October 20, 2016

Part of the Problem

I saw something on Facebook this morning from a friend of mine, posted during last night's debate, that, in my view, is a perfect representation of how we've gotten to where we are as a nation:

"OK, so what is this guy going to do for me, an African-American male?"

Now, let's set some background: My friend is, obviously, African-American.  He's also gay, and prefers living in a large city (Atlanta), and younger than I am (he's in his early 30's).

Now, of course he's rightly concerned about his well-being and his personal future, and I don't begrudge him that, but his comment speaks to the division and schism between parts of society that has so polarized our country of late.

Note there's no mention of "What's he going to do for US, the nation's citizens?" in the comment.  I noticed the lack of cohesiveness.  The lack of unity.  We're no longer considering the people as a whole, but rather a collection of factions that must be clearly delineated into their unique partitions.

I also noticed that there's no mention of self-reliance, but rather what appears to be an expectation that someone else is going to do things for me.  "What is HE going to do FOR ME?"

In the end, I guess I'd prefer something along the lines of:
"How is this guy going to get the obstacles and impediments to people living a free and prosperous life out of our way?"

That, IMHO, would be a better attitude for all of us to have.

October 11, 2016


Over the years, many bloggers I've met and read daily (or nearly so) have attended Blogorado and all of them have spoken highly of it.  What's not to like, really: A gathering of fellows of the gun, good food, friendship and frivolity and fun, and, of course, guns.

This year, I was fortunate to get an invite, thanks to the Farm Fam and Ambulance Driver.  As fortune would have it, I'd already moved to Colorado, so instead of a cross-country drive or airplane ride, it was just a drive.

Friday afternoon I departed my office, swung through the bank drive-up ATM for some cash, stopped in the liquor store to grab some beers, and hit the road.  I took a few "back roads" to avoid the bulk of Denver traffic (Denver, Friday, 5:45pm?  Yeah, no thanks!) and after a couple stops for gas and such, pulled up to the Farm Fam Homestead around 10:30pm.  Just in time for a couple beers before everyone headed back to their respective hotels for the night.

Saturday morning, we went to the local diner (hereafter referred to as "Obligatory Cow Reference" because that's what the Blogorado veterans called it, and you don't mess with tradition) for morning chow and coffee.  LOTS of coffee.

I indulged in the Longhorn Skillet, which was cottage fries topped with onion, peppers, ham, cheese, and eggs.  Now, despite being a skinny fellow, I can typically eat a large amount of food, but this platter was too much for even me.  Our waitress busted her butt keeping up with the coffee urns and food plates and such, and we all left with full bellies.  OldNFO, being generous beyond words, picked up the tab, and therefore the rest of us left her a hefty tip by any measure, but doubly so for a small rural diner.  It wouldn't surprise me if she covered half her rent for the month on just that one bill (I dropped $20 on the table, and I know others did as well.  By my thinking, I was figuring on spending $20 anyway,)

Once full, we made the drive to the Farm Fam Homestead, where guns and ammo and targets and such were loaded up, then we drove to the range.  LawDog gave a quick safety briefing ("Mind your muzzles, don't do anything stupid, if someone needs medical care, find JB or Ambulance Driver, happy shooting"), and we commenced to shooting.

And shoot we did.

The range has several areas set up for different styles of guns.  It's more or less an arc, and starting on the left, there's a long rifle range out to ~750 yards, where some of the folks were trying to find out just how far they could reach out and get hits on targets.  I was pleased to find that I was able to hit a "Hostage" style target at 400+ yards, although I can't be sure that the "hostage" survived and the "scum" died.  But I heard a resounding "PING!" after I shot, and that's a pretty good feeling.  After all, any long shots I take are going to be on wild game, not hostages.

In addition to that, BarronB was kind enough to make some small tweaks to my Remington 700, and has it dead on at 300 yards (he didn't much care for the 6 pound trigger or the rented mule kick of the rifle, however...)

Working right along the arc, you come to a shotgun/wing shooting station, where we managed to break the pivot weld on the mechanical clay thrower, so I dug out my hand held thrower and we went through a box of 90 clays in short order.  "Who's got more clays?" was answered by four different folks: "In my trunk" or "Bed of the pickup".  A call for additional 12G shells received the same response.  I tell you with no measure of exaggeration, we shot over 200 rounds of shotgun rounds in a few hours.

Continuing along the arc, we come to the pistol range, with an assortment of reactive targets like this:

These are ideal for situations when you've got a LOT of folks shooting, as there's less need to call for a cold range to reset or hang a new paper target.  Despite that, there were times when we'd call the range cold, and I made mention to someone that it was quite remarkable that we had 30+ people, 100+ guns, and absolutely NOBODY got shot.  We are all each other's RSO, and on those rare instances that a possible safety issue came up, it was quickly pointed out.  We're all experienced shooters, and while experienced shooters can and do make mistakes, none of us are so egocentric to not be willing to listen.

Once you get beyond the pistol range, we had a dual purpose range, with targets at 50 and 100 yards for rimfire.  Some AR-15s were sighted in, some .22LR was shot, some .17HMR was shot, and much fun was had when we shot a heart shaped Papier-mâché target filled with Tannerite in honor of Ray, who shuffled off this mortal coil too damn soon.

After shooting much of the late morning and early afternoon, Farm Mom arrived with the grill, cooking some serious grub: thick and juicy burgers, pulled pork, and brisket.  We all ate, we shot a bit more, then returned to the Homestead for 1.5 inch thick T-bone steaks cooked up by Stingray from Atomic Nerds.  A perfect medium-rare, the steak was almost too much to handle.


Beers started flowing after the guns were put away, and there's a rumor floating 'round that MattG had more than his share, but as it was his birthday, we'll give him a pass.

Sunday, it was more of the same.  Breakfast, guns, homestead, beers.  I had to leave around 4pm on Sunday, while others were able to stay the night (work beckoned on Monday morning, and as I've only been with this job for a week, I had no vacation time to use).  I bid my goodbyes to my new friends, made a promise to come back next year, and drove home.

On the ride home, I reflected on the group: We had a physician, a nurse practitioner, two paramedics, one IT systems admin, two law enforcement officers, a couple physicists, some gun writers, one nurse, a business consultant, and countless other professions.  We had people from New Hampshire, Kansas City, Eastern Washington State, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Indiana, and points between.  We had men and women.  We had married couples and single folks.  We had folks from all walks of life, and we all shared the one commonality of the Brotherhood of the Gun.

These are my people.  This is my tribe.  I spent the weekend with my tribe, doing the things that I enjoy.

Weekends don't get much better than that.

October 10, 2016


More to come later, when I have time to write all my thoughts down, but the short version of my first trip to Blogorado is summed up thusly:

It was everything I hoped for and more.  It was everything I needed and more.

These are my people.  This is my clan.

For now, back to work.

October 7, 2016

Headed Out

Gotta put in a quick day at the office, then I'm headed out for Blogorado.  This will be my first time at the event, but from all reports from previous attendees, it should be a fantastic time.

I'll be bringing my Mossberg 500 for shooting clays, my Glock 19 because pistol, and my Remington 700 in 30-06 Springfield, because prairie dogs.

My Marlin 60 in .22LR is still at the gunsmith.  The buffer on the back end of the slide plate assembly is worn, and that was causing the rifle to fail to go back into battery after every shot.  I guess that's OK... after all, the rifle is 35 years old and has shot some 10,000+ rounds over those years, so it only stands to reason that something would have worn out by now.

I'll pick up some beer on my way out of town, then a few hours on the road should get me there around 10p tonight.

I'm going to be spending the weekend with my tribe, and that's as fine a weekend as a man could want.

Y'all be good while I'm gone.  Go read the folks in the sidebar blogroll...

October 2, 2016

Lack of content

Sorry for the lack of anything new the past few days.

Made it to Fort Collins on Monday, have been busy getting settled and such.

Here,  have a good laugh on me...

September 23, 2016

Kilted to Kick Cancer Update

So, it would appear that I'm in third place in the Kilted to Kick Cancer fundraising contest, behind Team Dragon Leatherworks and Team Ambulance Driver.  While the fundraising totals are lagging behind last year, we're still raising a decent chunk of coin for cancer research.

My totals will go up somewhat after this weekend, however, since tonight is the Kilted to Kick Cancer event at Guardian Brewing Company here in town.  They have generously offered to donate 10% of proceeds for the day to KTKC.  In addition, MT Smoking BBQ will have their food truck on site, and they are donating all tips to KTKC as well.  They both have my gratitude, and if you're in the East Central Indiana area, consider giving them some of your business.  I can attest to the fact that the beers at Guardian are quite wonderful, and MT's smoked brisket is excellent as well.

If you'd like to contribute, you can click this link to the KTKC Donation page, and chip in what you can.  Select Team JBro at checkout.  An added bonus this year, donors can win a prize as well: For every $10 donation, you can get one entry in a drawing for a Dreadnaught Industries AR-15.  Yes, yes... You already have an AR-15 rifle.  So?  Two is one, right?  Just email your donation confirmation email/receipt to kelly@kiltedtokickcancer.org and you're entered.  The usual rules about gun purchases will apply (no felony, not a drug user, etc.)

If you're in/around Muncie, come out to Guardian tonight for a pint.  And, if you're a male over the age of 40, get to your doctor and get tested for Prostate Cancer.

Get kilted, get checked!

September 21, 2016

T Minus Something or Another and Counting

I think I'm ready for the trip.

I got the wiring for towing the trailer done on Tuesday, and today I went to the uHaul place and confirmed it was working.  Figured I'd be better off following Ronald Reagan's advice of "Trust but verify".  While I trust the auto repair shop to install it correctly, better to confirm it works today, so if I needed to, I could get it back to them ASAP, rather than be screwed on Saturday when everything is closed.

In addition to the wiring, I've had the oil changed, tires rotated, radiator and transmission both flushed and filled, and replaced the front drive shaft.  The Heep is in good shape for the trip, and should do just fine.

I've got mail forwarding already set up, and that will begin on Friday.  I'll make one last stop to check my PO box and return the key, then I'm done with that.

My current bank is Indiana only, no branches in Colorado, so I set up a new account with a bank in Colorado (national, actually) and just seeded it with $40 for now.  The nice thing is that I got three actual checks and my ATM/debit card the same visit... no waiting 4-6 business days to get the card.  That's really kinda neat, even if I won't need or use it for anything for a couple weeks.  Once the first paycheck from the new job hits, I'll close my account here in Indiana and then I'll be done with that.

Dogs got shots and wellness checks on Monday, along with a flea preventative medicine.  They're good until end of October, when I'll need to reapply the flea stuff, and after that we'll be into the colder winter months, when the fleas go dormant, then I'll be done with that.

Damn near everything I own is packed away in a box, save for an old non-stick skillet that has forgotten the "non" part (I'm not taking it with me), my 4 cup coffee maker, my coffee mug, a plate and a fork and a knife.  Oh, and a few changes of clothes.  Those will get packed on Saturday, and then I'll be done with that.

I'll shut off the cable internet service on Saturday evening, and put the electricity on "hold" until December 14th, when I'll shut that off.  The reasoning here is that it's cheaper for me to pay out the remainder of my lease than to break it early (by a couple hundred dollars), and as long as the apartment is leased to me, I need to keep the electricity service in my name.  I won't have any lights on, won't be running the heater at all, etc.  So my electric bill will be, oh, maybe a dollar a month.  But that's the rules, dumb as they may be.  Once December 14th comes, my lease ends and I can shut off the electricity and I'll be done with that.

I've got a few pieces of furniture that I don't want, and they've been claimed by neighbors so I don't need to worry about those.

Cleaned the apartment fairly well yesterday, and I'll give it a quick wipe down on Saturday evening, then a final vacuum on Sunday morning before the vacuum goes into the dumpster.

All in all, I don't think there's much of anything left to do other than get the uHaul on Saturday, load it up, get a final burger and beer from Scotty's, and sleep.  Hitting the road Sunday morning, roughly 0800, and plan to get just west of Kansas City that day.

C'mon, Sunday.... Get here already!

September 19, 2016

A Weekend Well Spent

Decided to duck up to Auburn, make one last visit with the parents before the move west.  It's nice to be able to do that, and that's about the only thing I'm going to miss about living here.

Drove up Friday afternoon, dodging most of the rush hour traffic around Fort Wayne, and arrived just about the same time Pops was pulling burgers and brats off the grill.  We had a nice dinner with our family friend Al, then headed to the high school for the football game.  My cousin Peter is the head coach, and we like to support his efforts to rebuild the team -- many years ago, they were a regional powerhouse football team, but when the then-coach was caught with his pants down (literally) with another teacher, he was fired and the program collapsed, to the point of having 2 wins total in 4 years.  Once Peter took the reins, there was renewed interest in the program (Peter was a standout linebacker when he attended school there), booster clubs started raising money again, and the team started winning again.  Not a lot, but his second season saw the team rack up 4 wins -- more that year than the previous 5 combined -- and it was a nice step in the right direction.  This year, tragedy struck when two of the boys were killed in a car accident just 2 weeks ago on September 2nd on their way to the game that night.  Understandably, that game was cancelled, as was the game on the 9th, and losing two kids that age was hard on the team.  Peter has been struggling with this tragedy, and we wanted to show support for this reason as well.

Saturday a light rain fell for much of the morning and early afternoon, but it cleared up by 3pm or so.  Ma and I ran some errands, read our books, napped and napped again, then watched some college football.  While you probably couldn't care less about either team, the game between Nebraska and Oregon was quite thrilling to watch.  Nebraska took the lead with just a few minutes left, and managed to hold strong on defense, stopping Oregon and winning the game.  Interestingly, Oregon never kicked a single Point After, instead opting to go for two all five times they scored.  Converting only one of those times, they ended up with 32 points (five TDs, one 2 point conversion), while Nebraska kicked the PAT every time, and made 'em all.  Thus, the 35-32 score.  Had Oregon kicked PATs 4 times, they'd have won the game by a point.  Strange strategy, that.  At any rate, after that game, we had dinner, then retreated to the back porch for some beer drinking by the fire pit, chatting with the neighbors (my parents have really nice neighbors), and general socializing.  Good times.

Woke up Sunday, and had some breakfast, then went out with my cousin Jeff to bust some clays with the shotguns.  I sold him my Mossberg Silver Reserve 12G O/U, as he wants to get into sporting clays, skeet, trap, etc.  It's a fine gun for just that (as well as pheasant or quail hunting), and I could use the extra cash for the trip, so that worked out well.  We joined two of his friends, one of whom was the host -- living out in the sticks has advantages, like being able to shoot clays off the back deck -- and we burned through 200 shotgun shells in short order.  Jeff was finally getting the hang of it towards the end, and even managed to hit a couple two clay throws, one barrel each.  After we finished that, I went to meet my three best high school pals, Jeremy, Josh, and Sara, and we had wings, beers, and talked and laughed.  I'll miss being able to drive an hour or so and see them as well.  Then I headed back to the parent's place, picked up Ma and Pops, and we went to the local watering hole for a bite to eat and watch a bit of the late football game.

Headed back to Muntucky this morning.  Gotta get the dogs to the vet this afternoon for shots, then get back to the packing of the stuff.  I'm going to thin out some of the things I have -- who needs 16 pint glasses, anyway? -- and donate a large portion of stuff to Goodwill.  Less stuff means less stuff to carry to Colorado.

All in all, a good weekend.

September 16, 2016

Neat Video of Climbers

This is neat:

That's at the Monastary, near where I'll be living in Colorado.  Time will tell if my back will let me get back into climbing (I've done the route  the young lady in the video is climbing, years ago), but if nothing else, the scenery is spectacular.

Watch in full screen mode, unless you've got a fear of heights. :-)

September 12, 2016


One extra benefit of moving to Colorado is that I'm going to be able to attend Blogorado!

Ambulance Driver got the approval from the Farm Fam, and I'll be heading down on Friday, 07 October, after work.

This means I won't get there until nearly 10pm on Friday, but that's no big deal.  I'll be driving past DEN, so if anyone is getting into Denver around 5p or later on Friday and needs a ride, let me know.

I'm going to be able to spend time with my tribe again.  First time in a long time since that's happened, and boy howdy will it be good for the soul!

Getting Closer

Two weeks from today I'll be making the last leg of the drive to Colorado.

I can tell it's getting close as my list of "Shit to do before September 25th" is getting whittled away.

Took the Heep into the dealership to get tow package wiring connected.  I had wiring for towing connected before, but it got a short in it somewhere back in '13, and I had it removed as it was jacking up my turn signal.

This afternoon I'm taking the dogs to the vet for yearly checkup and shots.  They aren't technically due until November 1, but I figure I'll do it now so I don't have to rush to find a vet out there.  So, shots, wellness check, and some flea medication.

Going to add the roadside hazard service that my auto insurance offers to my plan, just in case I run into problems on the drive.  It's like AAA, basically.

Tonight I'm going to the Monroe Township Conservation Club monthly meeting to turn in my key to the range.

Yesterday I took a box of things to the local Goodwill to donate.  Still serviceable, but I don't want or need them any more.

Going to spend the rest of the morning packing up some items, getting things organized into boxes.  The trick when you're moving large distances as opposed to across town, is to spend the money at the uHaul place (or Home Depot, or Lowe's, wherever) and buy moving boxes.  It's far easier to load the trailer when the boxes are all the same size.  Yes, you can get free boxes from the liquor store or behind WalMart, but trust me on this.