Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Various Friday prattle.

--I lost a thousand words on this post, when my daughter logged me off when I wasn't looking, and it didn't auto-save. Ah, well. I go on too much, anyway.

--Elvis died 36 years ago today. I never understood those who worshipped him. But then, I never much understood worshipping a human that they didn't personally know. But he was admittedly talented. This one's for you, Elvis.

--The ol' boy could put together an earworm, when properly edited.

--It just now occurred to me that I'm older than Edward James Olmos was when he played Lt. Martin Castillo here. And now I feel really old.

---And do you remember when weapon-mounted lasers were as big as this one? That's like putting a VHS camcorder on your carbine.

--I'm not really big into sports. Tam, who loves baseball, tells me that what most people call sports are actually games, and that the only true sports are big game hunting and racing. There was a time when Sports Illustrated would post real stories about such sporting. I wish I could have met Papa Hemingway. I only tend to think that during the summer, when I'm reading something alone, or having a drink on a Caribbean beach, like I was when my wife took this picture:
My wife and I were betting who could get a better picture of the full moon with our tiny-apertured Nikon CoolPics point-and-shoot digicam. Obviously the flash had to be turned off, and I was sitting on a padded bench, trying to stabilize the long exposure. My wife sensibly set the camera on a low partition wall, set the timer, and let the camera take this exposure. She won.
--You could do worse than to sit and drink coffee and listen to my elder daughter pick scales and strum chords on her bargain-priced 6-string guitar.

--Taser has put warning boxes in their literature warning of heart captures and other potentially fatal effects of use. Some administrators are pulling Tasers off the line, as a result, because they perceive that the Taser is a "deadly weapon". This is over-reaction. You know what's a deadly weapon? A baton to the head. A shot of pepper spray to an asthmatic. A beanbag round to the head. Sure some departments have over-used tasers, but that's a misuse of force issue, not an equipment issue.

--Although there are those who consider me something of a student on the subject, I will occasionally have questions on Texas Code Of Criminal Procedure that I need to answer right away and don't have time to look up. If an assistant district attorney isn't available, I tend to call my buddy LawDog, like I did last night. I always enjoy my chats with LawDog. I should call him way more often.

--I'm pretty sure that I've never seen a corner store product come from an internet meme, but if my younger daughter has anything to say on the subject, we will be the first people on our block to have bottle (or even a case!) of Grumpy Cat coffee drink in our house.

--Tell me this is a farce. I refuse to believe it until it is checked out. I'm a cop, and a volunteer fireman. When I'm on a fire rig, I leave my cop self at home. You're going to have to beat your kids or slap your grandmother, before I'm calling the cops over what I see. As for acting as police? Nope. Not while in my fireman's hat.

--Sunday morning, I take a girl out shooting. She just graduated with a degree in criminal justice, and is putting applications into local police. My graduation gift is a couple of sessions of firearms instruction. Her daddy's a cop with a local department and a friend, and he's gotten her a decent pistol and rig. I just want the shooting part to be the least of her worries, when she's in academy.

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Bullet points and Northwest Vacation recap.

--I had a friend ask me to fix his Beretta Tomcat. I tried. I finally gave up and took it to my local gunsmith, who tried to help me by swapping out some parts that he had on another one in the shop while I waited. The bitty little recoil spring plunger went flying. We found it, and he showed me how he put it in... only to have it go flying again. It took a couple of days for Brownell's to get him a new one. My gunsmith friend Joe Speer, upon hearing this, said, "Yeah, we order those by the dozen every week."

--I also dropped off another friend's 6" Ruger Mk I stainless heavy barrel, which he'd lost the safety ball spring detent. Yes, that one. I never got around to buying it, so I punished myself by paying to have it done.

--I picked them up today, and function tested them. The Ruger shoots about a inch right and an inch and a half low at 25 yards. Not a big deal; they're adjustable sights. The Tomcat shoots 5" low at 10 yards. The good news is, my friend can fix that very easily with a file.

--20 minutes at the range without shade today was enough. It's 104 degrees out there right now. Hell with that.

--Want to see a cool time sink? Check out this realtime depiction of the planes flying over your area. Zoom out. Zoom in. Click on an airplane and get its flightpath, rate of climb, speed, altitude, destination, all that. Pretty cool.

--I'm still very relaxed from my vacation.

--While at Powell's Bookstore in Portland, I again cringed at a trend among crime/cop novel covers to use fake handcuffs on their covers. More than two links in a pair of handcuffs, they're generally fake. You can get away with that in a distant shot, but the photographers insist on using what undoubtedly was a sex shop prop in tight closeups like this one:
Here, you can see that the links aren't even welded or soldered closed, and the ratchet teeth are just pressed out of sheet metal, in a photo that is about 6"X9"!   Shoddy. The photographer and the editor should be ashamed. A pair of Smith And Wesson Model 100s are about $30 at your local cop shop. 
--Some random things that I saw on my trip to the Northwest: 
This was carved into a pair of Ponderosa pine (or was it a lodge pole pine? I disremember.) behind a little convenience store on the east side of the Cascades while returning from Crater Lake: 


Yes, the water really IS that blue at Crater lake. It's amazing.
They actually have a sign up explaining why it would be so very blue.

While in Oregon, my friend Blake provided me with a wonderment of gastronomic delights, including locally-grown ripe boysenberries and strawberries and marionberries. My daughters didn't get why I didn't like they name of the last fruit. "But Dad! They don't taste like dirty politicians!" Damn right, they didn't. They tasted like fresh, delicious valley fruit from an Eden. 
--At the Oregon Country Fair: 
I didn't attend this session. I would have gotten myself thrown out. 
People walk around all day dressed up in costumes at that hippy extravaganza, which would have caused them to pass out of heat stroke on the same date in Texas. 

--Some shots from Seattle: 

$200 a night gets a view of downtown when you wake up, I guess. 

Seattle is a pedestrian-friendly place to move through, if you don't mind hills. 

Come to Seattle. See the old architecture against the modern. And huge adverts to go elsewhere. 

These guys had INCREDIBLE cheese, made in-shop. 

Pikes Place. I really enjoyed listening to this young lady, and then read the Post-In in her violin case. She's 14? Good heavens. I gave her a buck. Sure. 

Yeah, I've become that guy who takes photographs of fire engines in distant towns, now. Seattle's take on an engine. Not so different. 

After seeing this, I laughed out loud to see how lucrative this activity could be. (According to The Onion.)
 Check out what they put on their street hot dogs:


video
--While camping on the Olympic Peninsula, we hiked among a lot of old-growth forests. When I say "Old Growth," I'm talking about being surrounded by a triple canopy that goes over 200 feet above you, with trees over 500 years old around you. Lots of old cedar and Sitka spruce. I tried, and failed, to document what I saw with an old point-and shoot. 
Click to embiggen.
---We went to the wet coast of the Olympic Peninsula at low tide, and looked at tide pools. We were visited by a mature bald eagle: 

We wondered along the near-empty beaches through the fog of the early morning (when the tides were lowest that week): 








Evidence of boys. 



My elder daughter walked off. In a minute, with the sea and the fog, she couldn't hear me shout. You could get very alone, very quickly.

As here, when I was shooting pictures of the eagle, and turned around to find my family a quarter mile off. Those trees on the cliff's edge are all about 200 feet tall.
I love this country. I want to see the rest of the world, but this nation is made up of amazing sights. 

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