May 22, 2017

Success!

On a whim, some three weeks ago or so, I did a "Get Pre-Approved" application at a local car dealership, just to get an idea of what sort of loan I would be able to get.

While I was really hoping to get a loan from the credit union and purchase my friend's Tacoma from him, that didn't work out.  So today, just to make sure I'd exhausted all avenues of finance, I called the dealership again, spoke with the same fellow, and they did a vehicle-specific loan application.

This Saturday, I'll be picking up my new vehicle, a 2010 Toyota Tacoma with 65,000 miles.  It's not quite as new as my friend's truck, but it's close enough, and it should serve me well for many years.

Happy birthday to me...


May 19, 2017

Well, That Sucks

Credit union said no.

See, the issue is that I haven't used credit for over 5 years.  I haven't needed to, and therefore when they pulled my credit report, the score came back "null".

It's disappointing that not having missed a single payment, not having debt, not over-extending my income, saving $6000 in 10 weeks, and having a salary closer to $100,000 than it is to $50,000 isn't considered "responsible with money" these days.

Then they wonder why the banks get into the fix they were in back in '08.

Damn it all.

May 17, 2017

Biting the Bullet

Well, headed to the credit union today to put in for a car loan.

Going to buy that 2011 Tacoma my friend is willing to sell to me.  It's got a crew cab, so I can carry 3 passengers (4 if they are small and can fit three across the back seat), plus a 6 foot bed with a cap, so I could sleep in the bed of the truck if it comes to that.

With the 6 cylinder engine and 4WD, it should suffice for any purpose I might need it for, and it has a tow package installed (hitch and wiring), so I could pull a small trailer as well.

Given that the vehicle only has 14,000 or so miles, and given the tendency of Toyota's light duty vehicles to last forever, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last vehicle I buy for 20 years or more.

Going to suck going back into debt, but I don't have much choice at this point.  And I think this is going to be a good investment at that.  I'll pay extra every month, get it paid off ASAP.

If the credit union approves, and I see no reason they wouldn't -- I have 20%+ down payment, and haven't got a smudge on my credit report -- then maybe this weekend I'll take a drive to the gun range to celebrate.


May 12, 2017

Things the Pro 2A Crowd Needs to Stop Doing

There are several things that the pro-gun folks in our country do that really annoy the hell out of me.  And while I certainly wouldn't wish to force others to act as I desire, I do suggest that perhaps some of these things are turning off those folks who are ambivalent about guns, or on the fence regarding the "gun culture" that we claim to represent.

1. First, can we stop referring to people who are opposed to gun ownership with derogatory names?  I get it, we're tired of being demonized, blamed, and insulted every time there's a gun-related crime or death, and yeah, it sucks being blamed for the actions of others.  That said, we lessen our moral position when we refer to them as "limp-wristed liberal pussies," "libtards," or other such terms.  If we want to be treated with respect, we should start by treating others with respect.  They are humans.  They have emotions and beliefs and goals.  You don't have to agree with them, but let's start giving people a little respect, and show, by our actions, that we're not the ignorant, racist, backwards rednecks that we've been portrayed to be.

2.  While we're redefining how we view those with the polar opposite view on guns, can we redefine how we treat others in the 2A community who happen to have a different view of a particular topic?  The most obvious of these is the "Open Carry/Concealed Carry" battle that has been played out on a thousand and three websites/gun fora.  The most vile example I can think of is something I saw on the FaceCrackBookSpace this week after Bob Owens' passing.  An Open Carry advocate actually posted that he (she?) hopes the Catholics were right when it comes to the penalty for suicide, because Bob was apparently "opposed" to open carry.  Now, it matters not if Bob did oppose OC (he didn't, just that he preferred CC), but seriously... This is just wrong.  Bob had his opinions on various gun subjects, as do all of us.  Calling each other names in a deliberate and sincere insulting fashion drives a wedge between us, and that weakens us as 2A supporters.  Yes, we can poke light hearted fun at each other -- Glock Fanbois vs. the 1911 Grumpy Old Farts -- but keep it light.  Lay off the insults.

3.  Girls and Guns.  Guys, women are sentient beings.  They are perfectly capable of forming their own opinions about guns, they know better which gun they like to shoot and which they don't, and they've got more about them than "Here, this gun is pink, you'll like it."  Stop telling women what gun is best for them.  Let them figure it out.  "Here, I brought you a Glock 19, a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, a 1911, a Kahr, and a Walther.  If you want, we can try others as well.  Pick the one that you prefer" is a MUCH better way of getting women into shooting.  Yes, they can handle something larger than a .22LR.  No, they're not "too weak" to handle a .45 ACP or .357 Magnum.  And no, you're not necessarily the best person to teach them, nor should you be offering unsolicited advice about grip, stance, etc.  If you have a woman in your life who wants to learn to shoot, buy her admission to a class taught by a professional (a different professional, if you are one), and let her learn on her own pace.  Because when you spend all your time on the range with her correcting things she's doing that you believe are wrong, the message you send is "You don't know what you're doing" and that breeds resentment.

3b.  Speaking of women and guns: Stop objectifying them as sex objects.  I like women, doubly so the attractive women, but the plethora of "Hot chicks posing with guns" is getting annoying.  Want to know what's really attractive when it comes to women and guns?  THIS.  That's a woman, a shooter, an athlete, competing in shooting sports, and doing well.  That is attractive.

4.  Drop the word "tactical" from your every day lexicon.  I've seen the label applied to a freaking cooler, for crying out loud.  Ninety-nine percent of shooters will never be in a "tactical" scenario in their lives, so let's quit pretending to be SWAT operators who operate in tactical operations.  Focus on being a model citizen, carrying yourself in a polite manner, being polite, and get to the range for more practice.  Should you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation, that practice on the range will serve you better than the two-day tactical combat techniques class you took back in '13.

5.  Open Carry as a form of protest.  Yes, it may be legal to walk into Starbucks with an AR-15 over your shoulder.  That doesn't mean it's smart.  Tam once said "There's a difference between carrying a gun and carrying a gun AT someone."  I think that's wise.  Your AR-15 isn't bringing the undecideds to our side.  It's probably achieving the exact opposite, actually.  Open carrying an AR-15 or SKS or whatever as a form of protest is similar to a couple fat bearded guys dressed in bridal gowns kissing on a float in the Independence Day Parade to advocate for same sex marriage.  Legal?  Sure.  Polite?  Not at all.  You'll have better success bringing the undecideds to our side by taking them and that AR-15 to the range.

Generally speaking, I find the 2A crowd to be welcoming, open-minded, and kind.  But there are things we do that we can improve on, and we need to make sure we keep the moral high ground.  These are things that put that position in jeopardy, and we can do better.


 

May 9, 2017

The Darkness Within

All of us have the capacity for love, for anger, for elation, for despair.  Our ability to process different emotions and use those emotions to connect or disconnect from another human helps us get through life.  If you've consistently had a positive experience and positive emotions when near a certain individual, that interaction becomes something you seek, something you cherish.

Conversely, if a given person or persons continues to bring up negative, unpleasant emotions and feelings, you're likely to stay away as much as you can.  You choose not to be around that person, and when (if) you must, you make it as brief as possible. 

This emotional aspect is what sets us apart from the rest of the Kingdom Animalia, and is partly behind our ability to put man on the moon: Someone, somewhere, got excited and elated about the idea, and it sort of took off from there.  

Unfortunately, for some, the despair that is the Yang to our elation's Yin takes over.  The daily struggle to find joy becomes seemingly impossible.  You wake up, you go through the motions, but there's that nagging voice of the Darkness Within that keeps telling you "You didn't find any happiness yesterday... or the day before... or the day before... what makes you think today's going to be any different?" 

"You'll never be happy."

"You're worthless."

"Nobody likes you."

"Other people deserve love.  You don't."

The despair keeps nagging at you.  You try to ignore it, but it's always there.  

And, as a friend put it, when depression whispers dark thoughts in your ear, it's hard to hear anything else, because it whispers IN YOUR OWN VOICE.

Bob Owens, Editor of Bearing Arms, gave in to that voice, faced the darkness within, and took one step further, tragically ending his own life yesterday.  

I know not what demons Bob faced.  I never had the chance to meet the man, but his website was a near daily stop for me to become better informed about the life of an armed citizen.  We were kindred spirits as both members of the clan of the gun.

I wish I'd have had the chance to meet Bob.  If I had, and if I'd known, the conversation would be something like this:

"You deserve to be happy.  You are not worthless to me, or your family, or your many readers.  I like you.  You deserve love, and I love you.  I will stand here and fight the demons with you."

Hunter S Thompson once said "The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." I posit the same is for those who have contemplated suicide. You can't understand it, and there's no way to explain it, unless you've been there."

I might suggest that the thoughts that drive one to suicide are similar.  You can't really explain it, because the only ones who understand what it feels like are the ones that have done it.  I can't understand what Bob thought in those final days, hours, minutes.  I can't, and I won't pretend to.

But I will say this: If you're feeling this way, you call me.  I don't have the answers to all of life's problems (or any of them, really), but I am a pretty fair listener, and I've got two dogs to pet while we have a cup of coffee and you talk.  

Anytime.  Day or night.  Call me.  I'll be there.

Don't let the Darkness win.  You're stronger than you can possibly think.

And you are loved.  

Requiescat in Pace, Bob.  May you find peace in the next life that so eluded you in this one.

P.S.  He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.  There's a Go Fund Me set up to help them out.  Get your donation in.  I'll be sending in this month's ammo budget instead of buying more ammo.  

May 8, 2017

Car Buying Grumble

Having been on foot for a while hasn't bothered me, but now that the weather is turning nice and summer time approaches, I'll be wanting to get out into the mountains, and for that I'll need a vehicle.  So I'm in the process of looking for a car, securing finances, etc.

A very close friend of mine bought a Toyota Tacoma some years ago, a 2011 Double Cab with a 6 foot bed.  It has a cap on the bed, and is in immaculate condition.  He uses his work vehicle to drive to and from work (he's the Fire Chief at a small local fire department), and his Tacoma has, get this -- 14,000 miles.

Yes, 14,000.  Fourteen thousand.

That's it.  For a 6 year old Toyota Tacoma, long known as one of the most reliable, trustworthy light duty trucks on the market.

And he's willing to sell it to me.  I told him I didn't want any "Best Pal Discount", as I cherish his friendship more than I cherish a couple hundred dollars.  So we ran the truck through Kelly Blue Book website, and came to an agreeable price.  I've got a few thousand dollars saved, well above 20% of the price, and getting a loan for the balance shouldn't be much of an issue.

Except that my bank won't give car loans for personal sales.  The vehicle has to be sold by an auto dealership.

I'm going to swing by a small, local bank and see if they have similar restrictions.  If they don't have that limitation, I'll be taking my banking business there and ditching the large corporate bank that rhymes with "Face".



Update: The Credit Union that is in the same office park as my office will do auto loans for private sales.  The requirements to join: Live in Northern Colorado (check) and have a savings account with a minimum balance of five dollars.

I'll be opening an account with them, applying for the loan.  Chase can go pound sand.

April 28, 2017

This Might Shape Up Nicely

While it's only April, and the 2017 Kilted to Kick Cancer fundraiser challenge is several months away yet, I've managed to get a fundraising event in place.

Fort Collins, among other things, is known for craft breweries, and one of those is generously helping me out.

Maxline Brewing, one of my favorites in town, is going to have a Pint Night, where they will donate 20% of the proceeds from that day to KTKC.

In addition, I am in talks with one of the local urology physician groups to see if they can match dollar for dollar any funds raised, as well as have a urologist come to the event with me to answer any questions that might come up.

Finally, I've checked with a few local bike shops (Ft. C is also a huge cycling town), and am hoping that one of them will donate a new bike we can raffle off at $10 a ticket to raise even more money.

This could be a "yuuuge" fundraising event, and I'm pretty stoked about it.

April 25, 2017

Random Musings

I need to quit asking people "How f#%@ing stupid can you be?"
  • Some people are apparently taking it as a challenge. 
Every computer system I design is, by nature, quite nearly perfect.  
  • Until I let other people start touching their computers.  Then it goes to hell in rapid fashion.
No, ma'am, in point of fact, I do not have the ability to change a route in AT&T's routers.  That's something they're going to have to do.  
  • Yes, I already asked.  
  • No, I don't know when it will be done.
  • Well, that's because you're too cheap to purchase your own DNS server.  
Some customers you just have an instant kinship with the first time you meet them.  
  • Or so I've heard.  
Despite all of the above, there are times when your planning, careful attention to detail, and meticulous documentation pays off.  
  • When another sys admin says "This is a thing of beauty... I've never seen anything so perfect before..." is when you know you did the job right.  

April 21, 2017

BAG Day

So I don't know when the official Buy A Gun Day is for 2017, but for me, it was today.

Thanks to a post over at Tam's View From The Porch, I just ordered a Sig P250 from CDNN.  It's chambered in .22LR, but according to Tam (who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the innerdes of guns) the fire control unit is the same as the fire control unit for their centerfire pistols.

Which means at some point I can change out some parts and turn it from .22LR to .45ACP and back.

This is something I've wanted to do for a while with my Glock 19... Get a .22LR conversion kit, so I can send more rounds down range during range sessions -- and really dial in my mechanics of grip and trigger press and such -- at a cheaper price.

At any rate, I've got a new gat on the way!

Thanks for the link, Tam!

April 15, 2017

The Dane Geld Is Paid

Got my tax returns done, and sent off in the mail today.  Yes, technically I have until the 18th, but it has been a JB Tradition to do the returns and mail them off on the 15th for, well, a while now, and who am I to break tradition, right?

At any rate, I had to pay the Dot Fed a bit, and I'm getting a bit of a refund from Indiana and Colorado, so all said and done it doesn't come out terribly bad... I got my withholding just about right, as I came out of it owing $27.

Still and all, it's truly amazing how much of my money I never get to see.  

Having paid the Dane Geld, I opted for a bit of 'Murica Freedom today, and took the dogs for a good walk today, then ducked into one of the local breweries for a couple pints.  I'd finished my weekend chores by noon, so I figured I'd earned a cold beer.  

Tomorrow, I'll take a walk to the home brew store, get ingredients for a cirtrus-y American Pale Ale, and brew that either tomorrow or next weekend.  

Routine daily life at Chateau J Bro.  Hope you and yours are well.