Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thoroughly assimilated

I went to Kohl’s yesterday to spend some “Kohl’s Cash”, use a 20% off coupon, oh, and another $15 in cash cards. I figured I buy something I wouldn’t ordinarily get for myself. An impractical dress, or high-thread-count sheets, or an expensive piece of cookware, but I kept striking out. The dress that I sort of liked didn’t fit, the bedding was the wrong color, the cookware just wasn’t what I was looking for, and so on.

Frustrated to the point of tears (I really wanted a pretty dress that would magically make me look 10 years younger and 20 lbs. lighter … I don’t know what the problem was), I grabbed something useful and headed out the door.

Shorter Half listened to my brief explanation of the unsuccessful trip. “So what did you end up getting?” he asked. I showed him the package and he burst out laughing.

My $4.19 set of kitchen knives.

Subconscious at work … buying more blades.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

“I have become what I beheld”

When I started hanging out and reading gun blogs, I’d notice the posts about knives and other stabbity things, and think “Well isn’t that nice. Another pocket knife. How many does a person need? What’s up with that?”

My dad used to carry what he called a “pen knife”. It was just a regular old folding pocket knife with either some wood or horn on the handle. I’m sure he used it for more, but I primarily remember him using it for sharpening pencils, opening envelopes and for slicing up apples and other things he wasn’t supposed to bite into because of his dentures.

Michael W. (Cutler to the Stars!) had a box of blades he’d acquired over the years and offered one to me. I chose a small Leatherman and threw it in my purse. I don’t think I’ve ever used anything other than the scissors, and that was mostly to cut tags and labels from recent purchases. I tried carrying around a little folding knife in my jeans pocket on the weekends and promptly lost it as it popped out of the stupid shallow pockets when I sat down. No great loss.

Then Shorter Half gave me a little Gerber Paraframe.  It had a clip on it so it stayed put when I clipped it to my pocket. It would ride around in my pocket for the weekend, used once in a while, like when I opened a recalcitrant package at a baby shower, or for sharpening a pencil.  Or so I thought.

Then I misplaced the Paraframe and my world collapsed a little bit. Dang, I had no idea how often I’d been using that knife while gardening. Or opening letters. Or cutting thread or yarn. Or just opening just about anything purchased in the toy department that has a zillion clips and wires and just plain crap involved in the packaging. I found my hand reaching down for the non-existent knife a lot more than I ever remember using one. After mourning for a week, I made a list of what I didn’t like about the Paraframe – namely that it took two hands to open. So I hopped over to Brownell’s and make a selection. I looked for something with assisted opening, was small, didn’t have “tactical” in the name, had a clip, and was under $30.

Somehow, without knowing it, I have become assimilated. I have become what I beheld. And two hours after the knife from Brownell’s arrived, I found the Paraframe. Clearly, my subconscious is working overtime getting me to buy more blades.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kid Shoot I, 2012

I don’t know who ordered the weather, but dang. It was perfect. In the 70’s with warm sun and a cool breeze.  Broken Andy brought an inflatable bouncy thing which was a stroke of genius as far as letting kids (especially the ones that traveled more than 10 miles) work off some energy before settling down to break things with pellets.

JB Miller brought a box of clays and wire coat hangers and did some wire origami magic and made a cool hanging clay holder thing that I didn’t get any pictures of. This, along with some balloons, some hanging soda cans, some soda cans on a ledge, and a couple of store-bought reactive targets made up “the range’.

There were 11 adults, all told and 10 kids. 6 of the kids belonged to gunnie-type parents, and 4 were classmates of Sweet Daughter’s. Michael W. (Cutler to the Stars) started things off by letting the kids handle a tomato and note the resemblance to their own selves – a skin covering firm, yet kind of squishy insides. Then he promptly shot it with a pellet pistol and showed them the damage and explained that shooting a person would do the same thing, so don’t do it.
"Ve have veys of making you talk ..."

The kids came and went on the range, taking turns with a grown-up helping them out, and playing on the swing set and sandbox when they weren’t waiting. It seemed to go really well, and I don’t think there was a kid there that didn’t have a grin of accomplishment at one point or another. 

The adults got their chance as well, and I may have another mom hooked on the idea of shooting. After getting the hang of the pellet rifle, she pointed at my pistol and asked if she could shoot that as well. I explained that there wasn’t a safe place in my little yard to do so, but that there was talk of getting a “Mom Shoot” together for beginners and she should really come to that. I kept a calm and neutral tone, but inwardly I was jumping up and don’t clapping my hands yelling “WE’VE GOT ANOTHER ONE!!!”
Then there was the food. Oh, my goodness, the food. Everybody brought stuff. There were burgers and hot dogs. Michael W. took Vidalia onions, quartered them and wrapped them in bacon, secured with a toothpick. And then he grilled them over low heat.



Mr. A Girl brought deviled eggs and cupcakes. There was pumpkin crunch. There was rainbow Jell-O. And for party favors, there were little chocolate revolvers.

But guess who the one kid was who didn’t shoot? Sweet Daughter. After everyone except JB Miller and his lovely wife had left, she said “HEY! You didn’t call me up to shoot!” I replied that she never asked to shoot, and I wasn’t going to have her perform like a trained monkey if she wasn’t interested. JB graciously donated his leftover clays and high-tech hangers and she had at it.

All in all, I think it was a successful event. The kids were all well behaved and considering that there was a wide range of ages, all interacted very well with each other. The adults seemed to enjoy the afternoon almost as much as the kids did.

In the lessons learned section, I think having activities other than shooting for the kids to do was key. While we had a ratio of almost one kid per adult (an it seemed to work well), but I think it would work with fewer adults. Reactive targets are the only way to go, and I think the ones that make some noise (plink, pop, crack) as well as visibly changing form when hit were the most popular. We had hand wipes down on the firing line to use after handling pellets. We had plenty of inexpensive shooting glasses to pass around. We had name tags. While I was still riding a wave of adrenaline that evening I said I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Two days later, I don't think my opinion has changed.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The 20th Anniversary

… of my 29th birthday.

Sweet Daughter gave me a Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete, in tacti-kewl black with the 17" blade (now with 20% more Mall Ninja!) Ostensibly, it’s for keeping the vine-covered slope between the yard and the road cleared, but I think it will come in handy for a visual aid once she’s dating.

“Hi, Mrs. R. Is SD home?”

“Yes, she’ll be down in just a minute.”

(With SD not being there to divert him yet, his attention will be drawn to the Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete with some of the black paint missing, a few dents in the 17" blade, but still with 20% more Mall Ninja! positioned across my lap.)

“Um, ma’am, can I help you with that?”

“No thank you. I’m just cleaning the blood off the blade before it does any damage.”