Friday, June 22, 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Weekly Range Session

I do miss being able to practice outdoors, but when the "feels like" temperature hits 102°, I am more accepting of the limits at an indoor range. That was my thought as I drove to the range one day after work this week. (Still, it was a bittersweet thought of fun days past.)

I started with a couple of magazines shot strong hand only and then some rapid fire strings at 7 yards. After putting up a fresh target, I pushed the carrier out just a bit further to 12 yards. I did the rest of my practice at that distance.

In my last practice I was trying for more tightly aimed aimed shots. For this outing I tried to shoot as fast as I felt I would at that distance in a match, though obviously without the pressure of competition. Shooting 2 - 4 shot strings, I managed keep most of the hits within the -0 zone. I was somewhat surprised by not only the consistency, but that I was able to make out the hits on the paper at 12 yards. Generally 10 yards is my limit; perhaps either the lighting was brighter or my eyes less fatigued than usual.

In any event, it was wholly satisfying. Changing the target I contemplated my next drill. I had originally thought to try some 25 yard shooting, but decided to continue at the middle distance and try to pick up the speed even more. I shot for a total of 100 rounds at that distance.

It was a fun practice session. One that left me admonishing myself, "Now take that to the match."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Derp Runs Deep With This One

This might possibly be the most inane thing I've read online all week, if not all year. In a Letter to the Editor in our local bird cage liner, entitled "Police need more clearly defined rules of engagement"...
All police departments should have very clearly defined rules of engagement, with an emphasis on the use of non-lethal devices, i.e., Tasers and rubber bullets, before guns are discharged. And they should all have their body cameras turned on.

Perhaps you remember a time when the police always fired a shot in the air and shouted “Stop! Police!” before they shot at someone. What has happened to this idea? I haven’t heard it mentioned for years, nor have I seen it used in any of the videos showing police shootings.

Is “protect and serve” still in effect as police forces become more militarized?

It's distressing that people who are incapable of telling the difference between TV and real life walk free in the streets. Such a disconnect with realty can be a dangerous thing. Sadly, this is just the sort of failed logic we see from those most vocal about "gun control." Gun control and anti-police sentiments walk hand in hand these days. These people have absolutely no idea about guns or self-defense yet seek to place restrictions on the rights of others. In their distorted reality they think that defending yourself denies "due process" to criminals. As is typical of the left, they have greater concern for thugs than for innocent people. This letter writer seems to care little about innocent bystanders who may be injured or killed by the falling bullets from those "shots in the air."

This is why it's generally better to ignore arguments from the left, you can't argue using logic when the concept is lost on them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stone Brewing ///Fear.Movie.Lions

Stone Brewing ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA is a newly release beer brewed at Stone's new Richmond, VA facility. Officially debuting on June 4, I was treated to a couple of advanced samples for review. Unfortunately, life got in the way of me getting out an early review. While the pre-release samples were brewed in California, ///Fear.Movie.Lions will be brewed exclusively in Richmond, and distributed only in the eastern U.S.

The beer's unusual name comes from what3words. what3words is a unique global addressing system that attempts to settle directions in previously difficult to locate locations around the world. The system divides the earth into 3 meter by 3 meter squares, each designated by a unique three word address. I diverted from drinking the beer to reading about what3words; it's an interesting concept and something I'll watch to see how it catches on. (I also spent time exploring the 3 meter addresses in my home with the iPhone app.) The name ///Fear.Movie.Lions denotes the address of the 3 meter square in the Richmond brewery where this beer was created.

Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions takes the concept of the unfiltered New England IPA and ramps it up into the Double IPA realm. The beer pours very hazy and thick looking. It's a dark marmalade color topped by a rich beige head. The aroma brings notes of grass, spices, and tropical fruit, and a hint of dankness. The flavor profile is rich with a range of fresh "juicy" citrus fruit, notably orange, marmalade and grapefruit. Moderate citrus rind bitterness is balanced by a hint of sweet malt. Mouthfeel is thick and the lingering citrus notes extend the flavor experience. The ABV of 8.5% is well masked, but warrants care in sipping.

If you're a fan of the New England IPA style, or Double IPAs, or citrusy beers in general, Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions is sure to satisfy. That is, as long as you're on the East Coast.

The beer reviewed was an unsolicited sample from the brewery. All drinking and commenting is done of my own free will.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Rivanna IDPA Match

Too many conflicting commitments and other activities have prevented me from getting to the monthly IDPA matches at Rivanna since last February. This weekend, I was finally able to get there, and despite much time spent on the road lately, I was looking forward to rising early and hitting the match.

Attendance was a bit lighter than usual, just 31 shooters, but that also meant a quick morning of shooting with little down time. We shot the four stages in just over 2 hours.

The first stage had us starting in the middle of a wall, the shooters choice of which direction to go at the buzzer. Groups of two or three targets, along with some non-threats, were found at four shooting positions. Despite the stage walls and cover positions being symmetrical to either side, the target positioning was not. That made stage plan awareness all the more critical. I was relieved to shoot the first "get over the nerves" stage clean with no points down.

The second stage was an "L" shaped course. The initial targets were engaged while advancing down the long leg, shooting towards to side berm. Making the turn we found are targets around the ends of the short wall. It was a (seemingly) easy stage that lured me into shooting too fast, and racking up three points down and a hit on a non-threat.

For the next stage, match director Tony had rolled out the red Mazda pickup often seen at Rivanna. I am not totally sure why, but I always seem to enjoy the stages when we shoot from, and around, this prop.

The stage began with the shooter in the driver's seat and the loaded gun on the passenger seat, truck door closed. There were two targets to be engaged through the passenger window opening, and one via the driver's side. Exiting the vehicle three more targets were available. It was a fun stage which I shot just one point down. Alas, I was informed that while shooting the last three targets I had one foot remaining in the vehicle; the stage brief noted that both feet had to be out of the truck and on the ground. That cost me a three second PE.

The fourth and final stage is the one that had folks talking. Three groups of targets were placed downrange of three shooting boxes. Each target array was comprised of three threat targets behind two non-threats. Each of the targets had limited scoring zones available, and to my eyes, as you moved left to right, the center target had an increasingly smaller area exposed. Careful aiming was called for. There were numerous repair pasters already on many of the non-threats from previous shooters. I thought to myself, "This is the last stage of the day, so finish strong."

I wasn't overly concerned about the time, I just wanted to shoot it without hitting any non-threats. This was my chance to make up for the PE on the previous stage, and the careless HNT on stage 2. I took my time and concentrated hard of sight picture and trigger press, and ended up just three points down and no hits on the non-threats.

When I finished I told a friend I felt like that was my best stage of the match. I joked that the setup forced me to actually pay attention to the sights and to take my time. And that all paid off. I ended up with the second best score overall on that stage, second only to the overall match winner. Interestingly, despite feeling like I shot slow, even my raw time was the fourth fastest. It was a great way to end the match, and I think there are some valuable lessons there for me as well.

We finished shooting before the afternoon heat became unpleasant, which added to the enjoyment of the morning. The stages offered an interesting variety of shooting challenges. My score put me 5th of 31 shooters overall, and 1st of 10 in the SSP division.

The drive home found me stuck behind farm vehicles on a long "no passing" road several times. On the bright side that the extra drive time gave me time to enjoy, several times over, the new Buddy Guy album I had downloaded the day before. All and all this was a most excellent start to the weekend. There was more fun to be had later in the day.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Saturday Fire and Whiskey

After shooting a quick, fun IDPA match Saturday morning, I got some chores around the house taken care of. Not the least of which was getting the spare grill tank refilled to ensure successful completion of Sunday's steaks. Despite the after-dinner temperature on Saturday hovering around 80°, I threw a couple logs in the fire pit and we enjoyed a relaxing, but warm, evening sipping a bit of rye whiskey around the fire. The birds were singing in trees and there were even a few fireflies making an early appearance.

We are expecting a much more oppressive heat blast to come through the next few days, so it was good to get in one more fire before summer truly arrives.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Harry's Alehouse Wing & Beer Pairing

Harry's Alehouse held a Wing & Craft Beer Pairing event this week, featuring beers from Flying Dog Brewery. Having attended several previous beer dinners at Harry's, we were excited for the next adventure. We were not disappointed.

Harry's Chef James put together four tasty wing dishes to go along with four beers. This event was run a little differently than previous dinners, in that all the beers and food were served together and we enjoyed them at our own pace. A printed handout was provided that explained the choices behind the pairings. All four of the beers from Flying Dog were ones that I've had before so I was familiar with them already. I was looking forward to Chef's take on the food pairings.

The first pairing was "Elote Wings" served with Numero Uno Summer Cerveza. The chargrilled wings were tossed in a thick chili-lime cotija cheese sauce. The toasted grain and lime zest flavors of the beer were enhanced by the matching flavors of the cheese and lime sauce coating the wings.

Next up was the popular Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale served with "Bay-B-Que Wings" which were deep fried then tossed in OLD BAY BBQ sauce. The wing coating was moderately spicy with a hint of sweetness. The OLD BAY flavored beer maintained the red pepper spiciness providing a seamless flavor experience.

One of my favorite Flying Dog beers, Bloodline Blood Orange IPA was paired up with "Orange Mango Habanero Jerk Wings." Jerk-spiced and citrus-marinated grilled wings were finished with a Orange Habanero glaze. It should come as no surprise I enjoyed this combination very much. The wings were spicy with a lingering heat that was moderated but not abated by the bitter citrus hops in the beer. I was about to declare this the winning pair, until the surprise contender seen in the final offering.

Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter finished the evening served with "Smoked Salt and Coffee Crusted Wings." The Coffee-brined and Coffee-herb-rubbed baked wings had a Smoked Salt and Maple glaze. The beer by itself provided rich coffee, chocolate and bourbon notes. When paired with the roasted coffee and salt encrusted wings, the combination was amazing. Despite my preference for hoppy beer and spicy food, this combination the winner of the night in my opinion.

This was a sold out and crowded event, and the staff worked hard to get everyone served and provide water, additional beers, and plenty of napkins throughout the evening. All the diners appeared to enjoy themselves very much. It was easy to work through all the food and beer at one's own leisure. The pairings all worked quite well. The standard wings offered at Harry's Alehouse are one of my favorite dishes there, but any of this evening's offerings would make an excellent addition to the menu. 

A dozen wings and the four tasters of beers, not to mention my "pre-game" pint of Center of the Universe Chameleon Orange IPA, make for a very satiating meal. Nonetheless, when one is enjoying an evening of feasting, it's tough to call it quits. We decided to cap off the evening with tasty, and cooling, milkshakes on our way home. It was a fitting cap to an enjoyable night out.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day & Other American Celebrations

On June 14, 1777, the Second Congressional Congress officially adopted the design of our nation's flag. Flag Day is celebrated each June 14 as Americans recognize that part of our history. Given the lack of respect so many show our flag these days, Flag Day offers an opportunity to remind people just what that flag stands for.

There are other, less official, holidays on today's calendar as well. June 14 is has been designated as National Bourbon Day. And if that doesn't tickle your tastebuds, it's also National Strawberry Shortcake Day

Our flag, some bourbon, and a sweet dessert — it really doesn't get more American than that!