Saturday, January 31, 2015

Every now and then...

It may seem a little silly, but every now and then I will do something to remind myself why a particular action/ activity is not routine.
  • Smoking cigars.  Fortunately, I have never been a smoker, although I did try cigarettes as a teenager.  That is until my eldest sister smelled it on my breath one evening, grabbed me by the ear, hauled me out onto the back porch and gave me the what-for's.
  • Traveling I270 and the C(r)apital Beltway for my commute.  Fortunately, there are other routes to be taken.  I will venture that route only during off-peak hours and always regret it.  During prime hours, I think a day doesn't go by that there isn't at least one traffic incident that happens.
  • Driving PA route 30 east of Breezewood.  Not an issue anymore since that is really out of my way now, when traveling to visit family, but it used to be an option to avoid the PA Turnpike, which has it's own well deserved reputation.  It is two lanes that have some pretty steep grades that wind up and across the mountain ridge.  There is a reason trucks are prohibited from traveling that section.  It might be fun if one were in a small go-fast car, but I always seem to have older vehicles that can't get out of their own way.  So even if I did have a small go-fast car, I would likely end up stuck behind someone like me.
  • And finally, the event that made me think of this whole thing, ordering food from one of the fast food chains near work.
          I needed to work today to make some progress on machining some parts for a project.  Finished off the last of my lunch supplies yesterday, so no big deal, I'll go through the drive-thru at Burger King.  Place my order and make my way to the window.  I think the only English words the girl at the window knew were "yes" and "thank you" because she would just give a dumbfounded look whenever I would ask a question to verify the order.  Needless to say, what I ordered I did not get.  But I was in a bit of a rush so I did not want to take the time to go into the store and straighten it out.  Besides, I was already back out on the road.  So I had chicken strips instead of a burger.  They even messed up the drink, according to the receipt.  It was supposed to be a Coke.  I got Sprite.  Yep, raising the minimum wage is going to correct all of those problems.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The storm that wasn't.

Apparently quite a few folks are miffed about the meteorologists getting it wrong, as some are now apologizing .    Yeah, I was bummed that we didn't get slammed and a little annoyed that I burned a vacation day I really didn't need to so I wouldn't have to deal with weather-increased traffic.  My workplace had a liberal leave policy in place for the day.
If that were the worst of my problems, I would be so fortunate.
On the positive side, I took the opportunity and made a phone call to see if Belle and Murphy wanted to meet at the dog park.  The three dogs had a grand time chasing around and doing some much needed burning off of some energy. 

Ironically, the roads were worse this morning than they were all day yesterday.  I woke up to about 1 1/2" of snow on the driveway and the roads to get out to the main road were barely touched by plows/ salt trucks.  Even the interstate roads had a few areas of being covered.
Fortunately, I got to work and through the gate before the guard had the center's updated operating status, which was a delayed opening.  I would have been denied access and would have ended up hanging out somewhere for a few hours.  But I made it in and used the time to catch up on some administrative stuff.

Maybe the next "storm" will bring us some snow.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sad day for CA law enforcement

The San Jacinto Police Department suffered a LODD late Wednesday of one of their canines.  Sultan, a Belgian Malinois-German shepherd mix was shot by a felon during a standoff in Riverside county.  That felon's actions ultimately resulted in him assuming ambient temperature.

From the news report, it looks like Sultan will be treated by the department as any other fallen officer, as he should.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Sultan's handler, Deputy Mark Wallace and the rest of the department for the loss of a family member.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day at the range

Spent several enjoyable hours at the range today with Proud Hillbilly, Murphy's Law and a neighbor of his.
Speaking purely of myself, managed to poke a bunch of holes in paper, some of them even where I wanted them to be.
After increasing the mass and density of the pistol range berm, we headed to the 100/ 200 yard range, where I was able to do some final tweaking of the scope on the G2 Recon.

The rifle comes stock with Magpul furniture and BUIS.  I mounted the Nikon M308 4-16 scope and Harris bi-pod.  And just like window stickers make a riced-out Honda go faster, I had to add Magpul rail covers to make it shoot better.
I. like. this. rifle.  A lot.  I think know it is capable of better accuracy than what I can manipulate.  But from being the novice that I am and using commercial reloads, I'm still pretty pleased.
100 yards, after a few rounds of tweaking the scope.

200 yards.  First round almost center-punched.  Then it was downhill hill from there.
I need to get back to another Appleseed event... or three.
The only downside of the afternoon was that we didn't have time to catch a bite to eat when we finished.  Another time.

The unseen (unscene?) frame

Murphy's Law over at The Lair posted a video the other day of an officer jamming to a pop tune.
You may have to play it several times to finally catch it, but Murphy is standing watch in the back seat.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Banning guns works (sarcasm intended)

I don't currently have anything noteworthy/ original to share, so I thought I would post this list that I found somewhere some time ago. 
1.     Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, and Chicago cops need guns.
2.      Washington, DC's low murder rate of 80.6 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Arlington, VA's high murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.
3.     Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are "just statistics."
4.     The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994, are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.
5.     We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.
6.     The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.
7.     An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
8.     A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
9.     When confronted by violent criminals, you should "put up no defense — give them what they want, or run" (Handgun Control Inc. Chairman Pete Shields, Guns Don't Die - People Do, 1981, p. 125).
10.                        The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns and Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.
11.                        One should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for spinal paralysis, a computer programmer for Y2K problems, and Sarah Brady [or Sheena Duncan, Adele Kirsten, Peter Storey, etc.] for firearms expertise.
12.                        The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1791, refers to the National Guard, which was created by an act of Congress in 1903.
13.                        The National Guard, funded by the federal government, occupying property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state militia.
14.                        These phrases," right of the people peaceably to assemble," "right of the people to be secure in their homes," "enumeration's herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people," and "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people," all refer to individuals, but "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" refers to the state.
15.                        We don't need guns against an oppressive government, because the Constitution has internal safeguards, but we should ban and seize all guns, thereby violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendments to that Constitution.
16.                        Rifles and handguns aren't necessary to national defense, which is why the army has millions of them.
17.                        Private citizens shouldn't have handguns, because they serve no military purpose, and private citizens shouldn't have "assault rifles," because they are military weapons.
18.                        The ready availability of guns today, with waiting periods, background checks, fingerprinting, government forms, et cetera, is responsible for recent school shootings, compared to the lack of school shootings in the 40's, 50's and 60's, which resulted from the availability of guns at hardware stores, surplus stores, gas stations, variety stores, mail order, et cetera.
19.                        The NRA's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign about kids handling guns is propaganda, and the anti-gun lobby's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign is responsible social activity.
20.                        Guns are so complex that special training is necessary to use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.
21.                        A handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has 20.
22.                        Women are just as intelligent and capable as men but a woman with a gun is "an accident waiting to happen" and gun makers' advertisements aimed at women are "preying on their fears."
23.                        Ordinary people in the presence of guns turn into slaughtering butchers but revert to normal when the weapon is removed.
24.                        Guns cause violence, which is why there are so many mass killings at gun shows.
25.                        A majority of the population supports gun control, just like a majority of the population supported owning slaves.
26.                        A self-loading small arm can legitimately be considered to be a "weapon of mass destruction" or an "assault weapon."
27.                        Most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns, which most people will abide by because they can be trusted.
28.                        The right of online pornographers to exist cannot be questioned because it is constitutionally protected by the Bill of Rights, but the use of handguns for self defense is not really protected by the Bill of Rights.
29.                        Free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters, computers, and typewriters, but self-defense only justifies bare hands.
30.                        The ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts of the Constitution.
31.                        Charlton Heston as president of the NRA is a shill who should be ignored, but Michael Douglas as a representative of Handgun Control, Inc. is an ambassador for peace who is entitled to an audience at the UN arms control summit.
32.                        Police operate with backup within groups, which is why they need larger capacity pistol magazines than do "civilians" who must face criminals alone and therefore need less ammunition.
33.                        We should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.
34.                        Police officers, who qualify with their duty weapons once or twice a year, have some special Jedi-like mastery over handguns that private citizens can never hope to obtain.
35.                        Private citizens don't need a gun for self-protection because the police are there to protect them even though the Supreme Court says the police are not responsible for their protection.
36.                        Citizens don't need to carry a gun for personal protection but police chiefs, who are desk-bound administrators who work in a building filled with cops, need a gun.
37.                        "Assault weapons" have no purpose other than to kill large numbers of people, which is why the police need them but "civilians" do not.
38.                        When Microsoft pressures its distributors to give Microsoft preferential promotion, that's bad; but when the Federal government pressures cities to buy guns only from Smith & Wesson, that's good.
39.                        Trigger locks do not interfere with the ability to use a gun for defensive purposes, which is why you see police officers with one on their duty weapon.
40.                        When Handgun Control, Inc., says they want to "keep guns out of the wrong hands," they don't mean you. Really.
From a forum posting, Feb, 2008

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Oh deer!

I consider myself rather fortunate.  Yesterday morning while driving to work I hit only the second deer in my lifetime of driving.  Pretty good for 30+ years of driving.
It happened about a mile from the house.  Not sure if I hit it or it hit me.  Tagged the front corner of the truck.  Tweaked the bumper a little, dislodged the side marker light and broke the light in bumper.  I'm very happy the damage wasn't worse.
After that happened, I think I saw more deer running across the road in the next 10 minutes than I had seen in the last two weeks.  It almost made me wonder if some natural catastrophe was going to happen that the deer could sense.
I put a strap through the open hole and wrapped the end of the bumper and then un-tweaked it by pulling it with the Jeep back to close to where it belongs.  I'm happy it didn't mess up any sheet metal.

When I surveyed the damage in the daylight, I had to chuckle.  The impact knocked the crap out of that deer.
I'm guessing the impact swung it around and it's rear end slammed into the passenger door.
I'll let the weather clean it off....  Shouldn't take long with the upcoming forecast.
I had to go into work again this morning to finish a task I wasn't able to finish yesterday.  Dang if I didn't almost hit another deer in that same area.  I'll need to add that section to the long list of their favorite crossing spots.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The first winter metro commute for this season.

And so it begins, this seasons frustrations and aggravations of winter commuting in a suburban region. 
I was born and raised in the snow belt of western PA.  There was 2" of fresh snow on the ground (and test course) when I took my drivers test at 16 y.o.a.  Pennsylvania is notorious for it's limited snow removal/ road treatments.  Driving in snowy conditions is something I've been accustomed to from the beginning. So yes, I get a little annoyed at some of the other drivers on the road in the areas in which I must now commute.
Some thoughts and comments stemming from this frustration rant;
  • If you are uncomfortable with road conditions and/ or your driving skills that you feel the need to drive 20 mph slower than the rest of traffic with your 4 way flashers on, STAY HOME!  You are an impediment to traffic and creating a danger to yourself and others, especially the (seemingly majority) ones that are only aware of whats 10' in front of them.
  • Speaking of the "just beyond your bumper" drivers, while on the open highway should you feel the necessity to keep tapping your brakes due to the vehicle in front of you, BACK OFF!  Yeah, you do this in the rain, too, moron.  Do you really think that you're going to have the reaction time (or ability) you need to stop or maneuver without colliding into what suddenly stopped in front of you?
  • Everyone has their own level of comfort of driving speed on potentially slick roads.  I get that.  That doesn't mean that you need to ride the center and left lane of the highway.  But I know that's really asking too much, since that is just an extension of your typical driving habits anyway.
  • And finally, just for honorable mention, a 4 wheel drive vehicle can get you going faster on slick roads, but it doesn't stop you any sooner.  I did not see any of that this morning, but I know I will before winter is over.

Be careful, be aware out there.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hope springs eternal

But not always met with success.

Much to her chagrin, Maggie did not get a cinnamon roll.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Things that make you go "hmmmm?".

This sign is on a door in one of the buildings at work.
No, there is no powered opener attached to this door.
I'm guessing that by slapping this sticker on the window, someone thought that would make it comply with ADA requirements.
Don't know, but I chuckle every time I see it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy Anniversary Maggie!

Here it is, one year ago that we adopted Maggie from Animal Control.  We couldn't ask for a better dog.  Any of her shortcomings I truly believe is us, not her.
She is an Australian Cattledog mix, with what we think may be some Lab.  Guesstimations was that she was around 9 months old when we adopted her.  Animal Control had picked her up wandering around as a stray 3 months prior, around the end of Oct.  Hard to believe that this beautiful dog spent three months in the shelter without anyone claiming her.  Our gain. 

Here she is, her last little bit of time at Animal Control.  I had just given her an extremely cold bath that she was not at all happy about, yet she looks as though she's still smiling at me.

 First stop on her journey to her forever home, the veterinarian to be spade.  While there, we met up with Miss Memphis Belle and her human.  Belle had to undergo treatment for heartworm that was undiagnosed prior to being adopted.  Fortunately, that procedure was successful, so Miss Belle can continue to keep everyone at The Lair on their toes.     Belle and Maggie had been kennel mates for a while.
        Hi Miss Belle!  I haven't seen you in awhile.  Can you tell me what's going on here?

When we picked Maggie up from the vet's, we were instructed to keep her calm and quiet for a couple of days to allow the incision to start healing properly.
                                                Anesthesia makes me woozy and tired.... 

Maggie recovered quite well from the surgery.  Enough so that the following morning she caught a mouse and dropped it on the kitchen floor at my wife's feet.  Then sat, wagging her tail  She was very proud of herself and rightly so, except that my wife doesn't do well with dead critters.  But everyone got past that little hurdle.  We didn't even know we had mice!

I sometimes wonder if she shouldn't have been named "Cato Fong" as she frequently lies in wait as I go in and out through the gate.
                                              C'mon!  Let's play!  I'm going to attack you!

Maggie loves to go for rides in the Jeep.  When she follows me out into the garage, she will look at me, then to the Jeep, then back at me, in hopeful expectation  She really gets excited when I pick up her harness, as she knows that means she's going for a ride.  I keep her secured with a short lead.  Otherwise she would lunge out at things (usually trucks) that she thinks she needs to chase. 

There is a friend from the fire department whose family has a cattle farm and they allow me to go there and cut firewood.  I have taken Maggie with me several times.  She has always been curiously interested in the cattle, but they had never been closer than 20 yards or so.
One day, there was a bull next to one of the gates I had to pass through.  Her initial reaction to this huge beast right next to us was priceless and I'm sorry it happened too quickly to capture it on camera.  She gave a jump of surprise when I stopped to close the gate and she first noticed the bull.



 The initial shock is over, but the look on her face says it all.  Some Cattledog!

                                     I'm not too sure about that thing, Dad.  It sure is big!

                                            Yes I have big ears.  Don't make fun of them!

The "Queen" on her throne.  A tree stump right behind the house.  The dark spots are the screen in the window.

 Probably one my favorite pictures of Maggie.  It captures the ever present look in her eyes, how she has a way of seemingly looking right into your soul.     

                                               MMMMM!  Love me some peanut butter!  
                                               Thanks for the empty jar, Dad.  Can you
                                               leave more in it next time? 

                                                   I've got my favorite toy..  Lets play!

Yeah, we love this dog.  But it's not as though she's spoiled.....
      What?!....   Can't you see I'm trying to sleep?  Yeah, I know it's your pillow.  What of it?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Random picture

Any takers on guessing what this is?

It's called a "K tool".  Used by fire departments as one means of forcible entry.  It has two knife edges that get forced onto a door lock cylinder and then the cylinder face gets pried off, exposing the lock mechanism, which can then be manipulated with standard tools to unlock the door.  It's intended to minimize damage during forcible entry.