March 31, 2017

Falcons Memorial Highway?

A fire caused part of I-85 in downtown Atlanta to collapse, and you can find pictures and video all over the internet.

Atlanta hasn't seen a collapse like this since the 4th quarter of Super Bowl LI....

March 27, 2017

A Fine Weekend

Spent the weekend doing fun stuff for me.  As you know, I've been working hard to be frugal, but I decided that every once in a while, I need to do something fun for me.

Saturday, I borrowed my friend's vehicle (a very nice 2011 Toyota Tacoma that I might purchase from him) and ran a few errands that needed done and needed a vehicle to do them.  I took a bag of empty aluminum ans to the recycling center, picked up a bed frame and headboard, and ducked into the local home brewing supply store for a few things.

Then I just went for a drive.  I drove north of the city, amid the foothills and rugged, sparse, ranch country.  My goal was the Cherokee Park Wildlife Area to  scout for deer and elk for this coming fall's hunting season.  I'd misjudged the time and distance, however, so I didn't quite get there.  At least now I have a better idea of how long it would take me to get there for future scouting trips.

Coming back into town, I stopped at Pateros Creek Brewing Company, which is one of the 22 or so craft breweries here in Fort Collins.  They are, unfortunately, going to be closing up shop on April 1st, as the space they occupy has become far too expensive to rent and they have yet to secure alternative space.  I had a pint of the Stimulator Rye Pale Ale, and it was quite pleasant.

I swung back to the apartment, then returned my friend's vehicle to him.  We hung out at his house for a while, watched the first half of the Gonzaga/Xavier men's college basketball game, then I took my leave and walked home.  Took a short nap, then walked over to Otto Pint for a pizza and another beer.

Sunday, I woke at an incredibly late hour for me -- 7:45 am -- and made a monster of a breakfast, including corned beef hash with green chiles, two eggs, and toast with my sister's home made strawberry jam.  Then I commenced to brewing some beer, making an apricot wheat beer.  It has Northern and Mt. Hood hops, and I mashed up a can of apricots and added them to the carbouy with the beer.  I'd have preferred to use fresh apricots, peeled and mushed, but there were none to be found at my local grocery.  I figure I'll give it a week, then rack it over to secondary fermentation and bottle after another week.  Next beer, by request of a friend, is going to be a Marzen (although, technically, it won't be, since I won't be able to brew it until April 1st... Aprilzen?)

After the beer was in fermentation, I slid over to the local sports pub, watched a bit of the Florida/South Carolina basketball game, then returned home.  In order to apply for a hunting tag, in Colorado, if you're born after 1949, you need to take a Hunter Safety Class.  Fortunately you can do most of it on-line, then finish the class with an in-person shortened version (basically, live fire exercises to prove you can hit the broad side of a barn at 25 yards and know how to clear a malfunction in your gun.)  While I understand the need for hunter education, some of the parts of this on-line class are just foolish:


At any rate, I finished the videos, and Wednesday afternoon I'll be taking a half day to go do the live fire part.  The good thing is that this is a one-and-done thing... I'll never need to take the class again.

We also got some rain on Sunday afternoon, and much needed at that.  At the moment, Colorado is drier than a popcorn fart, and the risk of wildfire is quite high.

Wrapped up the weekend with dinner at home Sunday, a nice bottle of my own Java Porter, and some television before turning in to bed a whole hour before I normally do.

T'was a fine weekend indeed.

March 23, 2017

The Death of Civility

I've had it with people.   Civility and politeness in debate and discussion appears, for the most part, to be dead.

I'll admit that I've struggled with this in the past, but I'd like to think that, for the most part, I am able to articulate my differences with people of other political views with civility and reasoned discussion.  I don't have to agree with you to respect you, and I don't have to like you to be polite to you.  It's rare, I hope, that I am impolite.

Sadly, I don't see much of that today from people on the political left.  To be fair, we didn't see much of it from people on the political right between, say, 2008 and 2016, so they don't get a pass... Mind your own house, right?

But this?

Painting President Trump's face on the wall, using a urinal for his mouth?

That's beyond the pale.  That's not civil discourse, that's not reasoned dissent, that's not a political statement.

That's just disgusting.

I can only imagine the outrage we'd hear from the same people who did this if Mrs. Clinton had won and the painting was of her, not him.

I'm done talking to people of a different political mind if this is what they find funny.  Yes, you're entitled to your free expression, and no, I don't want anyone to be penalized legally for this sort of thing.

But I damn sure don't have to show my support for it, and I damn sure don't have to talk to you if this is what you believe.

Disagree, debate, converse, and have conversations.  I encourage the talk, I do.  But have some fucking class and dignity.

March 19, 2017

Wants and Needs

It's now the end of the third week without a car/vehicle, and I can't really say that it's been much of an inconvenience.

So far I have to admit that my needs are being met on foot.

My needs are quite simple: I need to be able to get to work, I need to be able to get food.  That's pretty much it, really.  Most of the rest of things in our lives are "wants", not "needs."

I want to go uptown for a sandwich and a couple beers at Coopersmith's, but I don't NEED to.  

I need to deposit my paycheck at the bank every other Friday, but I don't NEED to go to the bank to do that (my bank's mobile app allows me to take pictures of the check and deposit it that way... I haven't, because I can walk to the bank branch.)

I want to get busy improving my pistol work, but I don't NEED to go to the range to do that... Dry fire practice with the MantisX system I won in the Kilted to Kick Cancer contest will suffice for now.

I want to continue making home brew beer, but I don't NEED to go to the local home brew store to get the supplies, as I can purchase the items on line and have them delivered.

I want to spend more time outdoors, but I don't NEED to drive up into the mountains to make that happen -- There are paths, trails, and parks here in the city.

I want to continue making food at home to save money and have healthier meals, but I don't NEED to drive to the grocery store, as I can walk across the street.  (Yes, it does make for a bit of a challenge, trying to figure out what I can buy and carry home, and rather than make one trip every 10 days or so, I'm going to the grocery every two or three days, since I can't carry as much as I could in the cargo area of the Heep.  But again, that's want vs. need.)

My phone has an app that tracks my walking, if I choose to, and I've logged over 6,000 steps every day -- save one -- since I started tracking on March 1st.  Some days are closer to 12,000 steps.  One day I walked over 4.4 miles, just doing regular stuff (convenience store for a pack of smokes, grocery, went to see a movie, went to a new brewery in the area, etc.)

At any rate, I'm finding that I can make do with less and less and it doesn't bother me a bit at the moment to not have a vehicle.  I'm giving serious thought to holding off as long as I can, perhaps until September or so, in order to have as much cash as possible to put towards a vehicle.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to walk over to the Gilded Goat Berewery, because I want to meet my friend for a beer on the patio.  When it's 73 degrees in Northern Colorado in March, you sit on the patio and drink beer... it's what we do.

March 17, 2017

Lack of Content

Sorry for the dearth of content lately.  Been pretty busy with work, trying to get out of the apartment now that the weather is improving, and generally doing stuff other than blogging.

I'll try to find something worthy of talking about soon.

Meantime, y'all go read the folks in the side bar.

March 9, 2017

Don't Be So Quick to Judge

Over on the book of faces, there's much brouhaha among some of my shooter/gun pals over this photograph:

Now, let's state up front that this isn't what most experienced shooters would consider "Good Form".  

Arms bent too much, grip is all wrong, and so on and so forth.

What I have yet to hear is any reasonable answer to the following question:

"Did he meet the objective of qualifying on the pistol course?"

I don't know what the US Army Pistol Qualifications standards look like.  I guess I could look them up, but I really don't care.  It's probably a minimum number of rounds into a specified target at a measured distance, and a scoring system.  Again, whatever.  

That's not the point.  The point is that for this specific event, the goal is to meet the qualification standard, and what nobody can tell me is if he did or did not.  

Because, and here's the thing: IF he met the qualification standard, then it really shouldn't matter how we view his form.  It doesn't matter if we point and laugh.  He got the job done.  Let's set aside for a minute any debate about if the US Army Pistol Qualification standard is an accurate reflection of marksmanship.  

At that time, in that place, the job was to meet the qualification minimum.  If he did that with this poor form, then who are we to judge?

Not for nothing, but back in the day Arnold Palmer had a pretty funny looking golf swing.  "Poor form", they said.  "Can't play golf like that", they said.

"Watch me," Arnold said.

And how'd that turn out after all? 

March 8, 2017

Diesel Power

I've been without the Heep for a little more than a week now, and am relying on Diesel Power.

I look at my legs and feet and say "Diesel get me where I need to go for now..."

Again, I'm fortunate that I live close to my job (1,367 feet as the crow flies, or 1,775 feet as the man walks, per Google Maps), along with a grocery store and liquor store across the street, a Wal Mart less than a mile away, a couple pubs/restaurants, etc.  Also, being a medium sized city, ride services like Uber and Lyft are available, should I find an overpowering desire to go up town and I don't want to ride my bicycle.

In addition to this, I have a very very dear friend who has left a standing offer of the use of his truck (and if I can get the bank to approve the loan in a few months, I might buy that truck from him... It's a 2011 Tacoma with less than 20,000 miles -- he drives his work vehicle to/from work, and rarely drives his truck) and my cousin has also offered use of her family's second vehicle.

But for all that, I haven't found myself in a spot where I needed a vehicle the past week and a half.  I've been looking for alternative methods to get the things I need that I would normally use my Jeep to get.  For example, I have two dogs, and it's more economical to purchase dog food in 31 pound bags than buying the smaller and man portable 7 pound bags (and yes, before you ask, I *could* carry a 31 pound bag the 3/4 mile from Wal Mart... But I choose not to.)  I searched Amazon a bit and signed up for their subscription service: Every 3 weeks, they will deliver a 31 pound bag to my apartment door.  I don't have to drive the short distance, fuss with traffic or other (read: Annoying) people at the store, and the cost difference is minimal.

Fort Collins is a very bicycle friendly city, with extensive paved bike paths, dedicated bicycle lanes on many of the roads, and a population that recognizes cyclists as equal users of the roads.  Also, despite being nestled up to the foothills, the city itself is actually fairly flat, so I've taken to riding my bicycle for distances beyond a couple miles.  Saturday, I rode 5 miles (well, just shy of 5 miles) round trip to the home brewing supply store for a few items so I can bottle the beer I have brewing.

As a side note, the local constabulary shares in the "cyclists are equal users of the road" mentality, and will enforce traffic laws the same for cyclists as they do motorists... Fail to signal a turn, run a light, don't have proper safety equipment on your bike like a light or reflectors and you face a ticket.  It's quite reasonable, in my opinion, and I approve.

The one down side to all of this is that I'm limited in my ability to get to the range for some recoil therapy.  The indoor range I like is 11.3 miles via roadways from my apartment (one way), and the outdoor range is 29.5 miles one way.  Both of those are beyond bicycle range for me, and at any rate it would be difficult to ride a bike and carry 100 rounds of ammo, my range bag, and the guns.  So for now, I'll have to make do with dry-fire and  

I think I'll be able to survive without a vehicle for a couple months while I save a large chunk of cash to make a substantial down payment.  Given the good salary I'm making, along with very few bills (rent, electricity, internet service, and food is it.... No car insurance bill now, company provides and pays for my cell phone, etc.), I should be able to save quickly.

Oh, and the weather is getting better, which makes walking or cycling an enjoyable experience rather than an ordeal to endure.