Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Great Honor

One of the best parts of being a nurse is some of the people you get to meet and care for. I count it a particular honor to care for veterans, as I have the utmost respect for all- young and old.

A few days ago I recovered a gentleman who was a WWII vet and survivor of D-Day. I thanked him for his service and shook his hand.

"That must have been terrible", I said. He just shook his head and looked down. What could he say?

I'm always in awe when I'm around such a person. He's just a regular guy- no different from anyone else. Yet 60-something years ago he was a young man with a rifle, running like hell on a beach of death, hoping just to make it out alive.

How often I forget that for every minute I stand in this country, a hero has fallen in my place. Someone has paid the price for me, for America, for her freedom, and for her ideals.

If you are reading this and you have served our country past or present, I thank you.

Another Great Read

Recommendation for another book: Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

If you don't know the story, Marcus Luttrell is the surviving member of a Navy Seal fire team that was operating in Afghanistan in 2005. When his team came under attack, they engaged in a long firefight that claimed the lives of 3 Navy Seals, as well as over a dozen other special forces soldiers that attmpted a rescue. As of this writing, that day became the largest single loss of life in US special forces history.

Marcus recounts his Navy Seal training, events leading up to the fatal mission, and describes in detail the firefight that ensued. He covers the week he spends in Afghanistan waiting for rescue, and his life afterwards.

I read this book in 2 days. It is heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. Its a must read.

Homeowner Lessons

As a newer homeowner, here's some lessons I've learned:

1. Home inspectors don't catch everything.

2. Turn off the water before disassembling a faucet.

3. Measure your PVC pipe before tackling that new garbage disposal install.

4. If you fail to measure that pipe, you won't want to brave a blizzard because its 1/2" short.

5. I hate plumbing.

6. Snowblowing in the wind: An exercise in futility.

7. If your wife won't let you buy a toilet plunger because "we can get one when we need one", try to convince her that's not good reasoning. Its embarassing for the house guest who creates the "need".

8. If swearing is not your vice, and you wish to keep it that way, avoid plumbing, dryer vents, and all other projects requiring tools.

9. Replacing outlets is easy, anyone can do that.

10. Replacing ceiling fans seems to be more difficult for me.

11. A Dremel is quite useful.

14. Don't cheap out on an electric drill.

15. Forget flowers, dinner, and cards. Actually finishing a long promised project around the house scores just as many points with the wife.

16. Its easier- and maybe even cheaper- to replace an entire doorframe and door rather than one piece, should a dog choose to eat half of said frame.

17. Pop in the garage in the winter = a mess on your clean new door and frame.

18. Store unused potatoes in your small basement laundry room with high humidity. Then watch em' grow and take over a small, forgotten corner.

19. Measure twice, cut once.....I'll still screw up.

20. Measure three times, cut once, tweak the cut a little.....still wrong.

21. Measure four times, cut once, return to hardware store for more wood, call father and father-in-law for advice, measure 6 times, walk away, eat some toast, return, measure twice more, cut once ever so delicately......ahhhh there we have it!

22. Your wife has the best opinion on decorating.

23. I hate plumbing.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

AR 15

Well heck, its been....May of 2009 since I posted. I'm sure this blog has been declared dead.

But ah, resurrection!!

I recently bought an AR-15. Olympic Arms UM-1P. 20" bull barrel, JP muzzle brake, JP gas block, 6 position adjustable stock, Wilson trigger, free float handgaurds, winter trigger guard, adjustable cheek weld. Its a super gun.

However, it is not for me. I want a lightweight carbine. This gun is a bit heavy, meant for a bipod and nailing prairie dogs from 300 yards away. As such, I am selling the rifle, to get something I'll shoot. Closet queens have no place in my home. This is a good gun for target shooting and hunting, but not the kind that I do.

If anyone is interested, its on Buy it now is $1500. Reserve is lower.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Broken Glocks and Revolutionary Repair Techniques

So, in my usual pattern, I haven't blogged for over a month. I have two problems: A. I really want to have a popular, well read blog and B. I'm too lazy to consistently write a blog.

Those two things work in opposition.

Also, I cannot find the charger to my camera batteries, so I can't take new pictures. But moving on.......

The Mighty, Untouchable, Unyielding, Perfected, Flawless Glocks failed me. And they failed me hardcore. On a day of shooting with an old college friend, My Glock 17's slide began to fail to lock back after the last round was shot. Thinking it was a magazine problem, I began cycling through my various magazines to find that every single one had the same problem.

In the meantime, my friend was trying out my Glock 23 and had several stovepipes. Now, I'm not one of these "Glocks are perfect, they never fail ever!" kind of guys. I know that every gun is susceptible to failures. They will likely all malfunction or break at some point. Glocks are no different, and while I own and shoot them, I think there are superior firearms. These just happen to be paid for.

But I'm telling ya, mine just never have failed. I know they can, they just haven't. But suddenly, I have 4 stovepipes in about 15 minutes on my G23 and my G17 is being fussy too.

After find that every mag on my G17 had the same failure, I decided it was not a magazine problem. I gave up, and began to shoot my G23, which then also experienced the same failure- the slide does not lock back after the last shot.

In frustration I stepped back to gather my thoughts. What could be wrong here?

1. All the mags I'm shooting are quite new, so I don't think I'm having a catastrophic coincidental failure of 10 magazines.

2. Double checked my grip- not limp wristing, hiting the slide release, etc.

3. Inspect guns- appear to all be in good working condition- no obvious broken parts as it pertains to the mag/slide lock.

4. I was shooting a new kind of ammo. Winchester Win-Clean Brass Encased Bass. Okay.....this could be something. I switched back to the ammo I've always used- same problem. Doh.

5. To my knowledge God is not angry with me and playing a joke on me.

So I give up, pack up, and go home a bit puzzled.

Then, it dawns on me.

An idea so crazy, so revolutionary, so fresh that it just could be the solution.

The light bulb lit up over my head as I thought, "You know, I haven't cleaned those guns in a long time......I've shot hundreds of rounds since the last cleaning".

At about 10pm I set about at my garage workbench and cleaned up my guns.......

.....The next morning I ran by the range before work.........

Hallelujah its a miracle- they work just fine. Amazing what a little cleaning will do. So for all the "Glocks never fail, never rust, don't need cleaning, can survive nuclear fallouts and then make a super baby with a penguin and start a new planet in another galaxy" people out there- bad news. Glocks are mortal.

And, prefer to be clean as it turns outs.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Found: Ammo

As the ammo shortage continues, I keep checking the stores. Specifically, I've been watching for self defense ammo to return. I have been threatening to switch to a different type, as it seems Hydrashocks aren't appearing for awhile.

Stopping in a large local sporting goods store yesterday, I saw that 5 boxes of 40 S&W Winchester SXT in 165 gr. had appeared. At $19.99/box, I bought them all. Since I carry my Glock 23 so often for defense, these will work fine. (I'm down to a box and a half of Hydrashocks.) I will run one box through my gun to ensure they work, and use the rest for carry. That will last me awhile longer.

I don't hear about many people carrying this round, but for $20/box in today's market, I'm willing to go with it. Besides, I have confidence in just about any modern self defense load as long as I know it runs through the gun. Something is better than nothing, and I'd rather carry a fresh magazine of a round no one is particularly excited about than a magazine full of really old, tarnished, dinged up rounds of a more popular variety.

While no Hydrashock is around in 40, 6 boxes of 147gr. Hydrashock 9mm appeared, so I took all those off my shelf for my Glock 17.

I also picked up 300 rounds of Winchester White Box in 9mm, as well as the last 6 boxes of American Eagle 40 ammo- 3 boxes of 180 grain, 3 boxes of 155 grain.

Looking at the receipt from the last time I bought ammo, I see that the Winchester White Box has risen $3/box in less than 2 months. Wow.

I also saw that another large sporting goods store, the one I frequent most for ammo, is going out of business. I was quite saddened and was instantly reminded of our country's current situation. Of course, the shelves were completely bare of ammunition. They do have some holsters I have my eye on, but they are only 10% off right now, I'll have to wait and see if they're around when they drop the close-out prices even more.

For now, I was glad to find 220 rounds of self defense ammo, and another 600 rounds of target ammo. Though, my wallet really ached when I put it back in my pocket.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Logic of Instruction

Stuff like this kills me. I bought a Shopvac for my little dryer vent problem at my new house.

I get the shopvac out, pop the wheels on, and I notice that the box says I need to install the wheels per the included instructions.

But there are no instructions......

Oh, the manual must be in the actual vacuum tank. I take off the top lid of the Shopvac to find instructions and 4 screws. Here's the instruction manual:

Okay, so step one is instructions on how to open the vacuum tank. Problem being: the instructions that contain step one are inside the tank that they are assuming you don't know how to open!

I love this stuff!

Congrads! You're a Homeowner! PS- your dryer is broken.

Not sure what I paid my home inspector for right now. A couple days into being excited about my first home (which is fairly move-in ready), I noticed that the exhaust vent had become disconnected from where it fed out of the house. No big deal. This looks like a job for H.I.T.

While looking it over, I noticed it looked wet next to my dryer. I couldn't really see, as it was dark, so I grabbed a flashlight. That's when I found that the tubing leading from the dryer exhaust had been torn, and the dyer had been spewing hot, wet dyer lint all over behind the washer, dyer, and into the storage area below our steps.

How long it has been doing this, I do not know. I pull out the dyer, begin to look at things, and realize that though the vent is torn, all the tubing is still completely clogged with lint as well. Not to mention the dang this is set up with several sharp turns = fire hazard.

Just found a great excuse to buy a Shopvac.

What slays me is that just before closing, we asked the sellers to install a radon mitigation system. The system was put in just adjacent to the dryer. So either the home inspector missed the problem, or whoever installed the mitigation system didn't bother to bring it up, or both. Nice.

As I went about rectifying the situation, I vacuumed out the tubing and piping that vents the dryer. A couple pipes were hard to get at to see, so I took pictures to check the progress. In that process, I found my inner endoscopy nurse. These look a little bit like images from the Tin Man's last colonoscopy.

Everything looks fine Mr. Tin Man. Just a few small polyps. That's normal for your age. Some new aluminum foil flexible tubing, some aluminum tape, a few clamps, and good vacuuming, and you're on your way.......

Now That's Handy......

Hmmmmm......wonder if I can get one of those installed.........

Where Have Thy Been?

Once again, its been awhile between blogs. Where have I been?

I bought a house.

'Nuff said.

Range Report: Mossberg 835

Finally got my Mossberg 835 out to shoot for the first time. We had to head down to Iowa for our first bridal shower (first of 4). Fortunately, I was expected only to make an appearance and say hi, then my fiance's uncle, cousin, brother, and I went clay pigeon shooting.

The Mossberg functioned flawlessly. I had never shot trap before, but caught on quickly. I missed the first clay, then hit most after that. I did discover that the gun has a plug in it, and I was limited to 3 shells at a time.

Of course, to ruin the day, one of our party had his brand new Fausti 20 gauge over-under that he had just won. $1400 gun he just won....I never win stuff like that. Now that was a fun gun to shoot.

Anyway, my Mossberg worked, which I was happy about. Like many Mossbergs the pump was a bit "loose"- can anyone out there help me out with some suggestions?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Range Day and a New Shooter

A buddy of mine has been thinking about getting a handgun. I offered to take him with me for some time at the range just to get the feel of shooting a bit. He agreed, and we set it up to shoot today.

We started at my place, where we reviewed the 4 laws of gun safety. We then ran through the basic functions of the pistol and how it works. After that we progressed into some basic marksmanship. He was worried about looking foolish on the range. I said to him "As long as you're safe, you won't look like an idiot. You can shoot terrible, but if you are safe people will respect you." I sincerely hope that is the attitude that all shooters carry.

My friend shot reasonably well for his first time. Ideally, we should have started with a .22 pistol, but I just had him start with a 9mm (Glock 17). He struggled with anticipating shots, flinching, etc. I had him shoot a magazine with dummy rounds to help him see what he was doing.
He did fire a couple magazines of 40 S&W through my Glock 23 as well. I will have to say, I quite enjoyed helping my friend begin to learn to shoot, and to handle a weapon safely. Its something I would like to do more of. While not an expert at anything, I love teaching and helping people learn something I might be slightly more proficient at....whether it be guitar, singing, medicine, shooting, or bowling ( high bowling score is 108. Cancel bowling). When doing any "teaching" on shooting, I believe its of the utmost importance to stress saftey and responsibility.

I even loaded up some dummy rounds, which I haven't done in awhile, and was surprised to find there was still a bit of a flinch in my pulls. I was concentrating mostly on slow fire today, as it seems my accuracy has suffered as of late. I believe I am struggling with over travel, as many of my shots are driven left, despite my best efforts to not "milk" the grip.

At close distances, I was no problem. In fact, my buddy looked at me in amazement when I could so effortlessly put rounds through the X at 10 feet. If only I could continue that with rapid fire at twice the distance.....

At 25 feet rounds were placing fairly well with slow fire. I was satisfied with this.

At 50 feet, my groupings are trending up and left, the the target's X is quite safe from the lead I sling at it. While not overly concerned about nail-driving at 50 feet from a self-defense standpoint, the USPSA meets I shoot in have a few more longer shots, and I find that in a hurry my shots do not group at all. Hence, my trigger pull continues to need work.

All in all, a great day at the range, 200 rounds fired, several pieces of paper laid to rest, a fresh shooter with new skills in his hands, and everyone home safe. Satisfying and delightful.

I only wish I could say that for the movie we rented: Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicholas Cage. Do yourself a favor. Don't rent it.

But Not Here.....

Often enough, when people talk to me about carrying a gun, many of them think its acceptable, but don't see any reason why they or I should carry.

Living in South Dakota, surrounded by generally good midwest people, having a gun around for self-defense seems unnecessary to most.

Its true, if you avoid dark alleys and certain parts of town at night, you're generally safe.

But things are changing. This week, in my town a man walked into a Fryn' Pan restaurant armed and began an 8 hour standoff with the SWAT team. News story here. Fortunately, he ordered everyone out of the restaurant, and no one was injured.

However, my fiance, my parents, and I have been to that restaurant a couple times in the last year, and we easily could have been in that situation, and what if he had been more careless with others' lives?

In addition, there's been a couple shootings where someone has died this year in my town, and I know several people whose homes have been burglarized.

Me? I feel safe most of the time. If I could know for certain when, where, and how I'd be in danger, I'd just never go there. Since that is an impossibility, I exercise my right to legally and responsibly carry a gun. I have a permit, I've received instruction, I train often, and I am religious about safety.

As for the Fryn' Pan......lets hope they still keep making those really good sweet rolls......

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time to Change

Dropped by the range for about 15 minutes today to shoot off my carry ammo and rotate in fresh stuff. 26 rounds of 40 S&W and 10 rounds of 38spl.

With my G23 I was combat accurate. I didn't pound a hole through the X, but firing double and triple taps from high ready put shots where they needed to be.

I shot so horribly with my J-frame, I could hardly believe it. I am too embarrassed to put a picture of the target up. I sat at the range and dry fired over and over. I make no excuses, its trigger pull. While all the shots hit a man size target, several were abdomen and arms. I barely considered myself combat accurate. I left the gun at the store to have a lighter return spring in, hopefully to help my trigger pull.

Being somewhat new to shooting for self defense (vs. leaning back and haphazardly target shooting), I need to continue to shoot and develop my skills. Switching back and forth from the Glock to the J-frame is an odd adjustment, but must be done.

Still, no excuses, the gap is in the shooter, not the equipment.....

Ammo Shortage Update

Made the rounds (no pun intended) around the stores today searching for ammo. Specifically, I've been looking for Federal Hydrashocks in 40 S&W, which has been my carry ammo.


One sporting good store happily has had plentiful target ammo in several brands for most common calibers, so that has not worried me (though price has gone up).

Hydrashocks for .38spl are usually still around here and there, which is fortunate as I often carry a J-frame revolver. When I found 6 boxes of 40 S&W in Fargo, I should have bought them all. I only bought two.....

I'm considering changing what I carry in my Glock, simply due to the fact that a local gun store always seems to have plenty of self-defense ammo available in everything but Hydrashocks.