Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tofurkey FAIL -

Broad Ripples is home to a number of "hippie owned" businesses. I stopped in this place to buy blue corn meal, as they have a great collection of bulk grains for the healthy or the "preppy". But when it comes time to meet some of my favorite people for an impromptu dinner afterwards with my weekend house guests,everyone voted to pass on the tofurkey pizza.

First it was off to Penzey's where a few spices were picked up for friends,  then off to Artesano's for some alderwood smoked salt and 18 year old Balsamic Vineger.

Future cooking ingredients in hand, it time to head off to  Brugge Brasserie for food involving meat. 

Tam had a T Shirt that explained things.

Conversation was good as always, books, Amazon publishing, more books, the Delta mileage perks of being an internet rock star, shotguns, geese and Old World Style charcuterie, good writers and bad writers . . .
"Brigid - "so why the fuss about this new best seller about farm outbuildings (wink to D ) . . '.Fifty Sheds of Grey".

"Tam - "I've not heard of it"

Miss D - " It's Twilight Fan Fiction with BDSM". 

Tam - uncontrollable snickers

We started with the usual "would you like large fries with that", with all their dipping sauces (Dijon with Poplar Syrup was a new favorite), followed by an assortment of roast beasts, steak and eggs (Roberta X's excellent looking choice), Le Canard, more frites and cheese plates with all kinds of sausage/pate things . There was in-house microbrewery IPA, good coffee and lots of catching up as I'd just met Peter briefly once at a previous blog meet and his new bride Miss D. and I hadn't seen each other in a year, though we chatted airplanes all the time. 

This was a duck confit sandwich with dried cherry and lambic compote, spicy mustard, and crispy fried leek (somewhere under that mound of hot, pepper coated frites).

Miss D ordered one of the buckets of mussels with blue cheese, bacon and white wine (they were steaming too much to get a good photo). While her husband had one of the cheese plates.

Soon it was time to leave to get to the gun store before they close to get ammo.

Finally, home to make a phone call to my Dad and a friend far away and of course, some play time with Barkley. .

"Yo Mom - you smell like Duck - you and I need to have a little chat. . ."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chix With Stix

Night off, a gathering with my favorite female pilot and her spouse, honey wine from the local meadery ("I thought you said MEATERY?" Oh, well, this will still be fun). Then dinner - chicken breasts stuffed with cream cheese and chives topped with a spicy red pepper sauce,  fresh parmason and romano  and diced smoked bacon , served over whole grain pasta with fresh veggies. No recipe, I  just sort of threw this together while catching up with Miss D.

She I discussed the ladies only taildragger fly in and why "all Taylorcrafts are NOT the same in the dark" while Barkley worked his DogFu on Peter,  attempting to get another tummy rub or a bite of something that smells like cheese and bacon.
We're meeting up with  Tam and Roberta X tomorrow and there will be shooting on Sunday so I won't be back til later, perhaps with a few photos, some shooty quotes, or just a picture of a large bottle of aspirin.

For now,  more tales of taildraggers and dog tails (and how do I get a shirt like D's.)

BACONOMICS - - Political Systems Made Simple

FEUDALISM: You have bacon. The lord comes and takes the bacon. And your last pig. You get a potato.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have some bacon. Your neighbor does not. The government takes your bacon and gives it to the neighbor. You have to take a second job to bring home the bacon so you can continue to supply the non working neighbor with your bacon.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have some bacon. The government takes half of it to give to the neighbor with none. The bacon is then managed by a Bacon Czar with a large staff. The Bacon Czar is a vegan. With the ensuing paperwork, and the latent inability of the Bacon Czar to actually handle the bacon, the bacon goes bad and is thrown out.

FASCISM: You have a little bit of bacon. The government takes it, and offers to sell you the oink.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have bacon. Your neighbor works to help you get more bacon and you share in it, even though he eats twice as much as you and does half the amount of work.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have bacon. The government takes it and gives you a potato.

DICTATORSHIP: You have bacon. The government takes it and drafts you. You get MRE's. They do not contain bacon.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have bacon. You vote with your neighbors as to how your bacon should be protected.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have some bacon. You elect someone to vote on how best to ensure you get more bacon.

LIBERAL SOCIETY: You don't like bacon so I don't get any.

BUREAUCRACY: You have bacon. The government makes a new food pyramid that tell you when you should eat the bacon and how often. It then pays you not to eat the bacon and takes it and throws it away, after you have filled out a form to pay your bacon tax for the bacon that you no longer have.

CALIFORNIA BUREAUCRACY: In California, bacon contains nitrates and fats that may be bad for people who have no willpower. So no one gets bacon.

PROGRESSIVISM: You have bacon. The government takes it and gives you a receipt.

ANARCHY: You have bacon. You try and sell the bacon to others so you survive or others with big pointy things simply take the bacon and kill you.

MONARCHY: We have bacon because you love us and want us to have bacon. Smile. Wave.

CAPITALISM: You have bacon. Strengthened by bacon, you work harder and buy a whole damn pig.

MUCH OF THE MIDDLE EAST: Bacon is unclean. Die infidel.

MAOISM - We are Urban Working Class. What is bacon??

Who wants a piece of your pie??

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good Targets and Bad - Made in America

I keep a small rental near  the city, for work and on call.  It's close to where I need to get to work and my neighbor is a a young police officer and his family, who thankfully looks after it when I travel or am off work.

It's got some nice furnishings, as I sold a large four bedroom house to downsize, but like most rentals, it has all the ambience of a dental lab, with white walls and plain window fixtures.  The place has two bedrooms and a little office.  Unfortunately the bedroom where the occassional family member or friend bunks has a Eastern exposure.  The first time I slept there, when I had all beds and couch occupied during a race weekend, including someone with a bad back using my bed with the orthopedic mattress, I got an early morning wake up call.

No wonder my guests were up so early!  I thought it was anticipation of my cooking.  No, it was the BLINDING sun that came through the cheap blinds.  A Rooster on crack couldn't have woken them up any faster. 

Time to buy drapes.  And this is where my story starts.   There's a super Target within an hour.  It's fairly new, fancy, with clean wide aisles, all kinds of kitchen stuff, food and housewares and patrons that didn't look like they were auditioning for the circus or trying to buy ingredients for Mama's Meth Lab.  I liked their grocery department, as far as selection  (all kinds of bacon and Jason's maple almond butter!) and the household section looked impressive with a quick, shallow glance.

So have some folks  that we as a nation, elected. 

I wasn't fussy, any neutral color would do, I just wanted two sets of drapes, long enough to cover the windows, and made of a thermal material to keep out light and noise.  I also needed towels to replace a few old  ones  that went from "shabby chic" to "did Barkley EAT this?" (Yes, that's my sock with his toy)

It did not go well. Target had LOTS of drapes on display Apparently, whomever does inventory figures six drapes per color.  That would be three windows. The fact that three of those were one length (64 inch) and the other three were another length (83 inch) didn't  factor in. Doing the math, that each window requires TWO drapes, was too much for the stock person here.  No matter what color or style, I could NOT find two complete drapes the same color and the same length in the entire store.  I'd have asked if they had any in the back had there been a clerk.  Oh, wait!  Maybe they were manning the 26 checkstands?  No those are all empty but for the two with long lines.

On to towels. I hated to wait in line, but I did NOT want to go home with neither drapes nor towels. They had a whole wall of towels, plush, lush towels, their own brand!  Oh, they were SO soft. so fluffy.  Not WalMart cheap, but reasonable. I wanted to get good towels.  I showered at a bachelor buddy's house after working on cars one day and found myself completely covered in blue lint after using the towel on the rack.  I looked like Smurfette.  No, I wanted to get some better quality towels, which is why I went to Target, not WalMart.

After purchasing the towels, I washed them and dried them in the dryer before I used them.  After my shower, I ended up covered in blue lint. "Why does this look familiar?  There was lint all over the tub rim and on the floor.  I washed them twice before using again.  Each time I cleaned the lint trap, there was enough lint in there that,  had I added starch, I could have had a whole new towel.

I looked at the rapidly "less fluffy" towel to see the tag -  "Made in China".

I called car buddy and said "it's like your Smurf towel!"  He said "did you get yours at Target??"

Oh. . . I'm a trained forensic expert.  I detect a trend here.

It's been a month, a half dozen washings and the towels are still shedding  and getting thinner and rougher each time I wash them.  There's still tiny spots of lint all over my tub and bathroom floor.

I think after one or two more  washings,  I can cut these towels into little squares and sell their thin, abrasive surface on eBay as the "DIY Glock .25 cent trigger job." I could make a fortune.

Lesson folks.  If you can, buy American, you might pay a bit more but there is a reason.  Quality.

With that, I'll leave you to a link to a nice little blog managed by some folks I hang out with, who appreciate quality, and are happy to pass on information(without compensation) for companies that still earn your dollar with good products, all made in America.. They don't post often, but there are some good buying hints there. Say hi to my friends Midwst Chick and Company over at Made in America.

I'll be in the bathroom mopping up lint.

But at least this weekend's guests will be able to sleep in until the bacon starts frying. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bacon Popcorn and a Good Book - A smile For Our Soldiers

About every 6 weeks, I send a care package or two over to Iraq or Afghanistan.  This was one mailed today.  Most go to soldiers serving, a couple extras going to former soldiers, long since retired, who now assist there as contractors.

The packages are simple, some new and  good condition used books and movie CD's, snacks and a few things to bring a smile (zombie magnets and bacon popcorn!) If I can, I drop a note or a card in of thanks.

If any of you have a family member serving there that would like to get one, drop me their address in comments prefaced by a big "DO NOT POST", so if I'm half asleep I know to just cut and paste the address, then delete. All I ask is they don't share the mailing address from which it comes.  Simply enjoy, share if they can and know that there are many, many families here, very proud of what you do, and the country to whom you pledge allegiance.

There are so many good men and women working hard in harm's way, if a little bag of jerky and a zombie kitchen magnet makes them smile until they get home to their family, I'm all for it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

As Good as It Gets - Zombie Action Shooting

I'm easy to please.

Zombie Targets in the early morning.

First shot to the center of the forehead, then after that, quick fire, multiple magazine reloads


He wasn't that easy to see with the light, but I do believe he's not going anywhere.

Now for his  (much too skinny) zombie girlfriend (and her little dog too!)

Watch out for Flying Brass!

My arms and hand are tired and the range has gone cold. What to do?  But I have two magazines left.  I've only gone pistol shooting 3 times since the Christmas knee surgery, there is much rust to work off.  It's an easy decision. 

Tweet!!!!! The Range is now HOT.

Thanks all, it was a great morning and a privilege to get to share your range.

Now that the  sun is fully up and the zombies have been dealt with,  it's time for my favorite postie Zombie Apocalypse beverage  - a giant cup of "brain freeze" (aka the "Mr. Squishy")

Mornings don't get much better. Well, unless one of your local range buddies buys the  first round.

Cheers!   Brigid

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bird Doggin' It - Weekend Cooking For a Crowd

I'm known to invite a few folks back to the house after things I like to do, air shows, tractor shows, car shows, gun shows or just an afternoon out watching my favorite bird dog play.

Although I love to do a fancy four course spread with a bit of gourmet, or a carefully crafted dinner for two, sometimes one needs something that's bulletproof and will feed a crowd very cheaply after a busy day.

 This is one of those dishes.  With big chunks of peppered pork tenderloin (I had baked a couple earlier in the week) and caramelized Vidalia onion with a sweet smokey undertone, it was a hit.

(And the next picture is for Murphy's Law, taken at an air show a few weeks ago).

If you are seriously short of time, use a couple of the bigger cans of Busch beans (my favorite canned beans) and add the honey, paprika, ancho, red pepper, bourbon, hot sauce, and steak seasoning but the "from scratch" ones can still be on the table in about an hour.

Peppered Tenderloin Pork and Beans

Small pork tenderloin, brushed with  a dab of Worcestershire sauce, rubbed with lots of cracked pepper and baked, cooled and chopped into big bite-sized pieces.
1 large sweet onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup  plus 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
2 to 4  pinches crushed red pepper (to taste)
1 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon Penzey's Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning (which has cardamon in it)
a couple of splashes of Knob Creed bourbon
teaspoon Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke hot sauce
8 cups (or four 15 ounce cans, drained and rinsed) cooked white beans.

Preheat oven to 350°F Chop up pork tenderloin. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cloves and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, chicken broth, brown sugar, honey, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, paprika,,ancho,  salt, steak seasnong and stir to mix.

Stir in beans, increase heat to high, and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Transfer to oven and bake, uncovered, until beans are tender and mixture is thickened, 40 to 45 minutes Serve on fresh corn bread or biscuits with green salad and you're set.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Getting a Leg Up - Saturday Barkley

I finally found a use for those crutches. While the Pendleton wool bedspread is off at the cleaners in prep for an upcoming visit from a gal friend and her husband, it makes a great anti Barkley device to keep him off the soft blanket in the spare bedroom. 

Someone is NONE too pleased about it.

Sorry Barkley, it's Saturday.  First there's breakfast, which was oven baked German puffed pancaked stuffed with apples and cinnamon.

Then it's off to Marsh to grab air show tickets.  I'll see you later! (and I will bring back pats and treats).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mr. Bond would be Proud - Self Defense With the Sig P232

In the library there is a book, within reach, with something inside should a bad guy appear in the door as I'm sitting with something to read and a Martini.  OK, more likely a cup of the herb tea with the bear that looks like he's stoned on the box, but you get the idea.

The Sig P232

Before there was the Sig Sauer 232 there was a 230. That was before I starting shooting pistols but it was said to have quality and simplicity of use.  So when I had a chance to get a hold of a P232 I said "sure". With my P220 being my favorite .45, I've always been  a fan of Sig quality.

Chambered in .380 (9mm Kurz/9mm short), with a fixed barrel blowback action, I couldn't help but compare it in feel to the Bersa I bought for myself four years ago, then sold. I was quite pleased with it for the price, and have recommended it to women wanting a small caliber for $500 or less,  but I was wanting something a little nicer for personal carry.  There was something about the design  of the P232 I liked and the quality of Sig Sauer has always impressed me.  It's "vintage", if that word fits, and handling the piece brought me back to old black and white movies or classic James Bond films.  Silly perhaps, but I like that in many things, the quality of items used to protect or defend or build in generations gone by, meticulessly crafted and cherished by only discerning people.

Like many small handguns, it comes with a large polymer case with an instruction manual full of the obligatory safety warnings and all the info you need on the basics of care.  There are models with a stainless steel slide and  black plastic grips that in bulkier weapons make me think "Holstein" but in this model it's pure sports car.  There's models in all black and all stainless steel as well.

The P232 is advertised as Sig's second smallest and their lightest pistol, only the subcompact P238 being smaller.  I wouldn't call the 232 a subcompact though, being more the size of the Walther PP. It's not a tiny gun, and wouldn't be ideal for a vest or snug pants pocket but  it would work well most everywhere else (including fitting nicely into an Uncle Mike's size 2 pocket holster as the perfect garage accessory).

Like the original Walther PP (or the Russian Makarov copy of the PP) it's a SA/DA double action blowback operated fixed barrel autoloading firearm.  It also has a nice single stack magazine that is retained by a little heel clip. One of only two operation controls other than the trigger, the magazine release is at the bottom of the grip frame behind the magazine. It's pressed rearward with thumb pressure using the non-shooting hand and once released, the magazine must be pulled from the grip frame.  I rather prefer a Colt style magazine that drops the magazine in one clean motion, but I'm sure that  with time it will seem more natural.  Certainly, dropping a magazine to the ground by accidentwould be a rare event.

It might be argued that this type of release makes for slower reloads in an emergency.  It might and is definitely something you should practice with more than once.  But frankly for the typical self defense scenario, not a TV style shoot out, you may not need to. It's just my opinion, but if you can't disable/stop a thug with 7 rounds you have more to worry about then your magazine release

Just a note - unlike other weapons in it's class, the P232 doesn't have a magazine safety or disconnect and remains quite functional with the magazine removed.

In trying it out for the first time,  I'd say I like it more than the Walther PP, even if they share the same basic design.  For starters, the slide mounted dual function safety/decocker has been replaced with a single purpose decocker that's located at the top front of the left side grip panel.  No manual safety to fumble with, especially in times of having to defend under high stress load (flat edged  weapon equipped evil clowns, etc.).  The shape is smooth, rounded, nothing to really snag on anything.  With the decocking lever the only external operating control, you can pretty much draw this from any type of holster or pocket "snag free".  The "snag free" extends to the hammer, which is easy as pie to cock with your thumb and it doesn't have that exposed burr you see in the PP (and the Mak). 

This pistol has not had a trigger job. I concur that out of the box, it really didn't need one.  It's smooth faced and even with fairly large hands, I was able to fire quite comfortably. The double-action trigger is reasonably smooth and easy to use, as well. There is some takeup and over-travel, but the single-action trigger breaks like a piece of glass, making repeating fire a pleasure.. Sig advertises a automatic firing pin block and a rebounding hammer for safety.  I'm not sure if it made me a lot more safe than what's between my ears, but I'd say, given the quality I saw already in the piece, I'd take their word on that.

To shoot it at contact distance I just pulled the trigger through it's double action stroke to fire.  This is definitely a true double action, trigger cocking mechanism and rest assured there is double strike capability in the event of a misfire. Id' say the DA trigger pull is a bit stout but fairly smooth.  The long heavy trigger pull does make it harder to hold the pistol nice and steady during the firing stroke, impacting practical accuracy.  But you're going to use the DA function for immediate self defense and it has the accuracy you need for that. 

After  my first DA  shot, the pistol self cocked and subsequent shots fired single action. the trigger pull after the initial negligible takeup being short and the break at a manageable weight.  This was the way to fire this gun while taking advantage of it's engineered accuracy.

There's a common complaint that blowback pistols have slides that are hard to pull back. as only the mass/inertia of the slide and the power of the recoil spring keep the breech closed when the gun is fired, so the spring ends up being heavy. There's truth to that.  If this was going to be the personal piece for the woman in your life,  have her try it first. That feature of most blowback pistols would not deter me from purchasing one, but I'm 5' 8 and quite strong (well except when involving willpower and a piece of apple pie).

The sights are typical of Sig configuration and designed with a dot on the front sight and a rectangle on the rear.  Simply aligh the dot over the rectable.  That's it.

I had only one complaint with the firearm, and with more use, it might not bother me so much. The magazine follower automatically activates the slide stop after the last shot, holding the slide open. When you clear the pistol by removing the magazine and rack the slide to eject the chambered cartridge, there's no manual lever to keep the slide open which seemed odd as I normally hand back the cleared firearm to someone for them to shoot it with the slide locked open. Also, if you rack the slide with an empty magazine in place there's no way to close the slide short of removing the magazine. I understand Sig nixed the manual lock slide to reduce operating controls and contribute to the whole "snag free" effect, and it certainly makes that aspect of the firearm easy to use, I just missed the manual control a little bit.

To carry for conceal or not.  I will always be a fan of a bigger round for concealed carry.  That being said, there are times that due to your build, your clothing or other reasons, that's not always practical. A .380 is certainly more effective than the proverbial sharp retort, but the .380 cartridge often is not capable of getting past that 200 FP of instrument energy you need, and some loads don't even get close.

If you are carrying the .380 as your only personal protection, pay very close attention to what you use as ammo.  For my firearm, I'd use frangible ammo from a  reputable manufacturer.  If I really wanted to get serious, there's some great  Cor-Bon 90-grain +P JHP load that will exit this stubby little barrel like it's on fire.  But personal carry is NOT the time to get cheap ammo or use those reloads your neighbor Earl made for you one night after 3 cans of Schlitz. Good ammo, bullet placement  (practice practice practice) and  proper bullet expansion are all key to stopping power in a round and esssential in a smaller round.

It is not an inexpensive firearm but compared to my old Bersa there was a noticeable difference in quality.  Yes, you pay for it, but I'm willing to pay for it.  It's lightweight but not fluff, and would be easy to carry for long periods of time.

There is a reason the P232 is a very popular back up piece for off duty law enforcement officers and federal agents. My experience with it shows a reliable, extremely well made  pistol with good ergonomics of grip design, easy to use sights and a sweet little trigger, all which contribute to accuracy if you really have to use it. Because sometimes, even in the classic Bond films, the bad guy might get a  jump on you and you need a realiable backup that's withstood the test of time.