There's a seven, five, and four year old that will be sleeping on my living room floor tonight.  They are currently upstairs running amok.*

This has likely made my first tasting of Buffalo Trace bourbon even better than it otherwise would have been.  I deem it damn fine whiskey.  The snorting buffalo on their website is also good for five minutes of entertainment.

*Word to the wise, when watching someone else's child it is a very good idea to stay on the sober side of the drinking gauge.  Either that or pawn the responsibility off on your wife.



It's been really dry so far this winter.  It's been unseasonably warm, 52 F yesterday.  Does that really mean that it's time to water the lawn?  On the 26th of December, in a city that averages 17 inches of water annually, my neighbor is watering his slightly green lawn.

I suppose though when my kids are out riding their new bikes past his window, it seems like lawn watering makes sense.


Old Words, New Venue

You know it's bad when public officials start using gun banner verbiage.  Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, when discussing the newly created "wild lands" designation designed to slow resource extraction in Utah used a familiar phrase.
Take a guess as to whose "common sense" they will be using.

Is it Christmas yet?

I've been asked five times in the last 30 minutes if it's Christmas yet.


Tactical Tim, Tebow Tim, Timmay, and...

When I see this:

I think of this:

and when I see this:

I think of this:

I don't know.  Maybe it's just me.


I Might Be In A Database

Colorado has a database for their concealed weapons permit holders.  This convoluted story describes the not so surprising state of a State run, voluntary (for the sheriffs, not the permit holders) database that lumps those that have undergone training and a background check with criminals.

The surprising part of the story is that over 70% of law enforcement officers in Colorado trust the information in the database and use it to "feel safer" because they "know" if a suspect is armed.  Assuming that my entry wasn't screwed up like 63% of them apparently are, when I am pulled over because my taillight is out, the Colorado cop coming to my car window is on high alert because he "knows" that I am armed.  How this helps the officer or myself, I am not sure.  How it can escalate what would otherwise be a calm situation, I can easily see.

It was also comforting to know that information that was not given in my application has possibly been added to my file.  It is sounding more and more like this database needs to be deleted.  Time to get to work.


Technology Fail

The dimmer switch has been buzzing lately.  Not thinking the problem through, I went and replaced the existing switch with another dimmer switch that I had laying around.  The new switch emitted the same buzzing.  I looked up at the lights and immediately saw my problem.

Two recently installed CFLs.  That's all I could find last time I was at the store.  Fluorescent  bulbs, even with electronic ballasts operate at a certain frequency.  Modern dimmer switches operate by rapidly turning on and off the power to the bulb.  This happens at a variable frequency that is set by the switch position.  Long story short, the modern CFLs don't like the frequency they are being cycled at.

I'm off to the store to look for some good ole fashioned incandescent bulbs, but at some point I'm going to have to find another solution.  Thanks technology.


Tinfoil Hats

A program on the Discovery Channel is currently teaching me how to make a RFID blocking wallet...with tin foil.


Holiday Ice Cream

If you ever find yourself in Denver, I recommend a trip to Magill's.  I just got done devouring egg nog and pumpkin flavored ice cream, and their rum raisin is to die for.


Need One of Them There Money Trees

The indoor range a stone's throw from my house has been closed for a while now.  It has also been for sale for a while now.  I drive past this range every weekday morning and see the for sale sign.  This has not been good for my long term planning.  Every time I drive past, I see the sign and think that I ought to buy the place and run it right for a change.

The thing about this facility is that, while it is likely the nicest facility in town it has never been the best run place.  Seriously, read the reviews.  My favorite has to be this one from Yelp:
I came with a group of friends, of which, several were not caucasians.

The owner and his staff referred to my friends as "terrorists". I said I did not appreciate that and let it go. We continued small talk and then I asked how much it was going to be. He (the owner) said; "For you, It's double." 
It typically isn't great business strategy to arbitrarily harass your potential customers and then kick them out.  I never had any truly terrible experiences there, but I was never made to feel welcome.  The staff always acted like they were doing you a favor by letting you pay to shoot there.

They did refuse to allow a group of folks shoot (seven of us) because they overheard one of the group mention that it was for our NRA handgun class.  Their stance was that since they taught classes there, no one else could.  I could understand that viewpoint if they were teaching classes weekly or more often, but since they only held classes at most once a month and charged $50 more than the average going rate I didn't get how that could make business sense.

Many new shooters end up shooting again and again at the range they learned to shoot at.  Why turn away seven new, potentially repeat customers?  Most of our group of seven never went back to that range and instead still shoot at the place we ended up doing our shooting for the class at.  After that experience, I stopped taking new shooters there.  We went to the outdoor range with the similar name halfway across town.  You need a State Parks Pass to even get to it, and the RO's are huge sticklers for their numerous rules, but they actually try and make folks feel welcome.  In addition, they try to help out any way they can, especially new shooters.  I've seen the RO's help to site in a rifle, give an AR-15 lesson, and help a father and son both learn to shoot safely.

I think I could run a range like that.  The problem is that I can't figure out where I planted that dang money tree.  Well, that and I don't really know anything about running a range.

Blood On The Gun

I've said before that I view a gun as just another tool.  At times however, I have trouble explaining away the idea of a gun having "juju".

Last year my wife went hunting with a borrowed, but essentially brand new Kimber 84M.  The gun had never killed an animal.  At the end of her hunt the gun still hadn't killed an animal. This year she had the rifle her grandfather had given her.  That gun has seen numerous animals fall in front of it.  On opening day she got her elk close enough to camp that we brought it back whole.

My father-in-law decided to give his trusty Ruger M77 in .30-06 to his son and get himself a shiny new Ruger No. 1 in 7mm Mag.  With his old gun he had been an elk killer, but it took him years of hunting hard in order to "get blood on the gun".  Now that he has, he's back to where he was before the gun change.

I've been grouse hunting a bit in the last couple of years, but it wasn't until I took my grandfather's .22 revolver up to the mountains that I had grouse literally walk up to me and beg to become dinner.

I realize that the attributed juju is likely just the human tendency to search for and assign meaning to random happenings.  We like to find patterns, even where none truly exist.  Even armed with this knowledge, I still have trouble completely explaining away the idea of juju.  Do you have guns with juju, or the more dreaded gun with none?


First Time

The next several days of of hunting involved going into the high places looking for bull elk.  No one had any luck finding a legal bull.  Several of us saw a big 2X2 bull, but he didn't have brow tines and therefore wasn't legal.  On Tuesday the snow started flying.  Against better judgment we all went out hoping that the snow would let up and we could find elk.  I gave up sure that I would be the first one back in camp.  As it turned out I was the last.

On my way back into camp I saw a weasel, completely white in his winter coat carrying his lunch, a small vole.  When he saw me he dropped the vole (already very dead) and ran off.  To this day I
wonder how many other people on the planet have seen something similar.  If someone were to ask me why I enjoy hunting so much, the story would likely involve Mr. Weasel.

The next day broke with clear skies and the possibility of tracking elk in the fresh snow.  I finally got to hunt the West side of the mountain and took my wife with me.  She had hunted hard and not too far up the mountain ran out of steam.  She elected to sit in a good spot, overlooking a decent amount of the mountain.  Not coincidentally, she was sitting where I had killed my first elk on the mountain.

I chose to hike higher up the mountain, following the trail past the archery hunters' blind, higher and higher until I cut elk tracks.  I followed  the tracks until, for some reason, my gut told me to leave them and walk out towards a rock outcropping.  As I reached the outcropping, I heard and then saw the elk that I had been following.  He was 50 yards away, but his head was hidden behind some brush.  He had no idea that I had dropped in below him, and was feeding peacefully.  Unfortunately, due to his feeding and the brush between his head and me I could not tell if he was a legal bull.  After about three minutes of watching him both through my rifle scope and binoculars I finally decided he was legal.

The next 30 seconds were tied up in me figuring out how to make a clean shot.  His shoulders were hidden behind the brush.  I was forced to take a shot further back on the front side that angled towards his back shoulder.  Having selected my shot, I shouldered the rifle, took off the safety, monitored my breathing, and squeezed the trigger.  I almost did not believe what happened next.  I immediately ran the bolt and chambered another round, fully expecting the elk to take off running.  Instead, he took two steps and dropped.

I waited to see if he would get up and move, but after several minutes I couldn't contain myself and started making phone calls.  I called my father-in-law, my uncle, and my wife telling them that I had an elk down.  Finally my heart rate slowed enough that I could approach the elk.  I came up to him with the safety off in case he had not yet expired.  As I neared, it was clear that my first and only shot had done the job.

I quickly gave thanks to the elk and the mountain, then I got to work.  In short order had him gutted.  My wife showed up and then my uncle and father-in-law.  We quartered him and with the help of the snow, had him down the mountain and into camp.  My first bull gave seven families three elk to share.  My freezer is now full and I have to figure out how to mount the antlers of a 4X5 elk.  I have been blessed with elk for the last four years.