Trijicon HD's with orange dot, because I basically just follow the crowd.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Trijicon HD's with orange dot, because I basically just follow the crowd.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Not for me, you understand, which is why I was so very, very annoyed at not being able to find one of my holsters. I found someone who wanted to trade my XD.45 for a Glock 19. The XD wasn't precisely what he was looking for (and he's still looking for an XD or XDM in .40 if anyone's got one) but he liked that I had two holsters to offer with it. But you know how one is none and two is one? Two holsters turned out to be one once I tried to figure out where I had last put the Crossbreed Supertuck I had promised to trade. It took me a week to find it (that's a week after the trade was made!) and I was actually planning to give up today and order him a new holster. I didn't want to do that, of course, but it was a little late not to deliver what I'd promised. Luckily, giving up and deciding not to look for the thing anymore did the trick (as it so often does) and I found it sticking out of a drawer of clothes this morning. No idea how it got there; the last time I remembered seeing it was when I brought it into the house from the trunk of my car about three weeks ago.
The first holster I'd bought for the XD had been a BLACKHAWK! SERPA, followed by a BLACKHAWK! Sporter, the same basic holster without the SERPA retention device. I trashed the SERPA early this year after learning that a rash of negligent discharges upon the draw were leading many instructors to ban it from gun school. I never had a problem personally, and in fact I liked the fact that, with my particular draw, the SERPA lock button tended to place my finger high on the frame, nowhere near the trigger. But there seemed to be little point in taking the risk, especially for a holster I wouldn't be able to use at gun school, and once I found videos of SERPAs locking up when they got dirty, there was just no point in messing with it. There are a LOT of holsters out there.
I held on to the Sporter, because without the retention device, it makes an excellent holster for range time and USPSA competition. It's secure, the big front cutout aids in reholstering, and the paddle attachment is robust and well-designed. My only comparison, from personal experience, is admittedly a Comp-Tac International competition holster . . . but that sample of one left me unimpressed. I like the Comp-Tac and continue to use it in USPSA with its slotted belt mount, but the paddle is thin and fragile, as if it were designed to save weight. Mine cracked in two across the top of the mount the first time I tried to slip it on. The Sporter has held up to years of use.
Anyway, all that aside, I didn't lose the Sporter. I traded it with the pistol last weekend, and I was pleased to find that my new Glock came with the same holster (with the paddle already mounted.)
No, I lost that Crossbreed Supertuck that I had customized with my own "Combat Cut." Back when concealed carry in Illinois was more of a possibility on the horizon than a fait accompli, I wanted to carry my modern polymer pistol in a modern holster designed for it, so I looked around and noticed that all the buzz was about these Crossbreeds and other "hybrid" holsters. They were supposed to be the ultimate in comfort, and that sounded good, and they were "tuckable"for the ultimate in concealment, and that sounded great. I picked one up when my friends at KAP Guns were clearing them out at half price, the owner having been offended by something Crossbreed had done on their last order.
And I carried that XD across Missouri and Kansas in that holster, and it worked as advertised. It really was pretty comfortable, and I began to realize how little attention people paid to the odd bulge here or there on a clean-cut guy with his shirt tucked neatly in. It was carrying that XD across the west that made me rethink my assumption that I would need to get a small subcompact pistol "when carry passes." But it was also bulky, and it was very hard to do anything more athletic than a brisk walk with a full-weight service pistol in it. Today, I don't have a "hybrid" for the Glock I carry, and I won't be adding one. Instead, I'll be carrying the G19 (once it's vetted with carry ammo, which no, I haven't done yet) in the same Raven Concealment Phantom I use for the G17. I use the tuckable belt loops, and unlike the Crossbreed, that holster is locked onto my belt and going nowhere. I've actually carried after the gym with the RCS Phantom on a Volund Atlas belt worn over my gym shorts with no problems. The Phantom is a big wide kydex unit itself, but still significantly narrower than the Crossbreed.
The biggest difference of all may come down to the difference in belts, since I've made big changes toward stiffer, stronger gun belts since I stopped using the Crossbreed, but it is this: the Supertuck allowed the butt of the gun to jut out far from my side, while the Phantom causes it to tuck in. I can wear a G17 just behind my hip, and I'll feel the grip against my back most of the day. I *like* that feeling; it feels like I can wear a better-fitted shirt without giving away the game. I don't have to wear tighter shirts, of course, but I've lost 110 pounds over the last two years, and I'd hate to have to keep wearing big baggy stuff just so I could carry a big, bulky gun.
(Speaking of which: I've only tried on the G19 for a few minutes at a time, but I can't believe the difference such a small change in grip length makes. It may be that one day I'll have that G17 cut down to 19 length, if it's that big a payoff. We shall see.)
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I'm pretty excited about a Glock 19 over here. I killed two birds with one stone over the weekend* by trading a .45 XD for the slightly-more-compact Glock to go with my G17. Also put an end to that disturbing one-gun-long "new gun from a gun store" streak. Don't want to let that kind of thing get legs under it.
Monday, September 15, 2014
I know nothing about Cullen L. Cullen except that he's the Superintendent of the Venice, IL school district, he looks like a stock photo named nerdy_dad_001.jpg, and he's running for the Illinois House of Representatives as a Democrat (he was unopposed in the primary, natch.)
And that's pretty much all I needed to know. If I were being greedy, though, a FAQ section that included the question, "So . . . what's the deal with your names?" would have been ideal. In its absence, I feel justified in imagining that Enrico Fellatini, a mild-mannered school administrator, never expected to be swept off his feet by a YA urban fantasy novel, but the Twilight series was just too much for him, and before he knew it, it had somehow become clear to him that he had to change his name--in a very real, and legally binding sense--to reflect the fact that he is, at heart, not only a Cullen, but the Cullen. The very most Cullen that there could ever be.
|I have not altered this photo of Cullen L. Cullen (ThaMostCullen54@aol.com) in any way.|
(But of course that email address is fake . . . as far as I know.)
Friday, September 12, 2014
That's the biggest change in my overall health and fitness goals in the last few years. I am not training for some single event anymore. I don't train to be a better football player, and I don't train to get a BJJ blue belt. I can switch that on temporarily any time I want (currently, I'm still working toward a weight goal that will allow me to go skydiving) but the real purpose is to build a body and mind that can be adapted and pressed into action for whatever athletic goal I come up with next. I looked at the people I truly envied for their athleticism, and what I noticed was that most of them were capable of doing whatever they wanted with their athletic skills. If they wanted to learn jiujitsu, they could start today. If they wanted to go skydiving or climb that tree over there, they didn't have to say, "Wouldn't it be great if I could get in shape to do that?" They were in shape . . . they were ready for their next interest to come along, even though they didn't know what it would be.
I mentioned that my fitness coach is on vacation this week. I'll be back in the gym with him tomorrow morning, first thing, but this week he was out of the office. What was he doing? He sent photos of himself riding a Flyboard in the ocean somewhere. This thing:
That is literally just a board with jets on the bottom to cause you to fly up into the air. Wikipedia says "physical strength is not important to perform the subtle control movements, but balance and coordination are important." Translation: bench presses are not going to get you there without more well-rounded athletic training. And this thing didn't exist before 2011. I couldn't have known about it three years ago, but I also couldn't have ridden it three years ago. Today, I think I could.
What can you do on demand?
So that's where my fitness philosophy is today. Being able to get up in the morning and decide to run 5K on a whim without doing a "Couch to 5K" program or the like, that represents real fitness to me. Fitness, like shooting, is about what I can do on demand. A 5K run is not a high bar for a runner, but today, I can do it when it's time to do it, not "after I lose weight." That's a big first step for me.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I answered a question for myself yesterday. See, I've never been much of a runner. Actually, I've hated running. In high school, I played football, a sport where if I ever had to run 100 yards at once, I'd be on a highlight reel. That was no accident. I did run track for my last two years of high school, but just about by accident. My favorite teacher coached the track team, and he pressured me into throwing shot put and discus by convincing me that all the running the team did would make me a better football player. Back then, I cared a bunch about that for some reason. Probably hormonal.
I never amounted to anything in the shot or the discus, 'cause it turns out those are more about skill than size, and I didn't have any. And of course, in a foot race, I was a 6'1", 260-pound ape, and nobody was worried that I'd catch anyone. But there was a race where I could contribute to a track team: the 3200 Meters, or as we called it, the Two Mile. See, even most of the real runners hated the Two Mile race, and often at a triangular track meet there would only be two or three contestants entered. If I entered, I could place--and earn points for my team--simply by grinding it out and refusing to quit until I finished the race. There was one meet at our home field where I had to move outward on the last straightaway because they'd begun setting out the hurdles for the 110 before I finished my two miles, but I did finish it. I recall running about 10-minute miles and finishing the race in 20 minutes and change most of the time. In those days, two miles just about killed me, and I often wanted to stop before the race was over. Then I went to college, did no distance running for football anymore, quit football and began gaining weight steadily. Of course, I got back into shape quickly when I got married, but having kids was what really pushed me to get jacked . . .
No, wait. That's the opposite of what happened. I ballooned.
Anyway, present-day me has been weighing in at 259-260 again since the weekend, and I've also been thinking lately about trying to run a 5K. I've walked a few, but never really thought of myself as someone who can run a 5K. I wanted to attend one this weekend, but #3 Son has a soccer game at the same time. Still, the idea of running it was intriguing. My fitness work so far has not involved much distance running. I run laps around the gym, but that's not far; Wayne at HIPE is not a fan of long-distance running. Luckily, he's off on vacation somewhere this week, and what he doesn't know won't hurt him. I've also made the Fight for Air Climb three times, climbing the stairs at the Springfield Hilton hotel from the basement to the top floor, but that seemed like it might be too different. Could I run 5K, or about 3.1 miles, without stopping?
I started smaller. On Saturday, I took my car to have the oil changed about a mile from home and ran home. That seemed easy enough, so I waited until it was ready and ran back to pick it up. That made about 2.2 miles, but not all at once. Would I get a surprise if I pushed it further?
On Monday, I got up early and took off before the sun was up. My plan was to try to do two miles without stopping, but it felt good, so I extended my route a little and was well past two miles before I had to turn home to make it to work on time. Unfortunately, I hadn't gotten out of the house as early as I wanted to. I also hadn't paid attention to my feet, so I had the beginning of a nasty blister on one--but in terms of my lungs and heart and limbs, I felt like I could have kept the same pace indefinitely. I felt sure I could go out and do 5K when my feet were ready.
Yesterday, I got up, checked my feet, found them sound, and decided to go for it. It was raining a bit, but warm enough, and it felt great to run. I ended up putting 3.5 miles in without wearing out! I don't know what my time was, but I know I listened to an episode of "Welcome to Night Vale" (The Whispering Forest, to be exact.) I think I did 3.5 miles in less than 30 minutes, which would be a faster pace than I ever ran such a distance back in high school. I don't think that would be completely surprising, because I never really understood anything anyone tried to teach me about running form back then, and I think I run much more efficiently now.
This is a milestone for me, even if it may seem like no big deal to others. I think it's likely that by any objective measure other than maximum bench press, I'm healthier and more athletic now than I was when I graduated from high school. I "worked out" a lot back then, but I didn't know what I was doing. I was constantly injured and had little real core strength or cardiovascular endurance. Moreover, I feel like I'm on my way to lighter and leaner weight and greater and greater strength. I'm pretty confident that 36-year-old me could take 18-year-old me in just about any athletic contest, and I expect 40-year-old me to be capable of smoking 20-year-old me.
Monday, September 8, 2014
I learned six valuable things at my local USPSA club match yesterday:
- In USPSA, I can leave the "shooting area" all I want without penalty; it'll only cost me if I fire a shot while out of bounds.
- If a stage requires me to start with gun and "all magazines" on a barrel or table, it's probably worth it to put magazines into a pouch after the buzzer unless I want to hold 'em. I seriously considered firing the first two magazines strong - hand - only, and I did fire one that way, but I stuffed the third mag in my front left pocket as I went. Only afterward did I find out that retrieving that mag from a pocket forward of my centerline should bump me into Open with the raceguns. Oops.
- My ability to call shots has improved, and I shot all alphas faster than I've shot alpha - charlies and alpha - mikes in the past. Dry fire and working with a timer are paying off. This is no time to stop.
- Speaking of things that paid off, handguns are not magical. They have to be sighted in like any other missile launcher with sights. After I installed night sights from Warren Tactical, I continued to shoot Dot Torture at 5-7 yards like my life depended on it, but I didn't take the simple expedient of putting up a paper plate at 25 yards to figure out what sight picture I need to see to hit a plate at that distance. Of course, there was a classifier stage with plates at about 15 yards, and I shot over the top of several of them before I sort-of figured it out (I also shot into the morning sun without a hat, which is dumb.)* To rectify the situation, I had to go back to my roots and shoot those paper plates. Sure enough, the Warren Tacticals hit precisely at the top of the front sight at 25 yards. If you try to center the front dot on the plate, and you accept a sight picture that puts it on the top half of the plate, you will miss high. If you use the sights as designed, this stock Glock 17 is pretty accurate at 25.
- I need to train myself to move with the gun. I discovered this very important lesson by disqualifying myself on the second stage of the day. I needed to draw and move left, shoot four targets, then sprint right and shoot four more before dashing back to the center to move forward and take seven more targets hidden from view. Unfortunately, I was focused on getting a reload accomplished during each if those sprints, and when I ran left and brought the gun up for a reload in my right hand, I broke the 180. I was, of course, immediately stopped and disqualified. I took a break to bag up my gun and gear, then took over the scorekeeping for the rest of the morning.
- DQ sucks (I don't even eat at Dairy Queen) but it's not the end of the world, particularly when you're trying to learn the sport. I picked up some ideas as I walked around watching everybody else shoot, and I still got to walk-through all the stages multiple times. It wasn't the way I would have chosen to spend my morning, but hey, at least I didn't throw a tantrum.
This actually didn't put me far off on my goals for the day. I wanted to call all my shots, and I did that until the disqualification. I wanted to look for alpha sight pictures and make up any shot worse than a charlie, and I did that (briefly.) I wanted to learn the sport and learn about this particular match, which I'd only shot once before. Done.
The failure was creating an unsafe condition. That's not acceptable, and tonight will be my first dry fire in the backyard where I'll run sprints from box to box keeping a SIRT safely downrange. Eventually I'll incorporate reloads into this kind of back-and-forth movement. I think being outdoors may create enough of a difference that I have to practice it that way at least some of the time; another shooter mentioned that training indoors with two big white walls makes it easy to miss the 180 when you go outside, and most of my USPSA experience is indoors in a single-bay range running one stage per week.
So, the real question: is this making me un-tactical and un-ready, as one weird knife maker used to say? Will I get killed on the streets? Well . . . maybe.
I think I know the basics of the differences between "tactical training" and "sporting competition." But I do think techniques you don't use under pressure are generally unlikely to be available under pressure. If you think you'll "just go crazy and gouge out his eyes" when some guy who fights every weekend decides to tie you up and smash your ribs, I'm skeptical. I feel the same way about my ability to run a pistol. When I can draw from concealment rapidly and securely and place accurate shots on demand, fix malfunctions on the go, reload quickly on demand and call shots under time and pride pressure, then it'll be time to worry about whether practicing the sport needs to take a back seat to practicing fighting. In the meantime, nothing I do for USPSA keeps me from practicing unarmed, learning more about OC spray, or working out how to be more aware and less likely to be caught behind the eight ball.
There really is a quantity of fun, simple enjoyment for enjoyment's sake, that makes it easier and better to train and practice. I predict that I'll get better at running a pistol by having fun in USPSA. If you don't need that, more power to you.
*Either practicing in hats and getting dependent on them will get you killed in the street, or failing to wear a hat in the street will get you killed in the street, but the hell of it is that I can never remember which one. It's a damned nuisance.
Friday, September 5, 2014
- Old fitness plan: No sugar, low-carb diet, eat only when hungry, daily walking, HIPE Fitness 3x/week.
- New fitness plan: No sugar, low-carb diet, 2,000 kcal/day, eat only when hungry, 10,000 steps/day, HIPE Fitness 3x/week.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Remember in that last post about The View from the Porch shutting down, when I mentioned that we've all been in this game for a long time, and burnout is normal? Well, there's good news and bad news.
Ah, to be young again. Oh, look! A page entitled "Bad Poetry!" That's a bold gambit.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Yesterday, Tamara's readers checked in at The View From the Porch and found this:
Of course, there's one thing we can all hold for certain and true: that difference has nothing to do with any silly liberal-arts-major notions of "privilege" or any other made-up goofiness such as that. Right?
Anyway, that's the bad news. The good news is that Tamara is not going away. If you've been paying attention for the last few years, you've seen her evolving into more of a "gun writer" and less of a social commentator. I look for that to continue in better-paying venues even if the blog doesn't return, starting with her cool new "Good Guys Win" column in SWAT Magazine and a whole mess of articles on this gun or that ammunition--the kind of work with deadlines, editors, and paychecks. Eventually, I expect to see the Tamara Keel byline on one of those "back page" columns that gun magazines reserve for the people you just know you want to hear from in every issue. It may not be in a paper magazine by that time, but as long as the implanted hyper-node uplink can handle advertising, there should be a way to work it out.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
- 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
She says she's interested, but you read out enough of a Facebook thread about conspiracy theories, and her true colors start to shine through. :)
"Honey, I love you . . . and I'm interested in what you're interested in . . . but, could we talk about something else? Or sit quietly?"
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
"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."
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.
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.
"Don't forget to take food coloring to the meeting with 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
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.
|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."?|
Sunday, July 20, 2014
- 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
Today I signed a law to #BanTheBox because everyone in #IL deserves a second chance when it comes to getting a job http://t.co/Ub1DGghchG
— Governor Pat Quinn (@GovernorQuinn) July 19, 2014
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?
Friday, July 18, 2014
Poor Matt Sinclair.
I'm peppering this with allegedlies mostly for the fun of it; Sinclair, his head coach, and lawyers on both sides seem like they've gotten past the point of trying to argue about whether Sinclair actually pointed a (loaded?) handgun at a dude's noggin in public while driving. The head coach was so outraged that he actually publicly declared that Sinclair had "clearly had a lapse in judgment after returning to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday," language usually reserved for actual rape or attempted murder in NCAA Division I.
When last we left our young protagonist, he was still stuck on Version 1.1 of his story.
To be clear, Thing One thought, or claimed to think, that he had taken ownership of this truck without finding out about it. He thinks, or claims to think, that Sugardaddy can sign the title in such a way that legal ownership is transferred to whoever he chooses--and the recipient doesn't have to take any action.
|"Now you see, Daniel-san? Smashed-up pickup truck come from within. You have inside you all along! Same-same sake inside Miyagi."|
If I'd ever believed that was possible, I know what I'd have done with the power to force someone to own a car without their consent or knowledge: I'd have "signed over" our much-hated 1994 Camaro to, like, Mike Bloomberg or that lady that runs his Moms Demand Things group.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
So, hey, Rolling Stone . . . how many kinds of guns you gonna put on your list of the 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America?
But not literally every kind of gun, right? Because that would be pointless, except as a transparent cry for clicks. Let's see what you've got so far:
- "Pistols." Like . . . all pistols? Well . . . OK. I see you've singled out Glocks and copy/pasted some weirdly irrelevant details from Wikipedia or something. Maybe Glocks are the most dangerous pistols? No? Well, good effort, champ.
- "Revolvers." Would you care to elaborate? Oh, you meant the handgun kind of revolvers and not grenade launchers? You're right, that does really clear things up. I'm sure that's what everyone was wondering. Is there, maybe, somebody else there who could--nope, moving on? OK then.
- "Rifles." Created to address the inaccuracy of smoothbore muskets. I mean, the thing about that kind of statement is that it's true. It's not technically wrong. It's the idea that you thought it was relevant to your point that reveals your lunacy. It's like describing a sports car as an enclosed space in which one can listen to music using magnets. It's not false, it's just . . . . balmy.
- "Shotguns." Well, I'm not going to pretend I didn't see that coming. So we've got pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns so far. Next pretty much has to be machine guns or replica miniature field artillery, right? Remember that one episode of Magnum, P.I. where Higgins was making Magnum and the boys pretend to be the French at Waterloo while he fired his little cannon at them? Good times. Also, I can't tell what you were trying to say about shotgun shells by calling them "fixed" in comparison to rifle cartridges, which were described as "metallic." Please advise.
- Derringers. Ding-damned Derringers, y'all. I can't even. I don't know. All my feelings are . . . you know what, Rolling Stone? You're all right. All is forgiven, you goofy sonsabitches. Just don't ever start making sense. You're beautiful, just the way you are.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
- He told his mom (My Bride) that the occupants of the other car actually jumped out and switched places immediately after the accident, rather than staying put to be examined by him as he told me. This is a key detail because it allows him to continue to claim that the other driver must have been drunk. If you recall, the police tested the other driver at 0.04 BAC, but Thing One claimed that the passengers were more intoxicated. Note that I'm not claiming to know that the other drivers didn't pull a switch; I'm just pointing out that it's the second version of the story, not the first.
- He further explained to her, the next day after the accident, that he was greatly relieved to find that he would not be held responsible for the "totaled" vehicles . . . because the other party wasn't insured, either. His "theory of the case" holds that only insurance companies can sue drivers for damages, so he's in the clear. When I got the chance to talk to him, I explained that liability doesn't work that way, but Version 1.1 wasn't ready to hear that yet.
- Perhaps most intriguingly, Version 1.1 included a teaser/trailer for Version 1.2: Thing One told My Bride that "everything is going to be ok" because "SugarDaddy signed the truck over to me, so it's in my name now." When she asked what had been done and why, he refused to spoil the surprise, saying only that he was now the proud owner of the (totaled) truck and that this was somehow better for "SugarDaddy and his wife." Pressed for details, he blurted out, "I'm not going to do anything to mess up Bio-Mom's relationship with SugarDaddy!" and left it at that. How he came to believe that it would be his fault if Bio-Mom and SugarDaddy somehow failed to make their extra-marital affair work out was not clear, but personally, my guess is that someone in the household explained it to him.
Monday, July 7, 2014
It's been over two weeks since Thing One left home.
|Luckily, no serious injuries. He's lying about "the drunk," but what else is Facebook for?|
I know this because he called me at 3:00 AM to tell me that he really needed my help, and I rolled out of bed and left a cabin of snoring campers to go stand out by the bathrooms in the woods and listen to this story for half an hour.
Thing One's Version (1.0):
They "had car trouble," which was what obliged them to spend nearly a week about an hour from home before heading up to Wisconsin. When they finally went, they arrived in the middle of the night, and after they'd unloaded, somebody had to go for food. It is implied that Thing One is the only driver sober enough to go out, and it "just doesn't make sense to go to a restaurant." Everyone at the house knows he doesn't have insurance, but they all figure it's OK, because it's only a few miles. BM's (Bio-Mom's) married sugar-daddy, "SD," has foolishly left his truck at her home, so for some reason they send Thing One and his 13-year-old half-sister, HS13, in his truck instead of BM's vehicle. He gets about a mile down the street and comes to an intersection with a red light, but it turns green before he reaches it, so he heads on through. There's a "drunk driver" coming from the other way, though, and that dastardly character turns right into Thing One. Thing One sees that he's about to hit the drunk driver's car, so he lets go of the wheel and grabs HS13 so she won't hit the windshield.
|"JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEEEEEEEEEEL!"|
After the crash, Thing One jumps out and checks on everyone. No one is badly hurt, though he and HS 13 have bumps and bruises. Neither was wearing a seat belt. There are four people in the other car, all drunk, all underage, none injured. But when the police arrive, they insist that the other driver doesn't count as a "drunk driver" just because she blew a 0.04 BAC on a breathalyzer. Apparently, you're not considered DUI unless you meet the legal standard of intoxication. Thing One is not drunk, either, but his mind is somewhat blown at this news. The police officers also ticket him for failure to carry insurance and for failing to stop for a red light. For reasons he does not specify, the police on the scene don't seem to buy version 1.0 of his story. They also have a conversation about the value of the other party's vehicle, the value of the vehicle he crashed (since it's not his) and his potential liability. At this point, Thing One does not seem to be aware that he is "judgment proof" because he doesn't own anything, and I keep that to myself for two reasons: first, because it's not an absolute guarantee that he won't be sued, and second, because I have a feeling that the next step is going to be to throw everyone as far as possible off the scent of SD's assets (and Bio-Mom's, if she has any.) Seems to me the obvious strategy would be to put as much liability as they can on Thing One as fast as they can. This is about to happen anyway, but why should I be the one to suggest the idea to him? The only regret I do have about keeping that to myself is that I could have warned him . . . but I didn't know specifically what they were going to pull, and they can do no wrong in his eyes anyway.
Version 1.0 of his story ends with him talking things over with Bio-Mom. She has a lawyer, you see, and she's going to sic him on that drunk driver and those cops, and they'll fight and win! Well, they'll challenge the red-light ticket, anyway, but apparently nothing else, because it's pretty hard to dispute that he canceled his auto insurance the day before he left home. In this version of the story, it's not a coincidence that Bio-Mom has a lawyer; he's been fighting to get her driver's license back ever since she lost it after her last DUI. That was news to me, too, especially after she drove here to pick him up.
He's out there learning on his own. Learning hurts sometimes, but it could have been a lot worse if someone had been badly hurt or killed.
In our next installment, we'll hear Thing One's Version (1.1) complete with retcons! As Heraclitus taught us in antiquity, "there is nothing constant in a bullshit story except change."
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Saturday, June 21, 2014
I'll be back at the end of June. Try not to let any of my friends throttle any of my other friends while I'm gone. I promise I'll write stuff about whatever the internet is upset about when I get back.
BTW, for those of you following Thing One and Thing Two, Thing One did get moved out this week and made it to his biological mom's house. His Facebook status this morning was:
"theres nothing like a shit to sober you up in da morning lolol"So that's apparently going well so far.
Thing Two got his driver's license and registered as an organ donor and a voter, and he seems like he's doing pretty well at the moment.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The twins, Thing One and Thing Two, turned 18 today.
This was turning into a long post in which I tried to explain what we've been through during these boys' adolescence. It's a long list of reasons I have to be angry, to be heartbroken. There's really no way to explain it all in one blog post, but more importantly, there's no way to write about it without putting it all out into public, even if it is on a small blog nobody reads, and I just can't quite bring myself to do that to them. I don't know what they'll be like in ten years, but I assume the things I write about them on the internet will still exist at that time. Suffice it to say that I know everybody talks about how trying their teenagers are, but I'm not talking about normal teenage rebellion.
What matters today is what they've decided to do going forward.
Thing One has decided to move out and live with his biological mother a state away. She continues to blame all the abuse and neglect he suffered before he was removed from her home by Illinois DCFS (47 counts of child endangerment, if I recall correctly) on an unnamed male babysitter she left the babies and toddlers with one day while she was looking for work. He doesn't have a car or insurance, doesn't have a job, and graduated from high school by the skin of his teeth. He has a few hundred dollars saved and a few boxes of stuff to take with him. There's not much we can do about this except keep making it clear to him that he can come back to us if he changes his mind or needs help (as long as he's willing to live by our house rules--no violence, no threats, no drugs, and full cooperation with medical professionals.) This means that I'm going to have to have biological mom at my house today at noon. I honestly don't know how that's going to go. It'll probably be anti-climactic, but My Bride is taking our youngest son elsewhere pretty soon anyway, just in case. She can pull up out front, load up, and go. Anything else is going to be considered trespassing and will be dealt with by some poor schmuck who's getting paid to deal with it. I don't expect violence from her, to be clear, just drama, lies and emotional manipulation. It's a personal strength she has learned to rely on over the years.
Thing Two has made a better choice, under the circumstances. He never bothered to get a driver's license or a job, but he has saved almost twice as much money as Thing One. He, too, graduated high school by narrow margins. Both boys have expressed an interest in joining the military; neither was accepted. But six months ago, Thing Two was unpredictably volcanic. He told us and his psychiatrist over and over that he would not take his medications, and he told us he would never speak to a therapist again, nor would he talk to us about anything that was bothering him. About three months ago, he relented and began visiting a great therapist, then softened a bit on his other treatment, but he still maintained that he was moving out of our house when today came; he had nowhere to go, no car, no license, no job or prospects, but he insisted over and over that he would simply leave and be homeless so that he would no longer have to follow rules or deal with his mental health. We were scared, if I'm honest.
Only a week ago, Thing Two relented again. He now plans to stay here with us and make a step-by-step plan to work toward independence. He and I will go to the DMV today so that he can get a driver's license. He's been applying for jobs, and he will sign up with a temp agency in the meantime so that he can save up some money while he lives here. While he lives here, at least, he will continue to take his prescribed medication and to see his therapist regularly. We will help him any way we can. We'll help them both in any way we can, actually, but I don't think it's been clear to Thing One that he may be putting himself outside our capacity to help, and that scares me to death. But the day had to come eventually, and I guess I knew that.
So, if you don't mind, wish us luck, or pray for us, or whatever you do when you can't do something, because there's not so much for any of us to do for Thing One for the next little while except try to be ready for whatever happens next.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
"Letting USPSA join FIFA is a mistake," I said. "Next thing you know, they'll be clearing the slums in Barry with machine guns and tripling the size of PASA Park using expendable slave labor from the Phillipines. Gunnuts.net says the refereeing changes are already being rolled out:
Better go RTWT if by some miracle you got here before you saw it there. Paul Hendrix, meanwhile, appears to be starting with denial, but it looks to me like this is one of those cases where someone's likely been getting away with something for a long time . . . so long that they get blindsided when circumstances or technology come along and make it much harder to get away with. It makes you wonder whether Hendrix ever considered that the shooters he was helping (and maybe hurting?) were posting match videos and someone might eventually notice? Or did he just figure it was such an obscure corner of the internet that nobody would bother to check? Anonymity on the internet is one of those things that seems permanent, unchanging and reliable until the day it disappears without warning.
Hendrix even mentioned that he's never heard of the Doodie Project forums (yes, that's a thing.) Well, that's the beauty and the pain of the internet, my friend. You have no idea who is watching this stuff.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Today is the 14th time this day has come around since I married My Bride.
We did a lot of things wrong, but we did some important things right. We jumped into marriage, not by marrying too soon, but by deciding to engage too soon and then refusing to consider whether we should re-think marriage. But we got away with it.
We bought a tumbledown money-pit of a house that is now our only debt, and proceeded to demolish a bunch of it and then bog down when we tried to get it renovated. But we got away with it.
Instead of paying back our school loans immediately, we went into debt to buy that house and a car and some appliances. It took us years to pay all that off, but we got away with it.
Then we adopted twins with severe learning and emotional disabilities brought on by years of abuse and neglect followed by years of sliding out of one foster home and into the next--twins whose abusive biological mother is a member of our family and thus could never be completely escaped. We knew we were accepting that there would be a strain on our marriage, but I don't think we had any way to conceive of how bad it would get. I know I didn't. But those twins are turning 18 in a couple of days, and although there are still big problems, there's reason to believe we may have gotten away with it, even though, in a stunning display of hubris, we added a third child seven years ago, because why not?
We've gotten away with all those things so far because we did a few big things right. We reached a decision point a few years ago, and we recognized it for what it was. We knew that we either had to be willing to change or to accept that the marriage was over. We chose to change. We consulted with professionals. We learned to talk to each other in new ways. We learned to share with each other the way Seneca told Lucilius to behave with a real friend, holding nothing back:
“Why should I keep back anything when I’m with a friend? Why shouldn’t I imagine I’m alone when I’m in his company?”
We paid off our debt (except that mortgage that keeps hanging in there) and decided not to take any more on. We've stuck by that for years now. We're slowly starting the process of finishing the renovation of our money pit, with much-simplified, much-less-ambitious versions of our original plans. We'll be renovating with an eye toward simple livability in order to sell the house for a profit in a few years and move. And the twins are . . . . well, the jury's still out on that one, but we're entering a new phase. One is looking for a job today; he's put himself in a tough position, but he graduated from high school and he's decided not to run away and be homeless when he turns 18, and that's something. The other will be moving out on his birthday to live with his biological mother. That's terrifying to us, but . . . it's his decision in the truest sense. We can't stop him and we can't take the consequences for him. And that's really it. We've put in the work and time to create spaces in our life that are for the two of us alone. They aren't much, but they've kept us together. They've been enough to remind us, when we need it, that we love each other and neither of us is willing to let this experience end.
So, for today, I'm not going to worry about it. Today I'm going to celebrate this woman who loves me so much. We're going to enjoy each other. We're going to enjoy our children today. We're going to have fun together. I'm going to make her laugh! And she will know that she is loved and safe and appreciated.
Monday, June 16, 2014
I'm working on something about how my holster habits are changing, but I want to go to the gym this morning and also help my son build a fortress, so . . . lotta deadlines.
|This little lady was digging in the gravel at the edge of the pick-a-nick spot when we arrived. I hope she wasn't trying to lay eggs, because we disturbed her. Unless she's male and he was just digging out a worm . . . also likely.|
|Look how smug! And hey, if you've ever wanted to retire by working way too hard in a beautiful place, that little restaurant/boat shop across the way is looking for new management.|
|"Look out, Indy!"|
|"Bro, do you even bro?"|
|So many snakes . . . not sure what these were, to be honest, but I wasn't totally sure they weren't moccasins, so we left them alone. They wanted no part of us, either, so it worked out.|
|We caught one living thing that day.|
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Two of Ron Swanson's ex-wives are named Tammy. His mother's name is . . . Tamara. Every thirty days, he buys $140 worth of shotgun shells and cigarettes and sends them home to her.*
I'm not saying that's significant in any way, necessarily, it's just something I never knew until today.
Later in the same episode, the gang actually goes to Tamara's house. Andy is enthralled to find that there is "a whole room of just guns!" Leslie asks why there is a room full of just guns. Tamara replies:
"This is America we're in right now, isn't it?"
"Yes . . ."
"So that means I don't have to answer stupid questions while I'm standing on my own land."
So, I'm not saying, I'm just saying . . . there are aspects of the character that remind me of somebody.
*Parks and Recreation Episode #48, "Ron and Tammys."
Friday, June 13, 2014
This week, over at Non-Original Rants, they had a moment of appreciation for the great "Race" Bannon, the wise-cracking bodyguard who kept Johnny Quest alive throughout my childhood. Sadly, in the real world, there's a guy named David "Race" Bannon. Race Bannon, in the real world, is a bullshidoka con artist who wrote a ridiculous book about assassinating child sex-traffickers for Interpol. Last I heard, he was finally being arrested for fraud after having charged law enforcement and other organizations hefty fees for "expert" presentations on human trafficking and child pornography.
But the Bannon name is covered in glory, too . . . because you can't make a loving parody of little Johnny Quest all grown up (and all messed up) without a Bannon analogue. To fill that void, we have been given Brock Fucking Samson.
*Trigger Warning: somebody posted something on another blog that triggered two separate wandering thoughts in my brain. This might trigger a couple in yours.