Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I feel SUPER-important!

Here i just had my berfday on Saturday, and I come home to read my comments only to find that HollyB has tagged me for a meme! Woo-hoo!

In Holly's extreme favor, she was commenting on my having recently fired for the first time a Browning Hi-Power. She just re-qualified for her CHL with one. What a woman!

So, here's how this little meme works.

1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings ;
2. Pick the year you turned 18;
3. Get nostalgic over the songs of the year;
4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you;
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends.

Well, I turned 18 in 1997, which wasn't exactly a good year for the Billboard's list. All the same, I noticed a few tunes that didn't quite make #1 that I remember vividly. Since music pretty much rules my life, this is a fitting fate.

Here we go:

1. "Crash" - Dave Matthews Band
Here's one of the hits from 1997 that I bought the CD for and still currently own (as a sidenote, I always keep CD's I buy, and I never buy CD's for just one song.
Crash was a fantastic album, by the by.) Awesome song, involving a girl who at the time I figured pretty much fit the bill. She's still a very close friend of mine.

2. "Santeria" - Sublime
A damn shame about their lead singer/guitarist Brad Nowell. He OD'ed, so he lost a couple of points of respect, but he's still light years ahead of anyone who actually offed themselves intentionally (Kurt Cobain had blue eyes: one blew THAT way, one blew the OTHER way:). This was another fantastic album that I still own and listen to regularly. I sing this entire album at the top of my lungs with the radio at Defcon 2.

3. "The Impression That I Get" - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Yet another purchase. Hmmm... This wasn't so bad a year after all. What a great album. Go check it out. It's a good one. I don't even know what I was doing when this one was popular, but it just made sense. And it was a great jam.

4. "Wrong Way" - Sublime
Another release from the same disc that has "Santeria" on it. Play either of these tunes today and folks will sing along. This is good stuff, folks. Are you writing this down?!?

5. "Hell" - Squirrel Nut Zipper
This was apparently the year that swing bands made that temporary comeback. I heard this band and was immediately hooked. Picked up several others along the way, too. Royal Crown Revue, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are the first to come to mind. Give these a listen, too. I never learned how to swing DANCE, but I did learn how to PLAY the music. That counts, right?

So there you go. Five songs from the year I turned 18. I will turn my nose up to any "young whipper-snapper type comments;)

As far as passing this on, I just feel awkward about hitting up the folks on my reads list, since I don't have that many regular readers and I don't wanna brown-nose the big kids TOO much! That said, Brandon gets tagged, as does MattG. Ambo-driver (though he don't pass along, and that's quite fine), BobG, and just for S&G's, LawDog.

Let's give it a good shake, and see what falls out!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

As the title says...

This is Where Things Sometimes Go Bang. Today was one of those days.

I am taking a little vacation this weekend. Memorial Day happens to fall at the same time as my birthday each year (May 26, if you wish to send gifts). Since I started with the company I'm at, me, The Wifey, and The Little Girl have taken the same trip to Corpus Christi, TX over Memorial Day weekend. This year is no exception. From Friday night until Monday afternoon, I will be enjoying a total lack of cell phone usage.


Oh, yeah. Back to the whole "bang" thing.

We were originally going to go down there this afternoon (Thursday), but The Wifey lost a day of leave to illness a couple weeks ago, so she won't be leaving work until early tomorrow. I, on the other hand, was not about to give up the opportunity to have time off by myself. I kept my request for 1/2 day today and all day tomorrow.

I went to the range.

It was glorious, really. A bit rainy at the outdoor (albeit covered) range I picked. Pretty nice, though. Very few folks there. One guy in his late 40's/early 50's burning up his Glock 21, and eventually another guy in his early 40's with a slick black Browning Hi-Power. I spent 200 rounds of 115 gr. 9mm FMJ through my Px4. In, out, no muss, no fuss.

That is, until I made a comment about the Hi-Power on my way out.

"Nice Browning."

Guy starts telling me about how he just had a new Novak sight with a narrow-blade installed, and was happy with it. Judging from his 2" group of 30 or so rounds, I'd say so.

So, he's showing me the finer points of the new sight, when he just hands it to me. Cool enough, I thought. Nice grips (I don't remember the make, but they were aftermarket, and they were thicker than the factory grips), and a damn nice sight.

Then he tells me to try it out.

First time I've shot a stranger's gun at a range, but I've heard it's pretty normal. I, however, was giddy. I love the Hi-Power, and The Wifey even wants one of her own, so I'll have one sooner than later anyway. But this one...

All I can say is, "Wow!" Thing had an amazing trigger job. Best trigger I've ever pulled. He was right about the sight, too. Made it real easy. I shot well, even if for only 10 rounds. I'm in love!

Well, The Wifey gets the next turn on the gun purchase (the Px4 was the last one and it was mine). Time to start leaning.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Funny, and funnier

I was going to the movies today with The Wifey and The Little Girl to see Shrek the Third, when I passed a car with a few U.S. Marines stickers on it. Not excessive, I wouldn't say, but whoever owned the car was damned proud of our military's elite (no offense to other branches, but these guys get the coolest guns!).

I had to do a double take on the bumper sticker. It read like the old parcel shipping slogan:"U.S. Marines: When it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight."

For those of you who aren't laughing, one of two of the following applies:

1. Don't be a snob. It's still funny, even though you've heard it before. Don't rain on the young guy's parade.


2. That is funny. You may laugh now.

Now that we've gotten that little tidbit out of the way, allow me to tell you why it gets better. I searched briefly online for an image of this bumper sticker. I found it amidst a plethora of anti-war stickers.

Now THAT is funny.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Beverage Alert!

Make sure you aren't actually in the process of drinking when you read this post from papa delta bravo. You will replace your keyboard if you do.

That is some funny stuff!


Heart Access: Granted

You know what they say. The quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right?

I owe flowers to the woman that invented these. It must be a woman. Only a woman would know how to make something so irresistable, so addictive.

Otherwise, I just sent flowers to a guy. Not happnin.

Some would consider this sort of thing blasphemous for me. After all, I do live in South Texas, where you will find arguably the best Mexican food on Earth (saving, perhaps, Mexico. But they have an unfair advatage.
Anything they make, technically, is Mexican food. I digress...). Why would I go for some pre-packaged glop in a cheap, thin, overwrapped excuse for a tortilla? Same reason I eat at Taco Bell.

It's not about Mexican food. Folks who go to Weinershnitzel don't actually think they're eating German food, do they?

Truth is, I don't even know exactly what it is.

I know this: it's the same thing that makes folks (including me) love Macaroni and Cheese. It's what we had when we were kids. It was real good back then. Good stuff don't stop being good just because you get older, and anyone who thinks so is dead inside.

Wow, was that harsh? Sorry 'bout that. Happens sometimes.

I could eat my weight in those Patio Burritos. Two of those frozen delicacies thrown folded-side down in the Nuke-O-Matic for about three minutes (
Cooking times may vary. I have the Microwave of Death), topped with a good wiping of sour cream and topped with a bit of Pace or Taco Bell sauce (don't use the GOOD salsa here. It'd be like deep-frying frozen cheesesticks in $50/pint olive oil. A waste), and you have a pretty good idea of what me and Brandon ate entirely too much of as kids.

Don't even bother telling me what may/may not be in there. I don't care. They're good.

I haven't had them since I moved from my hometown, since the stores here never carried them.

Until now. Found 'em at Wally-World last weekend. I had two for lunch.

Then I had two more for dinner.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

To All the Moms Out There

Especially mine/Brandon's.

Happy Mother's Day.


Happiness Comes Quarterly

Quick show of hands: anyone NOT like getting money? Like, larger than a week's pay? No one? I didn't think so.

Turns out the company's been working on a little bonus system for the installation department. Works kinda like this: We bid a job for eight hours. I finish it in four. The other four hours (which the company still gets paid for) go into a piggy bank. Quarterly, the piggy bank is counted and divvied up amongst me and the other installers.

Got the first check Friday. To a nice tune, too. Not enough to pay off a car note or anything, but a nice little sum nonetheless.

Time to go shopping.

Squared up with the in-laws on a few bucks they shelled out to get us one of those Dyson vacuum cleaners. Those things are cool, and much cheaper at the Base Xchange (military version of Wally World sans taxes). Now I officially own one.

Did mad amounts of Mom's Day stuff for The Wifey. Got her new lighting fixtures for the Dining Room and Kitchen and dimmers for the Living Room and stuff. Oh, and new cat last weekend.

New DVD for The Little Girl.

For me? High Noon Holsters makes a nice little pancake holster I've been eyeballing for a couple of months now. Placed the order yesterday morning.

And got me a new CD. Psychostick's
We Couldn't Think of a Title. High-lay-ree-us. Check 'em out.

The Wifey's happy, The Little Girl's happy, and that alone gets the job done. I had enough left over for me.

Life is good, y'all.

Time for Corona's.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sorry, Y'all

I know it's been nearly a week since my last post.

I've been feeling about like poo. Sinus/allergy type stuff and whatnot.

I'm much better now (thanks for asking) and I'll resume posting soon.


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gun Pr0n #1

Before any of you sharpen up your pitchforks and your noose-tying skills, I do NOT claim to be the first to do this type of blogging. I give full credit to Tam, as she pretty much coined the phrase "Gun Pr0n" as far as I can tell. I said this was coming, and here it is. Don't expect nearly as much as you'd see at her blog, nor near the artistic photography as her arsenal tends to be surrounded by. I don't have the money or the skrills, but I digress...

So, I've borrowed my neighbor's digital camera. No, I don't own one (yet). Remember, I just got myself a decent PC and a broadband connection here less than a month ago. That is, however, the next thing on the list to buy.

Digital cameras are cool (spoken in the best Beavis voice you can muster).

That said, I've photo'ed a few things. This is one, the first of my VERY meager collection.

This is a Beretta Px4 Storm F in 9x19mm. The "F" configuration means that this pistol is a Single Action/Double Action pistol with a manual safety AND decocker switch on the slide. If you are wondering, that switch is identical in nature to Beretta's 92FS.

Beretta's first offering into the polymer LEO/defensive pistol is a good one. It's 6.5" overall, comparable in width to other guns in it's class (Sig Sauer P226 and H&K USP, for instance), and with my size it's very concealable. In fact, once I found out that High Noon Holsters makes a molded pancake for this gun when nearly no one else does, it will be a CCW very soon.

It packs a 17-rd magazine from the factory (provided you don't live under draconian gun laws) in the 9mm. Quite a bit for a 9. Personally, I find it comforting to know that I can, with just one extra magazine, carry 35 rounds of ammunition ready to go.

As far as how it performs, I find it nearly perfect. It's had around 300 rounds through it at this point. I find that I cannot miss with this weapon. I'm not bragging; I've just found a gun that is natural for me. The old phrase, "If it fits, it hits" is quite true. It feels like it's tailor-made just for me. I absolutely love this gun.

It's shown here with my Gerber Multi-Plier 600 Needlenose. That is a tool that I wear unless I'm showering. I don't usually sleep with it, but that is known to happen unintentionally on occassion. That thing is a must-have for anyone who does stuff.

Well, that's the first of my arsenal. Maybe next time I'll throw out a long gun.

'Til then, adieu.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Poor old Sam

Sam Walton has probably rolled over in his grave enough times to create a sinkhole above his casket. I shudder to think what sort of atrocities goes on behind closed doors at Wal-Mart these days. It's just not what old Sam had in mind when he left it to be run by the current crop. Course, he didn't have much in mind at the time: he was dead.

I ain't a big fan of Wal-Mart anymore. I could go on for hours on end listing off the reasons why, but that's actually not what this post is about. Suffice to say that it'd sure be nice if the employees knew more about what was on the shelves than just the fact that said items were on said shelves. I digress...

Wally World still has a degree of usefulness in the world, even though I believe it is run by demons. One nifty part is the DVD Bargain Bin, as I like to call it. Usually $5-5.50, it is predominantly filled with stuff folks don't want to watch. Exercise videos, low-budget crap films, cartoon knock-offs. I'd say that 80% of the time you look in The Bin you don't leave content.

But, that other 20% (give or take)...

I've found movies I cannot live without in there. Tonight I found three more:
U-571, A Few Good Men, and Natural Born Killers.

I just saw
u-571 for the first time about two weeks ago, and I regret not seeing it sooner. That was a great WWII flick, from what I find to be a difficult perspective to portray in WWII: The Navy.

A Few Good Men is one of those movies that I have a compulsive need to watch. I don't particularly care for Tom "Lord of the Moonbats" Cruise, but there's a few flicks he's been in that are must-see (The Last Samurai was fantastic). And there's the whole, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" thing, too. I couldn't resist.

Then there's
Natural Born Killers. When the cashier mentioned that she wasn't too crazy about it (folks in cinemas nationwide walked out of that movie less than halfway through), I said that it was like a guilty pleasure to see that movie. And it was only $5.50. I should mention that this one is the Director's Cut, and it has a never-before-seen performance by Denis Leary that apparently didn't make the theatrical release. Denis Leary is my hero.

I'll probably post up once I get a chance to see
NBK from start to finish. Haven't seen that one in years. I'll let you know how it comes out.


P.S. - I was just reading the credits on the back of the DVD case, thinking that Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) was somehow involved in the production. His name wasn't there, but I did find the name of someone who I had no idea was involved in this movie: Quentin Tarantino, and he wrote the story. Small world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Required Reading

Hells yeah.

Read this and love it.

Thanks to MattG.


Ruminations on Improvisation

So I was out on an install today...

This house isn't quite ready to be installed into. It's pretty much still in the trim-out phase, and it has yet to have a make-ready (that's an uber-cleaning right before a house ceases to be a construction site. EVERYTHING gets cleaned). Now isn't the time to add tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronics, but it's a good time to get flush-mount speakers, keypads, and the like installed (fills those empty holes in the sheetrock and makes the place look complete).

Usually, we put in provisions during the rough-in phase (like brackets for speakers and back-boxes for touchpanels/keypads) so that the sheet-rock guys cut our holes for us. Makes the install time fly. Not in this house, no sir. This time they cut only two of the six audio keypads in (and the holes were too big, to boot). I had to find the other four wires the hard way. In all four locations that meant cutting the sheetrock only to find the sheetmetal back-box two inches too high/low for proper installation. When that happens, the back box must be modified (read: cut all to hell) to allow for proper fit. The first three weren't too bad.

Then I got to the Master Bedroom, and that's when things went South. I modified the backbox to the point where it was unrecognizable, but I couldn't get enough steel out of the way of the keypad.

I decided that removal was the only solution.

Lots of hammering and sawing left me wanting a really big prybar. Prybars are NOT in the toolboxes of most guys in my field (usually see those in a mechanic's toolbox). I was about to have to call in reinforcements from the warehouse when I decided to give a look in the van. Who knows, maybe someone left (insert large prybar-like object here) in there or something?

I opened the back doors, and that's when I got a moment of clarity. There, on the passenger side, was the Tire Tool. Not some sissy little over extended hoo-hah, no sirree. This is a bona-fide Attitude Adjustment waiting to happen, and it just happens to have a flattened end opposite the wrenchin side.

There's one helluva prybar right there.

Point is this: when in a situation where you need something you don't have, improve a little. Think about what it is you're actually trying to do, not accomplish (in this case, I was trying to PRY; removal of the backbox was what I was trying to accomplish). Then, look around. Slowly. See if there's anything/anyone that can provide you what you need so you can do what you need to do. Be creative. If you need to drive a nail halfway in and you don't have a hammer, don't look for a hammer. Look for something that can drive a nail (a short piece of 2x4 will drive a nail with ease, and that is an item in abundance on a construction site).

This sort of thing isn't just limited to accomplishing work, either. Improvising can fit in anywhere. It's that sort of thinking outside the box that could mean the difference between failure and success in creating something, like music. It's damn-near a prerequisite skill if you must defend yourself for some reason.

So good luck in your next venture, and if you realize that you are missing a key component, think on your feet. Who knows what might work.


P.S. The tire tool broke the box loose, but I couldn't get it out of the wall. Still, I was pretty happy finding the tire tool. Call it job security for the sheetrock patch guy:)