Better And Better

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Random thoughts in mid-December.

--It's finally bright and sunny today. The last of the ice has crept back into the darkest northern shadows, 10 days after our big ice storm. Someone brought up on the radio that this is the coldest stretch of weather for this past 20-something days for this area since 1899. Water still drips from the melting ice in the trough on my roof. I know you northern types giggle at my amazement, but I many times was not dressed inappropriately when I went out to play with my Christmas toys in a T shirt and jeans. Heavy ice lingering from early December is unusual for us in North Texas.

--Speaking of heavy ice, I have again been reminded that I was born and reared in the wrong period. I wish I had been born in, and had the means to take part in, the Heroic Age Of Antarctic Exploration. Just to think that such an era was named (and is Wikipedia official!) is something. Like the Golden Age Of Flight (Which apparently is NOT Wikipedia official.) (What are your favorite "Golden Age Of _____" eras?)

--I started thinking about the HAOAE when I came across these amazing color photos taken by Frank Hurley whilst aboard (and cast away from) the Endurance when it became icebound in on the Weddell Sea of the Antarctic coast in January of 1915. The ship wash crushed in October and sank the next month, and the crew weren't rescued until August, yet none of the party under the leadership of Sir Ernest Shackleford perished. I believe that I shall be purchasing the story right now. Why hasn't a movie been made of this?

--I spent 5 hours this morning early working on paperwork at the office, off-duty, trying to meet my goal of catching up completely by Christmas. 90 minutes of that was on the phone with Tech Support over a computer issue, finally deciding that I needed a new optical drive. When's the last time you had one of those crap out on you? Strange.

--I was just now trying to figure out why I felt tired and kind of sick. Then it hit me: Coffee. I hadn't had any all day. To the French press! I ground some Community Coffee beans (hey, when the sealed pack of whole bean is marked down for $1.99 a 12 oz pack, you'll buy five pounds, too.), and filled that chambourd right up. I'm feeling much better now.

--While getting my dopamine back in shape with caffeine, I thought of when I recently invited my dad to join me for a cuppa at a coffee shop run by a privately-run religious-based self-enrolled halfway house. The coffee there is excellent, and I shot this picture of my pot of French Press with my camera phone while I waited for Dad to join me. When he arrived, Dad took a puff of his vapor cigarette, and was told by one of the staff there that there were no drugs or addicting substance allowed. I had just ordered my second pot of French press for us to enjoy. They didn't seem to see the irony in this.

--I'm ordering on Amazon as fast as I can. I know that I've put stuff off a bit too long, now.

--Man, the caffeine is really kicking in. I'm typing faster than I was at the beginning of this post by a factor 1 : 1.5.

--Apparently, I'm going to take part in a CO chili cook-off next year. I seriously need to step up my game over what I brought this year. Sure, 25+ lbs (or was it 30lbs?) of chili all sold, but it wasn't the right texture, and frankly, it was a tad bland this year. I was experimenting with pork and a new kind of red chili paste (way better than powder, BTW). Foolish. Go with what you know. Dad contributed the pork for that, BTW, with that big sow he shot this April with his .45-70.

--Funny thing: when Dad and I were picking up some items at WalMart during our duck hunt this November, a lady saw Dad wearing that same British smock jacket, and asked about where she could get something like it for her husband, whom she was shopping for a gift for. We were in Weatherford, TX, which isn't too far out in the wilds or anything, but Dad and I laughed and responded that the only other one like that for 50 miles or more (most likely) was being worn by our friend Stephen, who had just flown it in with him from London for the purpose of hunting, and he wasn't selling it, as he needed it the next morning.  (You can also see Dad wearing it here, just before I sniped a passing Gadwall that was about to leave us for good after having passed by three times without landing, despite what a certain Ambulance Driver may say about premature shooting.:) )

--I give my friend A.D. a lot of hell, both here and to his face. But he's one of my dearest and trusted friends.




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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why...

Why haven't we figured these things out, yet?


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Revolvers.

I recently shot my qualification course for my PD recently with my little 637 Airweight. Afterward, I called my friend Joe Speer and thanked him for the good work that he had done on the trigger, and bobbing the hammer with serrations over the back of the bob. Frankly, for 50 rounds, I shot like I really knew what I was doing. I was a rock star, even though I was shooting the entire course with 158g +P loads out of a 15 oz revolver.

I could use some work on my reloads, though. If I'm only acceptable with reloads on the range, how well do I expect to be in an incident where the balloon goes up?

The single most realistic movie depiction of a revolver reload when the adrenaline is pumping is in The Silence Of The Lambs, in this scene here. Keep in mind that (temporary) Agent Starling has just gone through extensive training, and is at 27 years old probably in the best shape of her life, but she can barely get that M13 reloaded, for all the involuntary shaking.

Sure, we're seeing an actor portray it. But I've had fight-or-flight adrenaline flowing through my veins before, and my motor coordination was about like that, too. Reloading a magazine is a darned sight easier under that kind of stress.


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Sore.

Oh, the work-out yesterday was a good one, but that's not why I'm sore.
The training with the fire department yesterday was good, but that's not (directly) why I'm sore.
Well, maybe a little bit, it was.

See, we still had two and a half inches of ice on the approach at the fire station. Our captain used a novel method of hose training: make the BTU's work backwards. Instead of using the water to lower the temperature, we used the water to raise the temperature of the ice, and pushed great sheets of it off the pavement in the afternoon.

At sundown, the temperature dropped from 36 degrees to 28 degrees in under an hour. With almost no wind and a high humidity, the water on the pavement didn't evaporate. So we took a 2.5" layer of 6 day-old rough ice, and replaced it with a 1/8" layer of shiny ice. No big deal; it should evaporate by 10 AM today.

Which I forgot about before leaving the firehouse this morning at 7:00AM.

You know that something is wrong as you see the sun breaking over the horizon between the toes of your boots, while you're walking.

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