Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
White? White? Wow, that's ugly. Well, the only consolation is that given this frame style's track record, I'll only have to put up with it for another 3-4 months before it gets replaced again, although what'll the next color be? Purple? Pink?
I accepted the bike because functionally it's no different obviously, and I didn't want to wait another 3 weeks for them to switch out the part. Doesn't mean I like what they did, and I'm not too happy that the bike shop didn't give me a heads-up when they received the part. Well, it rides just fine (I took it out this evening) and I sure am glad to have that rear suspension again. But, seriously?
Monday, September 19, 2011
A Gerber Paraframe II, semi-serrated, that I picked up at Target for $15, way back when. Nothing special, but handy to have and I like the thin profile. It's pointy, sharp and fits my hand well. And yes, I've used the serrated part too, although its a pain in the butt to clean...
Friday, September 16, 2011
This is the view from one of the highest points in the canyon - my first ride in almost two weeks. Man, I missed it! Left it a bit late, though - this is about 3 miles from the truck.
My buddy, rocking a Trek Fuel EX8 - a very nice bike. Far superior to my Trek. My hardtail is a fine bike, but I have to spent a lot more time out of the seat riding these trails, and that wears on a body. I miss my Haro. Should be fixed soon, though...
Thursday, September 15, 2011
- Dumping a mag through a full-auto (first time!), suppressed (first time!) mini Uzi, courtesy of USCitizen.
- Meeting all these fine folk.
-Dumping more money in a raffle than I ever have before, comfortable in the knowledge that every penny of it was going to a good cause.
-Getting the opportunity to meet Alan Gura and listen to his take on the state of the gun rights movement.
-The opportunity to not only learn about Orville Bierkle's revolver, but actually shoot it, thanks to Davidwhitewolf!
-Listening to the vendors and organizations give their presentations and noting with satisfaction how seriously they have come to take the gun blogger community.
-Getting an autographed picture of Molly to present to My Little Princess.
-Walking up to our room Saturday night with a literal armful of swag:
-Seeing my wife's enthusiasm match my own.
-One low: driving up 395 to get to Reno, we passed by this IHOP. It was boarded up and fenced off. And that's about all I have to say about that.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
However, I was made to feel very welcome, although I didn't talk much the first night - just listened to the various conversations. After all, it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, right?
I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Baker, Joe Huffman, Davidwhitewolf, Chris Byrne, The Packing Rat, TrueBlueSam, Ry Jones, USCitizen, Olav, Molly, Caleb, BobG, as well as the guys who made this all possible, Mr Completely and Keewee.
I met plenty of other fine folks there too, who described themselves as lurkers, including Dusty - who made the trip all the way from Tucson by motorcycle - obviously made of sterner stuff than me.
It was also a real treat to meet Alan Gura, and have the opportunity to thank him for all the work he's done - and continues to do - on our behalf. He is one busy guy, so I for one am extremely grateful that he took the time to come hang with us for the weekend, answer all our inane questions and shoot some of the many fine guns available at the range.
The highlight of my weekend was being able to share this experience with my bride. She had originally agreed to go with me, expecting to have a relaxing weekend doing some gambling and hanging out at the pool while I went and did my thing. After the first evening, however, she liked it so much that she accompanied me to every event, and if you've seen the agenda, you'll know that the weekend was just packed - so there was very little spare time for gambling (although we got a few good shots at video poker here and there). To top it off, she wants to find ranges locally to practice shooting steel so she'll be ready for NEXT year!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
During his tenure as state attorney general, Brown showed himself to be neutral, if not fairly positive, on matters pertaining to the Second Amendment. I know many of the folks on Calguns were optimistic about him. I suppose now we shall see if that attitude has carried through to Jerry Brown the governor.
If you reside in CA, email the man to show your opposition to this tripe.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Instead, I've opted for running on my in-laws' treadmill in the air-conditioned comfort of their spare bedroom.
The stamina I've built up mountain biking has served me well; my first run on Sunday night was the longest I'd ever ran in my life, and I wasn't even gassed.
However, I discovered that although I may use the same limbs as I do when biking, the muscles I use are quite different, as evidenced by the soreness I felt the next morning...
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Total time to put together - about 45 minutes. The hardest part was punching out the iron sight pin, but that wasn't too bad at all. A few adjustments, and I got this...
Hopefully that's close enough to get it on paper at the range, and I can go from there. Sure, it's no Ruger, but I can't complain about the cost - about $160 for everything you see here. Something to tinker with, and I'm looking forward to trying it out.
I do have to admit, when I bought my first upper, a 16" with the handgrip, there was an incredibly long delay in getting it, but I attributed that to the gun rush at the time, during the first year of Obama's presidency.
When I did get it and assembled it with my lower, I took it out to the range and quickly found that it wouldn't feed hollowpoint ammunition. OK. Well, at least it eats FMJ, I'll just stick with that.
My second trip to the range was more problematic. It wouldn't feed ANYTHING. Or rather, it wouldn't extract the cartridge after firing. This was worrisome.
I contacted Del-Ton, and they had me ship the upper back to them. They had it for a day, replaced the bolt and shipped it right back. Apparently some of the extractors had been improperly tempered during the gun rush.
Yes, they shouldn't have let it out the door initially; but, they did make it right, at no cost to me. I haven't had any trouble with either upper since, either FMJ or hollowpoint.
I guess the bottom line is that I'm not necessarily writing this post to defend Del-Ton, but as a kind of wondering-out-loud if I made the right decision in buying their products...
So far so good, I guess...
(Both links above found over at Say Uncle)
Friday, August 19, 2011
Seriously, people? You're shocked? Has this man given ANY indication WHATSOEVER over the last two-plus years that he's a responsible steward of Other People's Money?
What is not pointed out is that while he's on vacation, he's not at work. Given the rate at which he pisses away his constituents' money and futures while at work, this can only be a good thing. Hell, extend the vacation for another 13 months. Sure, the lifestyle the Obama's choose to live is hideously expensive, but it's a damn sight less expensive than what will happen whenever Barack is anywhere near the next Congressional Big Idea Bill and a pen.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Trek 4500 Disc hardtail. As frequently as I have found myself biking (4-6 days a week), and with the abuse that these bikes go through on the trails, it became clear to me that I needed something to fall back on when my primary needs to be worked on - as was the case a few weeks ago, when I snapped the frame on the Haro. Fortunately, it was a warranty repair and the turnaround was only six days, but six days of not riding means you lose a little bit of whatever endurance and speed you've built up, and have some catch-up to do. At the time, I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a friend's back-up bike, but I shouldn't have to count on other people. Besides, what if I wrecked their bike? Not to mention, the cost of high-quality components for these bikes is enough to make you puke, so having a back-up gives me some breathing room in which to save when something goes out, as it inevitably will.
This bike is not nearly as nice as the Haro, obviously - the components are of a lower quality (but upgradeable) and there's no back shock, which makes it more of a challenge in the rough stuff, but it has hydraulic disc brakes - which is very important to me - and a decent front shock with lock out. I also got it at a ridiculous price, brand new. It's my go-to whenever I want to ride around on the streets too.
CZ 452 chambered in .17HMR, a Christmas gift from my amazing wife. Beautiful little bolt action rifle with a five-round magazine, that doesn't get nearly as much use as it should. Topped with a Barska AO scope - also a Christmas gift from my wife - which I have yet to try. Wow, that's pathetic... sorely in need of some range time...
This one is a real pleasure to shoot. I wouldn't recommend hunting for the table with this one though; I nailed a rabbit with it at a pretty long distance, and what was left was pretty much just jelly. Those rounds are traveling at a fair clip...
Thinking about bringing this one to the GBR.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In combating the scourge of ill-fitting bed sheets...
In cracking down on BB guns...
In driving business and jobs out of the state...
This state is done. Democratic control of both houses as well as the governorship means that the stupid has gone into overdrive.
If they were honest - which they aren't - they'd have no-one to blame but themselves for destroying what was once a great state.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Being a tightwad, I just gritted my teeth and dealt with all that, but last night, the screen started to come and go intermittently, and that I couldn't deal with, so I replaced it today with a -gasp!- iPhone 3GS. No iPhone 4 for me - no-one I know who has one likes 'em, plus they're still $200 even with the two years indentured servitude/service contract.
So far so good - finally have video capability, the phone's running faster than the old one and I got a nice new set of earphones (which my wife promptly commandeered-I'm hard on earphones too...).
Only bummer is I lost some music. Backing up my old phone had become such a pain in the ass, that I hadn't bothered to do it in 6 months...
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
This year has been kind of a downer. Like Mr Baker, I've observed the goings-on in this nation of ours and found precious little positive stuff to blog about.
The news lately isn't any better, to be honest, what with the fight over the debt-limit increase, the Dow on a roller coaster, the riots back in the old country, the downgrade of our credit rating and all that entails, and locally, the beating death of Kelly Thomas by the Fullerton PD.
Over the last few months, I withdrew somewhat and kept my focus a little closer to home, on family, church, work and mountain biking.
I think it's done wonders for my disposition, and probably my blood pressure.
Well, now, I definitely have something positive to blog about. An unforeseen mid-year bonus at work, coupled with an amazing spouse and some really great family help with childcare means that this year, for the very first time, my wife and I will be able to attend the Gun Blogger's Rendezvous!
I just mailed my registration stuff this evening, and will be booking rooms tomorrow at the Silver Legacy.
I haven't been this excited about a trip in YEARS. I've been smiling just about non-stop for the last three days, ever since MY WIFE suggested the trip (I had given up on attending months ago, so for me, it had been out of mind for a while).
Today, we got all of our ducks in a row - time off from work, the in-laws' help with the kids and our dogs, the bonus checks (Yay!) - so it's going to happen!
I am especially looking forward to meeting some of the names I've been reading over the last few years, as they have had a profound influence on my worldview.
The only thing left for me to be concerned with is... what boomsticks should I bring? Suggestions would be most welcome...
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
My bike was a ten-plus year old fluorescent orange Huffy that a coworker had given to me back when my kids were sprogs. No suspension, rusty gears/chain, disintegrating handgrips, and a steel (read HEAVY) frame - but hey, it was mountain bike styled...
Not knowing whether I'd like this new found midlife crisis activity masquerading as a sport, I was understandably reluctant to drop that kind of money on a new bike, so I figured I'd hop on the Huffy, grit my teeth, and try it out.
There's a canyon nearby that is a favorite haunt of mountain bikers, so we started to go there, trying out the terrain. I'm out of shape, so these excursions into the canyon were very tiring... but I discovered that they were a lot of fun, too.
Going up the hills was a lot (a LOT) of work, especially on a steel-framed toad, but coming down was for me, just as exciting as riding a dirt bike (even more so, perhaps, since the Huffy had cantilever brakes, as opposed to the disc brakes that grace the modern bikes). An hour out in the canyon would find me exhausted, but happy, and looking forward to the next ride.
As I said, it's quite the popular spot for mountain biking, and over the weeks I saw plenty of people out there of all ages, and all sizes.
As well as riding the canyon, I persuaded my friend to come out to the Santa Ana river trail - a bike path, that when complete, will run alongside the Santa Ana river from San Bernardino all the way to the ocean in Orange County.
Although not as strenuous, a 20 mile jag along that bike trail is still a good workout and a lot of fun.
Bottom line, I was enjoying myself. I wanted to get a better bike, but I knew next to nothing about what I should get, and I balked at the potential price tag. Like I said, I had no idea about this whole "other world" of biking, other than the occasional sightings of spandex-clad riders on the weekends as I was out and about.
My friend's father-in-law has been into the sport for a few years now, and I hit him up for advice a couple of times - what to look for, how much I thought I could get away with, etc - and I resolved to save for a decent bike.
I had looked around on the Internet and had an idea of what I wanted. Disc brakes were a must - that Huffy had NO stopping power on the steep hills. I also wanted as light a frame as I could afford, and as much suspension as I could afford (full suspension bikes cost significantly more than hardtails - bikes with front fork shocks but a rigid rear frame).
After Christmas, I'd saved a fair bit - had some help with gift money - and decided to go to the local bike shop after a run through the canyon. The guy there was very helpful and showed me their full line of mountain bikes. One in particular caught my eye, a full-suspension Haro that was marked down 50%, as it was a 2008 model, although still brand new. It was the last one there in my size - and also about $400 more than I had planned to spend...
Well, lookit that! They had layaway! They even knocked off the tax - a not so insignificant sum at that price - so I pulled the trigger.
Every ride after that, I got more and more resentful of the Huffy, faithful beast though she had been.
I couldn't stand it any more; and this weekend, crushed some cans, made some sacrifices and paid the new bike off.
Saturday found me astride my new steed, and let me tell you - it is a world of difference. Better gearing, WAY better stopping, easier to pedal, lighter and more comfortable (once I got the seat height correctly adjusted, that is). I'm still having to get used to the suspension - after riding a rigid for so long, it feels distinctly springy - but it's a lot easier on the body slamming down a rutted trail.
So, after four months or so of riding my old bike, I think I showed myself that I was enjoying this new activity enough to invest a little more into it. No regrets riding the Huffy - it kept me humble, as well as kicking my ass. I'm going to keep it, too - so I have a back-up in case the Haro needs to go into the shop.
Oh, and my new Haro? It's orange too :)
Friday, January 21, 2011
Lord forgive me, I loved every minute of it.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I talked to my wife about it, and how the gun blogs were reacting. She listened to my impassioned speech for a few minutes, and then calmly asked, "Bitching on the Internet is all well and good; but what are you going to DO about it?"
Contacting the PD directly - or local (MA) politicians is probably out. Regardless of how politely I voice my protest, they'll take one look at where my email is coming from, and pitch it in the circular file. I'm not a constituent, so my opinion will be worthless to them. I'm sure they'll be receiving plenty of mail on this anyway, and if I know the gun owner community, some of it will be distinctly unpleasant, which would likely have a negative effect.
Although his blog is down - which is why I haven't linked to him, as there is really nowhere to link to - I sincerely hope TJIC sets up a mechanism by which we can contribute to his legal fund. My money will do more good in this instance than my mouth in this case, I think.
That's why I love sharing this stuff with my wife. She understands my passion about this, and is in agreement with me, yet her questions and comments make me think, rather than just react.
UPDATE: After reading this post, it turns out that TJIC is not yet asking for donations, so I followed Top of the Chain's example and made a small purchase at Heavy Ink, a comic-book distribution business owned by TJIC, by way of support. Been a long time since I've read comic books, and the ones I did read were in the country of my childhood, so I don't know squat about the ones here in the US. I'll likely buy more, when I'm not so tired and have the time and energy to peruse his wares in more detail.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Since my range of choice has for all intents and purposes been effectively shut down, I have been going to one that's quite a bit further away and quite a bit more expensive to shoot at - two factors which have contrived to make this a much less frequently enjoyed pastime.
It's a little less, shall we say, polished than the one I was used to, too.
Anyhow, the last couple of times I've been there have been... interesting.
Back in November, I took my dad and the kids out there for a plinking session and a young guy sets up next to us with what looked to be some pretty old, dirty guns (later verified when he offered to let me shoot his Llama 1911 clone, which was the filthiest gun I'd ever seen). About half an hour into his shooting session, he turns to me with the remains of his crappy old TEC-9 in his hands, and a wide-eyed look on his face.
He'd been blasting away with this thing, shooting as fast as he could pull the trigger and reload, when it pretty much disintegrated in his hands. First time I'd ever seen a kaboom, and I have to say, I wasn't surprised given the type of handgun and the condition it was in. We all felt a little more comfortable when he finally packed up his gear and split.
The next trip I took out there was a little more unsettling.
I had gone with a friend who had wanted to test out a couple of ARs that he had just put together in a very legal, CA-compliant manner. It was a weekend morning, so the place was fairly full.
During one of the ceasefires, a US forest ranger (the range is on leased National Forest land) ambled by to inspect the firing line, paying particular attention to the black rifles that were present - looking for bullet buttons, etc, I imagine. He paused by one, then worked his way up the line, pausing again at our station. He then returned back to the first one, fiddled with it for a couple of minutes and asked loudly whose gun it was. The owner stepped forward and they began to talk - too far away for me to hear. After a few more minutes, the gun owner stepped back, raised his arms and the ranger frisked him. They talked a little while longer, in between the ranger talking on his radio, and then the ranger bagged up the rifle and escorted the guy to his truck. The whole firing line was held up for this entire time, and there was definitely a feeling of tension in the air.
It totally killed my friend's desire to have anything more to do with his ARs that day - we spent the rest of our time popping away with .22s - and it sure spooked me too.
I kept an eye on the goings-on around the ranger's truck, and after about half an hour, the guy was released along with his rifle. He promptly packed up without a word and boned out.
So he must have had a completely legal rifle.
Very chilling effect this whole scene had on the rest of us there, though. The whole lot of us stood there mute, while this whole thing went on. I got the very clear impression that this officer was not a fan of the black rifles.
Climate of fear indeed. I haven't been back since.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Specific calibers were not mentioned in the law and since many calibers have utility in both rifles and handguns, this understandably created a lot of confusion amongst ammunition purchaser and sellers, as well as those in law enforcement whose task it would be to enforce the ban.
This law is dead for the time being - pending appeal (which in a sane world, would NOT happen in a state teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but hey - this is California, after all) and ammo sales can continue legally.
While the rest of the country sees gains in their Second Amendment rights, we here in California are just pathetically grateful to be able to hold onto what rights we've got. Wins like this, however, even though they're essentially a holding action, still offer us beleaguered CA gunnies a huge morale boost. Even here, in the Golden State, the gun-grabbers can be stymied.
Many thanks to NRA, CRPA, Calguns and all the plaintiffs who made this important victory possible.