Sunday, November 8, 2015

Oooh, shiny... Wait...

Bass Pro Shop just opened a store near me.  I was shocked when I heard that they were building one here in the Bay Area.  I just didn't think that there were enough people into the outdoor sports that included fishing and hunting in this area to support it.  Also, not the most gun friendly area.  Still, a real sporting goods superstore right here in my area.  Sweet!

I went in during the opening week celebrations hoping to see some good deals.  Sales on items that I have not bought at other retailers due to price or availability.  Hope ran high.  Parking on a Thursday in the early afternoon was still scarce.  The place was packed.  The restaurant and bowling alley both took me by surprise.  The store was as I expected, extravagant upscale redneck.  I looked at the archery equipment, since my daughter has shown an interest, but I did no research beforehand, so I don't know if anything was a good deal.  However, they had a lot of choice.

So now we go on to the firearms department.  Prepare to be amazed!  They have a firearms counter that is measured in the tens of yards.  Sweet!  Brands are clearly displayed and there were plenty of people behind the counter.  They even set up extra tables and computers to help with the expected overflow of paperwork.  Excellent.

However, I notice that there are very few sale labels.  While I was tempted by the Savage Axis for $299, it wasn't what I was looking for.  So I went over to look at gun safes.  Surely they would have a wide selection.  Mmm, not so much.  They had one safe that would do for holding both pistols and ammunition.  They only had a few rifle safes that did not require a forklift, but a higher prices than Big 5.  Then I went over to the recoil pad section and beheld the disappointment.  Not a lot of selection, only two manufacturers and all way overpriced.

So after all that, I ended up going back to the happy little gun shop that I like (Sportsman Supply) and gave them my business.  They may have lost my last shotgun purchase, but once again I received excellent assistance and advice from the salesperson.  I'll be back.  I'll treat Bass Pro Shop like I treat Fry's for my electronics:  They will have something that will fulfill a need, not necessarily what you wanted, not necessarily at the price you wanted, but they will have something in a pinch.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

F#$king California...

I went to the store today to purchase a new shotgun.  I have determined that I hate shooting skeet and trap with a pump.  A local store had a entry level over/under model on sale for very good price.  I normally use a different store to purchase my guns (4 out of my last five, and the fifth was transferred to a new owner there) but both price and a poor sales person inspired me to take my money elsewhere for this purchase.

When I arrived, I found that the only person certified to complete the sale was at lunch.  As I was going to get lunch after, I reversed my plan and had lunch first.  When I returned I found the gentleman there and ready to help me.

I expected paperwork.  California has decided that this is the first step in gun control.  However, I forgot that a new law came into being this year.  Last year I only needed a safety certificate to buy a pistol.  Now you need one for all firearm purchases.  I had my handgun safety certificate in my wallet, so when he told me of the change I thought I was set.  Nope.  I needed the new spiffy one.  Okaayyy...

The salesman completely understood my annoyance.  He thought it was stupid as well.  So now I have to pay an additional $25 to take this test.  Fine.  Then I get the test and find it is just as worthless as the pistol test I re-certified on last year.  I found that several of the questions were (in my opinion) trick questions.  I basically went with what I thought the Brady Campaign would want as the answer and ended up with a perfect score.  However, taking the test and having everything entered into the computer added a half hour to my experience.

Then we got to the rest of the paperwork, made more difficult behind the scenes by local ordinances, and spent another 45 minutes.  After all of that, I still get to wait 10 days to pick up the gun.  And I get to fill out more paperwork when I pick it up.  Did I mention that I can't wait to move out of California?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Strappin a gat or just shooting clays?

I have been reading a study on the correlation between "Youth Gun Carrying" and state gun laws.  While reading the initial article, I saw an immediate red flag, that of the Brady Campaign.  However, the study only uses their state gun law rating system as a baseline for gun laws, so that's minimal damage.  

The study arrives at the conclusion that the states with more gun control laws have a lower incidence of youths carrying guns.  But, after reading through the article, the study and all of the associated materials, I found one thing lacking.  There is no actual definition of "Youth Gun Carrying" in the study.  No definition between children taking a trip to the range with their parents for target practice and gang members "strappin a gat" in case of violence during their daily illegal business.  The only reference to that particular piece of information in the note that the data is based on voluntary response to surveys, so the initial data is to me suspect.  

I spent a considerable amount of time going through all of the links associated with the article and the links associated with those additional articles.  Still have not found any of the actual details on what "Youth Gun Carrying" actually means.  So I went to the source, the CDC to see what was asked regarding this subject.  I went to the study in question, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).  

Guess what?  The CDC is kinda vague on that item too.  

The actual question on the survey is "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a gun?".  This is a specific statistic that can be represented many different ways.  No clarification is asked for beyond that question.  In my farming community high school (where duck, pheasant, pig and deer hunting were all popular) an honest answer from all would be just as damning as honest answers from a gang ridden high school in an urban area. There is no context, no difference between safe lawful use and unlawful use.  The basic piece of information needed to get this study rolling is already in question.

So, after reading this study, all of the associated articles and information and researching what wasn't linked, I have come to the same conclusion that I have seen far too often.  The study's conclusion was reached far before the evidence was collected.  Everything else is just window dressing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Common Sense... Not so common.

Hillary Clinton has finally admitted in clear speech that her use of a personal email server to conduct business as Secretary of State was a mistake.  Now, technically, it was apparently allowed according to whatever rules she was following.  Even investigators admitted that she is correct on this issue.

However, the colossal stupidity of this course of action should have been evident to anyone with even a small amount of experience in public office.  The clear choice of proper and improper should have stood out.  If this is the type of decision making that is evident as Secretary of State, how can the same person be trusted to make better decisions as President?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

You act like it existed...

I have just watched a news report on the BBC about some journalists that have been sentenced to 3 years in prison.  Something that the newscaster said made me laugh.  She reported that Amnesty International said that the sentences were a death-knell for free speech in Egypt.  I actually backed up the DVR to make sure that I heard it correctly.

It seems that at some point, many people in this world lost track of something.  Freedom of Speech is not something that is guaranteed wherever you go just because you are a journalist.  Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press is in fact restricted even in countries like America and England.  If you are standing in a country that has blasphemy laws in place, there is no such thing as Freedom of Speech or Press.  Additionally, if the country is run by communists or dictatorships these items don't exist.  Your press credentials have all the rights and powers afforded toilet paper in these countries, and is likely worth less on the street.  So, while I sympathize with these men on the unfair situation that they find themselves in, please remember that Freedom of Press never actually existed there.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A good day

My daughter decided out of the blue last Saturday that we should go to the range.  It seemed like a good idea, as I had just finished a very frustrating first week of being unemployed and trying to correct that issue.  I called my in-laws to see if they wanted to go, as they were in town.  A short while later the details were set and I made a big production out of getting ready.  We went out to get a spare rifle hard case because I planned to bring all of my guns.  Then I created a giant mess in the living room getting all the ammo, magazines and guns into the bags, as well as tools, eye and ear protection, backups of said items, a folding table, clays for the skeet range...  I haven't done this in forever so I packed for every possibility.  Yes, I packed too much.

The next morning we got up, loaded the cart for the trip to the car (I hate living in an apartment) and got going.  After stopping for gas and cash, we ended up getting to the Santa Clara Field Sports Park at 2 minutes to 8.  It was a beautiful day and the range was already half full.  Apparently they open the doors early.  We checked in, fielded the call from my in-laws telling us that they were running late due to forgetting their eye pro and going back for it.  Then we carted the table, the guns and the ammo to our preferred lanes, all the way at the end.  We missed the first shooting session but that gave us time to load magazines.  At this point I realized I forgot all but two of the magazines for the Jericho 9/41.  Damn.  Then I found that the staple gun that I bought the day before for target setup was worthless.  Lovely.  Still, we had plenty of ammo, plenty of other magazines and plenty of time.  Once the grandparents arrived, it was a party.  We destroyed the complementary targets that were supplied by the range fairly quickly.  The six target ones that I bought the day before lasted longer. but we still trashed them as well.  The grandparents were eager to go though the steel case 9mm they had so after my first box of Winchester White Box was gone, we started on theirs.  God that stuff was dirty.  However, we blew through 400 rounds of that, plus mine, plus 100 rounds of .45, 500+ rounds of .22 and 100 rounds of .40 in my father in law's pistol.  it took several hours but we all had a great time.  My daughter is a magazine loading machine, once she learned how to use the tool.  By the time we stopped shooting, neither of the .22 pistols would cycle consistently due to general buildup.  I haven't cleaned them in several range trips, so this is not surprising.

After that we decided to head over to the skeet and trap range.  They have a very nice setup there, pricing is good and I should have left my clays at home.  There are no manual machines there.  It is all automated and staffed, so we did not have to do anything but shoot.  The price per round was good and the staff were very patient walking us through the proper protocols.  My daughter decided that while she was OK shooting the 9mm and the .22 pistols, this was not for her at the moment.  So my in-laws and I each did a round of skeet and a round of trap.  My mother in law decided that she liked my Mossberg 500 much better than their Winchester.  I had the 28 inch barrel on mine and they had an 18 inch barrel on theirs.  I did better than I expected on skeet and hit more than I missed on trap.  I'll be going back more often.

After we packed everything up, we headed for a late lunch at Red Robin and then home.  Then I started to realize that I forgot to apply sunblock.  whoops.  Still, it was a really enjoyable day.  Now I just have to work on cleaning all the guns...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Life Lesson.

When unpacking groceries in the presence of a teenager, it is unwise to observe out loud that the pumpkin pie you just bought has an expiration date of that day.  It will be seen as a challenge.  On a related note, I was unaware that an entire 10 ounce can of whipped cream topping would be required to complete that challenge, although a small amount did go on top of the mug of hot chocolate.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Whelp, the rest of the shoe rack dropped...

So life has sucked.  Last fall I lost my wife to heart failure.  Following that I had to become a foster parent to keep custody of my step-daughter.  Shortly thereafter I had to give up my wife's service dog.  Then, just after the deadline to apply Family Medical Leave Act protection to any of the time off taken for this series of event, my manager issues me a written reprimand for the "unscheduled time off" that was taken to deal with my wife's illness and death.  This despite the fact that he never told me that there was an issue with my attendance over that three month span.  After protesting the reprimand to HR, I was rebuffed because "it doesn't matter what the time off was for, just that it was taken."  Now I had to endure 12 weeks of meetings with this manager (now two levels above me) and my director (three levels above me) using a method of measurement that was weighted against me.  When I pointed this out I was told that my view of it did not matter and that I had to "just deal with it".  After that was finally finished, I was greeted with notice that I am part of a Reduction in Force at my company.  Due to my treatment over the last six months, and the fact that the VP giving me the news had manipulated me into actions after my reprimand that set me up for this, I told him (when asked if I had any questions or comments) that I had nothing polite to say to him and left the room.  In retrospect, I can understand why they escorted me out of the building 10 minutes later, but it was still poor treatment after 13 years of service.  Less than a week later, they cancelled my corporate AMEX.  Somehow, I don't think that I will be offered a job anywhere in the company.  And if I was offered another position, I don't know that I would take it.  I intended to retire from this company.  Now I doubt I'll have the opportunity.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ok, it is nice...

I spent money on myself.  Sometimes I cruise online for stuff just to see if it exists, and with the free Amazon prime membership it is too damn easy to use the one click order process.  It's also nice to see that Amazon has firearm accessories.

My Jericho 9/41 is now sporting Hogue grips and I am annoyed with myself for not doing this years ago.  The stock grip panels are durable plastic and give a fairly comfortable grip.  That is the main reason for never changing them,  I only have one friend who owns one and he has the same opinion that I did.  But I saw this on Amazon and lost all willpower.  Just below it was a new set of sights (which is what I was looking for) and they got one clicked as well.  Now I just have to find a good gunsmith in the South Bay Area to install the sights.  That may be a challenge...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Small steps...

I survived the holidays.  I generally lost my protest against my write up at work, the notification coming on the last day of work before the holiday.  Merry Christmas, we don't care about your family.  Now I get to sit through weekly meetings with a man who is no longer my direct manager and smile while he shows how he has diagrammed my performance.  In fact, I got to sit in one of those meetings this past week on my wife's birthday.  Its getting harder and harder to be polite during these meetings.

So today, I decided I had to get out of the house.  I find myself staring at the walls on the weekends far too often lately.  I packed up my pistols and a box of ammunition for each and headed to the range.  Its the first time I have been able to get to the range in over a year.  I wanted to put a few magazines through each pistol and test all of the new magazines for the 1911.

I found out two things.  First, some of my .22 ammo is aging poorly.  I had a magazine with seven out of 10 failure to fires.  I believe that was the last of my wife's ammo during her last range day 4 or 5 years ago.  I bought more, but I really had to think twice, since I am not used to paying $50 for 500 rounds of .22 for any reason.

Second, I need to get to the range more often.  All of my shots hit the paper, but there were a few close calls.  I am assured that I can hit the broad side of a barn, but only if its a big one.