Jun 29, 2011

Lodging confirmation

I'll be at the Super 8 in Brattleboro for the blogshoot, arriving Saturday and leaving Monday. There are several hotels in the area, but $150 for two nights was the best I was finding. I was quite comfortable there last year; there's a Friendly's right down the road, as well as a Dunkin and McDonald's.

Stolen Gun Alert

From AR15.com, original thread here.

My AR as stolen out of the back of my truck tonight in a browning hard case (pelican style). SN D0007438. upper is a fulton armory with a 20 icnh bull barrel, 4 rail free float barrel, rail covers, ARMS Swam sleeve with flip up rear sight, 4 rail gas block, bipod adapter, harris s-bmr 6-9" bipod, Nikon monarch 4-16 mil dot scope, leupold quick release rings............lower is a double star lower with a jard 4 way adjustable trigger, DPMS panther palm grip, EZ pull take down pins, ARFX skeleton stock, magpul MOE trigger guard....... stolen from four point rod and gun club in Rochester/ Chili, NY. Perp seemed to have sombody drop him off at the end of our driveway and walk down the edge/ in the woods that borders the gun club. If anybody has any info on this please call the sheriffs or call me at [redacted - Ed.] or email me at shauns88[at]hotmail[dot]com. Thanks:-(

Lest someone think this was an "unattended gun" - this was taken from the truck, in view of a security camera, while people were 15-20 yards away, at a membership-required range.

Keep an eye on your hardware, kids.

Jun 26, 2011

Blogshoot... yes!

Time off from both jobs has been approved, so I am IN for the Northeast Blogshoot.

I will plan on driving up Saturday to arrive at a reasonable hour, probably stay in Brattleboro again (a reasonable and picturesque drive from the SooperSekritRange, and the closest lodging in friendly territory), and drive home Monday morning.

If anyone would like to share a room (I stayed at the Super8 last year with no complaints), ping me, although that is subject to change depending on MrsZ's attendance - but a final determination will be made well in advance.

Since there are usually more guns than any of us have time to truly enjoy, I'll be paring down the kit even further from the past two years - probably one or two long guns and two or three handguns. If there are any particular requests, please let me know and I'll do what I can.

Jun 23, 2011

Sweet Ruger!

Uncle posted this up earlier, so you've already all seen it.

So be it.

I have a more-than-minor case of The Wants for the Ruger 77/357.

No indication on whether it will chamber .38s; even if it doesn't a handloader could go places with this. My mouse-fart .38s would be awesome plinking rounds, and as a woods gun this could comfortably handle most anything likely to be seen east of the Mississippi. (Yes, including black bears.)

Their factory sights, unfortunately, suck. That is begging for a fiberoptic bead with a ghost ring, or a super-light holo dot.

Unfortunately, I've blown my gun fund on something else that should be along in a few weeks, so this one will have to wait.

Jun 20, 2011

Book Recommendation

If you're not a hunter, you probably won't appreciate this one quite as much.

I picked up a copy of "A Hunter's Fireside Book: Tales of Dogs, Ducks, Birds, & Guns" from our local Borders when they closed. It's a collection of the columns Gene Hill wrote for "Guns & Ammo" magazine over the years, and some of them are real treasures. They're all short - a page or two, perhaps a few stretch to three. Perfect for a quick read before bed at the end of a long day, or a short trip to the smallest room.

Some are funny, some are contemplative, some are a bit dusty... all are worth reading.

I haven't made it through them all (yet), but there are a few lines that have caught my attention:

"If in a single day we smell coffee, dawn, gun oil, powder, a wet dog, woodsmoke, bourbon, and the promise of a West wind for a fair tomorrow - and it's possible for us to reek 'happy' - that's just what we will do." (Smell Happy, p.15-16)

"The empty voids in space are not one whit more vast than the little corner by the stove where the puppy slept - when the puppy's sleeping somewhere else forever." (Trouble, p. 56)

Well worth your $16.

Jun 19, 2011

Step back!

I'm amused to see that Tam now has a smart phone.

Odd how these things work. Last spring I got a Palm Pre Plus smart-phone so I could have something approaching reasonable-speed internet at home. It sort-of worked for that, but the phone was a miserable piece of shit and didn't do ANYTHING quite right. Conceptually, it should have been great, but functionally it was a disaster. Mostly minor nitpicks, at least after the last software upgrade. (Prior to that I could count on having to wipe and re-install the apps at least once a month.) This was compounded by miserable battery life. When the phone was brand new, I could get through most of a day - a "day" meaning "leaving the house until I get home 14 hours later" and "get through" as "send a dozen or two text messages, read a couple emails, and maybe check the weather".

Fast-forward to present. Battery life is down to *six hours*. Less than a full workday, and that's without heavy usage. Since I now have the Galaxy Tab for on-the-go internet, I decided I'd much prefer a phone that works as a phone and can send text messages. I went and talked to the drones at Verizon, who were less than helpful and told me that if I really wanted a "feature phone" (with the implied question of "why would anyone want that?") I should just pick one from their web site, since they only stocked a few in the store.

So I did just that. I played with my brother-in-law's Casio Brigade during our road trip last week and liked it. Easy to type on (full QWERTY), but still simply a phone. A ruggedized, dust-, shock-, water-proof phone. I got home and ordered one. $63 later ($50 for the phone and $13 for overnight shipping) I had a new Brigade in hand.

Then I discovered yet another failure in the Palm setup. There is no good way to export contacts. Yes, you can do the Palm equivalent of rooting the phone and export a .CSV, but then what? Verizon's own "Backup Assistant" software doesn't run on the Palm. Lovely. So I hand-copied all of my contacts out, and then entered them one-by-one into the Brigade after I activated it.

My initial impressions of the Brigade are pretty favorable. It's "chunky" - but that's good. I feel like I have something I can hang on to, instead of trying to keep a grip on a tiny (and slick-surfaced) smart phone. The surfaces are rubberized, which simply adds to the secure feeling. The displays (small external, large internal) are nothing to write home about but are perfectly functional. Battery life seems to be ok so far - I charged it up Friday night, took it off the charger Saturday morning, and I'll see how long it goes... Right now it's still showing a full charge.

Ignoring the internet-at-home I got via the Palm (which I can do on the tablet as well), I honestly was more aggravated by the extra connection. I don't NEED to be that reachable. I found myself glancing at the phone all the time, lest I somehow miss an urgent offer to enlarge my penis without surgery.

I'm not a doctor or stock trader. I can read email a few times a day and be content with that. There is far too much going on in the world right in front of me to get wrapped up in 24/7 access... not to mention that I like having a phone that can actually be used as a phone.

Jun 14, 2011

Welcome home...

It was a very long trip. But even more than the potholes, nothing says, "Welcome home" quite like putting the carry gun back where it belongs - on my hip.

Jun 13, 2011

Cabela's again

It's like a drug - I can't stay away from a Cabela's. Being able to peruse the used-gun racks at will is wonderful. The one in E. Grand Forks, MN had a nice Marlin stainless guide gun on the rack for $550 - moderately tempting. Also a beat-to-death 200,000-series Ithaca 37 for $240 - a bit overpriced for condition, IMHO.

I ended up leaving with a couple jars of seasoning rubs (Maple Jalapeno and Mountain Man Bourbon), a new hat to supplement the very faded and sweat-stained one that lives in my truck, and a BLACKHAWK! Serpa CQC for the M&P9.

Nothing terribly exciting, but my wallet wasn't going to support excitement on this trip.

Jun 12, 2011

Modern technology, William.

72mph, a magic box on the dash telling my father-in-law where to go, while I relax in the back seat and read blogs, chat on IRC, and listen to on-demand music on another magic box. It's the damn future, man.

Jun 9, 2011

Hoofed rats

Long-ass road trip interrupted by a hoofed rat with suicidal inclinations at 0430. Color me unimpressed.

Jun 3, 2011

Barn, fascia, soffits

When I last posted (with pictures), I'd just finished about half the sheathing. Since then, the vast majority of the remaining sheathing went up, as well as the roof deck and part of the fascia.

Yesterday's weather forecast was beautiful and we had sufficient coverage at Day Job for me to take a day off without forcing overtime, so I did. I started a little later than planned - around 9 - but got in a bit over seven hours of solid work before I had to clean up for work at BBHIS.

Since I'd hung the barge rafters a few days prior, I needed to cut and install the lookouts.

Here's the barge rafters (2x4s). They aren't purely cosmetic, as they add rigidity to the edge of the roof deck and hold up the fascia, but they aren't designed to be load-bearing members.


Lookouts are chunks of 2x4, cut to length, spaced 24" on center, and nailed in from both ends. Just a bit of extra rigidity. In this picture you can see the fascia has been installed over the barge rafter as well.


After the barge rafters were installed (and before the fascia went on), I installed my soffit vent. There are LOTS of options for this - perforated vinyl, small circular vents, and so forth - but given that this will be occupied by livestock, more ventilation is more better. A roll of 8" wide screen was stapled to the bottoms of the rafters and the back of the fascia. Soffit boards will be installed starting at the back edge of the screen, providing something like six square feet of free vent space on each side of the building.


I got a little ahead of myself here - I installed this piece of drip edge early. As such, it was a hair short on both ends because I didn't account for the fascia on the gables. The other three sides were installed properly, though.


Since I was on a roll, I started the dividing wall for the chickens. It went together quickly and relatively pain-free, although installing it meant using my Big Hammer to convince it. The door was cut in without trouble and hinges and a latch were installed. The sloping wall remains to be done but shouldn't be a big deal.


As I started to run out of time, I decided to get the window openings cut in the short wall. These are 1'x3' sheets of Lexan, which will just be set in the wall openings with a simple frame. Light only, no ventilation. The blank wall on the left in this picture will have two 18x24 plexiglass windows cut in as well; no shortage of light here!


I'm hoping to get the roof done tonight after work - since the drip edge is on, all I need to do is staple down roof felt, cut a vent at the ridge, and zip on the shingles. It's a two-square up'n'over job and I should be able to knock it out real quick. I'll be calling the rental place shortly to see if they have a nailer available for today...

Jun 1, 2011


Ice cream machine is on the fritz; I've been working beaucoup hours and spending as much time as possible working on the barn. Roof deck is done, most of the wall sheathing is up, front and rear fascia are on. End fascia and lookouts need to be put up, then drip edge, soffits, roof felt, shingles, paint again, windows, door, trim.

Given the heat yesterday (90F, with humidity in the same vicinity) I didn't get a lot done. I tried. Even after the sun went down (we live in the shadow of a hill - we're in shade about 90-120 minutes prior to actual sunset) it was still too hot to work. I made the plumb cuts on the fascia and cut a 2x4 into small pieces for lookouts, then decided I was both tired enough and sweaty enough to be a danger to my own fingers.

Tomorrow's forecast is much better - upper 60s and sunny - and I've taken the day off from Day Job in order to see how much I can get done. Here's hoping.