the idea that it's a bad assumption to make that all other shooters can simply pick up a gun, any gun, and shoot it competently just because you can. That lesson is now permanently impressed in what passes for my brain.

As for The New Shooter? That was pure icing. I talked with her husband just today and a 10-22 purchase is already being planned. I think we may have a brand new shooter joining our ranks and that makes me very happy. I'm not Keads or Dann yet but I am doing what I can.

A very good day indeed.


15 October 2012

People Who Need To Be Beaten To Death

When I bought the BMW I knew it needed both a new battery and on oil change. No problem I said. Easy as pie I said. I do that all the time I said. How hard could it be I said.


First off, the battery. The battery is located under the back of the gas tank. In order to access it you must remove the left side fairing. I wasn't aware of that and ended up removing the entire fairing.You can see the battery just under the back of the tank. It's the black rectangle with the white sticker on it. There are approximately 700 screws holding the fairings on. Different sizes for the various locations of course. Plus we don't have a BMW dealer locally so I had to order it as well as the oil filter. Ok, bad but I can deal.

Battery replaced it's on to the oil change. The drain plug is easy to find and access. The filter not so much. See, the filter is recessed into the bottom of the engine case. Like so. None of the filter protrudes. It's entirely buried in the engine case.

To remove it requires a special BMW oil filter socket. Which I do not have.

Now, Car Guy kindly reminded me that K&N oil filters have a nice handy 17mm nut grafted to the bottom for easy on and off. Luckily, the new filter is a K&N so if I could just get the old one off I'd be pooping in tall cotton.

Easier said than done, which brings me to the certain someone(s) I'd dearly love to beat to death. Anyone who puts on oil filters with breaker bars and tightens them so tight that it's nearly impossible to get them off short of a fully equipped repair shop needs to die a slow, fiery death.

I've had to do this before, remove a filter without the proper wrench and it never fails that those put on by shops and oil change businesses are put on by the ham handed. Oil filters are supposed to be hand tight, no more. See, they have what's commonly referred to as a 'rubber gasket' which does the actual sealing. Torquing it down to space shuttle specs is not required. It is in fact contra-indicated and if I have to hunt all of you oil wrench gorillas down and drown you in vats of used two stroke motor oil to make that point I am perfectly willing to do it.

After a solid hour of sweating, grunting and swearing I finally got the mangled remains of the old filter off and finished the oil change. It was tight. I mean Nun Twat tight, not to be indelicate about it. What is supposed to be one of the easiest vehicle maintenance tasks possible took me almost 3 hours.

The BMW is now back together, buttoned up and running like a fine Swiss watch. Well, maybe a German cuckoo clock.

No thanks to King Kong the oil change guy. Beat. You. To. Death. Write it on your sloping foreheads.


14 October 2012

Sunday Kipling

Aack! Late again.

The Giants begin the NLCS today. Lu and Angus are currently off on a mountain run. Yeah, I'm just not down with that. I got the chance to introduce a new shooter yesterday. I'll talk more about that later. In the meantime there's stew cooking, a football game on and it's a glorious day to be alive. I hope you all have as good a day as this one is shaping up to be.

The Dawn Wind

The Fifteenth Century
At two o'clock in the morning, 
if you open your window and listen,
You will hear the feet of the Wind 
that is going to call the sun.
And the trees in the shadow rustle 
and the trees in the moonlight glisten,
And though it is deep, dark night, 
you feel that the night is done.         

So do the cows in the field. 
They graze for an hour and lie down,
Dozing and chewing the cud; 
or a bird in the ivy wakes, 
Chirrups one note and is still, 
and the restless Wind strays on,
Fidgeting far down the road, till, 
softly, the darkness breaks.

Back comes the Wind full strength 
with a blow like an angel's wing,
Gentle but waking the world, 
as he shouts: "The Sun! The Sun!"
And the light floods over the fields 
and the birds begin to sing,
And the Wind dies down in the grass. 
It is day and his work is done.                              

So when the world is asleep, 
and there seems no hope of her waking
Out of some long, bad dream 
that makes her mutter and moan,
Suddenly, all men arise 
to the noise of fetters breaking,
And every one smiles at his neighbour 
and tells him his soul is his own!

12 October 2012

He Might Be Better Than Me

Just a little.

That's Martyn Ashton on a $16,000 Pinarello Dogma 2. The fence ride was what impressed me. And I can't even jump a curb anymore.


11 October 2012

The Giants!!!

6-4 in game 5. It was a nail biter for much of the game. Posey hit a slam and the G-Men won the series after being down 0-2. The first time that's been done in a NLDS ever.

The Reds are a great team but let this be a lesson. They had the Giants on the ropes but let them squeek out a win in game 3 and it was all over but the popping of the champagne corks. If you have an adversary down kick them in the ass don't piss on 'em.

Alemaster is a great guy and a gracious competitor but I am so going to rub this one in all Winter. :) Hey, I win so seldom I don't quite know what to do. Plus, he's a Rotor Head and what would my Leg brothers think if I let him off easy?

On to the NLCS. I think we just dodged a bullet and beat the next best team in the NL but we shall see.

Thanks Alemaster. These things are always a lot more fun if there are actual consequences and penalties involved.


Food Storage

It's no secret that Lu and I live in a small town in southern Utah. It's where she was born and raised and where she's related to...well, pretty much everybody. We like it here. The crime rate is low, the area is beautiful and the people are friendly. They're also predominately Mormon which means food storage is simply an every day fact of life. The Mormons advise every family to have at least a one year supply of food. Lu and I, though no longer Mormon, have taken that to heart. In fact we have been working on our storage and pantry for years.

I'm going to give a shout out to Rourke at Modern Survival Online. You can find him on my blog roll and he's absolutely worth your time. Take a few minutes and peruse his posts and side bar. He has a lot of good information and links on preparedness including some downloads that are fantastic, especially his Survival Database Downloads. Rourke is my go to guy for all things prepper. I'm not getting a thing from Rourke for recommending his site just as I paid for everything in this post.

And isn't it great that the moniker prepper is no longer a slur? With the economy sliding into oblivion prepping is now seen for what it really is. Just good sense.

On to our food storage. Lu and I concentrated for many years on dry goods; beans, rice, pasta and canned veggies/meat. It's all in our rotation and we replace it as we use it so the pantry is always full. We have a flour grinder, water storage and alternate means of heat, power and cooking. What we were missing was a goodly supply of dehydrated and vacuum sealed very long term foods. A couple of weeks ago we finally addressed that.

That's 400 pounds of miscellaneous dehydrated/ vacuum sealed foods.

The manufacturer is Rainy Day Foods.We chose them because they're a source of quality foods, they're relatively inexpensive and we were able to buy them locally so I could inspect what I was buying in person before plunking down our money. There are a lot of good suppliers out there so shop around.

As I said, we bought locally. I got the chance to talk to the store owner and feel him out for his expertise and see his products. I liked what I saw so we went with him. The alternatives were a 3 hour drive or buying online. Either was acceptable but this was a lot easier. We spent $800 on this supply which, while seemingly pricey, is actually a very good deal. This is long term storage. Most of this food is good for 20 years or more if stored correctly. We have it in our cool and dry basement where the temperature never varies greatly. It's even cool in Summer. Think root cellar.

With that purchase Lu and I decided it was time to do a bit of clean up and reordering of the pantry. We had the sugar, salt, rice and beans, etc. stored in plastic bins. Ok but not really efficient. You can see them at the back left of the picture. The green tubs that are in the process of collapsing under their own weight. And a certain black dog who seems to be becoming a camera hog.

We decided to replace the bins with 5 gallon plastic buckets with sealing lids. 6 bucks each at WalMart.  Fill 'em up, pound the lid on with a rubber hammer and you're set. There's no way to vacuum seal them that I am aware of but this is part of our rotational storage so no worries. They're also very sturdy so mice won't be an issue.

And they stack so much better. 8 of the buckets have plain lids while the two that are in the rotation have screw on lids to ease access. Those are the ones with the X lids. When we exhaust one of the rotation buckets we re-fill it from another bucket and then buy replacement food. Oldest used first.The food is on shelves and is easy to access and keep track of.

Using the buckets for the heavy stuff allowed us to put some lighter foods, like Ramen, in the old bins. Yes Ramen is an excellent food storage item as long as you store it well and rotate it regularly.

Lu and I are far from expert in this area but we do have a plan, such as it is. We have a years supply of long term storage/emergency food and about 6 additional months in our rotational supply. Everything from grains and beans to vegetables and condiments. We can make flour and cook. There's even drink mixes and 60 pounds of dried/dehydrated milk in there. Rotation of perishables is vital. If the food doesn't spoil most of it is edible even well after it's 'best when used by' date but it's nutritional value decreases as it ages. Use it and replace it are the watch words. Do your homework and spend your money wisely. Don't rely on a single source of emergency food. That creates a single point of failure and could be disastrous should you ever find yourself in need.

And that's the whole point to all of this. It doesn't have to be TEOTWAWKI to find yourself short of food. Natural disasters, gasoline shortages/outrageous cost or even a job loss can all create a situation where a well packed larder could be the difference between life and death. You can create a nice back up just by buying a few cans of food every week and sticking it away. Just like firearms and self defense, food storage should be a large part of your 'Go To Hell' plan.

This is our food storage plan. Others do it differently. If you decide you want to do something similar I suggest doing a lot of homework and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Most of the preppers I know are only too happy to share and don't forget one of the best organizations out there for food prep information. That's right, the Mormon Church. They're experts on this stuff and more than willing to share their knowledge.

Of course any food supply will only last as long as you store it correctly and have the ability to defend it. Fortunately the Big Dog is on the job. Good Boy Angus! And yes, we do have a plan to feed him in dire circumstances.