Posted: March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Much to the cat’s outrage, I spent last weekend at my first Appleseed event. Here are my thoughts:

I expected to learn basic marksmanship, and I was not disappointed — I went from scoring around 50 out of 250 on their standard test (and that, after a bit of instruction) to around 150. Before this class, I’d never shot at anything at 25 yards with any hope of hitting it, and hadn’t fired at anything further away than that at all. Now I feel like I at least understand the concept, even if I don’t execute it very well.

Additionally, I seem to have gained a greater amount of intimacy with the RAR. The class is fairly fast-paced and the tests themselves have time constraints, so I found myself handling my rifle with much greater authority than I usually do. I start from the perspective of being a fairly methodical person — possibly to a fault, in that I have to fight a tendency to think first and think second, and act maybe perhaps later. With firearms this tendency is somewhat exacerbated, at least when left to my own devices — I tend to be very slow in what I do. However, I’m more comfortable doing that on a controlled range where there are other people keeping an eye on the safety aspects, and I’m kind of forced out of my comfort zone in this matter by the pace of the course.

Do is how you live” — Grandmaster Larry Hampton

That bit, actually, is something that I see as a way I can grow as a person through studying this sort of marksmanship. Being confident in what I do, and maintaining sufficient precision while remaining in motion, is a weakness of mine in more than just firearms. So, as far as the goal of the course in showing people a thing that they didn’t think they could do — I feel as if I’ve got that as well.

On a slightly less esoteric level, I’ve had the notion knocking around in my head that I might get a M1 Garand. The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a delightfully archaic organization that sells military surplus rifles to civilians for the purpose of… well, civilian marksmanship. The Garand is the most recent rifle they sell — the ones after that are select fire, and many bloodsucking insects et cetera. It’s an interesting piece of history, but I had some doubts about how much use I could get out of it as a firearm mostly because of its weight (the magazine capacity, sadly, does not seem to be that much of an issue). I’d handled a M1A at a gun store some months back, this being somewhat similar in size, and found it unspeakably heavy — but I’ve done about eight months of weight training since then, so I thought there might be some difference. One of the people there had a M1 Garand, and I asked if I could handle it to see if the weight was manageable — they said that I could not only handle it, I could shoot it. I fired eight rounds…

… the paperwork was in the mail the next day. The CMP is apparently utterly backed up, partly because of people wanting to get in on the deal before they run out (estimated 2-3 years until this happens) and probably also partly because of the current crisis (which might, I think, have an impact on how long before they run out). So I expect to receive an acknowledgement of my order in something like three weeks, and maybe my rifle a month after that. It should be fun.

So, all in all I was quite impressed with the Appleseed program — I’ve actually signed up for another session later this month. I ended up having a number of experiences that I haven’t had before — firing the Garand, firing an AR-15 (I was intrigued, but a bit less instantly enamored — the thing makes a sound like an old Hide-A-Bed), shooting on a range controlled by range commands, actually making holes where I intend to make holes (more or less), et cetera. And I found a new restaurant, which is always a bonus.

Still not sure where I’m going to go with the shooting thing — tomorrow evening the pistol contingent is going to make its case, as I’m taking an introductory course over at Blucore — but at least I’m having a fun time bouncing around.



By a predatory creature with vicious teeth and claws who knows only hunger.

Isn’t he cute?

Image  —  Posted: February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Luck (Of Some Sort)

Posted: January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

My eventual plan for sometime after the RAR project, pending an evaluation of how I get along with rifles, is to acquire some manner of thing that can be used for both hunting and range amusement and to use it for those purposes. For a number of reasons, including the potential effect of the current political climate and also the infant nature of the RAR project at present, it’s not necessarily something I’m planning to act on anytime soon.

Except that yesterday I decided on a lark to take my pet critter (of the human variety; that distinction is soon to become important) to view the oddness that is Gander Mountain. Among other things (inclusive of plastic deer, plastic deer horns, deer on hats, deer on shirts with amusing slogans, deer on PINK shirts with amusing slogans, bags to put deer in, and things to bag deer with), Gander Mountain has a reasonably decent firearms department inclusive of a rack of used rifles that one may fondle.

As we passed the rifle fondling rack, I noticed an interesting thing about one of the bolt action rifles: its bolt was facing the other way from usual. Hmm. A left-handed bolt action rifle, you say? So I looked at the tag, thinking “Oh, it’ll just be some wacky brand that I probably don’t want.” It was a Ruger M77. Then I picked it up, thinking “Oh, it’ll probably be in some wacky and marginally useless for my purposes caliber.” It was 7mm Rem Mag.

Well, shit.

So I did the more or less sensible thing, particularly since my back was working on going out and I was therefore somewhat distracted, and put the shiny object back on the rack, resolving to consider further and go back the next day, thinking “Well, it’s not like someone’s going to pounce on a left-handed bolt action in just one day, right?”

You can guess how well that went.

The bonus, though, about this situation was that in a sense there was luck and opportunity in either option — if the rifle had been there, I would have had the opportunity to purchase something which was quite well suited to my anticipated needs. As those needs are a bit off-kilter in areas (the left-eye dominance, in particular, tending to be that last constraint that causes the solution-finding process to go SPROING from mutually exclusive criteria), I can’t necessarily count on reaching out my hand whenever I want and plucking out exactly the item I need — a certain amount of serendipity may well be required. However, being as it seems to have turned out the other way, i.e. the rifle is not there, I then have the opportunity to do more research, do more shooting, allocate my cash flow a little better, and be in a better position to capitalize on whatever the next opportunity that comes along is.

Which, I guess if you think about it, that is kind of true for life in general also.

Rabbit Assault Rifle

Posted: January 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Meet the RAR.

Read the rest of this entry »

Knowledge is Power

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

There’s been a fair bit of discussion of late about whether The Walking Dead is a sexist show. To which I say, more or less, “Duh!”

However, that’s not actually what I’m going to talk about here. Intentional or not, the show certainly reflects sexism, and in that regard serves as a useful example.

There is a particular scene near the end of the second season, in which Andrea’s gun is disassembled on the kitchen table of the RV and Shane (whose ” I AM ALPHA MAEL” instability is rapidly spiraling towards a conclusion) smugly debates whether he wants to teach her how to reassemble it or not — whether she should be permitted to have access to a functional gun which was originally hers, in a planet (and shortly, in a RV) full of brain-eating zombies.

Her gun. His decision. Why? Because she never learned a basic function of her own gun — not when she first acquired it, nor at any point thereafter. This despite, at this point in the series, having extensive and obvious reasons to learn. Had she known — and it’s very simple; the gun they showed on the screen was similar to my own, which breaks down into five parts and takes about four steps to reassemble which are fairly intuitive given a basic understanding of how it is supposed to work — she could simply have picked up the pieces and put the gun back together, thereby defusing Shane’s power play.

So this is, pretty much, your cautionary tale. Learn how the things that are around you work and how to work them. Learn how to figure things out even when you don’t know in advance. Do this, lest you find yourself sitting across the table from someone who does not have your best interests in mind but does have the knowledge and willingness that you lack.

Turkeypocalypse Now

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

For a number of years, one of my aunts and her family have had an established tradition of eating fried turkey at Thanksgiving — most years, turkey that they fried themselves. Of course, they applied every precaution to the process, but nonetheless this is a food product with something of an infamous reputation. So, last year, my aunt convinced my uncle to pursue what would seem to be an optimal solution to the problem — have the turkey fried by professionals who presumably knew what they were doing, thusly avoiding all the hassle and the chance of explosive turkey burning death.

At the appointed hour, my uncle went to the place of fried turkey to collect the turkey. As he got to the door, he was greeted by a firefighter — it seems that the fried turkey place had burned down, and more importantly that his turkey was therefore not available. 

(The newspaper article on the event quoted the firefighters as being amused that many people apparently were still asking for their turkeys, in the hope that theirs might perhaps have been salvaged from the ashes of the place that cooked it.)

Knowing that my aunt, cousins, and grandmother were sitting around the table, knives and forks at the ready, and that if he arrived without a turkey to direct those knives and forks at he might be the alternate target (if there’s one thing my family takes seriously, it’s food), my uncle rushed off to the local grocery store just in time to grab the only turkey-related item they still had — a packaged turkey breast. For a family that uniformly favors dark meat.

This year, my aunt and uncle had smoked turkey.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Posted: November 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

One of the things that I turn to, in times of crisis or just when planning about the future, is an unexpected gift I found in the sermon from my grandmother’s funeral.

The preacher didn’t particularly know my grandmother — she hadn’t gone out much, including to church, in some years — but from talking to us he managed to find a story that captured her pretty well. What he settled on was a story from the time of the Cold War, when it was fairly common for folks to anticipate Russian nuclear attacks and speculate about the death, destruction, and chaos that might result. During one particularly tense period, my mother and my aunt (who were pretty young at the time) asked my grandmother what she thought about the Bomb. What she said was this:

“Here’s the way I figure it. The Russians might nuke us, or they might not. If they do, then some people are going to die right away, and the people left over will have to go up in the hills and survive. Some of them will make it, and some of them won’t. I figure, I’ll be one of them that makes it.”

Knowing my grandmother, this was neither a statement backed by a massive stock of ammunition nor one backed by airy nothingness and naivete — nor, the preacher’s stock conclusion aside, was it an indication of Ethel’s deep and abiding faith in God, and now let us pray. Not, mind you, that she wasn’t a person of faith — but she was also inclined to let God get on with His own business while she quietly set to doing hers.

What she had a stock of was herself — which is the only thing any of us can ultimately stock up on, really — and the willingness and confidence to conclude that whatever came in life she’d find a way to deal with it, whether it was running from the Russians or hiding out from the CIA in an Alzheimer’s care facility.

Now, admittedly, I may possibly have to admit to buying the complete set of Foxfire books and a book on primitive carpentry shortly after getting an email at work containing a great many innovative euphemisms for “layoffs”, but I do generally consider these to be amusing diversions from the basic principle my grandmother taught me: You can’t necessarily know what you’ll run into in life, but you can know that you’ll deal with what you need to when you get there.

This is my blog.

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

There are many like it, but this one is mine.

This blog is about experimenting, and this blog is itself an experiment — to try new things, see how they work, and write about them. Expect, possibly, discussion of subjects like survivalism, minimalism, frugality, why most people who talk about these subjects are full of shit and I am awesome, how to kill things and eat them (as soon as I myself figure out to do this) and possibly (if you are very unlucky indeed) philosophical ramblings.

And, of course, zombies.