April 5, 2014

Range Observations

Managed to have a Bachelor Day: wife.gov is working her "Every Fifth Weekend" rotation and the Spawn are with their biological dad, so I'm flying solo for the day. 

Add in a decent weather day and no school work, and it is time to go burn thru some ammo. 

A couple observations:

1) I need a better trigger on my Taurus.  That or I need a HELL of a lot of practice to get used to that trigger.  Because the long take-up and sudden break had me flinching way too much.  Finally managed to get a fair group of rounds, but the first five were all over.  For a carry pistol, that won't do. 

2) I shot almost 200 rounds of .22LR and 50 rounds of .45ACP.  Or, at today's prices, "Half the GDP of Honduras".  I am quite glad that I stocked up years ago before panic pricing began. 

3) My Marlin .22 rifle was my dad's, given to him as a gift for his 12th birthday.  That thing is well over 40 years old, and as accurate as the loose nut behind the trigger can make it.  Tight groups at 25 yards with bulk ammo makes for a happy JB.

4) I hope this nice weather continues... I need more days like this. 

February 23, 2014

Seen on FaceCrack

Here's a picture that tells you volumes of the mindset of people, if you stop to think about it:

How many different levels of FAIL can you count in one picture?

1.  First, let's dispense with the obvious: Stand Your Ground and carrying a firearm have NOTHING to do with each other.  You can SYG and not be armed.  You can be armed and retreat from a dangerous situation.  Stand Your Ground, for the uneducated, simply means this: You are not legally required to run away if someone is attacking you.  You have a codified legal right to protect yourself using violent means if another person is bringing violence against you or your companion(s).  Basically, it says "If you have to fight back, you can, and we won't charge you with a crime if you do."

THAT is all "Stand Your Ground" says.  No more.  If you're walking along, MYOMFB*, not doing nothing, and someone attacks you with deadly or near-deadly force, you can fight back.  If the other person gets hurt or killed, so be it.  Obviously, there's a burden of proof... You can't claim SYG when the other person was 100 feet away and armed with a Swiss Army knife, but if he's on top of you and raining down punches, you have a right to fight back.

2.  Carrying in bar doesn't mean every pub, tavern, and gin joint is going to erupt with bloodshed.  Indiana, my home, allows carrying in bars.  Heck, you can even have a beer while carrying (though, I should note, that drinking while carrying is generally a bad idea, and I would suggest that if you're carrying your gat, you need to leave the booze alone.)  You can't be intoxicated while carrying -- that's a no-no and could be cause for your carry permit to be revoked -- but there's nothing saying you can't stop in the pub to socialize with friends while armed.  Allowing legal firearm carriers to carry in a bar means they don't need to unholster and lock the gun in the trunk or glove box before going in to join friends for wings and the hockey game.  That's all.  I carry in bars quite often: Stop in at Scotty's Brewhouse for a burger and the IU game, carrying.  Went to Buffalo Wild Wings, loaded.  Hit up an Applebee's once, Glock on the hip.  And yet, I never shot anyone.  How can that be?  Wasn't something supposed to go wrong?

3.  This picture suggests that inside ever person with a license to carry a firearm is a raging homicidal maniac, yearning to breathe free.  My experience with lawful gun owners is quite the opposite.  To a person, every one of them wakes up and says some variation* of the following: "Dear Lord, I hope I don't have to shoot anyone today.  Amen."  If I spend the rest of my life putting holes into nothing more than Zombie Lawyer targets and the occasional metal spinner plate, I will consider it a life well lived.  None of my shooting associates (and I have a few of them...) have any desire to shoot another human.  Don't confuse that with willingness, however: Desire and Ability are not the same.  I am *willing* to defend myself and my family from deadly violence, up to and including sacrificing my own life so my wife and daughters would survive.  But I don't really *want* to do that.  I will, but I'd prefer not having to make that decision.  Yet here we see the insinuation that if we let two men into a bar and they start to disagree over the Designated Hitter Rule in baseball, then suddenly the lead is going to fly.

4.  Finally, we have a screen capture from a movie being used to make the point.  And, seriously, if you need to resort to Hollywood make-believe scenarios to enforce your point, you've already lost, m'kay?

This is the mindset of the anti-gun people, and it's why I simply can't bring myself to take their position seriously.  They fabricate situations and beliefs, assume that gun owners subscribe to those beliefs, then ridicule us for beliefs that we don't have.

A pox on their houses.

February 10, 2014

Here We Go Again

Current temps are hovering around the single DIGIT, with wind chills in the negative tens range.

I'm REALLY getting tired of the cold and snow this winter.  For some reason, it seems to be dragging on and on and on, no break.  Typically, we'll have a day or three of cold, then it warms up to the mid/high 30s and the sun will shine.  Not yet this year... Nothing but cold, gray, snow, and wind.  Since January 4th or so.  Non-stop.  Relentless.

It's getting old, fast.

February 5, 2014

Getting a Workout

Not me... My snow blower.

Got another heap of snow last night.  6.4 inches says the weather-gadget-thingy-program on my computer.

Was up at 0545 to run the snow blower to clear the drive sufficiently for me to get the Jeep out of the garage to get to work.

This makes the TENTH time I've had to clear the drive in 2014.

Ten times.  In 5 weeks.

They need IT people in Tahiti, don't they?

February 1, 2014

Look, I'm Sorry, I've Been Busy

New job + starting school again (classes and studying) + normal daily stuff + dealing with one polar vortex winter storm cold front global warming trend after another + the Spawn and their stuff (cheer, etc.) + miscellaneous chores + and so forth and so on....

No time to blog.  When I do have time, I don't have the creative juices flowing.

I'll work on it, but for now, I got nothing.

Time to go... Gotta head to Dayton for a cheer competition.

January 18, 2014

Dear Sears: Go Pound Sand

Dryer went on the blink a few weeks ago.  Drum turns, but no heat.

Replaced the heating coil and both thermal cut-off fuses, but still nothing.

Finally gave up and called in to have a technician come out and fix the damn thing.  Paid $200, which was to cover all parts and all labor, and if it couldn't be repaired then I'd get the same amount in a credit towards a new dryer.

So, appointment was set for yesterday, 1300-1700.  Around 1615, the guy hadn't shown up yet, so wife.gov called him and it seems that he'd forgotten the appointment and he was at another customer site and can we re-schedule it to another day and oh shit I'm really sorry and thanks for calling Sears and please don't be mad at me and I'm really sorry....

... Five minutes later, we get an automatic robo-call from Sears, telling us that we need to call this 800 number to reschedule our service appointment.

I called 'em, and at 1645 last night, they told me they would have someone here TODAY.

This morning, I call, and they tell me that nobody is available today and we can reschedule for 27 January and they can understand why I'm frustrated and blah blah blah....

Um, no.  You have NO idea why I'm frustrated.  My daughters had a cheerleader competition today that I had to skip so I could sit here and wait for you to show up, which you aren't going to do.

So, let me talk to the Supervisor.

Finally, I tell them "You know what, cancel the damn appointment.  Give me my money back.  I'll find someone else to fix this, and you can say goodbye to a customer."  At the end, there was a "Give Us Feedback!" survey sent to my email: A 0-10 scale plus a section where I could write details.  That section was limited to 1000 characters, so here's what I wrote:

WORST customer service I've experienced in 41 years. Made an appointment on 08 Jan to have technician repair my dryer on 17 Jan. Technician never showed up. Called evening of 17 Jan, cust. service agent said someone would be here on 18 Jan. Changed my personal schedule to be here, and on 18 Jan was informed that nobody was available until 27 Jan. Cust. service agent did nothing to try to make it right for me, the customer. I have lost two days of my time waiting on Sears to keep their end of the agreement. Sears would not allow me to keep the necessary part unless I paid for it as compensation for two lost days and a MAJOR inconvenience. Nobody at Sears cares that I have wasted time and effort on this. Nobody at Sears gave any indication that I am valued as a customer. Therefore, I am resolved that I will never again spend my money at Sears. I've purchased a washer/dryer, refrigerator, and numerous tools from Sears. You have lost a customer for life. Good riddance to you.

(FYI, that's 1000 characters EXACTLY.)

As far as I'm concerned, Sears can go eat a big bag of dicks.  I would STRONGLY encourage you to spend your money elsewhere.

January 12, 2014

Writing for the Future

Decided to try a little project with the daughters.  I created them both an account with Google (Yes, I know...) and I'm sending them an email every other day or so, adding a few pictures of our lives as we grow, making little videos and saving them, and so forth.  A digital diary, if you will.  

When they turn 18, I'll hand them the username and password.

Might be 5+ years of effort for nothing, but we shall see.

At any rate, writing emails now, knowing they won't be read for years, is kinda challenging.  I find that I need to pay extra close attention to the tense (past, present, etc.) and I'm re-re-reading things over and over to ensure they sound right.  I guess I should probably be doing that anyway, but I generally don't.  I'll typically write something, just letting the words flow from the fingers, read it once to check punctuation, and post it.

It's different, that's for sure.

January 11, 2014

Well, We Survived

The Great Winter Snow-pocalypse-freezing-cold-storm thingy is over.  Heck, it's almost 40 and raining at 7:20 am at the moment.

It sure as hell got COLD.  My Jeep battery froze, and I tried to warm it up by running a current though it via jumper cables, but that wasn't working.  I added a ceramic heater and a halogen light pointed at the battery, covered the hood with a US Army surplus wool blanket, but it was not happening, so ended up pulling the battery and bringing it inside.  About 24 hours in front of a furnace vent, and I put it back, connected things, and the Jeep started right up.  That's a relief, because we really don't need the expense of a new battery right now (and speaking of.... Holy s__t car batteries have gotten expensive.  Cheapest thing I found was in the $140 range.)

Pipes froze up a bit on Tuesday, so I re-purposed the ceramic heater and pointed it at the pipes where the water supply comes in from the street and enters the house (in the garage.)  Let that sit a while, and eventually we got water flowing again...

... all over the garage floor, where the PVC pipe that feeds into the washing machine broke off.

Shut off the main line, scrounged up a cap for that broken section, thank my lucky stars that I had some PVC pipe cement, and capped it off.  Gently turned the water back on, and it held.


The driveway needed shoveling, of course, since 12 inches of snow and 35 mile per hour winds makes for drifting all week long.  I used up almost all of the 2.5 gallons of gas I had for the snow blower, but it finally stopped blowing and falling, and I now have a clear drive.  It was even dry in a few spots yesterday, until the rain started.

On the positive side, we didn't want for food or drinking water.  I'd decided to fill up a 5 gallon water jug before the storm hit, just in case, and I set another, smaller, jug under the kitchen tap to collect the drip-drip-drip that came from leaving the faucet cracked just a bit.  No sense wasting it, right?  That gave us almost 6.5 gallons of water, which was enough.

I also believe in stocking up on food stuffs, and have made it a habit for some time now to always buy a can of something extra when I'm at the grocery.  Might be a can of green beans, or a can of diced tomatoes, or a can of sloppy joe mix, or corned beef hash, or soup... Whatever.  I buy an extra can of food EVERY time I go to grocery, and we have plenty of food stocked up.  Add in the large volumes of soup that I make and freeze now and then, and we could eat for a couple weeks without making a grocery run.  Sure, we might get tired of the same things after a while, but food is food.

In addition, we never lost power.  I had a supply of flashlights and batteries, and a huge pile of firewood.  We dug out the sleeping bags and extra blankets, just in case we needed them, but we never did.

In the end, it was a couple days stuck inside the house, and a heck of a lot of work to keep us safe and dug out, but that's life.  We are safe and healthy and there are a lot of folks who had it a lot worse off.  If you could direct your thoughts and prayers and positive vibes and mojo in their direction, we'd appreciate it.  All is well at Chateau JB.

January 6, 2014

Witches' Tit, Brass Brassiere, All That Jazz

Well, the Winter Storm-pocalypse-mageddon thingy is in full swing here at the Stately JB Manor.

Started snowing yesterday morning.  Missus JB and I made a run to the laundromat because our clothes dryer is on the blink... Drum turns fine, but no heat is generated.  I'd already replaced the heating element and the thermal cutoff fuses, but still nada.  So, I'll be getting a service tech out to look it over, and might just replace the damn thing.

Anywho, we ran to do 9 (nine!) loads of laundry, and it started snowing right before we finished up.  Got home, dropped off Missus JB and the girls to start putting away laundry, and I made a run to fill the gas tank and grab some logs that were laying on the ground in a wooded area not far from here.  The woods belong to a neighbor, and some trees were cut last summer to make space for power lines.  The neighbor has no fireplace, and he's told me "Come and take 'em anytime", so I snagged a few good sized logs, brought them home, and split 'em quick.  Stacked them up, came inside, and got snuggled in.  We watched it snow and snow and snow, and mid-afternoon I went out to clear the drive with the snow blower.  Figured that if I got a head start, it would make for easier snow clearance today.

Got a fire going in the fireplace, filled a jug with 5 gallons of water just in case the pipes froze, and settled down with a bourbon and the dogs and a book.  Oh, and the wife. Can't forget her.

This morning, the chill that the talking heads on the weather channel had been predicting arrived in full force.  Temps in the negative teens (exact numbers depended on which website I read... what's the deal with THAT, anyway?) and a wind chill that is lower than the average politician's IQ score.

Got coffee and breakfast into me, got to work on clearing the drive again, and tried to start the Jeep.

Tried.  Operative word, that.

Seems that the battery hath done shat.  Too cold, won't create a current.  Stop and think about that for a minute... It is SO flipping cold that electrons have stopped moving.


Cleared more of the drive, tried to jump start the Jeep with wife.gov's Altima, failed at that, and decided that I didn't really need to go anywhere anyway so let's go back inside for some chicken-corn chowder and a couple hours of napping.  I consider ourselves fortunate: We have a good supply of food, water, beer, and firewood.  We haven't lost power, though the news is reporting that others have.  We are safe, and have a roof over our heads.  That's all that really matters.

About 2/3 of Indiana is under travel restrictions, which means only essential vehicles can be on the road, unless you have an emergency (we live in the country, and there's no EMS service to be counted upon here).
So, there ya have it... Cold here, wind blowing, vehicles that won't start, and the JB Family safely tucked in the house.

January 3, 2014

A Little Brisk

Got a decent amount of snow yesterday, made for some slow driving to work.  For reasons that yet escape me, despite living in Indiana for over half of my life, there are still some clowns here that don't know how to drive in the snow.  Here's a little lesson, in case you need the pointers:

1. Slow the hell down.
2. Lights on, cell phone down, pay attention to the road.
3. Slow the hell down.

That's really it.

At any rate, this morning the roads were (mostly) clear, thanks to the plows and salt/sand trucks, and I made good time on the commute.

But it's COLD.  And going to get colder.  High temps for Monday are going to be below zero... -4 is the number being batted around on the news radio.

That sounds like a fine day to stay inside, put a fire in the fireplace, grab a book, and stay there.