Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why is everything on Thursday nights?

So, tonight, there are four things I'd like to do (besides go home and fall asleep in a chair.)


  • HIPE Fitness Level One class at 6:00 . . . 
  • Springfield Tactical Shooters USPSA anytime from 5:00 to 8:00 . . . 
  • Illinois State Museum is hosting a reception for area teachers at 6:00 . . .
  • Hoogland Center for the Arts is putting on a Casablanca movie night . . . eating Moroccan food and watching Casablanca in one of their theaters.
These are all things I'd like to do, but I'm only one man. I didn't find out about the Casablanca night until this morning, so it was obviously far too late. Married people with children do not go out to movie nights on weekdays on one day's notice. So, that's out.

The museum event happens every year, and every year I talk about how I really should go this year. My wife attended it last year and said it was a lot of fun, but apparently it's one of those wine-and-door-prizes events. Essentially, somebody thinks all school teachers are women (or, possibly, that only the women show up for these reception events . . . might have something there) so they put together an event that caters to a certain stereotype of mature ladies having a wild night on the town. Wine and door prizes.

That leaves the STS USPSA night and HIPE Fitness. This is as much as I can manage in one night, probably. If I'm lucky, I can probably get to the range and get signed up to shoot by 4:30-5:00, especially if I help with setup. Then I can shoot it a couple of times before the biggest crowds come in and be out the door by 5:30. That leaves me enough time to get to the gym and get changed for the 6:00 class if everything works. My wife is going to the museum event, and she arranged babysitting for Number Three Son, so I don't have to rush home.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On Signaling and Subtext in Married-People Texting


"En route to get Sean. The expensive pistol class is full, but I'm first in line if someone cancels. We got this Cub Scout thing. Hope you're resting!" 
"Don't forget to take food coloring to the meeting with you." 
"Thanks! :D"


Now let's look at that in detail, shall we?

"En route to get Sean." 
Translation:   Don't worry, I remembered that I'm supposed to pick up our son. (This time.) As long as I continue to remember it all the way home, I will probably get him before the babysitter closes, as far as you know.
"The expensive pistol class is full, but I'm first in line if someone cancels.
Translation:   Remember yesterday, when I brought up an Ernest Langdon pistol class in October, and I really wanted to go, and I suggested that maybe I'd take your van and sleep in the back, and you asked why not just get a motel? And I allowed as how the class is a little expensive, and you got me to admit how expensive, and then you sort of grudgingly accepted it, but you were fully on board with the van-camping concept, even though I'd started to think maybe a motel was more reasonable?
Well, by the time I contacted the class host, they were waiting on someone to confirm the last spot, and he did. So now there's no slot for me, which means you don't have to worry about how expensive it is! It's a clear win. However, I'm the first one on the alternate list and it would be unusual if no one canceled in the next two months, so . . . it's probably still going to happen. I'm considering stopping by the plasma donation place on the way home to see what the fund-raising potential really is.
"We got this Cub Scout thing.
Translation:   I'm on such a roll, I also remembered to cancel gym night and will take the little Wolf to his cub scout meeting. Have you ever wanted me more feverishly than you do right now?
"Hope you're resting!
Translation:  I'm also sensitive and caring, so I remember that you didn't feel good this morning. I just hope you feel better and you're getting some rest before your work obligation tonight. Seriously, I am maxing this husband thing out today.
"Don't forget to take food coloring to the meeting with you."
Translation:  That's all very impressive and all, honey, but we both know you completely forgot about this. You should probably thank whatever is out there that you have me to remind you.
"Thanks! :D"
Translation:  Shit. I did completely forget about that. It's not a great feeling, but I'm buoyed by the certain knowledge that in five minutes I won't remember feeling bad about not remembering food coloring. I'll just wonder why I have "SEAN FOOD COLORING" written on my hand.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hey, you like cheese? How about biplanes? Sure ya do!


I have made an important discovery: if you go to Osh Kosh Wisconsin and then go to the EAA Museum of Aviation, and then go out to the Pioneer airfield next door (listen for the tram announcement every 20 minutes) you can then, most of the time, pay someone $75 to take you up for a flight in an open-cockpit biplane.


No, really.

Sadly, they weren't flying yesterday, but I'll be back. It's only a six-hour drive (if you don't stop to eat.)
Or perhaps Madam would prefer the Ford Tri-Motor? Or Sir would care to view Lake Winnebago through the iconic bubble canopy of a Bell 47 while humming the theme song to "M.A.S.H."?
Notice the "Glastar"--a low-wing, bubble-canopy side-by-side two-seater--is "FREE" for kids between the ages of eight and 17 years? And I haven't even gotten into a couple hundred photos I took in the museum.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I can post cool cars, too . . .

The older I get, the more summer time makes me look wistfully at little red convertibles. Probably a mid-life crisis coming on.
Doesn't that look like fun? (In the summer . . . . )



Possible USPSA Production Pistol Technique Breakthrough!?

I got off my butt and went to the weekly Springfield Tactical Shooters USPSA club shoot, which is one stage, indoors, every Thursday night. It was a simple run n' gun stage, with eight silhouettes, nothing blocked, nothing hidden, but arranged with two in the open, one through a port, then five more through two ports. In Production, there wasn't much to think about; there were no long or difficult shots, and there was a longer movement between shots after the sixth shot--the obvious place to reload.

I had fun running it and shot 15 alphas with one charlie in each run, but at my usual slow pace. First run was about sixteen seconds, the second run was about 15. This was my first attempt with the new Warren Tactical night sights on my Glock 17 in place of the stock plastic pieces. I may not be fast yet, but the sight picture was a revelation. I have actually not shot a dot torture with these sights yet, so that'll be the next thing to check out before I make the drive to Memphis to try out Rangemaster next month.

That wasn't the breakthrough. The breakthrough was getting lost in conversation with one of the regulars who invited me to join a practice group that sets up a stage and runs it repeatedly with coaching every week. There's no way I can do both every week after school starts, but lack of a place and time to practice shooting with movement and decision-making has held me back, not only in the sport but in developing as a shooter. I listen to podcasts and talk about improving, but I don't own a timer, nor do I practice live fire outside of these little one-stage club matches. That can't go on.

So! Things to look forward to because I should get better:

  • As I learn these Warren sights, I expect them to make my job easier than the stock pieces ever did.
  • Rangemaster's Level II handgun course on August 15th, to get the rust off and learn Rangemaster's way of doing the basics. If I like it as much as I think I will, Rangemaster Level III will follow.
  • Practice outside USPSA matches, with coaching from A/Master/Grandmaster shooters.
  • Beginning with August 3rd, competing in full-length club matches the first Sunday of every month locally.
  • I haven't written about this, but my wife gave me Laserlyte's Laser Target for our anniversary. I've been drawing at it across the kitchen with the SIRT laser trainer for awhile, but now I think I'm going to find a place to set it up at 25 yards or so and practice at that distance daily. I need it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#BanTheBox: What could go wrong?

From The Governor's Twitter:



Everyone in Illinois deserves a second chance when it comes to getting a job . . . and employers have no right to know (well, to ask, really) whether a job applicant has ever been convicted of a crime.
Look, I'm sympathetic to people who would like to turn things around after they've paid their debt, especially in a society where we've felonized so many things that most of us can't go more than a few days without committing one felony or other. But as Matt said the other day, the most reliable indicator of future criminal behavior is past criminal behavior. I can't see solving the problem of too few jobs for ex-cons by trying to force employers to hire more of them against their wills . . . . and I question whether this will do anything except lead more employers to be quicker to listen to "gut feelings" about applicants. How accurate will those gut feelings, as influenced by personal attitudes about race, sex, and appearance, be? Are we setting ex-cons up to get more opportunities at the expense of employers, or are we setting up law-abiding people to be judged too risky by employers who aren't allowed to ask about their histories?