June 19, 2017

Adding Another Gat to the Arsenal

Got an email the other day advertising a Ruger 10/22 with synthetic stock for $169.

Add shipping, the FFL Transfer fee, and it comes in at just a whisker over $200... Too good of a deal to pass up -- Cabela's has them for $269 on their website -- so I snagged one.  

Should arrive today.  Figure I'll put an el-cheapo scope on the thing, go slay me some prairie dogs.  

And besides, you can never have too many decent quality .22LR rifles.  They're just so much fun to shoot it's not even fair.  

Also in gun news, my friend JayG from Marooned (when is he going to start blogging again?) is sending me a .45ACP conversion kit for my Sig P250.  That should arrive today as well.  Swap the slide, barrel, recoil spring, and mag, and now I go from shooting a pistol in .22LR to one shooting .45ACP, but with the same mechanics.  

This is something I've been wanting for a while.  I've got my G19, and it's fine and all, but I'd really like to get more practice in, and it's far easier on the wallet to run 500 rounds of 22 in a week than 500 rounds of 9mm.  

Now to get a membership at the local indoor range and make going down there after work a daily, or near daily, habit.  




June 14, 2017

Thought Provoking

Browsing a bit on the web today while waiting on a new server to update, I cam across an interesting article that gave me pause.

"Something’s wrong when the law-abiding are afraid of police" is an Op-Ed piece in the Miami Herald.

I'd encourage you to read the article.

A few things that I wanted to comment on...

Two weeks ago, a black woman driving alone in Princeton, Louisiana, was pulled over for no apparent reason. 
But she was not shot and killed. Or hauled from her car and body-slammed. Or even arrested for getting snippy. 
The officer explained that she was driving under the speed limit, something he said drivers do when they are tired or inebriated. He said he just wanted to make sure she was OK. 
“And as he said that,” said Ayanna Reid Cruver in a video posted to Facebook, “I just broke down crying,”

OK, first, I found it odd that the writer would use a story about a peaceful, proper encounter with law enforcement to start a tirade about bad cops.  I mean, this is exactly the sort of interactions with law enforcement that we should expect.  She had done nothing wrong, he had probable cause to make the traffic stop to check on her well-being, and that's the lead to a story about excessive police violence?

The officer, she said, begged her not to cry. He even gave her a hug. But Cruver was still so shaken she had to get off the freeway and pull over to compose herself. 
Her video has been viewed 3.3 million times.

I'll start by saying that there are legitimate concerns over the police and excessive use of force.  And I don't want to discount this woman's concerns.

HOWEVER...

She was so distraught that she had to pull over and compose herself, and one of the actions she took to soothe her fear was to videotape herself to post on social media?  That doesn't smell right to me.

Consider the three cases noted above. Levar Jones’ assailant pleaded guilty in March of last year, but has yet to be sentenced. A jury cleared the cop who broke Lateef Jones’ jaw. Tamir Rice’s killer was never even tried.

Wait... Levar Jones' assailant pleaded guily, and that's evidence of a lack of accountability?  The cop who broke Lateef Jones' jaw was charged with a crime and went through a trial.  That the jury found him not guilty has no bearing on the accountability issue... HE WAS TRIED FOR A CRIME!  How is that not being held accountable?  Sometimes a jury returns a "Not Guilty" verdict.  That's the court system for you.  The office in the Tamir Rice case was not charged, because the District Attorney determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.  Again, that's not inaccountability, that's the system doing what it does.  How is this the fault of the police department, that another government agency (the local DA office) decided to take no further action?

It strikes me that this author wants any cop who uses (rightly or wrongly) violence in an encounter to be put in prison, bypassing the courts, no trial, no appeal, just send 'em away.  That's no solution.  That leads to a worsening social structure -- cops would no longer use any means of force to stop criminals, for fear of going to prison.  "Oh, you're holding a knife to a child's throat?  Well, I'll ask you nicely to stop, and if you don't, I'll ask nicely a second time."

The damage of such failures is bigger than those three cases or the hundreds that preceded them. Where there is no accountability, there can be no trust. When law-abiding people have legitimate reason to fear even a traffic stop, the world becomes more dangerous, both for police and the communities they serve.

This is true.  The general public should NOT have to fear law enforcement for a routine traffic stop.  At the same time, law enforcement should not have to fear the public during a routine traffic stop, but we've seen multiple instances where cops have been shot for no other reason than they were doing their job.

When he was stopped last year for speeding, Tony Lee, a Washington-area preacher, was happily surprised to find the officer friendly and professional. Talking with a friend, Lee, who is black, called the encounter a “blessing.” The friend, a white police chief in another jurisdiction, was angry at that, reminding Lee that anyone who gets a ticket — even a deserved one — has a right to be upset. “But,” said the chief, “you’re just happy you’re [still] living. That’s not the way it should be.”

On that, I agree.  That's not the way it should be.

June 12, 2017

A Fine Weekend

One of the pleasant aspects of living here is that I'm not *IN* Denver, but also not far from it.

Which means that if a friend of mine from Nashville happens to be flying through Denver International Airport on Saturday, I can swing down there, meet up with her in the non-secure area, catch up over a beer and chat for an hour or so before she flies home.  I haven't seen LD in a few years, and it was really great to see her.

It also means that if another friend from Connecticut happens to be driving across country on vacation with his wife and 2 year old child, and happens to be coming across on I-70, I can swing down on Sunday afternoon, meet up with them at Station 26 Brewing Company for a pint, some food truck grub, and few hours of chat.

Getting to see one long time friend in a weekend is a blessing.  Getting to see TWO in the same weekend?  Well, that's just as good a weekend as a man could ever want.


June 6, 2017

Shooting Coach Needed

OK, putting this out there in the hopes that someone has a recommendation.

I need a shooting coach.

I've decided that it's time to get serious about my marksmanship skills with the pistol.  I do just fine with my rifles -- the Marlin Model 60 is an extension of my arm, and I'm punching nice groups fairly well to 50 yards, which is about as far as I'd need to shoot a 22 for hunting rabbits and such; the AR-15 and I do fine together; and my 30.06 is shooting MOA all the way out to 200 yards from sandbags or a rest, and that's plenty good for elk or deer -- but my pistol work needs help.

I've tried improving on my own, but don't seem to be having much luck.   I suspect a part of that is that I don't know what I don't know.  I don't know if my grip is just a bit off, or if I'm lining up the sights wrong, or if I have too much or too little trigger finger, or what.  But it's inconsistent, and I want to fix that.

So I'm looking for a coach in the northern Colorado Front Range area.  Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland, that area.

I don't need an uber-awesome tacticool instructor who will teach me how to breach a room and cap the scum bags while laying on the floor.... I need someone who can help me get steady, consistent groups so my targets don't end up looking like old-school computer punch cards with holes everywhere.  I need someone to help me work on the basic mechanics.  I'll get to the ECQB/tactical pistol classes at a later date.

Also, somewhat reasonably priced.  I'm not in the poor house, but I can't afford private lessons from Rob Pincus, dig?

Anyone have recommendations, please let me know.

Small Differences

One of the things I'm noticing when driving the Tacoma is the number of "little things" that are different from the Jeep.

Obviously every vehicle is different, and while many things are pretty consistent across the board, there are slight nuances and features (or lack thereof) on different cars that require you to change habits a bit.

For example, my Jeep had automatic headlights.  If it was dark enough, or if the windshield wipers were turned on for more than two swipes of the blades, the headlights would automatically turn on and stay on until such time that the wipers were off for 30 seconds or there was sufficient daylight.  The Taco doesn't have that.  So now I have to reprogram my brain to think "Yeah, you just turned on your wipers because of the rain.... Better turn on the headlights, too."

Another difference is the door locks.  In the Heep, the doors would auto-lock once I was above 10 miles an hour.  Taco doesn't do that.  Since locking your car doors while driving is a security measure that everyone should be doing, I have to remind myself to hit the door lock button before I start driving.

One other thing, and this is more "annoyance" than anything else, is the compass and temperature readout... I can't see the display if I'm wearing my sunglasses -- has something to do with the LCD display and the light filter on my prescription glasses -- so I have to dip my sunglasses down just a bit and look over the top, or remove them entirely.  This isn't really an issue here in the Front Range of Colorado, since you've always got the mountains to guide you -- If the mountains are on your left, you're facing more-or-less North -- but it still annoys me.

Overall, however, I can't complain.  The first two items are safety-related, and thus since my safety is my responsibility, I just have to get into the habit.  The third is an annoyance, but I can live with it.

It really is interesting to me how you get so used to a certain way of things that you don't notice them until they are gone.

June 5, 2017

Sunday Drive

Sunday morning, my dog Jake -- who apparently does not understand the concept of "Sleep in on the weekends" -- woke me at 0600 as he normally does to go outside and take care of business.  I let the dogs out, and despite best efforts I was unable to get back to sleep.  I poured some coffee, made some breakfast (corned beef hash and eggs with green chilies) and decided to take the truck up to the hills for a drive.

I went up to Poudre Canyon, along highway 14, following the Cache La Poudre River.  Recent rains, combined with warmer temperatures causing the annual spring snowmelt, had the river running high...


I went up past Kelly Flats campground, and took a left on Pingree Road.  Looking south towards Stormy Peaks...



I kept on past Fish Creek, then swung East on Buckhorn Road, which is a Class 6 road.  In Larimer County, roads are put into classes based on their priority for plowing: Class 1 are your major arteries, larger city streets, etc.  They get plowed first.  Class 5 roads get plowed only after everything else is plowed, sanded/salted, and plow truck drivers have had sufficient rest and wouldn't run into overtime if they plowed a Class 5.  Class 6 roads don't get plowed.  Ever.  Many of these roads are closed December-May, and unless you have a snowmobile, you're not getting up or down.  

Looking Southwest from a switchback on Buckhorn Road, towards Comanche Peak:



A Pine and Aspen grove along Buckhorn Road...



Buckhorn Creek.  Saw a LOT of trout in a calm pool just downstream from here.  Thought the rapids made a better picture, though.


Coming down the hill, I went through Masonville, came in the west side of Horsetooth Reservoir, and back home.  Took the truck to the car wash to rinse off the dirt, and had fish tacos at LaLuz for lunch.  All in all, a very pleasant Sunday morning drive, and I'm truly enjoying the truck.  




June 2, 2017

Things I Wish I Had Said

Entry #3772...


Savage.


Sick. As. A. Dog.

First time in 19 years, I checked sick to work yesterday.  Actually I went in to the office, left afte an hour because I felt like hell.

Dry scratchy throat, cough, runny nose, chest congestion, etc.

Left the office at 9:15, went home.  Took a long, hot, steamy shower, drank a few gallons of water, a quart or more of hot cider (I may or may not have added a splash of bourbon... Hey, alcohol kills bacteria, right?), and a few shots of cough syrup.  A nap, another shower, more water... Then finally around 7:00 pm or so I stopped the dry cough.

Took another hot shower, went to bed.

This morning, the cough is at least somewhat productive, and the fever and chills are gone.

I've got nothing at the moment, just focusing on getting over this crud.  In the interim, go read the folks in the Blogroll.  They've probably got something worth reading.


May 30, 2017

On The Road Again

Saturday morning, I caught a lift from a friend and went to the local auto dealership and put the keys to a 2010 Tacoma in my pocket.

It's a nice ride.  Driver seat has plenty of leg room, which is kinda important for me, being 6'5" tall and all.  Didn't find anything physically wrong with the vehicle... No signs of rust other than what you'd expect on a 7 year old vehicle, and clean interior and exterior all over.  Really a nice vehicle.

Naturally, I had to take her out for some "Getting to know you" time, so I ducked back to the apartment, grabbed my Sig P250, a couple hundred rounds of .22LR, and the range bag and drove out to the Pawnee Grassland to punch holes into paper.

Sunday found me doing much the same: Got up in the morning, burned down the ammo supply a bit, then went to Zwei Brewing for a couple slices of food truck pizza and a pint.

Sunday afternoon, I took a quick lap around Horsetooth Reservoir, before heading over to Veteran's Memorial Park, where I read names of soldiers who died in Vietnam for 20 minutes at the traveling Vietnam Memorial, before watching the memorial ceremony and listened as they played "Taps".

Monday, I started putting the assorted gear I prefer to keep in my vehicle into the Tacoma.  Things like an extra stocking cap and pair of gloves and pair of warm socks, a tarp, some rope/paracord, an emergency stove and a can to melt snow to make water, and that sort of thing.

At any rate, I've got a vehicle again, and it's a nice feeling.  Walking everywhere for 3 months certainly put things into perspective, and while it wasn't a terrible inconvenience, it did make some things a bit more logistically challenging.

Oh, and I'm back in debt for the next 5 years... *sigh*


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.